The PGA season starts in early January each year. The betting public largely doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the sport until the Masters unless something big happens. That means that there are a lot of tournaments with comparatively little public attention that are prime spots for prepared bettors to make some real money. Here are seven questions for PGA bettors to ask to help handicap these early season tournaments effectively and take advantage of betting lines that can be the softest and most profitable of the whole year:
What big name players won’t be there? – A lot of top level golfers don’t start playing tournaments when the PGA season starts. They don’t need to worry about winning money, so they set up their own schedule so they are prepared and ready for the tournaments that really matter to them. The fewer big name players who are at a tournament the less betting interest there will be among the casual betting public. That could mean that it will be tougher to find value on some mid level players because the elite players in a field can draw a huge amount of money and inflate the lines for everyone else.
Who does the course favor? – This is of course an important factor in any PGA tournament. It’s especially important early in the year, though. Most golfers are going to be rusty because they haven’t played in a tournament of note for months. The more a player suits the course he is playing on, the easier it will be for him to shake off that rust and perform well because he’ll be comfortable and have plenty of ways to have his confidence built.
What players are coming off injuries or surgery? – The offseason is when golfers try to get healthy and ready for another long season. That means that a lot of guys who had nagging or more serious injuries last year will be healthier this year around. That means that they could perform at a higher level than they were last year when the issues were bothering them. The more you can learn about the health of people who have had issues the better off you are going to be.
What new players have joined the tour? – This could be either the rookies that have joined after winning Q school or performing well on lesser tours, or it could be guys coming over from Europe to try this tour instead. The betting public will largely ignore these new players unless they have a reason to be noticed. Many of the new golfers won’t be a factor, but some will. The more you can get to know about who they are, what they are capable of, what experience they have in big tournaments, and what current form they are in the better off you’ll be.
What second year players finished strong last year? – It can take a full rookie year to figure out what the Tour is all about and what it takes to win – or even just to be ready to play well consistently. Often times you’ll see a rookie who has looked out of place for much of the year start to find his form and figure things out down the stretch. Those players could be poised for big things this season. They won’t be intimidated, they know how to get ready, and their motivation could be at a higher level than ever before.
What veterans are ready for a breakout? – Quite often you’ll see a PGA veteran who has played at one level for years suddenly break through and perform at a much higher level. There are all sorts of reasons this could happen. They could be healthier, or they could have focused on getting fit. They could have changed coaches or caddies. They may have gone through changes in their personal lives. Quite often the top of the leaderboard in early tournaments is filled with guys like these – ones who come out of the gate firing on all cylinders, eager to make a big impact. Spending the time to identify potential breakout stars is very worthwhile early on for bettors.
Who has done well in the past early in the season? – Some golfers are at their best early in the season because they are able to get focused and ready right away and perform at a higher level than most players. By looking back at the early tournaments of the past several years PGA bettors may find a few names that pop up more than expected. If those golfers are in good form now then they could really be worth a look and a bet.