British Open: Top gambling picks and betting odds

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

British Open: Top gambling picks and betting odds

2019 British Open

British Open: Top gambling picks and betting odds

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PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Greetings, golf gambling enthusiasts. This week is like the Super Bowl of golf betting as the major season concludes with the 148th British Open at Royal Portrush.

Last year’s Supreme Court decision has removed much of the taboo vibes surrounding sports gambling stateside, but it’s still nowhere near as embraced as it is on this side of the pond.

Walking into a local sports book and placing a wager is as easy as buying a cup of coffee and just part of the culture over here. You want action, you got it. Now comes the tricky part – winning those bets.

We now know more about this golf course that hasn’t hosted a British Open since the 1950s, but we really have no idea how it’s going to hold up or what type of player it will favor.

What we can go on is recent British Open history, where it seems age and experience tends to benefit players more than any other major. That doesn’t mean we’re counting Xander Schauffele and Jon Rahm out. It’s just something to consider as we look through the matchups, 3-balls, prop bets and all other types of wagers offered in the streets of Northern Ireland.

BRITISH OPEN: Complete Betting Odds | TV

This is a bigger ballpark than most recent Open venues, but it seems the shorter hitters will still be able to get around just fine. There’s so many ways to attack these holes and impossible for now to say which one will work best throughout the week.

That’s unique in today’s game. Go to any PGA Tour stop and you might be surprised to see how often all three guys in a group hit the same club off a given tee, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. This week there should be plenty of holes where one guy hits driver, another hits 3-wood and the third goes with an iron.

In theory, that rewards the best thinkers in the field, the ones most comfortable with their games, guys who know when to lay back and when to really go for it. You can’t force the issue in these conditions, which is why we believe experience has been so crucial for recent Open champions like Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, etc.

We’re coming off a two-week break from this column – our last outing at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit saw us lose all three bets to the tune of -240 tokens. But most weeks this season have gone in our favor, leaving our bankroll at a robust +688 tokens.

Here are my top bets for the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush.

Tiger Woods +100 over Justin Rose

100 tokens

Risking 100 to win 100 on Woods. First, a few thoughts on Tiger now that we have the appropriate venue to share them. I’ve seen some pretty hot takes out there this week about his lack of desire after the Masters win, his health, his ability and/or hunger to ever win again. And I think it’s dumb. Of course the Masters victory took a lot out of him, as he’s admitted many times. Of course he can’t play as much as he used to or practice like the old days. But to question his desire and long-term outlook after all we’ve seen the past two years is insane. I know he’s unique in that anything less than a win is deemed a failure, and everyone is concerned that he hasn’t played since the U.S. Open. But he didn’t play very well at Pebble Beach and still finished T-21. What he’s done the past two years is remarkable, harder than anyone will ever know. He began 2018 with a newly-fused spine, no swing, no schedule, and no equipment specs. He played a ton by his standards last year, contended several times, won the Tour Championship, then scored another green jacket in April. While in his 40s. The hard part is over! He came back from the dead, proved to himself and everyone else that he could still do it. Now it’s just a matter of using the tools he already has to try and get back into a good spot on any given Sunday. And he’s been out here grinding all week at Royal Portrush, squeezing in 43 practice holes from Sunday-Tuesday. This health/desire/vague ‘something seems wrong’ commentary isn’t new – the same questions popped up ahead of the British Open and PGA Championship last year. He finished T-6, solo second and won the first major of 2019. It might not look pretty, but all this doubt just three months (!) after the Masters has me thinking Woods will surprise and rise to the occasion yet again this week. Oh, and by the way – all that talk about Tiger not playing since the U.S. Open? Justin Rose hasn’t played since then either. We’re backing Tiger this week.

Webb Simpson +100 over Matthew Fitzpatrick

100 tokens

Risking 100 to win 100 on Simpson. British Open history isn’t spectacular, but he was T-12 last year and has finished inside the top 40 four consecutive times. As for his recent form, he was T-5 at the Masters and hasn’t finished outside the top 30 in five starts since, including a runner-up in Canada and a T-16 at the U.S. Open. He’s also a guy who has that experience and awareness we discussed to manage his way around this links course. Fitzpatrick, 24, played well at the Scottish Open, but he’s missed the British Open cut twice in the past three years. We’re rolling with the veteran here.

Marc Leishman +210 over Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar (3-ball)

100 tokens

Risking 100 to win 210 on Leishman. We like the player, we like the price, and we like that one of the opponents is coming off a whirlwind month following his first major victory. Leishman has finished T-6 or better in three of the last five British Opens and has been playing well this summer since a missed cut at the PGA Championship. Seeing some good value on Leishman.

Patrick Cantlay top-5 finish (+600)

25 tokens

Risking 25 to win 150 on Cantlay. We picked him to win this whole thing believing him to be the most consistent player on Tour these days. Further explanation can be found here, but the bottom line is that he’s in great form throughout the bag right now and seems on the verge of a serious tear.

Hideki Matsuyama top-5 finish (+800)

25 tokens

Risking 25 to win 200 on Matsuyama. Putting isn’t as much of a concern this week, he’s a great ballstriker and in 18 starts this season he’s only finished worse than T-33 one time. He’s 113th in Strokes Gained putting, which tells you how well he’s playing tee-to-green.

Last week: -240

Season total: +688

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