Golf Futures: Long-Term Strategies for Betting Majors

Jan 03, 2019 07:34 PM EST

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brooks Koepka

  • Betting majors months in advance is all about finding the best value. Joshua Perry breaks down his strategy as well as his 2019 card.
  • He explains why buying players at their max number and/or when they're fresh off an injury can be profitable.

With the golf season back in full swing, many have already turned their attention to Augusta and the rest of the major calendar for 2019.

Last year, we were able to jump on Francesco Molinari pretty early for the Open Championship and lock in a +5700 price when he end up teeing off at around half that number.

So with the odds posted so early for these big events, the value is there — we just need to find it.

When I’m betting a tournament months in advance, I’m looking for a guy who I think is at his max number, which means that barring an injury in which he can’t even play, the odds are probably as large as they’ll get. And I’m not looking at anything lower than about 50-1. At that point, it becomes too big of an investment to risk injury or poor form.

I’m also looking to take a chance on guys coming off an injury and have fallen off the radar. Injuries heal, and players are usually return near the same playing level within a few months. And finally, I’m tracking players who have shown signs of becoming elite, but haven’t reached that level yet.

The three 2019 Masters plays I made this past summer each meet one of these criteria.

Brooks Koepka was offered at +5000 this past May, when he was fresh off a wrist injury that forced him to miss the 2018 tournament and the odds for the next were at a max level. Looking ahead to the U.S. Open that June, he was only +4000 as the defending champ. So in my opinion, the books were making a mistake by either pricing him too low at the Open fresh off an injury, or his number was way too high for the 2019 Masters in a smaller, weaker field.

Well, Koepka went on to win the 2018 U.S. Open and the PGA Championship — which I didn’t really see coming — but now we’ve got a ticket that’s triple his current number.

The original thought was right, though: He’s a major champ who was fresh off an injury that was unlikely to be a problem 11 months from the time I placed the bet, but for some reason was being priced into his chances. Bookmakers didn’t take into account that he wasn’t going to be hurt a year from when they posted the initial numbers.