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How To Make Money Betting On The PGA Tour



If you are looking to bet on players on the PGA Tour, consider the advice and strategy of my buddy Andy Bankuti.

Andy is a former thoroughbred horse racing trainer who has been wagering on PGA Tour players for some 20 years through online betting sites and told me he’s done quite well.

As a golfer he says he’s a 20 handicap. As a gambler, he says he’s a scratch golf handicapper.

“I do better on that than the NFL, much better, because the odds are better,” he said. “I put everything into consideration.

Last season, he sussed out South Africa’s Garrick Higgo (Titleist Pro V1x), who won the Palmetto Championship at Congaree at a juicy 45-1. Andy liked Higgo based on his success on the European Tour. Andy is an early riser, which he had to do training horses, so he regularly watches the European Tour.

He figured Higgo could win in the U.S. He took a flyer on him when the young South African debuted in America on the PGA Championship. Higgo tied for 64th in the PGA Championship. I was doing a fun pool and when Andy picked Higgo as one of his choices, I had to look up who he is and make sure it wasn’t a misspelling.

Andy stuck with Higgo next time out and cashed on him. Andy didn’t bet the farm, but at 35-1 he cashed well.

“I don’t bet a lot of dollars, $10 or $15 or whatever, it doesn’t matter,” Andy said. “There’s more value betting a longshot.”

Andy said the key to making money is gathering information, such as looking at players’ social media sites and podcasts of people who cover the PGA Tour.

“You get more information on a golf tournament than you do on any horse race,” he said. “The stuff out there about NFL games is not personal. You don’t know every player; you only know about the ones that are injured. In a football game you have to know about so many people. For golf you only have to know about the stats on that one person. In football, you have to know the stat about every person to see if they are stronger than the other team. In golf, it’s one guy looking to win one tournament.”

He also said to pay attention to the players’ previous performances and whether they play well on a particular type of grass because they are not the same on every course.

“It’s like handicapping a horse for a race,” he said. “It’s a lot of work.”

He said because the odds are fairly high in every tournament, you can hedge your bets by wagering on more than one player.

“If you do the math, the first 15 players don’t win every tournament,” he said. “It’s less than the rest and the odds go so high after the first 15. You have a chance to cash on a large ticket. I bet between three to six golfers each tournament, sometimes more.”

He also said unlike at the racetrack, if a huge amount of money is bet on a long shot it could dramatically lower the odds. He said that isn’t the case betting PGA Tour players. And he suggested searching for value by taking a player whose odds are higher than you think they should be.

“Even guys that are 350-1,” he said. “And the action is so fun to watch. Golf is great. A lot of people don’t think it’s exciting, but everything is more exciting when you bet on it. I don’t care what anyone says. When your heart is into it, it’s even more.”

Andy said if he sees a name player such as Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x) or Dustin Johnson (TaylorMade TP5x) and the odds are 8-1, he immediately pitches it from his consideration.

He also said to stay away from a player who is returning as the defending champion.

“He’s coming back as the champion and he has to spend more time making social appearances and interviews because that’s part of the game,” he said. “And usually the odds are so low you shouldn’t consider that. It’s just so tough to repeat as the defending champion. There’s pressure that you won it the year before.”

But it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. For instance, Brooks Koepka (Titleist Pro V1x) has won the U.S. Open back-to-back and the same with the PGA Championship, so you have to consider the player and his strategies going into a tournament. For example, Koepka places far more value on the majors than the other tournaments, which are like tuneups.

Andy said he’s done well betting on Patrick Reed (Titleist Pro V1).

“I rode him early and long,” he said. “He’s probably one of the most-hated golfers on the Tour, but he’s the most determined to be the best.”

He said it’s also good to play prop bets such as which golfers will lead after the first round but won’t factor at the end. Bu he’d much rather bet to win.

“If you picked a winner or said who’s going to win, that makes you think you know what you are doing and makes you feel proud,” he said. “There’s only one winner.”

He says pay attention this season to Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1), Scheffler hasn’t won so far on the PGA Tour, but was a member of Team USA in the last Ryder Cup.

“He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Andy said. “He’s my dark horse. I think he’s going to perform really well. I think he’s going to go on a run. He’s the guy I’m going to ride. I think he’s going to be huge. I thought last season he was getting more aggressive. I think he’s going to be a top-10 guy on the PGA Tour – by far. If there was a bet to be in the top-five, I’d bet on that for sure. If there was a prop for who’s going to be on top, I might bet him for that.”

I asked him about Viktor Hovland (Titleist Pro V1), my pick in a recent blog to make a major breakthrough this year winning a major.

“I think he’s fantastic, but he’s not a dark horse,” Andy said. “He’s like a 2-1 shot compared to a 10-1 shot like Scottie Scheffler. He’s expected to be there. There’s not even a question. Hovland is the guy that’s supposed to be the guy, whereas with Scott Scheffler I think his game is going to get better. His determination is going to make him better.”

He mentioned England’s Jack Senior (Titleist Pro V1x) as a European player to watch this season.

I also asked him why a good European player such as Tommy Fleetwood (TaylorMade TP5x) has struggled on the PGA Tour.

“There’s different grains and different grasses in Europe than the U.S.,” he said. “A lot of people don’t think about that. The other thing is the altitudes and your club selections end up being different. It’s like kicking a field goal in Denver compared to Miami. They are two different things. It’s not as easy to do it.”


Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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