The Fall Series is a unique part of the PGA schedule for bettors – one that gets almost no attention in the realm of the casual golf fan. These are the tournaments that stretch for a month or so after the FedEx Cup has concluded. While top level golfers are worried about things like the Ryder Cup, piling up all the appearance fees they can, or resting up for next season these tournaments are the domain of people who can’t relax because they are playing for their future. These are the players who are trying to earn their cards for another year, or are trying to solidify their careers and build momentum into the next season.
Betting on these events can be very different than betting on other tournaments. Here are five reasons why:
Big names aren’t there – There is simply no reason for the biggest names in the PGA to play in these golf tournaments. They are likely tired after playing in the playoffs, and they may have an international event – the Ryder Cup or President’s Cup – to get ready for. This is also the quietest time in their schedule all year, so this is when they can work with their sponsors to fulfill their obligations. They don’t need the money that comes with winning these tournaments because they have easily secured their spot on the PGA Tour next year, and they can make more not playing in the event than they could by winning it in most cases. The absence of the biggest names and best players means that the tournament is even more wide open than ever for other players to come through and shine.
Rookies are experienced – At the start of the year rookies on the PGA Tour are not easy to trust. They have to get used to the pressure of the Tour, the level of competition, and all of the unique demands on them. By this point in the season, though, rookies have played 20 or more PGA events and are no longer new to it. They are more comfortable, and less burdened by their rookie status. That means that from a betting perspective it is easier than ever to trust those rookies – especially when the top level competition isn’t around to play against. Whereas it could be tough to justify betting on a rookie in March unless he is exceptional it isn’t nearly as hard to imagine doing so in the fall.
Media attention is much less – By this time of year the appetite for golf is very low among the public. There is football, baseball playoffs, basketball and hockey to care about instead. The public will pay attention to things like the Ryder Cup, but for the most part the PGA Tour is way down the list of interesting events in the eyes of most people. With decreased media attention there is going to be decreased knowledge of what is going on at a tournament among the general public. That can have public and negative impacts. On one hand that means that the public isn’t likely to know which lesser known players are likely to be in strong form. On the other hand, though, the more intense the media coverage is the more likely the public will be drawn towards high profile players, and the better the chances that there will be a lot of value betting on lesser players. Without the help of the media it could be harder to find juicy value.
Betting volume is much, much less – The betting volumes drop off a cliff after the FedEx Cup ends. The public is focused on all of the different sports, and golf just doesn’t register. You can still bet on the events, but you’ll likely only be betting with serious golf bettors. The lack of attention means that the oddsmakers are going to put less effort into setting lines. That can potentially provide some nice opportunities. On the other hand, though, the public won’t be affecting lines as much with their clear biases, so value can be harder to find on some talented but lesser known players. Betting on events with significantly lower betting volumes isn’t necessarily bad, but it is definitely different.
Pressure is very high on borderline players – Golfers who are fighting for their lives are going to be very much on edge. Guys who haven’t yet won enough to secure their card next year will be desperate to do so. Golfers who have already secured provisional status will want to improve their fate. Players who are secure will be looking to win and secure a two year exemption. Golfers with little chance of surviving another year on the Tour are just looking to win as much as they possibly can before they have to return to lesser tours. Though the tournaments themselves aren’t important they will feel like major championships to most of the players. Some players thrive under that kind of pressure while others shrivel up. That unique type of pressure can provide some interesting opportunities for bettors who can effectively analyze the mindset of players.