Dead Heat Rules Betting in Golf: What It Is & How To Do It

Dead heat rules betting is common in golf as it kicks in when two or more players are tied for the same position. Usually, the sportsbooks divide your original stake by the number of players who tied, reducing your payout potential.

What is dead heat rules betting?

  1. A dead heat occurs when multiple golfers finish with the same score.
  2. Sportsbooks typically divide your original stake by the quantity of tied players.
  3. A dead heat reduction reduces your original odds in the event of a tie.
  4. Your payout is less in the event of a dead heat.

After reading our dead heat rules betting guide, you’ll know when dead heat rules apply and how to calculate your new payout. I will also outline when dead heat rules occur during a golf tournament and the types of solutions that apply to ties.

What Does Dead Heat Mean?

A dead heat means two or more golfers are tied for the same position. It is the most common in top finish, round leader, and group betting, where multiple players can end with the same total strokes.

Why Is It Called A Dead Heat?

A dead heat is allegedly derived from the early beginnings of horse racing, where races were run in heats. Whenever there was no clear victor in a heat, the officials would declare it “dead.” Thus, the term dead heat was born and has stuck with bookmakers and punters since.

Read More: What Is A Calcutta In Golf?

What Are Dead Heat Rules In Betting For Golf?


Sportsbooks commonly apply a money split or a dead heat reduction when ties occur in golf. The simplest solution is a money split or stake cut, while a dead heat reduction requires some calculations.

Money Split

Money split divides your original stake by the number of players who tied. For example, in the below bet, I have backed Tony Finau to finish the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic with the lowest score.

I have staked $10 at odds of +3000 or 30/1, which means I stand to earn a payout of $310. $300 profit, plus my original $10 stake. However, if Finau and Max Homa shoot -6 and lead after day 1, my stake is divided by 2.

The bet now changes. I only have a $5 stake in the bet at 30/1 odds, meaning I only receive $150 plus my original $5 stake. That makes my total payout $155 instead of the $310 I initially stood to earn.

Money Split Dead Heat Calculator

Original stake/number of players tied = New stake.
$10 / 2 = $5
$5 x +3000 = $150

Dead Heat Reduction

A dead heat reduction is a more complex setup, most common in top-finish bets where multiple players tie for the same position. Using the 2023 Travelers Championship results, we see Scheffler, Cantlay, and Reavie tied for 4th.

If I placed $100 on Scheffler to finish in the top 5 with +1200 odds, my potential payout would be $1,300, including my original $100 stake. However, since Scheffler tied with 2 other players, my odds are adjusted.

The first dilemma involves 3 players and only 2 spots. If the Sportsbook denied you the bet, it would be unfair, so they sharpen their pencils.

According to the dead heat rules DraftKings displays on their site, you divide the 3 players by the 2 remaining spots and receive new odds of 1.5. Then you convert your original odds to decimal form and divide them by your new odds.

In my case, Scheffler’s price of +1200 translates into 13.0. I divide 13.0 by 1.5 and am left with 8.67. Finally, I multiply 8.67 by the original stake of $100 and receive a total of $867. My new potential payout is $433 less because of the dead heat reduction.

Dead Heat Reduction Calculator

Here is the dead heat reduction formula to help you calculate your new odds or payout potential in the event of a tie. I will use the above example of Scottie Scheffler in the Travelers Championship to highlight how the math works.

(Tied participants) / (Positions Remaining) = New odds

3 (Scheffler, Cantlay, Reavie) / 2 (4th and 5th place) = 1.5 (New odds)

13.0 (Original decimal odds) / 1.5 (New odds) = 8.67

$100 (Original stake) * 8.76 = $867 (New potential payout)

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How Often Do Golf Betting Dead Heat Rules Apply?


Dead heats occur in golf frequently as players often post equal scores. However, a dead heat is only possible for top finish bets, round leader, and group bets, as the outright winner of a tournament is always decided by a playoff after the regulation 72 holes.

Top Finish

Dead Heat Reduction

A top finish bet means you pick one player to finish in the top 5, 10, 20, 30, or 40. Using the example of the 2024 Travelers Championship, we see 4 players tied for 9th position. In this scenario, the Sportsbook would likely apply the dead heat reduction formula and restructure your odds.

If I initially staked $10 in Min Woo Lee to finish in the top 10 with odds of +650, my potential payout would have been $65. However, since he tied with 3 other players, the Sportsbook conducts calculations and determines the new setup.

Top Finish Dead Heat Reduction Calculator
4 (Players Tied) / 2 (Remaining positions) = 2 (New odds)
7.5 (Original decimal odds) / 2 (New odds) = 3.75
$10 * 3.75 = $37.50 (New potential payout)

Money Split

Alternatively, a sportsbook may opt for the straightforward solution of splitting your money or adjusting your stake in the bet. The sportsbook takes your original stake and divides it by the number of players who tied.

