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Why golf bettors should avoid three-way matchups

There’s never a better time to reconsider why you shouldn’t bet on three-way matchups in golf than in WGC-Dell Matchplay, which is all matchups.

Here are the two main ways to bet on golf head-to-head matches when you are betting on one golfer outperforming the other during the 18-hole round or the entire tournament:

  • Two golfers with a tie resulting in a push and your money refunded
  • Two golfers plus a tie as a long shot option

Two golfers are unlikely to complete 72 holes with exactly the same score.

But you shouldn’t bet on these three-way lines as they allow sportsbooks to take even more of your money.

How do they take more money? First, let’s go through implied probability.

All odds (in sports betting and otherwise) are really just the implied probabilities of all possible outcomes added together. A coin toss is 50 percent vs. 50 percent and adds up to 100 percent because there are only two outcomes.

Bubba Watson, left, speaks with Webb Simpson during the second round of the Dell Technologies Match Play on Thursday March 24, 2022.
Bubba Watson, left, speaks with Webb Simpson during the second round of the Dell Technologies Match Play on Thursday March 24, 2022.
AP

In sports betting, the implied probabilities always add up to more than 100 percent because the sports betting account truncates. Two NFL point spreads at -110 add up to about 104.76 percent – leaving sports betting keeping about 4.76 percent of all money wagered over the long term.

Here’s the trick – the more the sum of these probabilities is over 100 percent, the greater the advantage of the sports betting provider.

Take this matchup from Thursday’s 2022 WGC-Dell Matchplay. All lines are from Bet365. In two-way matchup with only the listed players, you get your money back if they draw. And sports betting has a share of 5.56 percent.

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Webb Simpson: -125 (55.56 percent)

Bubba Watson: +100 (50 percent) That adds up to 105.56 percent, meaning the sportsbook keeps an average of 5.56 percent of every dollar wagered.

Now let’s add up the probabilities with the tie that you wouldn’t get your money back if everything went smoothly.

The hold increases to 9.5 percent.

This is akin to setting every NFL spread at -120, which you would never do.


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Webb Simpson: +100 (50 percent)

Bubba Watson: +115 (46.51 percent)

Tie: +650 (13.33 percent)

That adds up to 109.84 percent, meaning the sportsbook keeps an average of 9.84 percent of every dollar wagered – almost 10 cents on the dollar! You don’t want to bet in these markets because it’s so hard to break the edge of sports betting.

By becoming a three-way market, sports betting eliminates the tie to get your money back, which doesn’t sound like a big deal but will cost you about $4.30 more for every $100 in the long run.

And I know what you’re thinking – if you can put Webb Simpson at +100 instead of -125, shouldn’t you?

No, because you want the option to get your money back if there’s a tie. Ties happen more often than you think.

At the 2022 Valspar Championship, 11 of the 68 listed round-for-round matches (according to Data Golf) ended in ties.

This is even more common in matchplay events due to the nature of the scoring system. Four of the first 38 matches of this year’s matchplay ended up front.

So if your sportsbook only has three-way golf head-to-head bets, find a new one. DraftKings and BetMGM both offer two-way golf matchups which are much better for bettors.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/25/why-golf-bettors-should-avoid-three-way-matchups/ Why golf bettors should avoid three-way matchups

JOE HERNANDEZ

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