What Is 3-Ball Betting in Golf?

What Is 3-Ball Betting in Golf?

Three-ball betting in golf is a wager that involves three golfers in a group. These bets typically occur in the early rounds of a golf tournament usually on Thursday or Friday before the cut is made.

This is when golfers will be grouped in trios on the course. Sportsbooks will set odds for a group of three golfers playing together.

Bettors wager on the golfer they believe will finish with the best score out of the three. Three-ball bets are great because even the favorite will usually be at plus-money. It is harder to beat two golfers as compared to one, which accounts for the favorable odds.

3-Ball Betting Example

The best way to understand the 3-ball bet is to simply look at an example.

Justin Thomas +110

Dustin Johnson +210

Patrick Cantlay +270

Thomas, Johnson, and Cantlay are playing Round 1 of a weekend tournament together. Thomas is the favorite at +100.

Sportsbooks like this method of 3-ball betting. They will not group golfers together that are not playing a round together. This way, they can’t get burned with variables like the weather or the course softening up throughout the day.

If you like Thomas to have the best scored in Round 1, a $100 bet pays out $100.

Dead Heat Rules

One important thing to note are the dead heat rules that exist at most sportsbooks in relation to 3-ball betting.

In a straight up 2-ball bet – one golfer versus another – if the two players tie, the bet becomes void. In a 3-ball bet, it’s different.

Using the example above, let’s say you bet $20 on Thomas but Thomas and Johnson tied. Most sportsbooks take half of your bet amount and then apply the same odds to the remainder of your bet.

In the example, you lose $10 and then apply the other $10 as a winner at +110. You win $11 ($10 bet plus $1 profit). Your $20 bet returned $21 as a result of the tie.

3-Ball Betting Tips

The best place to start when considering 3-ball bets is to find the right groups. You don’t need to find the best golfers. You only need to find the best golfer in a group of three.

Start with scoring averages in a given round. This is usually a pretty good indication of how well a player will perform in one of the opening rounds.

Remember, you are only betting on one round. How a golfer is doing overall is not as much of a concern as how well he has done in recent early rounds.

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