2020 Masters Odds and Betting Advice: Which Sportsbooks Have the Best Prices?
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Johnson
- When betting on the Masters this week, you really want to place your wagers at books giving you fair prices.
- We compared the hold at 11 U.S. books, and show you how to calculate hold at your own book in this interesting, informative breakdown.
I’ll start this golf betting educational exercise by saying the following — if Dustin Johnson is 10-1 at most books and there’s a 12-1 out there, you should always bet him at 12-1 no matter how the other golfers are priced.
However, some books will generally offer more fair pricing on golf futures than others. How can you tell? By calculating the theoretical hold.
Theoretical hold refers to the percentage of a bet that a book would keep on average if the bet played out an infinite number of times. For an NFL point spread with each side at -110, the hold is about 4.55%.
For golf tournament winners, the hold can be north of 40% at many books. The higher the hold, the worse the prices for a bettor.
Below we’ll compare the hold for the 2020 Masters at a number of legal U.S. books, and show you how to calculate hold at your own book or on other markets.
You can also use our new Markets Tool at Action Labs to compare Masters odds and make sure you’re getting the best price no matter who you want to bet.
What Is Hold?
An event in the real world with two outcomes, like a coin flip, might have 50/50 odds. Those probabilities add up to 100%.
But in sports betting, it’s different. Once you convert odds to probabilities and add them together, you’ll get a number over 100%. That’s because a sportsbook charges you a tax on every bet to take your action.
Hold is really just the probability of all the outcomes of an event added together, minus 100.
The higher the hold, the more money the sportsbook will make over time. But they risk turning off customers if the hold is too high and the prices are worse than their competitors.
2020 Masters Holds
With something like golf winners — where the rules are the same across every book — you want to get the best price possible. It doesn’t really matter which book you’re betting at. (Finishing position bets like Top 5s are a different story. You usually want to bet at BetMGM because they pay ties in full).
But it’s worthwhile to compare the theoretical hold at different legal books to see who consistently has the best prices.
For the 2020 Masters, here’s how each book shakes out — remember, lower is better.
Vegas-based Circa Sports (also in Colorado), which prides itself on sharp, low-hold markets, takes the title for this year’s Masters (as of Monday night).
FoxBet might seem like a surprising runner-up, but they consistently have low-hold golf markets.
While this hold represents the entire market, there are also themes among each book.
FoxBet actually has a better hold among the top 10 golfers on the board, but where Circa separates itself is in the mid-range and with the extreme longshots.
Circa leads the way for hold among the 10th-30th priced players on the board, with FoxBet and DraftKings just behind.
More Masters Betting Coverage:
How to Calculate Hold at Your Book
If you’re not in a legal market, you can try this exercise yourself to see if you’re getting a fair price at your own books.
First, get all your odds into an Excel doc or Google Sheet. Have the players in column A, and the American odds in column B with no ‘+’ sign.
Then, convert American odds to implied probability in column C using this formula. Since the conversion depends on whether or not the plus-money or minus-money, use this formula so you can do them all at once (make sure your odds are in B1, or adjust the cell in that formula to wherever you have them).
All golf outright odds for the Masters will be plus money, but if you want to check the hold on other markets, this is a great way to save time.
Next, add up all the probabilities using a SUM function — you should arrive at a number between 100% and about 150%, though some books definitely go higher. Then subtract 100 percent.