By way of illustration, consider tossing a fair coin. It has an equal 50% probability of landing head or tails. The fair price for each outcome is even money. Imagine just for a minute that someone will offer, say, 6/4 against tails. Suddenly, backing tails becomes a superb value bet, offering a return of 2 times the amount staked. This scenario is, of course, ridiculous, since the actual probability of each outcome is known.
Assessing the Players Chances
However, in golf betting, the real probability of any golfer winning is an unknown and both bookmakers odds compilers and golf punters can only make what is essentially an educated guess at the outcome of an event. Along with recent form, world rankings and various performance stats, odds compilers must attempt to predict the betting patterns of the general public and factor these into the odds they offer for each player. As of 30th May 2012, the first three in the world rankings are Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. The layers will expect to see money for these well-known names wherever they compete and they are likely to be repeatedly near the head of the market.
Balancing the Odds
In order to make a profit, a bookmaker will attempt to compile a “balanced” book by taking bets on most (ideally all) of the players in a tournament. The odds offered have an inbuilt profit margin, known as an “overround,” which will ensure that with a balanced book, the bookmaker will make money regardless of who wins. As betting on a tournament develops, the layer must adjust his / her prices dependent on the players being backed most strongly. The bookmaker will shorten the odds on these players, while offering longer prices on those that have attracted little or no money, attempting to lay such players and achieve a balanced ledger. A shrewd golf punter can take advantage of this odds-balancing process, which often throws up some value bets.
Golfers that suit Courses
Weighing up the odds on offer and assessing value bets is difficult, given the subjective nature of the process. However, there are several crucial factors to consider when assessing value. Many golf punters consider that a player`s recent performances are the key to winner-finding and while it is part of the story, there are other elements to consider. Often, golfers do well in specific tournaments or at specific courses, so previous tournament form is well worth a look when assessing value. Course characteristics are also important. Very long courses will suit those players who can hit the ball a fortnight, while shorter courses often suit those that chip and putt well. Golfing “maidens” usually represent poor value. These are players that have never won a tournament and have yet to demonstrate their ability to cope with the pressure of “holding it together” in the closing stages.