The Golf Insider is a golf betting expert who understands the industry literally inside and out. He’s been a golf oddsmaker and risk manager for some of the biggest bookmakers in the world. Since 2014 he has also been the man behind a highly successful golf picks service for a European client base.
He’s a still a relatively young man compared to some of the dinosaurs who dominate the betting landscape. His state-of-the-art approach to golf betting, and the methodology around the selection and placement of his bets, is second-to-none.
There are a few reasons behind the consistent success of these golf betting tips including:
Those first three reasons are very important but it’s his custom model that sets him apart from other golf bettors. It uses a complex set of inter-related algorithms to accurately predict the odds of every player in the field.
Golf is a fantastic sport to bet on especially if you enjoy the thrill of genuine winners-of-a-lifetime at +10000 and more.
Understanding how and why he bets, what he seeks out and what he disregards, the way in which he treats success and failure, and why, ultimately, he makes a tidy living at golf betting to match his 9-to-5 day job in the trading room. This is all part of realizing just how good he is at what he does, and why as someone who likes to bet on golf – or just likes winning – you need to get on this information.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your background, and what brought you to betting in the first place?
A: Betting happened quite by chance, really. You read stories about professional gamblers growing up in a betting environment, with a father or favorite uncle who liked a bet… but this wasn’t me.
I grew up in the South of England, went to a decent school, followed that by going straight to university. I got a degree, like all my friends did at the time, and could easily have gone into any sort of run-of-the-mill, regular profession after that.
For sure, sport was always an interest. Playing it, watching it… but betting wasn’t.
I guess I might have ended up in something like a bank, as I was always pretty good with numbers, and my degree was in this area… but, no, I can’t say betting was on the radar at the time.
This came along maybe 12 months afterwards, on the back of several failed interviews for all sorts of jobs, and a bit of temping…
Anyway, a mate of mine from university had a friend who worked for a leading bookmaker, and through him I got to hear about a job opportunity.
I started working for this particular firm back in 2002. I liked it… the type of work suited my interests. And I got to work on various desks, getting exposure to a number of different sports. It was good fun. As a young guy, who liked sport, with no family, it’s a great working environment to be in.
I moved from that firm a couple of years later, to another bookmaker… but there I found the career ladder led to a series of dead-ends (positions taken by guys who were going nowhere anytime soon), so I went to another firm, which also offered me the chance to work overseas.
I did that for a while, then came back to the UK, to work for a smaller firm, but at a higher grade. They subsequently got taken over. So I moved again, but because of my previous position I now got a more senior role.
So the process hasn’t been in one straight line, but it’s always been a step forwards, I think. And I’ve been lucky. I’ve not been out of work at any stage, and I’ve managed to join the right firm at pretty much the right time.
I’ve now been in the business for a number of years. It’s the only job I’ve ever done, full-time, and it’s what I do day-in, day-out.
Q: And why end up with golf betting tips? Why not horse racing or football or any other sport?
A: Well, my dad’s a big golfer, a single-figure handicapper, and I’ve played it from an early age, and always had an interest in watching it.
And then in work, it was the sport that I liked working on the best. It didn’t have the daily churn of racing, and it offered better value markets than, say, football. And other sports attracted so little money they just didn’t excite me at all.
Also golf was a sport that internally had much less competition. So there were less jobs going, which is why I’ve moved around a bit, but when open, there are less people capable of doing them well.
And then, when given the chance, I’d run good books on the tournaments that came up.
So gradually I got more and more settled in this area and now I wouldn’t leave for almost any other position. None that immediately springs to mind anyway.
Q: And your own personal betting, did this begin as soon as you started work?
A: No, not at first. I was a bit more circumspect than some of the guys I’ve worked with, who seemed hell-bent on losing their wages before they’d even earned them!
I guess this goes back to my familiarity with numbers. I understood from the outset about the importance of betting with your head and not your heart. And then you see the clients, how they bet, and you learn from them. Those that bet shrewdly, and patiently, and win. Those who bet with less control… or none at all!
And then the more senior I got, and as the industry moved on a bit, the more familiar I got with the quantitative side of things. Using models and algorithms… and once this started, and I could see the results, I began to bet more seriously myself. Small at first, but it’s grown ever since.
Q: So how much do you bet now on a tournament, or each week?
A: It all depends on what’s available value-wise and the strength of the market. I bet on a fair number of markets, not all of which we use on the Golf Insider subscription service [the reason for this is to control the volume of bets], so my outlay gets spread quite wide.
