For most golf tournaments during the PGA season you can bet on them for less than a week before the field tees off. In higher profile tournaments the time frame for betting can be a bit longer. There is no tournament higher profile or more popular among fans and bettors than the Masters. In response to that excitement sportsbooks allow bettors to bet on the tournament months before it starts. You can bet on the April tournament as the season is just getting started in January.
In most cases it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to bet on the tournament months in advance of when it starts. There is so much uncertainty in golf, and so much can change in a couple of weeks, never mind a couple of months. There are some situations, though, in which betting on the Masters as early as you possibly can could make some sense. Here’s a look at four of those potential situations:
When you expect an elite player to have a great year – The elite players are going to be at a reasonably low price as soon as the odds are posted for the event. If they have a very strong spring season, though, then those odds will be dramatically lower by the time the tournament rolls around. If the spring season is particularly strong for the golfer then the odds when they are first posted could be three or four times higher than they are at tournament time. In a case like that it would have been very worthwhile to have invested early on. It is important in this case, though, that you have a particularly strong reason to believe that the player is going to be in good form. It’s not good enough just to bet on the guy because he is a strong player who likes playing at Augusta National. You have to believe that he will be even better than people expect. Perhaps he has made a positive change in coach or caddy that you think will benefit him, or a swing change should show real dividends this year, or his health will be better than it has been.
When you are bullish on a young player – Most casual bettors do not pay attention to young players until they have made their name on the PGA Tour. If you do your homework with the young players, though, then you will have a good idea of which ones have the potential to be immediate contenders, and which ones are likely going to take some time to find their way and get comfortable. Young players that are likely going to be able to make the Masters field are likely to be posted at very high odds when the initial odds come out. If a player has a chance to be a contender in your eyes, though, then those dds are likely to fall significantly by the time the tournament comes around. getting in early could be attractive. It’s important to remember here that betting futures requires a long term outlook. That means that you shouldn’t judge a successful bet by whether or not it wins, but whether the value in the bet is significant – if the potential reward is far higher than the risk involved in the bet. By that measure getting in one young guys early on could be a really attractive way to find value. The same could also be said for guys who have been playing in Europe but decide to focus on American play. The betting public isn’t likely to know much about them unless they are elite golfers, so value could be easier to find in January than in April.
When you expect an established player to bounce back strong – If a golfer spends a lot of time in the PGA then there is a good chance that they will go through a period of struggle at some point in their career. Whether due to injury, a lack of motivation, swing or coach issues, or off-course troubles they won’t perform at the level that they should be capable of. Quite often a player is able to put that behind them and return to their regular form. The offseason is a good time for them to recharge and rediscover their game. If as a bettor you have a good reason to believe that the player could be poised to bounce back strong then there will be good value to be had before the public takes notice of the golfer and his invigorated play.
When the favorite is getting too much credit – At several times in the PGA there has been a dominant golfer that gets the large majority of the public attention and draws a majority of the betting action. Tiger Woods is an obvious example. Whenever a player like that is in a field he is going to draw a significant amount of the action – usually more than he should. That means that the odds on that player are likely to be lower than they really should be – at least in terms of value. Oddsmakers know that, and when such a situation exists they are likely to set the odds on that player quite low. Early bettors could send it even lower. When the odds on one player are too low then the odds on other elite players are likely to be set at a higher level than they otherwise would be – and higher than they probably should be. If you see a situation like that then it may make sense o take advantage of the added value on the players that are very likely to be in the mix at the Masters.