The Open Championship is coming: An early look at British Open betting value

Jay Dieffenbach

The final major of the 2021 season, next week’s The Open Championship (informally known as the British Open) to be played at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England, is perhaps the most unpredictable.

Players participating mainly on the PGA Tour must navigate an unfamiliar course, an unfamiliar body-clock schedule and a full set of weather challenges – but those factors open up the betting opportunities.

With this British Open menu featuring 156 golfers — the top 50 from the Official World Golf Ranking, previous Open champions and other qualifiers – there are endless wagering delicacies available.

The tourney, canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, tees off on Thursday, July 15, and crowns its champion on Sunday, July 18.

Among those in top contention are the usual major suspects (with a rough consensus of British Open odds from this week):

  • Jon Rahm 9-1
  • Rory McIlroy 11-1
  • Dustin Johnson 12-1
  • Brooks Koepka 14-1
  • Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth 18-1
  • Bryson DeChambeau 20-1
  • Justin Thomas 22-1
  • Collin Morikawa 27-1
  • Tyrell Hatton and Victor Hovland 28-1
  • Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay 29-1

Defending champ from 2019 (the 2020 tournament, as mentioned, was canceled last year), Shane Lowry, is 33-1.

That’s the British Open news; let’s take a look at the weather

The biggest factor at Royal St. George’s is likely to be the wind.

Advice on how to account for handicapping this British Open ranges wildly, but here’s a paragraph from that centers on this major factor.

Ride the wind players: On these links courses, it can often pay to pick a player capable of playing with knock-down shots; that is, they can keep their ball flight low when required. It really is a completely different style to what you will see week to week on the US PGA Tour. That said, if the wind does not blow, the long bombers who hit the ball a mile in the air will be back in business. The courses are not usually overly long and can be there for the taking. It’s not uncommon to see the longer hitters playing their second shot to a par five with a short iron if conditions are favourable.

Given the various skill sets of these players, it’s not unreasonable to assume DeChambeau will be a great value – if you believe the winds will not become a problem.

The big boy loves the driver, and he’ll pick up strokes in a hurry if the weather cooperates.

As far as those familiar with the European courses such as the seaside U.K. tracks, Bernd Weisberger could be intriguing at 120-1. He won the 2019 Scottish Open (the 2020 edition was canceled) and is among the top 15 choices via FanDuel in this weekend’s renewal of that event.

With a likely scenario of windy days, those with premium talent in driving accuracy may be more worthy of your investment.

Accuracy table-topping Todd an appealing longshot option

Updated as of this week, here are some contenders who can handle the wind and figure to have the advantage if driving accuracy is paramount.

A live longshot (+12000, just like Wiesberger) is Brendon Todd, who is all by himself in first at 75 percent accuracy, tee-to-fairway.

Collin Morikawa, with an accuracy of almost 70 percent, ranks 11th on the list of hundreds.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4200 to win The Open Championship) is 15th.

Among other top contending names: Scottie Scheffler ranks No. 50, Patrick Reed is at 53; Rahm is 64th and Oosthuizen is No. 67.

All can handle the wind.

Finally, we can highlight a prognostication system that incorporates plenty of analytics.

From CBS Sports comes a breakdown of the tough-to-pin-down prospects for an interesting pair of potential value targets.

The site consulted its system’s likely outcomes and writes of DeChambeau:

A major champion and one of the top favorites, struggles mightily doesn't even crack the top 10. DeChambeau has been one of the hottest players on tour this season, finishing on top of the leaderboard at the 2020 U.S. Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The eight-time PGA Tour champion continues to crush the ball off the tee, averaging over 320 yards per drive, which ranks first on tour. DeChambeau's length off the tee also has him ranked in the top 15 in birdie average, scoring average and strokes gained tee-to-green.

However, DeChambeau is hitting fewer than 55 percent of fairways off the tee this season, which can cause plenty of trouble at a major championship. His inability to find the fairway off the tee has resulted in DeChambeau finishing outside the top 25 in five of his last seven starts.

Could former British Open champ Oosthuizen finally break his run of runner-up finishes?

Another quality option in terms of talent and value is Oosthuizen, about whom CBS said:

Another surprise: Louis Oosthuizen, a 28-1 long shot, makes a strong run at the title. He has a much better chance to win it all than his odds imply, so he's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open Championship, and while he hasn't topped the leaderboard in a major since, he's been a regular contender. He's recorded six runner-up finishes at majors throughout his career and has a total of nine top-10 finishes.

Oosthuizen has also finished in the top 10 in four of his last five tournaments this season, including back-to-back runner-ups at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. It's tough to find too many flaws in his game since he ranks fourth in scoring average (69.842), 12th in strokes gained around the green (.417) and 13th in scrambling (63.53). He's been his best, however, on the greens, where he ranks first in strokes gained putting (1.062) and total putting (40.4), making him a strong choice for 2021 Open Championship bets, according to the model.

After all the pre-tournament hype and predictions, perhaps the best player will emerge.

That guy is Rahm, who will play this weekend in the Scottish Open, preparing for the conditions to come.

His U.S. Open victory removed his name from the top of the “best to never win a major” list, and he is trending toward unbeatable. Maybe 9-1 will turn out to be an incredible bargain for the Spaniard.

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