I know you’ve asked me before if I could stop work and bet full-time for a living just on golf. And the answer is yes. But I like the job, and working in the industry keeps me informed as to what’s going on. It keeps my brain sharp, and it definitely helps my betting.
Q: But you get your bets on OK?
A: I obviously have an inside working knowledge of the business so I use this to my benefit in getting bets on, and placing money through a number of outlets. But it is tough in the UK and Europe. Much harder than it was a few years ago.
You and I have spoken before about getting on, and you know some of the methods I use. They’re not very different to what any of the members could do – I bet with many different firms, through other channels, and other people. Yes, I can call in a few favors here and there – which also helps. But I just approach it more as part of my job, than maybe just a hobby… so I’m on it all the time.
My advice to backers would be to use as many outlets as they can, search out value on the exchanges and do be prepared to put in a little bit of leg-work, as it does pay off.
Q: And away from these golf betting tips do you bet on other sports?
A: Not that much. Obviously working where I do there’s information going around on a daily basis about some horse, or a football team, or a tennis player. And some of it’s good, but some of it’s wide of the mark.
And I’ve got mates on other desks who every now and again word me up about this and that. Usually racing, that’s where the bulk of the information is.
But I don’t really have the time to spend studying the other sports, so I stick to the serious betting on golf. It makes me the most money after all. And it’s that discipline which I’ve always tried to keep… it’s amazing how many clients you see clean up on one sport, and then give it all back on something else.
Q: That’s interesting, so from what you know, how would you rate betting on golf compared to other sports like horse racing, football or tennis?
A: Betting on golf, in my opinion, and from what I’ve learned from working in the industry, is definitely one of the more profitable sports to bet on for a number of reasons.
I mean, unlike sports such as football and tennis, golf odds significantly differ from bookmaker-to-bookmaker, especially early in the week before the market has properly formed. This means there is often huge value to be had on Tournament Winner bets and to some extent side markets like the Top 20’s.
When it comes to the Majors, bookies fall over themselves to offer the best prices. Not only are they offering enhanced prices, but the each-way terms are also increased to 7 or 8 places, sometimes 10! This gives punters a huge edge as the bookies are pretty much betting to a busted book… so bettors armed with a sensible staking plan, and good information, can take full advantage.
Another reason why winning money on golf is easier is the fact that most companies still only have one or two people who have to look after the whole golfing product.
This means compilers simply don’t have time to spend hours on each individual market and often price markets on-the-fly, without taking the greatest care and attention. I’ve seen this many times.
Football and tennis are harder to make money on because the prices on matches are so accurate due to the weight of money from syndicates and big Asian firms.
These prices will never differ significantly from firm-to-firm as all bookies follow the Asian lines. You may get on the right side of a football move once in a while, and beat the price, but in the long run I think you’ll definitely struggle to make any significant profit.
So like you asked before, the main problem golf punters face is getting their bets on.
Golf is still a fairly niche sport when it comes to betting, and most people who bet on it outside of the Majors tend to know their stuff, or at least are following the advice of someone who does!
Therefore some firms will flag you, or even close your account, after just a few bets if they think these bets to be shrewd or informed.
It’s a constant struggle to open new accounts and get bets on, however it’s one worth sticking with as the profits are there to be had.
Q: So in general terms, how clued-up do you think the bookies are when it comes to pricing up golf markets?
A: Like I mentioned earlier, most firms only have a small team of golf traders who are expected to cover a wide range of tournaments and markets so the pool of expertise is sometimes limited. Some firms have very knowledgeable golf traders, guys who I’d listen to myself, while others simply don’t.
I don’t know for sure, but I’m certain some firms wait for others to price up markets before getting the tracing paper out and copying prices.
The majority of odds compilers are well-informed because simply they have to be! When you’re in a team of two or even a one man band (like myself) you have to be good at what you do otherwise you’ll be picked off all the time.
However, even the best will make mistakes as there are so many markets to price up and so little time that mistakes get made. These aren’t by any means obvious mistakes but subtle ones that other shrewd punters latch onto.
Q: Which markets should bettors focus on in terms of value, and making money? And which ones should they avoid?
A: I believe all markets offer value if the information is right.
For example Tournament Winner betting is definitely best during the four Majors as prices and place terms are enhanced.
Top 20 golf betting tips are most effective when the event has less than the usual 150 runners. Firms often forget to slightly reduce the Top 20 prices to take this into account and therefore the value is often enhanced. Top 20 has become more and more popular over the last couple of years because there’s nothing worse than tipping up a 300/1 shot who finishes 13th. You’ve called it right in terms of this player having a good week but you’ve ended up losing money as you only bet him each way!
