Before each major championship, much of the gambling conversation revolves around the favorites, this year especially. With a new venue in Royal Portrush that most of the field is figuring out on the fly, it should favor whoever is playing the best golf at the moment. That would lead one to believe one of the top-ranked players in the world is going to get it done at the Open Championship, so betting on one of the six or seven favorites might be the best play at Portrush.
With that in mind, we tried to find a few other bets that will make the week's proceedings a bit more interesting, because just betting on outright winners doesn't cut it for our fellow degenerates out there. In our first installment of "Value Bets" for the U.S. Open, let's just say we didn't bat 1.000 (shoutout Viktor Hovland for making the cut). But the value game is all about betting small and winning big, so you may only need one or two of these to hit to have a good week. Hopefully, a handful come from our eight favorite value bets for the 148th Open Championship. Good vibes only, folks.
Bryson DeChambeau to win +4500 (FanDuel)
Of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, nine of them are 30/1 or better to win the Open Championship. The only one not in that group is DeChambeau, who is ranked sixth in the world. What are we missing here?
We feel the Mad Scientist is mispriced at 45/1. He’s been hot of late and seems poised for a breakthrough in a major. Something clicked on Sunday at the Memorial for Bryson, when he shot a final-round 66 to tie for 22nd, then finished T-35 at the U.S. Open, T-8 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and one shot out of a playoff at the 3M Open. The only explanation for such a high number is his limited history in the Open (MC in 2017, T-51 in 2018), and maybe the fact that DeChambeau is well known for his, um, "process," and could overdo it at a place as mentally demanding as Royal Portrush.
But it's a new venue for everyone else too, so he has just as good of a chance as his top-ranked counterparts. Love him at this number. Once he eventually wins one of these, you’ll never get him at 45/1 to win a major again. — Christopher Powers
Adam Hadwin to win +30000 (FanDuel)
Much like DeChambeau, we feel the Canadian is mispriced here: He has gained more than 10 strokes on the field in two of his past three starts, which include a fourth- and sixth-place finish. Hadwin ranks inside the top 20 in strokes gained/off-the-tee in this field—impressive given the strength of the Open field. At such a high number, he’s worth a dabble in this range of players who are below his caliber and not on form. — Stephen Hennessey
Haotong Li, Top Asian finisher +700 (DraftKings)
No disrespect to Kiradech Aphibarnrat or Si Woo Kim, but this feels like a matchup bet between Hideki Matsuyama and Haotong Li, and nowhere on the planet will you get a Matsuyama vs. Li matchup with Li at +700. So it feels like a no-brainer to grab Li here and hope he just beats Hideki while Kim, Barn Rat, Sungjae Im and others falter. Li famously carded a final-round 63 just two years ago to finish in solo third in the Open, and he's flashed in other majors before. Yes, Matsuyama has been trending nicely, but again, with a new venue that nobody has ever seen before, matchups like Li vs. Matsuyama are toss ups. I’ll take +700 in a “toss up” all day. — CP
Matt Wallace to finish Top 10 +400 (Bovada)
The Englishman is trending up in the majors in a big way, without enough data yet for oddsmakers to adjust. In the past two majors, only four other players (Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott) have finished in the top 12 like Wallace has. Wallace is ranked inside the top 25 in the world, and provides great value for a top 10 at nearly 5-to-1 odds, and great upside at his price. — SH
Andrew (Beef) Johnston to finish Top 20 +1000 (FanDuel)
It was so good to see Beef back on Sunday at the Scottish Open, not only playing well, but appearing happy again. After revealing he was struggling with his mental health just a few weeks ago, things are looking up for Johnston, who earned his Portrush invite via a final-round 62 at The Renaissance Club. I think the good vibes carry over into this week at Portrush, where Johnston opened with a 69 at the 2012 Irish Open as a 23-year-old before stumbling in the second round to miss the cut. This week, I think he makes the cut and feeds off the crowd on the weekend to crack the top 20 to cash this juicy 10/1 number. — CP
Rafa Cabrera Bello to finish Top 30 +140 (DraftKings)
The Spaniard is playing great golf—nearly winning the Irish Open two weeks ago before Jon Rahm took it from him with a final-round 62 and finishing T-9 last week at the Scottish Open. His best major finish is at the Open (T-4, 2017) and given his recent form, we think he’ll be a factor at Royal Portrush. — SH
Darren Clarke Top Senior +260 (Bovada)
The 2011 Open champion has had a sneaky good season on the PGA Tour Champions, with three top 10 finishes to his name, including a T-2 at the Cologuard Classic (gross). Whether or not that will translate to making the cut in the Open remains to be seen. Clarke’s competition? Miguel Angel Jimenez (favorite for top senior), Tom Lehman and Paul Lawrie. Why not take the guy at plus odds who not only calls Portrush home, but has labeled Royal Portrush as his favorite course in the world? — CP
Make/miss the cut parlay: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Matt Wallace, Xander Schauffele and Henrik Stenson to make the cut; Bubba Watson to miss the cut +264 (Bovada)
Lock this puppy up: It’s always good to fade Bubba overseas. And we really like the other six players to make the cut. — SH