Each year in early January a new PGA season gets underway. Betting on the sport in January and February is different in a lot of ways than betting on it later on. Bettors who don’t think about those differences can make some costly mistakes that can impact their betting throughout the year. Here are five of the biggest mistakes that bettors making when betting the early part of the season in the PGA:
Assuming big name players will be at full strength – The PGA is very star driven. Most fans only care about the big names, and most bettors only bet on those guys, too. When a big name star is in the field he will draw a lot of betting attention -whether he deserves it or not in this circumstance. One of the biggest mistakes bettors make is letting the name and the reputation distract them from what the golfer is really capable of at that moment. Most top level players aren’t particularly worried about earning enough money to stay on tour, and the prize money isn’t their biggest income, so they don’t necessarily show up for a lot of early events, and they may not be playing at full effort and potential if they do. Those players are focused on being ready for the majors, and being in top form then so they have a chance to win is far more important than winning early in the year in most cases. Some top players will be at their peak level early on, but many won’t. You can’t just assume that they will be.
Ignoring new blood – When a golfer makes the PGA Tour for the first time, or when they return after a long absence, they are going to be very motivated to stay there. There are nerves and unfamiliarity, but these players are physically going to be in top form heading into the season – typically in much better physical form than a lot of established players will be. The important thing to remember is that you have to be an exceptionally good golfer just to make the PGA. That means that new talent – or younger talent that has been around for a while but has yet to establish itself – can easily be in position to be a big surprise early on. A lot of golf bettors totally ignore new players until they have made some noise and gotten some attention. There is plenty of value to be had before that point, though, if handicappers are willing to do the work required to find it.
Assuming banged up players will still be banged up – Injuries have a way of really lingering in the PGA, so if a golfer is banged up it can really affect his entire season. Smart bettors can see that and know not to trust those guys with their money. The offseason in the PGA is fairly long, though, and that provides plenty of opportunities for guys to rest and get the surgery and treatment they need to return to their potential. You can’t assume that a guy who struggled physically last season will do the same this year until you see him play and understand what his offseason was like. Quite often a golfer who was banged up last year but is healthy now will come back extremely strong early on out of relief for feeling better.
Investing too much too soon – The PGA season is very long. The more events that are played in a year the more we know about where players are at physically and mentally, how good their game is, what style of courses suit them, and what their motivation is likely to be. In most cases you will have a much better chance of making good bets and picking winners later in the season when you have more information then you will early on when plenty of assumptions and outright guesses are needed. You can’t capitalize on the good betting decisions later on, though, if you have ruined your bankroll in January. Bettors need to pace themselves and their bets and not get too aggressive too soon.
Betting without doing your homework – After a long offseason golf bettors are probably pretty excited to have the sport back in a meaningful way again. That excitement can lead people to jump right in and throw a bet on the first tournament right away. That’s a bad idea, though, if you haven’t first done the homework to shake off the rust from the break and get ready for the new season. What did you do well last season, and what didn’t work so well? What rules have changed, and what will that mean for golfers? What courses have changed? Has the schedule changed? What new players have joined Tour? Which players have changed coaches? Which Europeans are playing regularly in the U.S. this year? Without laying a proper foundation of knowledge before you start betting you are dooming yourself to bad bets and unsatisfying results.