2/3-Balls are one of my favorite betting mediums and one of my most profitable. The value here is not on the marquee 3-Balls, but the lesser 3-Balls with some of the relatively unknown players. These 3-Balls rarely show on most of the odds comparison sites which is a huge advantage for people like me, as I don’t have to worry about prices disappearing.
The reason why the value is here is because compilers often don’t know these players well and price up the 3-Ball without much thinking or analysis
I also like betting 3-Balls in Round 2 once I can see how the players have all fared on Day 1. I’ll look at the stats which often gives a great indication how each player has played that day. Player A won his 3-Ball yet he only hit 55% Greens-In-Regulation, whereas Player B hit 80% Greens-In-Regulation but lost by 1 shot. This tells me that one player was in control of his golf ball and holed nothing, and the other was hitting it all over the place but holing every putt he looked at. Yet in Round 2 the bookies have Player A as the -150 favorite.
In this situation I’d be having a bet on Player B at +125 as I believe Player A will not be able to sustain his level on the greens etc.
I don’t like betting on 2/3 balls at the weekend because weekend golf, and especially Sundays, can do funny things to golfers so would advise swerving on these days.
Top Nationality and 72-hole match bets are also good betting markets if there are certain players you want to side with or get against.
Q: What tournaments are the best to bet on and why?
A: You could ask 10 people this question and they could all come up with different answers. This is purely a case of personal preference.
I prefer betting on events when all the players are from the same Tour so when it comes to running my golf model all the stats are equal and available on all the players. It helps when they have played the venue numerous times so there is plenty of course form.
Each event has its positives and negatives when it comes to betting its knowing what these are that will help when it comes to making a long term profit.
Q: So we’ve touched on the idea of value a couple of times, and I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s the only way to make a long-term profit as a bettor. What are your thoughts on the importance of getting the right price about your bets?
A: In terms of compiling a book, or making a bet… it’s everything. You have to know what are the right odds and what are the wrong odds.
OK, you might not get this right every single time, and I get picked off myself every now and again. But if you get it right the majority of the time then your chance of success, or edge as you call it, is hugely increased.
I know you’ve done some figures yourself about the Tournament Winner bets advised since the service started. And looking at the more than 1700 advised bets the average price is almost bang-on 80/1.
Now these odds would equate to an average finishing position of somewhere around the 46-49 mark (in a regular tournament field).
Well, the bets advised finish up, on average, placing inside the Top 40.
So what this means is that over a significant sample size and going back over a number of years, the bets are regularly beating the odds. And that’s value.
We all know every bet isn’t going to win… despite what some of my clients seem to think! But this is the value principle that my pricing up, and my betting, is based on. And it’s why I know I can beat the book when I’m betting for myself and for members.
Value is always bandied about as the key to betting successfully, and it really is.
Q: But the key is being able to determine what exactly this value is?
A: Of course. And that’s what my pricing model is all about. What my research helps me with, and the guys I know on tour, when they give me the odd bit of news too. What I’ve found in the years that I’ve been in the business is that value is becoming better to judge, not exactly easier, but more data means more accurate assessments can be made. Back when I started it was more old school, a bit less automated, but now a value book is operated on a much more consistent, and accurate, level.
Q: Which makes winning harder?
A: Sadly! But with hard work and the right information you can still win. And that’s what the figures show year on year.
Q: Thanks for your time today. Just to wrap things up, can you give one nugget of general advice for the average bettor to improve their betting… one of your “tricks of the trade”?
A: The main bit of advice I’d give to the average punter is to be patient, and don’t go chasing losses. With golf you have to play the long game as average Tournament Winner prices are in excess of 33/1.
So no-one is able to offer golf betting tips where you’re not going to back winners every week, or even every month… but I am very confident that by the end of the year you’ll be in profit if you stick to your staking plan.
Not chasing losses is easier said than done because even the most disciplined punters chase once in a while, but minimizing these impulse bets is crucial to a long-term profit.
When it comes to Tournament Winner bets for normal tour events the earlier you bet the more value there is to be had. Monday afternoon/evening is when it’s best to strike not Wednesday afternoon when the all the value has been hoovered up by the judges.
One bit of advice for going undetected is to bet later in the evening from about 8pm onwards as most golf compilers will have gone home and won’t be monitoring the ticker (the program that shows all the bets that are struck). This way you can slip under the radar.
Obviously they check all big winning bets so if you back a winner they’ll probably start to monitor you more closely but that’s just a fact of life. But stick at it and I can guarantee you that golf betting is one of the best ways to beat the bookies. And that’s me saying it!!
Great stuff. Thanks very much for your time today.