Home » ESPN’s Betting-Focused Golf Broadcast Mostly Hits The Mark

ESPN’s Betting-Focused Golf Broadcast Mostly Hits The Mark

ESPN debuted its betting-focused golf simulcast last week at the PGA Championship, and the broadcast offered a unique change of pace during a chaotic and entertaining tournament.

ESPN BET at the PGA Championship” aired on ESPN2 for two hours on both Thursday and Friday before sliding to ESPN+ during the weekend rounds.

While the show might not have been a favorite of experienced bettors, newer bettors could legitimately learn how to approach live-betting golf tournaments from the show’s experts.

Perhaps most impressively, the broadcasts found a healthy balance between sports betting insights and golf analysis. Betting analysts like “Stanford” Steve Coughlin and Anita Marks did well to share rationale for placing live and futures bets, while senior golf analyst Michael Collins’ presence ensured the show included sufficient and informative golf analysis.

Collins, who has once served as a professional golf caddy, added insights into everything from how bad weather impacted the course to how players can replace clubs that get damaged during rounds. His understanding of golf, which clearly paced the experts on the broadcast, guaranteed golf fans could be engaged during the broadcast.

Sports betting is meant to be a form of entertainment, and the broadcast leaned into being entertaining. The analysts never lacked energy, and it was an engaging watch even if a viewer wasn’t placing bets during the tournament.

On Friday, the broadcast did well to mention Scottie Scheffler’s arrest without making it the focal point when following his group. ESPN’s main broadcast coverage handled Scheffler’s situation in depth, and the betting broadcast offered a reprieve from that storyline. The experts did well to analyze his play, appreciating that viewers tuned into that specific broadcast for betting insights.

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Best in small doses

The two-hour broadcast window, while short, was the perfect amount of time for a betting-focused stream. At the end of two hours, the constant suggestion of live-betting options grew tiring.

For some bettors, especially newer bettors, watching a stream dedicated almost entirely to an array of live bets can be overwhelming. The two-hour window worked nicely.

Overall, the broadcast offered an entertaining alternative to the traditional broadcast. There were, however, some mistakes worth noting.

For example, a couple of the betting analysts raved Thursday about the potential value of Bryson DeChambeau as a first-round leader. The comments alluded to DeChambeau teeing off in the afternoon, but he had a morning tee time and was nearly halfway through his round at the time of the suggestion.

Backing Bryson in some capacity proved to be a decent suggestion, however, as the golfing showman fired a final-round 64 to finish one shot shy of champion Xander Schauffele. DeChambeau’s second-place finish ensured he cashed top-five, top-10, and top-20 bets, among others.

Responsible gambling angle

Additionally, and understandably, there were a bunch of suggested bets during the broadcasts that lost. At one point Thursday, it was suggested to take every golfer in Tiger Woods’ group to make bogey on the second hole. Every golfer made par.

Also on Thursday, Marks recommended taking Woods to make par on a medium-length par 3 (-310 odds for a par), but the all-time great fired an iron shot close and made birdie to cash a +1000 bet instead.

While experts suggesting losing bets during the broadcast is to be expected, the analysts didn’t share much guidance about bankroll management or betting strategy during the Thursday and Friday rounds.

It would’ve been beneficial for newer bettors to receive guidance about how to play responsibly, especially with so many live bets suggested on the broadcast.

If a newer bettor hopped on the broadcast and wanted to tail the experts, it would’ve been easy to burn through multiple units in a very short period of time.

Future broadcasts could benefit from increased transparency surrounding the recommended bets. Tracking the units won and lost by each expert during each round would offer bettors an improved understanding of the potential money won and lost during the broadcast.

Overall, the broadcast served as a building block for future ESPN golf coverage. It provided a different view of the tournament, and while the special broadcast could use increased transparency and responsible gambling discussion, it gave bettors a refuge from traditional golf coverage.