For example, in the 2024 U.S. Open, Min Woo Lee, Tommy Fleetwood, and Ricky Fowler tied for 5th place. I initially took a $100 stake in Fowler to finish in the top 5 with +2200 odds, giving me a potential payout of $2300.

Since the trio tied, the bookies now adjust my stake in the bet by taking my initial stake and dividing it by 3. This reduces my new stake to $33.33 and leaves me a potential payout of $766,67

Top Finish Money Split Calculator
Original stake / Number of players tied
$100 / 3 = $33.33
$33.33 * 23 (Original decimal odds) = $$766.59 (New potential payout)

Round Leader

Dead heats are relatively common in round leader bets, as multiple players can post the same score over 18 holes. In my experience, most sportsbooks will apply a dead heat reduction depending on how many golfers tie for a position.

In the 2024 U.S. Open, Ricky Fowler and Xander Schauffele posted 62 in the first round to lead the tournament. I stake $100 in Schauffele at +3000 odds before he tees off, setting me up for a payout of $3,100. However, the sportsbooks halve my stake after Schauffele and Fowler tie for the day.

They divide my initial $100 wager by 2, the number of tied players, lowering my stake to $50. However, the odds remain the same, and now my potential winnings fall to $1,550.

Group Betting

Group betting involves backing one player to post a lower round or tournament score over a few opponents. The first two days of each tournament allow you to place 3-ball bets, where you pick one player in a 3-ball to shoot lower than their peers.

Alternatively, you can resort to 2-ball bets for the entire tournament or group match-ups, where golfers are randomly placed into groups of 6. You pick the player most likely to score lower than the others.

Dead heats can occur in group betting, and I have often found sportsbooks employing the money-split formula. This simply divides your initial stake by the number of tied players.

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What Happens In A Dead Heat In Golf?

Teaching, golf lesson and sports coach help man with swing, putter and stroke outdoor. Golfing, gre

When a dead heat occurs in golf, the sportsbook will adjust the terms of your original bet by applying the dead heat reduction or money-split formula. A dead heat reduction reduces your initial odds and subsequently your potential payout.

Sportsbooks also opt for the simpler money split option, which lowers the stake of your bet in the event of a tie. If you stake $100 in a golfer to finish in the top 5 and they tie with another player, the bookies may reduce your stake to $50.

How Do Payouts Work In A Dead Heat In Golf?

There are 2 predominant payout methods for a dead heat in golf, dead heat reduction and the money split. The dead heat reduction applies a formula that ultimately lowers your odds and payout potential.

Conversely, sportsbooks also opt for the money-split approach, reducing your initial stake in the bet. Bookies divide your original stake by the number of players tied to determine your new stake. For example, if you stake $100 and two players tie, your new stake is $50.

Read more: How To Bet on Golf

What Is A Dead Heat Reduction?

A dead heat reduction lowers your original odds by applying a simple formula. It is often used in top finish bets, where multiple players tie for 5th, 10th, or 20th. You take the number of players tied divided by the remaining positions.

For example, if the golfer you backed is one of 4 players tied for 9th, your remaining positions are 9th and 10th. Any place worse than 10th does not receive a payout. Therefore, the 4 golfers share the remaining top positions in the top 10.

Four divided by two gives you 2, your new decimal odds. Next, you divide your original decimal odds by the new decimal odds. Then, you multiply the result by your original stake to identify your new potential payout.

Top Finish Dead Heat Reduction Calculator
4 (Players Tied) / 2 (Remaining positions) = 2 (New odds)
7.5 (Original decimal odds) / 2 (New odds) = 3.75
$10 * 3.75 = $37.50 (New potential payout)

Read more: What is Each Way Betting in Golf?

What Other Sports Do Dead Heats Occur?

  • Horse racing
  • Motorsport racing
  • Greyhound racing
  • Soccer

Final Thoughts

Dead heat rules betting in golf revolves around two practices, which reduce your bet’s original stake or odds. The money split is a simple practice that sportsbooks employ to divide your original stake by the number of players tied, ultimately lowering your payout potential.

The dead heat reduction formula is another approach employed by sportsbooks, which reduces the odds of your bet. Either way, you will not enjoy the same payout potential or odds when your chosen golfer is embroiled in a dead heat. However, at least the bookmakers allow you to walk away with some cash in your pocket.

Although there are a wealth of sportsbooks to consider in the United States, I suggest looking at DraftKings first. The site is easy to understand, offers fair odds, and is highly respected and legitimate.

Read more: What is Golf 3-Way Betting?

Matt has played golf since he was 4 years old and has written over 150 articles at GolfSpan since 2021. Matt specializes in product reviews using his postgraduate degree in Sports Marketing from Johan Cruyff Institute. Matt has a handicap index of 10.8 and currently plays weekly at Pilar Golf Course near his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also loves his Callaway Odyssey Exo Rossie putter and likes a pepper steak pie with curry gravy at the turn. You can connect with him on LinkedIn

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