Golf Betting Tip: Don’t Just Look for Values — Find Anti-Values
Photo credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bubba Watson
- It's easy to get wrapped up in trying to predict which golfers for an event will win or which will outperform expectations.
- But some of the best betting value can be found by identifying "anti-values" -- golfers you bet against.
Oftentimes, golf betting and DFS analysis is centered around which golfers will play well. It makes sense in DFS, of course, as the goal is to roster the best possible lineup — the winner and guys in the top 10.
But betting doesn’t have to be just focused on guys with expected positive value. Sure, it’s fun debating whether Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka are better bets to win, but you’re really splitting hairs at that point.
I think a lot of value can be find in not just looking for values — but finding “anti-values,” or golfers who you want to actively fade with bets.
One such guy for me this week is Bubba Watson. The two-time Masters winner is one of the more unique golfers in the world in that he has his spots. Think Augusta, Riviera or River Highlands.
He’s won multiple times in his career at all of those spots. If he likes a course, he doesn’t just win — he wins again and again.
Pebble Beach — and the U.S. Open specifically — is not one of his spots. He’s played Pebble just twice, missing the cut the first time and finishing 35th in the other.
And look at his recent U.S. Open history:
- 2018: Missed cut
- 2017: Missed cut
- 2016: T-51
- 2015: Missed cut
- 2014: Missed cut
- 2013: T-32
- 2012: Missed cut
- 2011: T-63
Bubba typically gains stroke with his massive driver, and that’s less important at the U.S. Open, which has penalizing rough and small greens. These events just aren’t a good fit for him, and the results speak to that.
I would guess that most people who agree and don’t like him to succeed this week would just not bet him, but you can also bet against him in a variety of ways. For example, you can bet him to miss the cut, which is currently at +125. You can also find him in several matchup props; I identified one I liked here vs. Kevin Na.
A lot of the golfers who are clear-cut plays and have been consistent over the past several months are those who are already really expensive in the betting market.
The others are up-and-down, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about their prospects any given week. I’ve personally found that sometimes it’s easier to identify the golfers who aren’t going to do well, be it due poor play or course fit, rather than nitpicking between the best players at high prices.
Another example this week is Kevin Kisner, who has been atrocious lately. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship last month badly, shooting 77 and 76, and since he’s missed the cut and finished outside the top 40 in his subsequent events. His 49.1% Recent Greens in Regulation mark is literally the second-worst mark in this huge field.
I don’t like betting on players to “find their game” at a major, especially at a U.S. Open where the rough is so penalizing and the greens are so hard to hit. If Kisner couldn’t hit the greens at the easier courses over the last month, it’s unlikely he’ll do so at Pebble Beach.
Thus, I’m looking for ways to actively fade him as well, be it to miss the cut or in head-to-head matchup bets (like vs. Lucas Glover, as I wrote about here).
And perhaps most importantly, with this betting style you can diversify your exposure. You can often find a variety of matchup bets, which spreads out your exposure across several events.
Even if Glover fails, you can still profit from a Kisner fade by taking him against other players. Instead of betting a full unit on Kisner, for example, you can bet 0.25 units on four matchup props, which limits your downside while still giving upside of a Kisner collapse.
There are other players worth fading this week, so if you’re not sure which values you like for the U.S. Open, try finding some “anti-values” instead.