Since PASPA was overturned in 2018, sports gambling in the United States has boomed. You can place a legal in-person and/or mobile sports bet in 35 of the 50 states, with the total sports betting handle exploding yearly.
But you’ve heard the statistics by now. If you read Action Network, you’re likely an avid sports gambler — one of the millions of individuals who has picked up the fun-and-exciting hobby over the past five years.
But maybe you’re tired of losing bets because college basketball players can’t hit their free throws. You love gambling and sports betting, but maybe you want something different.
So, you ever gamble on Mini Golf?
If you feel “heard” or “seen” by the above paragraphs, Pro League Network (PLN) is the organization for you.
PLN works to bring niche sports leagues into the ever-growing sports gambling space, providing these leagues with the resources needed to become wager-ready.
As PLN’s Jared Barrett says, PLN “works directly with the leagues to professionalize them in every sense.”
PLN owns, licenses and, in many cases, fully produces and distributes a portfolio of high-growth professional sports, such as CarJitsu, Slapfight and NXL Pro Paintball.
If you’re curious about what something like CarJitsu might look like, well, here you go …
These are all intriguing events, but also all niche. And that’s where sports betting comes in. Gambling can help bring some of these competitions to the forefront while bringing new revenue streams to the sport.
Enter the World Putting League: professional Mini Golf that you can bet on.
While the US Pro Mini Golf Association (USPMGA) has hosted professional mini-golf events for 27 years — including the sport’s versions of the US Open and Masters — the public has never been able to wager on the sport.
That is, until the league partnered with PLN to create and produce the World Putting League (WPL) — and the WPL’s inaugural event tees off Monday.
The two-day event will be the first-ever Mini Golf tournament live-streamed and licensed for wagering in the United States.
I’m serious, and so are the folks at the WPL. Mini Golf is being produced and made available to the betting public like an NFL or NBA game.
Professional Mini-Golf: When, Where, Who, How to Watch
The event will occur on Monday, Feb. 27 and Tuesday, Feb. 28., with tee times ranging from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday and 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The tournament is held at the Hawaiian Rumble in Myrtle Beach, S.C., touted as the world’s most competitive Mini Golf course. The course is reviewed by the USPMGA and approved for competition based on a checklist of supposed “professional aspects” of the course, including conditions like the slope of each hole and the angles of the rails.
The world’s top 26 putters will compete for cash prizes, alongside recognition as the world’s top putter. All 26 will play two rounds of stroke play on the first day, and the top eight golfers by lowest aggregate score will be sorted into a head-to-head traditional bracket tournament on the second day.
How to Stream
The event will be live-streamed at theworldputtingleague.com.
Emmy-award-winning PGA Tour broadcaster Brian Katrek will be providing commentary, taking time off from his 20-year golf broadcasting career to play-by-play some Mini Golf.
It’s worth mentioning that Katrek has competed in Mini Golf himself.
Katrek will be joined by Pro League Network’s on-air host Kaz Brown, who will provide sideline commentary and interviews with the top putters.
How to Bet Mini Golf: Players to Watch, Books, Markets
But let’s get into the meat of this article: How can you, an avid bettor, gamble on the first-ever Mini Golf tournament available for betting?
Lucky for you, BetFred will offer betting lines for the event. More state markets are may get live before the event but at the moment of writing BetFred has only posted in Colorado.
What markets are available for betting on the world’s first Mini Golf gambling event?
First, and like most golf events, you can bet on the outright winner.
If you’re looking to bet on the top players in the tournament, check out either Olivia Prokopova or Matt McCaslin.
The betting favorite to win WPL’s inaugural event, Prokopova started putting at 3 years old. She’s a Czech Republic native who now resides in Houston.
The current Jon Rahm of professional Mini Golf, Prokopova is coming off back-to-back Masters victories and has finished top-10 in the last 20 tournaments she’s entered.
Meanwhile, McCaslin is the runner-up favorite with a flair for the dramatic. He overcame an eight-stroke deficit to win the 2008 Sedona Arizona Tournament and has worked his way into the USPMGA Hall of Fame.
Here are the listed outright odds for the other top golfers and the rest of the field:
Otherwise, the most available market will likely be the totals markets.
You can wager on the over/under round score for any player you choose for both Round 1 and Round 2; most totals hover around 32 on a par-36 course.
It’s worth re-stating the last part. A par-36 course indicates all 18 holes are a par-2. So, logically, an average score of 32 would indicate most golfers would have, on average, four holes-in-one per round.
Therefore, sportsbooks are offering an intricate holes-in-one prop market.
First: You’ll be offered an over/under for the combined number of holes-in-one from the entire field over the first two rounds.
Second: You’ll be offered an over/under for the combined number of holes-in-one for individual players over the first two rounds.
Holes-in-One for All Players (Rounds 1 & 2)
A player I’d look at in this market is John Ventura.
Do you like a risk-taker? Are you the kind of fan to pull for Roy McAvoy in the final round of the U.S. Open?
Then you’re a John Ventura fan.
Nicknamed “Ace” Ventura, the 71-year-old throws caution to the wind pursuing holes-in-one. Unfortunately, his risky attitude leads to plenty of three-putts as well.
Ultimately, Ventura’s style works. He’s won five of the last seven Super Senior USPMGA events.
Funny enough, BetFred is offering a player prop on Ace, as his total holes-in-one line for the first two rounds is set at 8.5 (+140/-180).
Holes-in-One Per Player (Rounds 1 & 2)
Third: You’ll be offered an over/under for the combined number of holes-in-one on specific holes at the Hawaiian Rumble, including holes 1, 4, 10 and 17.
Holes-in-One for Specific Holes (Rounds 1 & 2)
There are some wild markets you’ll have betting options on for a Mini Golf tournament being live-streamed during the workday on a Monday and Tuesday. It’s different and interesting, and I fully encourage taking advantage of the fun.
However, we’re not here to encourage reckless gambling.
The WPL is a fully compliant league with complete integrity monitoring and has met every legal gaming commission requirement to be listed on a legal United States sportsbook.
That said, there is almost certainly no edge to be found in this market, and we do expect BetFred to limit these markets reasonably.
I encourage bettors to enjoy new and alternative markets, but I would encourage responsible gambling within those limits.