Golf Betting Strategy #1 – Repeat Winner
How profitable is betting on last year’s winner of a tournament? Does it make sense to back a repeat winner and is it a winning golf betting strategy over time?
I’ve always said, despite no research on the subject, that it sometimes pays, in lieu of any other better alternative, to back the defending champion.
But does it really work?
And if it does what exactly was the return in each of the last three seasons on the PGA Tour?
Is it time to do that research?
I think so…
Golf Betting Strategy #1 – Betting on a Repeat Winner
Betting A Repeat Winner – Win Only
Let’s assume you have a weekly 10 point staking system (which is what our weekly free golf betting tips advises) and back the winner of last year’s tournament to repeat the feat at 10 points To Win only.
Did it make for a profitable betting strategy in the 2015 PGA Tour season (2014-15) season?
Yes, is the short answer. And this is why…
You keep to your staking strategy of 10 pts each week and diligently back the defending champion in each of the 47 events in the season.
By the end you have staked a total of 470 points.
There were three successful repeat winners in the 2015 season; Ryan Moore at the CIMB Classic, Jimmy Walker in the Sony Open and Matt Every repeating at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
When these wins are plotted against the rest of the season’s outlay you get a betting table that looks like this:
|CIMB Classic||Ryan Moore||30/1||+310|
|Sony Open||Jimmy Walker||16/1||+170|
|Arnold Palmer||Matt Every||60/1||+610|
However the following 2016 PGA Tour season (2015-16) wasn’t as good!
No repeat winners and a total of 460 points staked (and lost) might well be considered a depressing golf betting season for anyone.
But it depends whether you are in for the long-term profit or short-term gain.
It got much better in the 2017 PGA Tour season (2016-17), there were another three repeat winners, but this time one of them was huge!
Plot these in a table and it makes for much happier reading:
|Waste Management||Hideki Matsuyama||11/1||+120|
|FexEx St. Jude||Daniel Berger||25/1||+260|
|RBC Canadian Open||Jhonattan Vegas||100/1||+1010|
Combine the last three seasons together and it looks like this:
|2015 PGA Tour Season (2014-15)||+620|
|2016 PGA Tour Season (2015-16)||-460|
|2017 PGA Tour Season (2016-17)||+920|
So far in 2017-18 season Brendan Steele has already secured a repeat win at the Safeway Open at 33/1, meaning any further winner at odds of 14/1 will make the 2018 PGA Tour season another profitable one.
Check out the odds for the latest golf tournaments at NetBet Sport, because this really could be a winning golf betting strategy!
Remember, this isn’t always about 1st place. Betting on golf involves a lot of Each Way betting. Each Way bets are usually placed at 1/4 odds for places 1,2,3,4,5.
So we should ask the question ‘What happens to the above results if you backed your repeat winners 5 points Each Way?’
Betting A Repeat Winner – Each Way
Realistically you will consider backing the defending champions Each Way instead of To Win.
We’ve seen that betting on a repeat winner has produced significant profits over the course of the last three seasons. But does betting Each Way actually produce more or less profit?
In the 2015 PGA Tour Season (2014-15) in addition to the three repeat winners listed above, six defending champions put up a sterling defence of their titles to make the money places in the Top 5 – or at least a share of them!
|CIMB Classic||Ryan Moore||30/1||1st||+197.5|
|Shriners||Webb Simpson||20/1||T4 3:2*||+21.7|
|McGladrey||Chris Kirk||15/1||T4 4:2*||+14.4|
|Sony Open||Jimmy Walker||16/1||1st||+110|
|RBC Heritage||Matt Kuchar||20/1||5th||+30|
|Arnold Palmer||Matt Every||60/1||1st||+385|
|Memorial||Hideki Matsuyama||20/1||T5 3:1*||+13.3|
|Quicken Loans||Justin Rose||8/1||T4 6:2*||+8.3|
While there were no back-to-back winners in the 2016 PGA Tour season, there were six who went close (or just four different ones, depending on your viewpoint):
|SBS ToC||Patrick Reed||10/1||2nd||+17.5|
|The Masters||Jordan Spieth||9/1||T2||+16.3|
|Wells Fargo||Rory McIlroy||8/1||T4 4:2*||+10.0|
|US PGA||Jason Day||10/1||2nd||+17.5|
|Northern Trust||Jason Day||8/1||T4 3:2*||+11.7|
There was even less in the 2017 PGA Tour Season (2016-17), just Jordan Spieth going close at super-low odds:
|SBS ToC||Jordan Spieth||5/1||T3||+11.3|
|Waste Management||Hideki Matsuyama||11/1||1st||+78.8|
|FedEx St. Jude||Daniel Berger||25/1||1st||+166.3|
|Dean & Deluca||Jordan Spieth||12/1||T2||+20|
|RBS Canadian||Jhonattan Vegas||100/1||1st||+635|
Add up all these results together and what do we get?
|2015 PGA Tour Season (2014-15)||+440.2|
|2016 PGA Tour Season (2015-16)||-369.5|
|2017 PGA Tour Season (2016-17)||+441.4|
We get profits, that’s what!
What’s The Conclusion Of Betting On The Defending Champion To Win?
Key points to be taken from the research is that when a defending champion pops up to win again, it often smacks loudly in the faces of the bookies’ odds compilers – like lightning striking in the same place twice: see Matt Every’s double at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (60/1)and Jhonattan Vegas’s repeat-feat at the RBC Canadian Open at 100/1
- 2/3 seasons have produced a significant profit
- It’s better to bet To Win than Each Way
It looks like a winner doesn’t it? But be careful, while it’s clearly a very simple betting strategy to understand, and one that looks successful, this theory isn’t necessarily backed up by looking back further through the archives.
Here’s a quick peek into the previous seasons on Tour:
- The 2014 PGA Tour Season produced 0 repeat winners
- The 2013 PGA Tour Season produced 1 repeat winners
- The 2012 PGA Tour Season produced 0 repeat winners
- The 2011 PGA Tour Season produced 1 repeat winners
And then we get into Tiger (I’ll-play-these-courses-the-ones-I-like) Woods 2000’s territory of repeating winners at sh*t odds!
With the increasing frequency of rookie winners coming straight off the Web.com Tour, we could make the premise that it has become increasingly more difficult for Tour pros to go back-to-back and repeat their victories. But if anything the last three seasons (and this one already) have proved otherwise.
Your bottom line profit betting on this strategy depends on your ability to place a single repeating wager every week; do you go all out To Win; or play it safe Each Way?
Few golf bettors back the one-and-done method. Most have a wider selection policy.
What this golf betting strategy proves, is that it is nearly always worth adding into your selection a percentage of your weekly stake To Win on the defending champion.
*3:2 denotes three way tie for two paying places (dead heat rule applies)
For more information on golf betting strategies and more betting resources:
Golf Betting Strategies
PGA Tour Winning Odds Archive
How To Bet On Golf
The LetsTalkGolf Tipping Archive