Picture this: You bet on Rory McIlroy in this week’s PGA tour event to finish in the Top 3. He jumps out to a nice lead on Thursday, but then things start going south. After pedestrian rounds on Friday and Saturday, McIlroy has slid down the leaderboard. But come Sunday, he starts charging. A birdie on the last sees him sneak into a five-way tie for third place. Your bet wins!
Or did it? You’ll have to consult the dead heat rules of golf betting.
In short, dead heat rules refer to how a golf sportsbook pays out in the case of a tie. Technically, they can apply to any sport (so long as a tie was not offered as a betting option), but you're most likely to run into them while betting on golf tournaments.
What Are Dead Heat Rules in Golf?
Let’s look at the final scoreboard for that hypothetical golf tournament where you bet on McIlroy:
- 1. John Rahm -15
- 2. Colin Morikawa -14
- T3. Justin Thomas -13
- T3. Will Zalatoris -13
- T3. Rory McIlroy -13
- T3. Scottie Scheffler -13
- T3. Xander Schauffle -13
Nice leaderboard. But as you can see, there are technically five people who finished in third place. So what does this mean for your McIlroy bet?
Let’s say your Top 3 bet on McIlroy had odds of +300. That means that if you bet $100, you could expect to win $300 if McIlroy finished in the Top 3.
But, in the case of a tie, will you receive the full $300?
Dead heat rules mean that instead of your full bet paying out, your stake will be split based on how many players are tied. In this case, five people tied for one third-place spot. That means the bet now acts this way:
- Your stake of $100 is now split by ⅕. It is now as if you placed a wager of $20.
- $20 at +300 odds means a win of $60 for a total payment of $80.
- When your bet is paid, you’ll get $80 ($60 in winnings plus a $20 initial stake).
- Since your initial stake was actually $100, that means your bet lost $20.
Now, let’s look at the same example, but this time let’s pretend that Morikawa also finished at -13. Now there are six people tied for second place. In the betting market, the Dead heat rule would count this as six people tying for two Top 3 spots, so the math would be as follows:
- Your stake of $100 is split by 2/6 (the equivalent of ⅓). It is now as if you bet $33.33.
- $33.33 at +300 odds means you would win $99.99 for a total payment of $133.32.
- When your bet is paid, you’ll get $133.32 ($99.99 in winnings plus a $33.33 initial stake).
- Since your initial stake was actually $100, that means your bet won $33.32.
That being said, for wagering purposes, a tie typically results in you winning less or taking a slight loss in comparison to if your player didn’t tie for Top 3.
Dead Heat Rules in a 3-Ball Bet
Another type of golf bet is called a 3-Ball bet. So, what is a 3-ball bet in golf? In this type of bet, a sportsbook pits three golfers against each other. A hypothetical 3-Ball matchup in our earlier example might be:
- Rory McIlroy (+200)
- Xander Schauffle (+220)
- Patrick Cantlay (+250)
So what happens if you put your $100 on McIlroy in this situation? The good news is Patrick Cantlay wasn’t on our leaderboard, so McIlroy beat him. But McIlroy tied with Xander Schauffle, meaning dead heat rules apply:
- Your initial $100 is split in ½ because two people tied for the win. It is now as if you bet $50.
- If McIlroy had won outright, your bet of $100 would have won $200 for a total payment of $300.
- $50 at +200 wins $100 for a total payment of $150 ($100 in winnings plus a $50 stake). This is what you will be paid.
- Since your initial stake was actually $100, your bet wins $50.
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Dead Heat Odds Adjustments
While most books use dead heat rules in golf betting to cut your initial wager, a book will occasionally use them to cut the odds instead. So in our 3-Ball example, we cut McIlroy’s +200 odds in half. Now it’s as if McIlroy’s odds were +100.
Your $100 bet now wins $100 for a total payment of $200. That’s $50 more than if dead heat rules were used to cut the stake.
In most cases, cutting odds will be preferable to cutting stakes—but not always. Our first example with the five-way tie would still result in a $20 loss regardless of which method is used.
Again, while dead heat payouts are better than an outright loss, it’s still preferable to avoid the ties.
Play the Game at Tipico
In the case of a tie, dead heat rules are applied to golf outcomes to redistribute your initial stake or cut the odds.
With tournaments every week during the summer months, there are plenty of opportunities to win money betting on golf. And if you’re looking for the best golf betting action, look no further than Tipico. Use our online sportsbook to pick your golfer, start rooting for birdies, and transform golf Sundays into paydays.