Interest in golf wagering has bettors going for the green

Bet on it: Allow handicapper Wes Reynolds to give you some Major suggestions

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Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler is awarded the Green Jacket by 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan during the Green Jacket Ceremony after he won the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS — At the start of last summer, the Westgate SuperBook made Scottie Scheffler a 60-to-1 shot to win the 2022 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

In the last week of January, that had been shaved to 40-1, so some had an inkling about the New Jersey native. Three weeks later, he beat Patrick Cantlay in a playoff to win the WM Phoenix Open.

Wes Reynolds, of the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN), had a sweet outright ticket on Scheffler to win in Phoenix, but he tends to back off a victorious player, for various reasons, in ensuing weeks.

He says, “I guess I’m too much of a love ’em and leave ’em guy.”

In March, Scheffler won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida, and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas. His Masters odds kept shortening.

On the roll of a lifetime, a few days before the Masters commenced on April 7, Scheffler’s Augusta odds had dipped to 15-1. And he won, beating Rory McIlroy by three strokes.

“And that’s where I kick my own ass,” says Reynolds. “I’m already late to the party, on the good number, but I don’t want to be late to the wake, either, so to speak.”

In any given tournament, the ace golf prognosticator has $100 on six to eight golfers to win outright. Even on Masters eve, though, a C-note on Scheffler would have netted $1,500 in profit, covering all of his outright action.

“You’re absolutely right, but you don’t want to make that a habit.”

In less than three months, the 25-year-old Scheffler has rocketed from nowhere to become the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world. Which leads to a bigger picture that Reynolds often conveys on VSiN’s many platforms.

“The motto I use for sports betting is, ‘Learn something new every day.’ I still learn something new every day. And I’ve been doing this a while, even making a living betting sports. I often say, ‘If you’re not learning, you’re losing.’ ”

WETTING THE FEET

After his noon-3 p.m. shift last Saturday in VSiN’s Circa studio, the 44-year-old Reynolds settled into a high chair and plopped his box of Marlboro smooth menthols onto a deli counter.

For a stint, sports betting did pay his bills in Indianapolis, his hometown.

“A tough racket,” he says. “When you’re purely betting, there’s wins and losses, you go down the ledger — and that’s it. A tough life.”

He holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Indiana University, and he’s halfway through a three-year contract with VSiN, where his versatility shines.

Several insiders regard him as a top-three golf handicapper.

Reynolds has hit four outright winners, including Scheffler in Phoenix, this year, and in-play triumphs have padded his lucrative 2022 golf portfolio.

He advises novices, who likely don’t -possess large bankrolls, to watch a lot of golf, take a stab at a matchup play or two, and pick three to five outright winners per tournament.

“That will get your feet wet,” he says. “In terms of winning Majors bets, it’s all about timing.”

Reynolds hopes “each-way” betting -options that are popular in the U.K. reach these shores some day. Software issues, he has been told.

Basically, a punter risks half a stake on someone to win, with the other half going toward a fractional return depending upon where that golfer finishes, usually among the top five.

Rex Beyers, PlayUp USA’s Head of Wagering who includes Gibraltar in his well-traveled odds-making journey, believes those glitches will be rectified and U.S. books will have each-way golf wagering within two years.

“Golf betting has gotten immensely and noticeably more popular since I was at Caesars a couple of years ago,” says Beyers. “The demand [for each-way golf wagers] should be there.”

MAJOR FORECASTS

Reynolds mixes course and player form — making cuts, top-five and top-10 finishes — with certain metrics, like strokes gained with irons and putting, to handicap a tournament.

It’s an arduous process within the 10 or so days preceding every tournament. So it might not be fair, but I tapped him for insights about the upcoming PGA Championship, U.S. Open and The Open at St. Andrews.

The PGA will be staged May 19-22 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which leads back to Scheffler. Reynolds knowsthe

world’s No. 1 calls Southern Hills his favorite track.

Reynolds sought the best price. Scheffler’s PGA odds have been shortened from 40-1 (in December) to 12-1 at the SuperBook. Reynolds also likes Justin Thomas (14-1), due to his strong iron game, and Will Zalitoris (30-1).

For the U.S. Open on June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, Reynolds likes “grinders, people who make a lot of pars and save a lot of pars, so Patrick Cantlay [at 18-1] is someone I’m looking at there.”

At the Open Championship on July 14-17 at St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, Reynolds favors Brooks Koepka (14-1), Ireland’s Shane Lowry (40-1) and England’s Tommy Fleetwood (60-1).

He also nabbed roughly 27-1 odds on Aussie Cameron Smith in each of the remaining three Majors.

Reynolds is bullish about long shots Robert MacIntyre and Erik Van Rooyen (both are 200-1 at the PGA and U.S. Open), the former being 60-1 at St. Andrews, the latter 150-1. He includes Fleetwood, who is 100-1 at the PGA and U.S. Open.

“If one of them hits a Major,” says Reynolds, “jackpot.”

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