Golf bettors are tuning up for the third major tournament of the PGA Tour season, The British Open Championship, which calls Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland home this week.
We talked with Aron Black of UK sportsbook Bet365.com, about the betting action on not only outright winner odds but also the various props and specials available for the British Open.
Tiger Woods heads into the Open Championship as the betting favorite, as he does with most major tournaments. Woods opened at +700 and has been moved to +900, nursing an elbow injury and riding a major drought since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.
“In his prime, he was regularly around +300 to +350 to win the British Open, so 9-to-1 will look like a great price for some,” says Black, who told Covers the tempting price tag and Top-7 Each Way odds has more money on Tiger than normal.
Phil Mickelson is also drawing his share of the money. Mickelson won the Scottish Open last week and watched his odds bounce from as high as 25-to-1 to as low as 15-to-1. Bet365.com is currently deal Mickelson at +1,800.
“Always a popular bet for any major, and given the course conditions and forecast of a lot of sunshine, Phil is the most popular bet for the outright win,” says Black.
Other players drawing notable action is U.S. Open champ Justin Rose (+1,800), Jason Day (+3,300), and defending champion Ernie Els, who also won the last Open Championship at Muirfield in 2002.
“Defending champs are usually popular bets and when they are players with quality and experience like Els, it’s no surprise he is a popular bet,” says Black.
One favorite not drawing as expected is Rory McIlroy, who was as high as +800 in the early Open Championship odds. Not only is McIlroy not bringing in outright winner money at +2,800 but bettors don’t even expect him to place among the Top 7 in the Each Way market.
“He hasn’t shown much this year and obviously there is a lot of talk as to whether the reasons are the new clubs or his high-profile relationship with Caroline Wozniacki,” says Black. “But this might be the stage to fix that after recent testing at Nike’s London base with his driver, which according to him went very well.”
Popular long shots
The last 19 major tournaments have been won by 18 different golfers, which means there could be plenty of value with some lesser-name talents this week.
According to Black, Branden Grace (+6,600) is winning over long-shot bettors after finishing second to Mickelson at the Scottish Open last weekend.
“He’s one of the up-and-coming European Golfers,” Black says of Grace. “Given his performance last week, it’s no surprise to see him getting support, but he’s got a lot of quality and experience players ahead of him in the book to contend with.”
Nicolas Colsaerts (+6,600 to +6,000), Bill Haas (+8,500) and Martin Laird (+10,000) are other long shots drawing some surprise action.
“(Laird) has a win under his belt at the Texas Open, and obviously has more familiarity with the likes of Muirfield than most, being from Scotland,” says Black. “Add to that his overall experience with links courses. He had a strong joint fifth finish last week at the Scottish Open, being tipped by golf tipsters over here for a place finish.”
Props and matchups
As mentioned above, golf bettors aren’t too high on McIlroy (-110) and are playing against him in his matchup with Lee Westwood (-110). Mickelson (-125) is getting the lion’s share of the love in his head-to-head odds with Ernie Els (+105).
“The money in this matchup is all about the ‘Thrill’,” says Black. “We haven’t seen much support for Els. Most think that even though he’s the defending champ, he’s not going to finish ahead of Phil according to the punters.”
The prop for “Winner from...”, which allows bettors to pick where the Open Championship winner calls home, is attracting solid action (Europe +120, USA +150, Rest of World +300). Most years, Europe draws the bulk of the money for the British Open. But the nice weather in the forecast has more action siding with an American winner.
“A lot of tipsters over here are making noises about the U.S. golfers being the ones to back, so it’s not a surprise to see that a lot of punters taking the U.S. golfers as a group,” says Black.
The Hole-In-One prop is another popular play, with Muirfield presenting a shorter track than most major venues. “Yes” there will be a Hole-In-One is currently set at +110 and taking more than “No” which is priced at -138.