3 Secrets to Winning Daily Fantasy Sports Golf Contests

When you think ‘fantasy sports,’ chances are your mind goes first to football, then to basketball, then maybe baseball and hockey if you’re big into the fantasy game.

For those who are looking for a little change from these more ‘typical’ fantasy sports, there is good news. FanDuel and DraftKings have introduced a number of fantasy contests featuring a sport that isn’t usually considered a ‘fantasy’ option: golf!

If you’re unfamiliar with how it works, you’ve come to the right place. In this article I’ll explain what you need to know before entering your first DFS golf contest.

1 – Learn the Scoring System

Most sports fans are familiar with how the scoring systems work when it comes to basketball and football. Of course the values of certain stats can change from contest-to-contest, but at the end of the day it’s all generally the same concept – points are awarded for stats.

In Golf, It Might Seem That There Aren’t as Many Metrics to Consider

Obviously, overall strokes, the number of birdies, pars, and bogeys, etc. seem like the logical option…and this is the case. Still, there are other considerations such as finishing position, along with less-common scoring results like double eagles (or better), that might require further explanation.

Below, I’ll lay out the basics of the scoring systems for DraftKings and FanDuel. Keep in mind that these may change, so it’s in your best interest to double check before entering a contest.

FanDuel

Standard scoring for FanDuel takes into account both individual-hole scoring and final finishing position. Additionally, there are ‘bonuses’ that can add points to your score.

Eagle (or better) = 7 points.
Birdie = 1 points.
Par = 5 points.
Bogey = -1 point.
Double bogey (or worse) = -3 points.
Bonus for consecutive holes in a row under par: 6 points.
Bonus for a ‘bounce back’ (hole under par after hole over par) = 3 points.
A round with 5 or more holes under par = 4 points.
A bogey-free round= 5 points.
Final finishing position = Okay, I won’t go throw all the options as there are 15 different possibilities. You’re looking at 30 points for 1st place, 1 point for the bottom 10 spots. Anything 7th or better will give you double digits.

DraftKings

Things are a little different on DraftKings, but generally very comparable. The scoring system is as follows:

Double eagle (or better) = 13 points.
Eagle = 8 points.
Birdie = 3 points.
Par = 5 points.
Bogey = -0.5 points.
Double bogey = –1 point.
Worse than double bogey = -1 point.
Bonus for streak of 3 birdies or better (max of 1 per round) = +3 points.
Bonus Bogey free round = +3 points.
All 4 rounds under 70 strokes = +5 points.
Hole-in-one = +5 points.
Again, I won’t go through the entire list of finishing positions. Like FanDuel, on DraftKings, first place is worth 30 points and things drop down incrementally.

Got all that?! The good news is you don’t have to commit it all to memory. That and it’s all pretty intuitive – the better your player does, the better your score will be…makes sense, right?

Finally, there are some contests which focus on ‘match play’ considerations rather than the traditional stroke play scoring style. I won’t get into all of that right now, but just remember to double check the scoring system before you enter a contest.

2 – Choose Between Individual Round or Full Tournament

Some DFS contests will take the entire weekend (not exactly daily fantasy). With that in mind, it’s important to consider whether or not this ‘individual round’ or ‘entire tournament’ should determine the golf team you assemble. Even PGA pros are susceptible to natural human factors like pressure when they’re in the running for the top spot.

I won’t go through it all here, but over the course of their careers some golf pros have shown that they perform best when they’re in the lead, while others perform better when they’re coming from behind. This can actually make a pretty significant difference in your strategy if you’re entering a single-round contest. Here’s why:

If you’re playing a single-round contest it might seem like you’d want to take golfers who are near the top of the leaderboard, but there’s tremendous value that can be found toward the bottom as well.

You never hear about a golfer who shoots a 63 if they started the day nowhere near the top, but it happens somewhat regularly. Simply, there’s something to be said about playing your best when the pressure is off.

Golf is unique from other sports in that anyone is capable of having a huge performance on any given round. In the NBA, for example, you know that the 7th man isn’t going to score 35 points with 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Sure, you can find examples of something like it happening here and there, but it is almost always headline news when it occurs. In golf, every player can have one amazing round just by the fact that they’ve made it to the PGA tour.

Before you lock in your squad, do some background research and see which players prefer which day of the weekend and see if that can guide you to making a more educated decision.

3 – Check the Vegas Odds

I can’t emphasize this enough: Vegas odds are undoubtedly your best resource when trying to figure out which players to choose. This is more applicable to golf than any other sport, in my opinion, as it is 100% individual.

While I think there’s still value in checking out the individual player prop bets for sports like football or basketball, at the end of the day there are an endless number of other factors that could impact the results. It’s much more of a guess by the sportsbooks than when it comes to an individual sport like golf where the only person who determines the outcome is the player himself.

If you’re debating between golfer A, B, and C for the final spot on your team (assuming they all have the same salary cap hit), consult any DFS sports betting platform you can find. Preferably, find a matchup bet that features both (or all three in some cases) of the players you’re considering. From there it should be fairly clear – whoever the sportsbook thinks is the ‘favorite’ is probably going to be your best bet, all other things being equal.

For those who choose to do the entire tournament weekend, the odds are even more obvious in terms of who the experts (read: the oddsmakers) think is going to perform the best over the course of the tournament.

You don’t have to do much of a deep dive, as the odds will be as straight up as it gets.

For Example:

If you’re looking to choose between Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau as your featured player and JT has odds of +250 to finish in the top three and Bryson has odds of +500 to finish in the top three, the sportsbooks are saying that Thomas has a much better chance to be the better performing player.

It’s often said in sports circles that Vegas is the only objective evaluator out there. This is because all they care about is getting it right so they can make money…no egos, rooting interests, or biases involved. This sentiment is hard to argue. For that reason, before you make any of your selections to your DFS golf roster, Vegas should be the first place you look to get an idea of who’s expected to perform.

Conclusion

If golf isn’t exciting enough on its own (different strokes for different folks…pun intended), the wide range of ways to gamble on the sport have made it interesting to more fans than ever before.

Aside from the traditional handicapping options presented at most sportsbooks – such as matchup bets, choosing the winner, etc. – daily fantasy sports is yet another great way to make money on the beautiful game. Believe me when I tell you that once you dive into the world of pro golf, there’s a good chance you’ll get hooked in a way you never expected.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …

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