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DFS Betting on Golf

The Basics


DFS or Daily Fantasy Sports is a salary-based game offered in the UK by DraftKings, FanTeam and Fan Duel (available to Paddy Power customers)  Similar to other Fantasy games such as Premier League Football, DFS requires punters to select players whilst keeping within a salary cap. UK customers can play into the US pools on DraftKings with deposits converted into US dollars.

DraftKing's Intro to DFS Golf

Winners are decided by points accrued by your selected players in a leaderboard format. Returns are divided according to a prize structure of the total entry fees (minus the DFS platforms commission)  DFS is a form of pool betting (players v players) instead of conventional betting (bookmaker v player) which introduces some interesting dynamics around game theory.

Given the far greater popularity of DFS in the US & Canada, Major and PGA Tour tournaments dominate the contests on DraftKings & Fan Duel. European Tour, LPGA, Champions Tour & LIV Tour contests are offered although the contests are a fraction of the size.  It's probably why Golf DFS is often referred to as simply PGA DFS.

Scoring System


DFS golf is offered as tournament-long (Classic) and single round (Showdown) formats. Both accrue points according to hole scores with Classic also counting tournament positions.  Other metrics such as birdie streaks (3-in-a-row) also count for both formats.  See below for DraftKings scoring system on Classic.

DraftKings DFS golf scoring

DFS classic scoring

Salary Format


As Draftkings is the most popular DFS site I’ll use examples from them but both Fan Duel and FanTeam use a similar salary/scoring system.

Draftkings use a $50,000 salary cap for both Classic and Showdown, with player salaries typically ranging from around $11,000 for favourites to a floor of $5,000 for the worst players.


Selecting players in Golf DFS is less complicated than other sports (especially team sports) as correlation* generally doesn’t apply (the one main exception to this in golf is morning/afternoon wave weather advantages)  Salaries tend to be fairly efficient so keeping close to the salary cap ($49,800-$50,000) is generally a good rule.

Salaries & line-up on DraftKings

a sample draftkings line-up

The salary pricing means line-up builds have to balance stronger versus weaker players to stay within the salary-cap.  Given the dynamic of the pricing and salary-cap, Golf DFS line-up builds generally fall between a top heavy structure (taking one or two expensive players (>$10,000)) and a more balanced structure (smaller range between the salaries starting with a cheaper player (<$10,000)) 


*Correlation is where one player’s performance influences another players.  One example in NFL would be a quarterback and a wide receiver, if the quarterback scores well, the chances of the wide receiver doing are greater.

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Contest selection


DFS contests broadly fall into Cash or GPP contests and the contest size/payouts should heavily influence the type of teams you play.


Cash contests

Cash contests normally mean x2, x3, x4, x5 & x10 returns with Double-Ups (x2) the most popular.  To win in a Double-Up requires finishing in about the top 44%* of the contest leaderboard.

*The commission for DFS sites either come from paying less places than the return (44% in a 50% double-up) or paying a smaller return (a 50:50 contest where have the field win, conversely returns would be around 44%.

Cash line-ups generally mean fitting the best six players into a line-up, which might be self-evident but for anything outside cash line-ups, this is a bad strategy. How you come to the best line-up can be done using judgement, the betting odds or using third-party websites such as Stokastic, Rotogrinders.

Golfers points will correlate close enough to finishing positions where betting odds can give you a fairly accurate idea of players projected points and therefore the best plays.  Which betting odds you choose to use can vary by your approach, outright odds, place odds and make-the-cut odds can all help.

GPP Contests

GPP’s are generally understood as top heavy tournaments where large prizes are paid to the top positions - even a very good team (better than the top 1%) may return a very modest amount.  It may be counterintuitive but avoiding popular choices (sometimes called chalk) is the key to winning GPP’s. In a pool system where only small fraction of line-ups win, the negative effect of playing too many chalk plays puts you at a massive disadvantage.

An example of a contest on DraftKings

Sample DraftKings contest

In GPP contests leverage heavily influences which players you need to play.  As with Cash contests, projected player points are important but projected ownership* becomes your main consideration.  In simple terms, leverage means the advantage gained from the difference of what a player’s ownership should be and what the ownership actually is.  The ‘should be’ factors include projected points, salary and line-up structure for a particular tournament.

*projected ownership is an estimate of how much each player in a tournament will be owned in the main tournaments. Third-party websites such as Stokastic provide these.

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DFS Golf tips

Cash games

One of the key factors in golf DFS is having players who make the cut.  Six or even five players making the cut will give you a very good chance in double-ups.  A missed cut player stops earning any points which is a huge disadvantage in DFS cash.  In cash you should have six solid players with a good chance of making the cut.  Even one riskier player can significantly reduce your chances of getting five or six cut-makers despite the temptation of putting in cheap players.


Play the easier contests

When initially playing DFS, take advantage of Beginner contests and sub $5 contests (which consistent DFS winners are excluded from)  As DFS is pool betting, it’s about how good you are relative to the players you’re against – taking out the best helps a lot.  For $5+ contests look at single entrys – erring towards the larger fields as those will have a smaller proportion of the best players.


Respect probability

Despite pay-outs normally going down to at least 20% of the field, in GPP’s where so much of the equity is concentrated at the top you shouldn’t be overcommitted to the big tournaments.  Playing a decent amount of cash with smaller GPP’s (100-500) is probably a sensible start to protect a modest bank.


Tools are available

There are a number of third-party DFS providers who provide points and ownership projections along with line-up builders which are especially helpful for the larger contests.  However they tend to be around £75 per month which for a lot of people starting out may not be worth the expense.  There are also a number of US podcasts and youtube videos available  "Theory of DFS" & "LOLz" are very useful (and entertaining) in giving you a handle on some of principles of DFS. Weekly Golf content from Pat Mayo, Rick Run Good along with free content from the likes of Stokastic & Rotogrinders are also well worth following.

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