I love the United Kingdom. Sure, the sovereign state is single-handedly crashing the world's economy, but the UK has also given us James Bond, television and the internet, Cadbury chocolate and Emily Blunt. More importantly, sports gambling is sanctioned there! To take advantage of this betting blessing for this week's action at Royal Troon, here are the 12 best props, wagers and odds for the 2016 Open Championship. Note: All figures come from Top Bet Sportsbook and Betting-Directory.com:
Will There Be A Wire-To-Wire Winner? Yes (+900), No (-1800)
Not a great return on investment for those dropping coin on "no," but it's our pick for this year's tournament. In the last seven Opens contested at Royal Troon, only one champion -- Tom Weiskopf in 1973 -- led the event from start to finish. Throw in an uber-competitive field, along with an ominous weather forecast, the conditions don't seem conducive to a wire-to-wire winner this week.
Top Senior: Colin Montgomerie (5-2)
Vijay Singh or Miguel Ángel Jiménez are the preferred picks, but Monty, who will likely be playing in his last Open this week, is the choice. Montgomerie's father was the secretary at Royal Troon. Think he'll have a few backers in the gallery this weekend? That Monty played well in two previous Open appearances at Troon (T-24 in 1997, T-25 in 2004) gives us conviction that the Euro Tour legend will make his final Open one to remember.
Winning Nationality: American (+150), European (+150), Rest of the World (+250)
Americans have dominated Troon proceedings, taking home the claret jug the past six Opens contested here. However, aside from Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, the top U.S. players haven't exactly been firing on all cylinders. The British Open has never been kind to Bubba Watson (more on this in a moment), Rickie Fowler's game is M.I.A., Patrick Reed has yet to log a top 10 in a major and Brooks Koepka isn't playing due to injury. In short, if you're not picking Spieth or DJ to capture the tournament, it's best to stay away from the red, white and blue.
As for the rest of the world, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama are enticing options, but there's not much international depth. This elimination method says that Team Europe is the way to go, and with good reason. They have firepower in Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson to couple with a viable secondary line led by Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Shane Lowry and Lee Westwood. Even if you're not in love with a particular player, there's simply too much depth to overlook. Play it safe and go with Europe.
Top Player From Rest Of The World: Jason Day (2-1)
It's more fun to go with a Charl Schwartzel (16-1), Danny Lee (33-1) or Anirban Lahiri (50-1). But Day, the No. 1 player in the world, has finished in the top 10 in five straight majors. He had his "C" game at Oakmont, and damn near won the U.S. Open. I'm not betting against that Australian buzzsaw.
Speaking of top 10s...
Will Bubba Watson Finish In The Top 10? Yes (+350), No (-500)
In his last 22 majors, Bubba has just two top 10s, which were his wins at Augusta. The British Open has been particularly rough on Watson: In seven appearances, he's missed the cut four times, with his best finish a T-23 in 2012. Moreover, since winning at Riviera and coming second at Doral this spring, Watson has a lone finish inside the top 20, which comes with a caveat due to a limited field at Firestone. Everything is pointing to a "no" for this Watson prop.
Hole-in-One? Yes (-165), No (+135)
Forget that Ernie Els made an ace at the Postage Stamp in 2004. Gene Sarazen accomplished the same feat in 1973...at 71 years old. Royal Troon has her defenses, but the par 3s aren't one of them. We like "yes" for a hole-in-one this week.
Will There Be A Playoff? Yes (+280), No (-360)
Before last year's battle between Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen, the last Open playoff occurred in 2009. Yet, two of the last three Troon Opens have seen extra holes. The rationale for why we didn't like a wire-to-wire winner (bad weather, competitive field) is the same basis for believing the 2016 tournament has a playoff in its future.
Will Sergio Garcia Finish in the Top 10? Yes (+210), No (-280)
This is as slam-drunk of a Open bet as you'll find. Yes, Garcia has yet to grab that elusive major title, but the man has been money, at least in terms of being competitive, at this event. In his last 14 Open appearances, the 36-year-old has nine top 10s, including a T-6 at St. Andrews last summer and second-place showing in 2014. Garcia is also enjoying a strong 2016 campaign, highlighted by a win at the Byron Nelson in late May and a T-5 at the U.S. Open. He missed the cut at Royal Troon in 2004; nevertheless, we like the "yes" proposition for Sergio.
Will Dustin Johnson Finish in the Top 10? Yes, No (-115)
Going on a limb and betting the guy who won his last two tournaments and boasts 10 top-10 finishes in 15 events this year will play well at Royal Troon. In case that doesn't convince you, Johnson has placed T-7 or better in five of the past six majors.
And finally, three "to win" odds that are especially intriguing...
Danny Willett (55-1)
He hasn't played well the past two months. The counter: Pretty good figure for the reigning Masters champ, particularly given that Willett finished T-6 at last year's Open Championship.
Kevin Chappell (125-1)
Chappell finished third at the Bridgestone Invitational, his fourth T-3 or better in 2016. He's sixth in the FedEx Cup and 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, a performance that bodes well for a shotmaker's course like Troon.
Thorbjorn Olesen (200-1)
Do we like him because his name translates to "Thunderbear" or because he finished T-2 at the Euro Tour's BMW International two weeks ago? You be the judge.