All to Play for: The British Open 2017

/
Betting Advice

The 2017 golf major season is in full swing. We’ve already had the Masters at Augusta in which Sergio Garcia went from being the nice guy who never finished first to clinching his first major win at the 74th attempt. Then it was the turn for the completely unexpected as Erin Hills hosted its first U.S. Open tournament, with its terrifying long rough and links-like layout. Again, it was was a new name on the trophy as 27 year old Floridian Brooks Koepka surprised everyone to win it – no least his good friend, training buddy and world pre-tournament favourite Dustin Johnson.

Now it is the time for the 2017 British Open. This year The Open Championship will be held at the links course of Royal Birkdale, the tenth time that the Merseyside venue will host the top golf championship on British soil. So, expect changeable weather and a changeable scoreboard over the course of four days as the top golfers battle it out for the chance to lift the Claret Jug.

So, where does the smart money lie this time around? Is there any smart money at all when it comes to betting on the overall winner? And if you don’t want to back a victor, what kind of other bets are available to place on the major golf championship?

golf-sunset-sport-golfer © pexels.com

What have we learnt from golf in 2017?

Anyone who follows golf will know that it’s not always as easy as backing the favourites. Anyone who plays golf will be able to tell you why. Consistency and good runs of form are so hard to come by when playing the game that you can be hitting the fairways, making the greens in regulation and sinking the birdies one week while you could be searching for your ball in ponds, tall grass and bunkers the next.

Believe it or not, the same things happens to the pros – although perhaps not to the same extreme degree. Just take this year’s first two major tournaments in which some major names failed to make the cut. In Augusta, Danny Willet failed to defend the green jacket after two poor first rounds along with big contenders such as Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood. OK, so a lot of those names could be considered as not-so-great-anymore – at least as far as ranking is concerned. But then came the U.S. Open where the world’s top three ranked players failed to make it into the last two days. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day were also joined by Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, John Rahm, Justin Rose, Alex Noren, Charl Schwartzel and Francesco Molinari, all of which are currently ranked in the top 20.

So, now more than ever, it seems as if the top players are failing to bring their A-game to the tournaments that really matter. And this appears to have the bookies in turmoil when it comes to laying the odds for the British Open in 2017.

Who’s Going to Call It?

It’s always a tough job to call the winner of a golf tournament before the first ball is hit. Let’s face it, a lot can go wrong (and right) over 72 holes of golf and it usually takes a round or two for punters to see who is hitting the ball sweetly and keeping their nerves on the greens.

It seems like calling the odds for the 2017 British Open is an even tougher job, and you can see this for yourself from having a quick glance at odds comparison websites like Oddschecker.com. As you’ll see, there are currently fourteen golfers with odds of 35/1 or better with eleven of those players can be found odds between 14/1 to and 20/1.

golf ball near hole © pexels.com

Suffice to say, the bookies are trying their best to spread their liability across as many players as possible to limit their losses should someone completely unexpected happen to win it. And by upping the odds on the favourites to more attractive levels, the bookies are doing their best to encourage bettors to place money in traditional names. So, you can find world no.1 Dustin Johnson at 14/1 for the British Open compared to the not-so-attractive 8/1 prior to the U.S. Open. Jordan Spieth, on the other hand, goes up from 14/1 for the U.S. Open to 16/1 for the British Open while Rory McIlroy goes up from 12/1 to 18/1. The biggest shift of all is Jason Day who was 16/1 before the last major and goes into the next one at 28/1.

Perhaps this is your chance to get a bet in on some top players while the bookies are reeling from the unexpected results of the past two majors. After all, the likes of Johnson, Spieth, McIlroy and Day are always going to come back into veins of form – it just has to come together for them at the right time.

Money Throughout the Field

It’s fair to say that the top of the odds list is populated by more than just those four players. In fact, punters will find plenty of other highly ranked golfers with relatively long odds such as world No. 2 Hideki Mastsuyama at 22/1. Other top golfers worth a punt include Justin Rose for 22/1, last year’s Open winner Henrik Stenson for 28/1, Alex Noren at 50/1, Matt Kuchar for 66/1, Charl Schwartzel at 80/1 and Daniel Berger at 125/1. All of those players are in the top 20 going into the tournament, so it’s not as if they are complete long shots when there are a total of 156 golfers teeing off on the first day of the competition.

And it’s not as if odds of 125/1 are that risky when you consider that there is a large proportion of the field at odds of 1,000/1 or higher. You might recognise some of the names down at the bottom of the pile with some past winners such as John Daly at 1,500/1, Darren Clarke and Mark O’Meara at 2,000/1 and Sandy Lyle at 2,500/1. All of those players are past Open Winners so they get customary invitation to the draw but it’s safe to say that they aren’t to the same standards of yesteryear.

Shorten the Odds with These Bets

It takes a special kind of soothsayer to call the eventual winner of a four day golf tournament, and this is why the odds tend to be quite generous for the top players in comparison to other sports. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t shorten the odds for some safer bets with a punt on players making the top 5 or top 10. For example, Dustin Johnson to win the tournament comes in at 14/1 to return a profit of £140 from a £10 bet but you can back him to get a top 5 Finish with odds of 11/4 to return a profit of £27.50 from the same wager. And if that’s still not in your comfort zone, you can get a £17.50 profit from a £10 stake in the top 10 finish market.

Other betting markets for the British Open worth thinking about include the Race Winning Margin in which bettors wager on how big they think the lead will be on the final scoreboard with odds of 5/2 for 1 shot, 3/1 for a playoff, 10/3 for 4 shots or more, 7/2 for 2 shots and 9/2 for 3 shots. And if you’re willing to put your money in the skill of the golfers, then you can place a bet on there to be a hole in one from any player in the entire tournament. The odds for this particular bet are almost on even par with 4/5 that there will be a hole in one and 10/11 that there won’t