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Golf Betting “Win Only” vs “Each-Way”

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Nearly two weeks later than planned but here’s a second article regarding golf betting and the perils that go along with it!

I spend an awful lot of time thinking about how I can make my betting more efficient and more profitable. This usually revolves around thinking about staking plans and the like. Betting “each-way” vs “win only” falls under this category. Here, approved I will look at which is better when and why I believe this to be so.

WEEKLY BETTING PROCESS

You spend hours and hours studying an event; you whittle down your shortlist to a final group of 5; you have £50 to bet and you have £5 each way on all 5 of your selections. This is standard procedure for many golf punters around the globe. You will then sit back and hope one or two of your golfers can give you a good run for your money and hopefully pick up a result come the final hole on Sunday. For argument’s sake, click we’ll assume 4 fell by the wayside but you managed to find the winner with one of your picks. You should be happy right? I’d actually suggest the opposite. If you do find the winner you will be getting paid at odds that are worse than you backed the golfer at and the chances are, this payout price isn’t the value that you thought you were getting (check my original piece on finding value here http://sbbcolumns.co.uk/value-within-outright-winner-market-golf-betting/). In a sense, you have lost money.

HOW HAVE I LOST?!

We’ll use a numerical example (as usual) to better illustrate this point.

You back Ryan Moore each way at 50/1. When he wins, your return from your £5 each-way bet will be £322.50. You staked £10 to get this return and so your true odds were actually 31.25/1. This is a huge difference from the 50/1 that you thought you had! Referring back to my thoughts on value and you can see that this is something you must factor in when you decide on what prices you are willing to take.

The very obvious counterargument to this is that a 50/1 golfer isn’t very likely to win very often but he is priced accordingly! A 50/1 golfer will place an awful lot more than he will win. That’s fair and a place on Ryan Moore above would return £67.50. From your stake, this pays 5.75/1 and just about covers your weekly stake. This is a method that many employ. It is an attitude that says “a place every week will cover my stake and winners will definitely see me in big profit”. Not a completely wrong attitude to have and certainly very logical. This may seem I’m setting this up to sell the idea of each-way betting but I’m merely looking at opposition to my ideas. If you do believe a golfer will “place an awful lot more than he will win”, why are you staking as much money on the win part as you are on the place part? In an each-way bet, you have half your stake on the win and half your stake on the place.

Most punters will want the safety net that if your golfer does finish 2nd or 3rd that you get some sort of pay out though. This is entirely understandable and comes down to basic human nature. What can we do to tackle this?

PLACE ONLY BETTING

The way to get around this is to split up your stake with more on the place part and less on the win part of the bet. Bookmakers tend to offer this place only market but don’t seem to advertise it as openly as they do about offering an extra place for each way terms or the like – I wonder why! Usually the “place only” price will not be as good as the ¼ odds being offered about each way prices but it won’t be far off it. For example in one of last week’s tournaments, Jaco Van Zyl was 7/1 in the outright market but 11/8 in the place only. The each-way place would pay 7/4 so you can see that the price is a little shorter for place only. This is expected and should not be a worry for prospective punters. For people who do want the solace of knowing if their selection comes close but doesn’t win, I’d propose that you can bet 70% of your stake on the place and 30% on the win. This could even be altered depending on prices and how confident you are.

RYAN MOORE EXAMPLE

So from our previous example, we’d have £7 on the place and £3 on the win. The win price was 50/1 and we’ll imagine the place price would be 10/1.

Ryan Moore finishes 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th: Your return is £77

Ryan Moore wins: Your return is £77 + £153 = £230

If you remember from before, with our each-way bet, the returns would have been £67.50 and £322.50 respectively. A better return if he places but a worse return should he win. This is what you would think and since you believe there’s more chance of him placing than winning anyway, this isn’t such a bad thing. In the long term, if you do pick the winners, this will still not be the most profitable way to bet although I think it is better than each-way betting. I believe you have to factor in the chances of your selection placing vs the chances of him winning and as the price increases, this will go even further in favour of placing as opposed to winning.

While we’re tackling the “place only” market it’s imperative to note that bookmakers do pay out on ties for the final place. Unfortunately, if there are ties, the price will be further decreased as this results in the pay-out being divided dependent on the number of tied players. A very informative article, by Paul Williams (of GolfBettingSystem), written here helps explain this: http://www.golfbettingsystem.co.uk/reductions-for-ties-in-golf-betting.htm

There are nearly always ties in the top 4 or 5 places in golf tournaments and so you are nearly always going to be paid at a reduced rate if you’re picking players finishing in these positions.

HOW CAN WE BE MORE PROFITABLE?

Before I continue, I will put out a small disclaimer that my methods are not the only profitable way to bet and they may not work for everyone. I am merely suggesting a way to further improve your own betting and hopefully giving you some food for thought.

After that, what do I suggest? I think we should be betting “win only” in the outright winner market.

Right back at the top of this article, I hypothesised a £50 total stake split evenly over 5 golfers in each-way bets. This was £5 each-way on 5 golfers. For my £50 stake, betting win-only I can get £10 on each golfer or I can bet on 5 more selections at £5 each or I can change my staking plan and have more on golfers who offer more value. The most obvious benefit is you can back a larger number of selections for your stake. In fields of over 160 golfers, you may want to have 6 or more golfers hitting it for your money! Should one of these win, the inflated stake on the win only will result in a greater pay-out than you would have received before. We’ve already said that at big prices the golfers are going to be more likely to place than win and this is a drawback to this method. It will take a lot of mental fortitude to maintain your confidence and you can go on long losing runs with this method. You do not need many selections to win their tournaments through a golfing season however to see profit on the year. If you are happy that you can identify value correctly and you have a sound idea of your staking plan, you then just have to remain confident. This is easier said than done and you may end up backing 6, 7, 8 even 9 golfers who finish 2nd in consecutive weeks – this would be a great test of your gambling discipline. Of course, any serious punter knows discipline is a critical part of successful betting and this is highlighted here.

This method is highly profitable due to the prices involved in golf. You will regularly see golfers who are priced > 50/1 winning tournaments and as stated above, you do not need many of these winning selections through a season to turn a profit. My next article will be a short piece tackling staking plans and what to think about when looking at your own betting.

To conclude, therefore, what I am proposing is not going to suit everyone. A lot of people will be in complete opposition but I firmly believe it will produce the greatest results over an extended period of time. Remember though, you must be able to maintain confidence, control and discipline through inevitable losing runs! I have also discussed an alternative to each-way betting that I think is “better”. The place only market is slightly more effort on the bettor’s part but an extra 5 minutes won’t make too much difference! I am trying to get away from the thought process that suggests 50/1 outright price = 10/1 price for a place. If he places, the price is just under 6/1! This is the reason that I believe each-way betting to be less profitable than win-only.

About Author

An English scotsman studying mathematics. Love the golf, enjoy horse racing and I'm always looking for ways to get ahead of the bookmakers. I also write about the Formula One on here. Follow me on twitter @jk_mcd for a variety of opinions mostly centred on sports betting!

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