The Open Championship Betting Guide
The Open Championship returns to Carnoustie for the first time since 2007 as the PGA Tour gets set for the season's third major championship.
The annual return to golf’s birthplace serves as a reminder to the games brightest stars that this sport was invented by sadists intent on torturing each other looking for a tiny white ball in gusting winds, sharp rain, and tall grass. Tour pros might find the wind at their backs as they approach a par 4 and be tempted to go for the green and try for eagle, while the group behind them may be forced to hit a line drive with a long iron just to keep their tee shot in play.
Finding betting value in these unpredictable conditions can prove difficult, but targeting well-rounded, consistent golfers at least controls for one set of variables.
Let's go through some tiers (sorted by PaddyPower's Win Odds), divided into plays and fades, identifying good values versus those who are overpriced given their current form and past history.
Keep in mind that betting lines can -- and will -- change in the days leading up to Thursday's opening round.
The Studs Tier (25/1 or shorter)
Play: Jon Rahm (20/1) - Rahm has three straight top-5s in Europe, including a win at the Open de Espana back in April. In his last 50 PGA Tour rounds, he is 10th in the field in strokes gained: ballstriking, 51st in strokes gained: around the green, and 24th in strokes gained putting, according to Fantasy National Golf Club. He is due for his major championship breakthrough, and his all-around game suits just about any course or condition.
Fade: Sergio Garcia (25/1) - Rahm's fellow Spaniard, Garcia has been better of late playing on the Euro Tour in preparation for the Open, but before that he had four missed cuts followed by a T70 in his five PGA Tour starts -- a stretch that included the Masters, THE PLAYERS, and the US Open. Even when he was running well in contention at the HNA Open de France, he faded with a 74 on Sunday. Despite good history at Carnoustie and an appealing Open Championship resume, his form is too spotty to trust at these odds.
The Best of the Rest Tier (30/1 - 50/1)
Play: Branden Grace (33/1) - Grace always bring his A-game to the majors, and he rode a Saturday 62 to a top-5 finish at last year’s Open. He is 15th in scrambling and 22nd in overall tee-to-green play this season on the European Tour. Those stats translate in his last 50 rounds on the PGA Tour as well, as he ranks 7th in strokes gained: around the green and 23rd in strokes gained: tee to green.
Fade: Phil Mickelson (50/1) - Something is up with Phil’s headspace right now. He started the season with an incredibly hot putter, but recently Lefty's impatience on the greens has cost him penalty strokes both on his scorecard and his reputation. He is just 59th in strokes gained: ballstriking in his last 50 rounds and has been worse in the more recent events (83rd in his last 24 rounds).
The Middle Tier (55/1 - 90/1)
Play: Rafa Cabrera Bello (80/1) - RCB gets it done with a well-balanced game. He is middle-of-the-pack getting from tee to green and in putting, but he is 26th in scoring average on the European Tour and 17th in total strokes gained in his last 50 rounds on the PGA Tour. His one key strength is scrambling, where he ranks seventh on the European Tour this season. A T4 at last year’s Open and top-5’s at the last two WGC events give Cabrera Bello a ton of confidence heading to Carnoustie.
Fade: Patrick Cantlay (80/1) - His stats look good (13th in both strokes gained: ballstriking and birdies or better gained), but he is making his European debut. The climate in Scotland is prone to wild swings in both temperature and precipitation, and the former phenom will have trouble finding his bearings in the wonky conditions he is sure to face at the Open.
The Long Shots Tier (100/1)
Play: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (100/1) - Aphibarnrat has four top-10’s on the European Tour this season and performed well in strong fields on US soil, finishing 15th at the US Open, T13 at the Memorial, and T30 at THE PLAYERS. He is another strong all-around player and he handles himself well, especially on par 4s (12th in par 4 scoring on the European Tour, 29th in strokes gained: par 4s in his last 24 PGA Tour rounds).
Fade: Webb Simpson (100/1) - At first glance, these odds look almost too good to be true for THE PLAYERS champion. But he has not found his way into contention at the Open Championship in years past. Despite making the cut in five of his six attempts, he has just one top-25 finish, a T16 back in 2011.
The Lloyd Christmas “So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance!” Tier (125/1 or longer)
Play: Stewart Cink (125/1) - A former winner at the Open Championship, Cink is one of the few golfers in the field to have played in the last iteration of this event at Carnoustie, and he sports solid recent form. Cink finished T6 last time he was here, and has finishes of 23-4-2 in his last three events. He is ranked 20th in strokes gained: ballstriking over his last 50 rounds, so both the long-term form and the recent success are there.
Fade: Everyone Else - Any play in this range is obviously thin, but particularly at the Open Championship there are so many obscure qualifiers and old timers who are former winners that it is impossible to pinpoint many viable plays. Save the shekels for another week and pass on this range.