Joe Whitaker of ValueBet bookmakers in Preston takes a look ahead to who will be favourites for The Open which gets under way on Thursday.
Whilst the US Masters tends to grab the golfing limelight amongst punters and fans, there is no doubting we all love The Open.
This year we head to Scotland’s east coast to Carnoustie, one of the courses on The Open rotation.
Known as ‘The Beast’ it last hosted in 2007 when Padraig Harrington won the first leg of his Open double, beating Sergio Garcia in a play-off.
Whilst the Americans hold all four of golfs majors currently, they haven’t won at Carnoustie since Tom Watson in 1975. A pointer to punters perhaps.
When betting on a huge field like this try not be swayed by the price so much. If you think a golfer has a good chance of playing well here, then back him each way and see how he goes during Thursday and Friday.
If he misses the cut you can always go in an again for some interest over the weekend and make a new selection.
The odds compilers themselves would agree they don’t always get such large and complex fields such as these, spot on. If there was any sport where it was vital to find some value, then golf would be it.
As a bookmaker I am more than happy to take bets on the favourites at the head of the market. That isn’t to say they never win of course though.
Dustin Johnson is the current favourite at 12/1 and whilst he must have a good chance on a lengthy course and slower greens here this weekend, he doesn’t appeal as being anywhere near value.
This also applies to his nearest rivals in the market, Justin Rose at 16/1 and Rickie Fowler at 18/1. Again, both clearly capable of winning around Carnoustie though the field really is quality packed.
Rory McIlory must always get a mention as when at his best he can be hard to peg back. The golfing pundits are saying his swing is in good order and the slower greens should help his up and down putting.
He is a top price 20/1 at ValueBet and he probably just about appeals as an each way bet, to finish in the top 7.
Southport born Tommy Fleetwood looks very interesting to me and at 22/1, he certainly looks capable of being involved come Sunday evening.
He holds the current course record at Carnoustie after shooting a 63 last October. This shows he knows his way around the famous course. He is also in decent form himself after coming second in this years US Open at Shinnecock Hills.
The last Englishman to win The Open was Nick Faldo at Muirfield in 1992, and with the quality that’s been around over the years since then, the stats would suggest we are due another one.
Another big hitter I like the look of is Spanish powerhouse Jon Rahm. He has done everything right apart from winning one of the big ones. He can certainly get round these tough links courses as well.
He won The Irish Open at Portstewart two years ago and finished 4th at Ballyliffin in County Donegal last week. He is also available at 22/1.
American Beau Hossler looks very much overpriced at 175/1. He has been competing over the weekends a lot lately, losing a play off to Ian Poulter in the Houston Open this year.
To think you can get odds of 35/1 for a place for him to finish in the top seven, it looks very good value to me.
Enjoy the action folks, Joe