Profit streaks: Where the cash flowed on the PGA TOUR
5 Min Read
Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet
The money was out there. You just needed to know where to look.
With the 54-event PGA TOUR season now officially in the books, we can take a look back at the trends that could have – and maybe did – net sports bettors some tasty profits.
For instance, had you bet $100 a week on just the betting favorite, you could have turned your $5,400 outlay into $8,450. That’s a $3,050 profit.
That’s right. Only eight favorites won from the 54 events: Max Homa at the 2022 Fortinet Championship, Rory McIlroy at THE CJ CUP in South Carolina; Jon Rahm at The Sentry, Rahm at The American Express; Rahm at The Genesis Invitational; Rickie Fowler at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Tom Kim at the 2023 Shriners Children’s Open and Ludvig Åberg at the 2023 RSM Classic.
Ludvig Åberg’s winning highlights from The RSM Classic
But that’s still 14.8% of the time, and with odds for those favorites ranging from Rahm’s +600 at The American Express to Homa’s +1400 at the 2022 Fortinet Championship, bettors could have still turned a nice profit.
Homa and Kim – both defending champions who would back it up to win again – are part of another significant trend.
Of the 41 times players teed it up in defense of their titles this season, an incredible 22 of them finished inside the top 10, including three wins.
There was a profit to be had on banking on the returning champs to contend again, with the majority of those 22 occasions coming at plus-money odds.
In the First Round Leader stakes, we had 65 different players hold the lead or a share of it through 18 holes. Those to do it twice were Justin Lower, Will Gordon, Austin Smotherman, Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Corey Conners, Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, Seung-Yul Noh, Chesson Hadley and Denny McCarthy.
But two players managed the feat three times.
Aaron Rai was up top through 18 holes at the Farmer Insurance Open, RBC Heritage and RBC Canadian Open. Had you thrown just $10 on all 32 of his season starts for First Round Leader with BetMGM Sportsbook (all ties pay in full) your $320 would have turned into a $2,190 return for a profit of $1,870.
But the real money was with the other hot starter.
Collin Morikawa took the top spot at The Sentry and the recent ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at shortish odds of +2000 and +1800 respectively. But when you add it to his opening 61 at The TOUR Championship at +50000 odds, then you could’ve banked some big bucks. (He was starting nine shots behind the lead thanks to FedExCup Starting Strokes).
Collin Morikawa wins ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
At $10 a start for Morikawa in this market, you would’ve shelled out $240. But your return would have been $5,410 for a profit of $5,170.
And what about individual players in the place markets? Who are some of the consistent performers who, had you stuck loyal to in the prop bet markets, could have helped you clean up?
Scottie Scheffler may not have won the FedExCup, but at one point, he pulled off 18 top 20s in a row on the PGA TOUR. From the World Wide Technology Championship in 2022 until the Genesis Scottish Open in July 2023, Scheffler was a model of consistency, only breaking the run with a T23 at The Open Championship. In all, he only finished outside the top 20 three times.
Betting on him to win each week would have returned a nice profit of $700. But had you bet Scheffler for top-20 finish in every start you would have still been profitable at much less risk, albeit much shorter odds.
Perhaps, the sweet spot was when he also put together seven top 5s in a row, which included two majors.
Scottie Scheffler dominates to win THE PLAYERS
What about McIlroy? He closed the season with 10 straight top 10s, for a season that yielded 13 top 10s from 18 events. Interestingly McIlroy was a rocks-or-diamonds type player, with him either finishing inside the top 10 OR outside the top 25. But a consistent top-10 wager would have been a winner.
Rahm was a behemoth for the opening of the calendar year. He posted six top 10s to start his season, including three wins. Overall, he finished with 10 top 10s from 20 starts. Betting the win in all of them gave a $1,500 profit for a $100 bet each week.
Homa finished with a mini flourish. He had 13 top 10s from 25 starts on the season, 16 top 20s – and finished with five top 10s in a row to end his year. (He also then went overseas to win at the DP World Tour’s event Nedbank Golf Challenge). The top-20 market could well be Homa’s sweet spot.
Tyrrell Hatton didn’t win on TOUR but did collect 13 top 20s from 21 starts, including six in a row in the middle part of the year.
Then there was Xander Schauffele who failed to miss a cut in 23 starts. He cashed top-40 finishes in every single start short of a WD after the opening round of The Sentry but that event was sans a top-40 market anyway. A tidy 11 top 10s on the year could have been a source of return, including five in a row at one stage.
Season finale winner Åberg was one keen follower of the next wave of talent that could have certainly benefitted from. In his 13 starts, he cashed six top 20s and 10 top 40s, including his victory at The RSM Classic.
Fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Eric Cole had zero top 25s in his first 10 starts but then found his groove and posted six top 5s this season. Each of those cashed at healthy odds.
As you regroup ahead of the 2024 season, start thinking about where the consistency in performance lies – and it could put you on the way to long-term profit.
Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.