PGA Betting Guide to Specials and Props: The Open Championship

While recent winners at the Open have all been big names, plenty of longshots can find their way into contention. Diversify your betting card with alternative bets on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Earlier this week Brandon Gdula covered the outright betting options for the Open Championship. This space will cover every other bet you can make on FanDuel Sportsbook this week.

Whereas outright bets only pay out if the golfer wins the event, specials and props can keep bettors interested all the way through the end of the tournament. Golf is always a variant sport prone to unpredictability, but the Open Championship is a unique animal in and of itself. While the cream often rises to the top when it comes to hoisting the Claret Jug, plenty of off-the-wall names have popped up inside the top 5, top 10, and top 20 over the years. Finding values (or locks) on those bets is often the best way to diversify a betting card.

Let's dive into these and see what jumps off the page.

Finishing Position

In addition to wagering on the outright winners, we can also bet on golfers to finish Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, and Top 40. To identify who posts a strong value for one of these bets, it is helpful to establish a baseline against which we can compare the rest of the field. Given how wide the range of odds are, we create a baseline for the favorite, the longest reasonably realistic odds, and the median of the two.

Of the 156 golfers in the field, 47 are priced at 500/1 (+50000) or greater on FanDuel Sportsbook. These golfers have basically zero win equity, and almost a third of the field is extremely thin to even sniff a top 20. We can narrow our range to the top 109 golfers and call +45000 our cap. Finding the group of golfers in the median point between the favorites and the +45000 means looking at golfers who have about 54th-best odds to win, a group that is priced at around +17000.

Rory McIlroy is the favorite at +900. Jim Furyk as our median man at +17000 is totally justifiable given his form this season. And at the back of our range we find four golfers who have won on the PGA Tour over the last few months priced at +45000 for the Open: J.B. Holmes, Nate Lashley, Keith Mitchell, and Sung Kang. Lashley is the most recent champion so let's go with his odds as our long shot.

Taking these three golfers' outright odds and dividing them by their odds in each finishing position can give us their value quotient. Measuring other golfers against this value quotient will tell us if they are good values or bad relative to our baseline. We are looking for a quotient as close to 1.00 as possible.

GolferOutright OddsFinishing PositionOddsValue Quotient
Rory McIlroy+900Top 5+1950.22
Top 10-105-0.12
Top 20-230-0.26
Jim Furyk+17000Top 5+33000.19
Top 10+11000.06
Top 20+5000.03
Nate Lashley+45000Top 5+65000.13
Top 10+29000.06
Top 20+11000.02

Top 5

Brooks Koepka (+230) - At just a hair behind McIlroy at +1000 for the outright, +230 is long enough behind Rory to give Koepka the edge in value quotient at 0.23, the man who owns top-2 finishes in each of the last four majors certainly pops off the page. His major championship form extends even further, as he has finished inside the top 5 in 9 of his last 14 major championships, with plenty of other finishes just outside that threshold. Dude is a machine.

Patrick Cantlay (+600) - Cantlay is offered at +2300 to win, producing a value quotient of 0.26 for a top 5 finish at this price. He posted just such a finish at the PGA Championship earlier this year and was within one stroke of a T5 at the Masters.

Top 10

Koepka (+115) - He pops here for all the same reasons as above, though perhaps the smart money would be to take the longer odds at the top 5 since he finds himself in either first or second at all these majors anyway. McIlory is absurdly priced at -105 for a top 10 at a major, and the difference in value quotient between a +900 offered at -105 and +1000 offered at +115 is about four times greater than the difference between Koepka and Furyk.

Xander Schauffele (+240) - Xander has moved up to +2200 for the outright so is an easy call for top 10 at a value quotient of 0.109. Schauffele is a mini-Koepka without the trophies, as he's finished top 10 in four of the last six majors, including a T3 at the U.S. Open.

Graeme McDowell (+700) - The Portrush local is offered at +6500 to win, giving him a 0.108 value quotient for his top 10. His major form this year is encouraging compared to prior seasons, as he finished T29 at the PGA and T16 at the U.S. Open. It's hard to imagine he has the game to actually win but even contending would be a terrific story and a great result for the speculator looking down the board for top 10 equity.

Top 20

At the top of the board, Schauffele (+110 | 0.05) and Cantlay (+130 | 0.057) offer value here as well.

Louis Oosthuizen (+220) - Oosthuizen always plays his best golf at the majors, and the former Open champion came in seventh at the U.S. Open, his fourth top 20 in the last seven majors. At +4500 to win, he offers a value quotient of 0.049 for a top 20.

First Round Leader

Justin Thomas (+3700) - Thomas was inside the top 10 after Thursday in both 2016 and 2017. A couple more putts fall and he's at the top, and he is offered at a very fair price this week for the first round. His Open results have been lackluster, but the hot starts are noteworthy nonetheless.

Zach Johnson (+9500) - Johnson won the 2015 Open after a scorching Thursday 66 saw him just one back after the first round. In 2016, he was T4 after round one, and in 2018 he was T8 after one. He's been flirting with the first round lead consistently at the Open, and he comes in with confidence, having shot 66 in his Sunday round at the John Deere Classic.


Given the volume of talent in the pool of American and European players, there are better values on the board than picking one of those golfers to win their region at far shorter odds. Avoid those regions and focus on the riper opportunities in small groups.

Top South American Player

Emiliano Grillo (+110) - Grillo is a dog to the only other South American in the field, Joaquin Niemann, who is -140 in this category. Niemann has been hot of late, but the summer PGA events are a different beast than the Open Championship. Grillo has shown his chops overseas, with a T12 finish in the 2016 Open, whereas Niemann is making his Open debut and has just made cut at a major (he finished T71 at the 2018 PGA). If the weather looks kind to Grillo, this could be a huge opportunity.

Top Irish Player

McIlroy (-140) - McIlroy is -230 for a top 20 but only -140 to beat Shane Lowry, McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, and James Sugrue. That screams value and anyone digging deep enough into the card will circle this bet without a doubt.

Top South African Player

Erik Van Rooyen (+380) - Van Rooyen was 17th at the Open last year and has only improved since then, flashing with a T8 finish at Bethpage. Oosthuizen (+250) is tempting after taking the South African crown by a mile at the U.S. Open, but at almost 4/1, Van Rooyen is the better value.