That time has come again, folks. Set your alarms, get your coffee pots ready and throw on your kilts. The British Open is back at St. Andrews, tradition is in the air and the GOAT is teeing it up at a major once again.
We’re excited to finish the year strong (currently +21.275 units on the year, 3 for 3 picking outright winners and profitable in 10 out of 12 rounds) and we appreciate your support throughout the season. Ride the lightning with us while you still can, stay patient with the Old Course this week and always remember to bet smarter, not harder.
Given the British Open’s history, especially as of late, we’re spreading 1.85 units across 10 different players to win outright (two of which would be MASSIVE underdogs). Slight shift from our usual lineup but trust us that there is method to the madness.
Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick top our charts for St. Andrews this week for obvious reasons. Rory has been due for a major for over a year now, he’s probably one of the most talented golfers of all time (people forget they made a video game for this guy after Tiger) and his head game has looked one small tweak away from a return to greatness for a while now. Xander Schauffele is the hottest player on tour right now, coming off of two back to back wins in back to back starts (the only other person to do so this year was Scottie Scheffler after he won the Masters in April). He also won the gold medal at the Olympics, he’s yet to break through at a major and his incredibly consistent game across the board sets up very nicely for the Old Course. Scottie Scheffler has obviously had one of the better seasons in recent memory thus far and he seems determined to finish strong and win the FedEx Cup/finish #1 in the world. He’s only posted finishes worse than a top 10 in two of his last seven majors (he finished tied for 8th in his only British Open last year) and he’s the versatile type player required to contend at a major championship on a links course. Matt Fitzpatrick’s stats scream British Open champion minus the major championship slump monkey on his back after winning the US Open last month. That said, he’s great off the tee, he’s great around the greens, his approach game is solid… There really aren’t any weak points for Fitzpatrick right now other than the uncertainty as to how he’ll handle his recent career changing success. We’re comfortable riding the hot hand given his T6th place finish at the Scottish Open last week.
Jon Rahm, Will Zalatoris, Shane Lowry and Collin Morikawa all feel like they have something to prove heading into St. Andrews this week. Jon Rahm has been determined and vocal about his desire to regain his spot atop the world rankings and he only has one major championship in his career. You’d think a player of his caliber would have multiple majors under his belt at this point and the British Open clearly means a lot to him so he’ll surely come out firing on Thursday. Do I really need to say much about Will Zalatoris? I legitimately pray that he either wins the British Open or doesn’t make the cut… Another runner up finish in a major for this guy would be cruel and I’m not sure if I could handle that for Happy Gilmore’s former caddie. All jokes aside, Zalatoris shows up in majors and he was playing pretty well in the only British Open start of his career last year before he had to withdraw due to injury. He’s also an elite ball striker on and off the tee and it seems like he has a solid supporting cast around him to set him up for success on golf’s largest stages. Shane Lowry (clear fan favorite right away) finally experienced his majors breakthrough at the British Open in 2019 and it’s hard to think he hasn’t been hearing the noise floating around that he only shows up at British Opens hosted in Ireland. He’s also yet to win a tournament this year (despite being only a few shots away from winning 2-3) and his ability to hit his spots on the greens at links courses/his ability around the greens should serve him nicely at St. Andrews. It’s probably weird to hear that Morikawa has something to prove but hear me out. Morikawa became the first player IN HISTORY last season to win two majors in his debut (for both). He’s followed that up this season with zero wins, two top 5 finishes in majors and a rumor that he might be leaving the PGA for the LIV Tour soon. Morikawa could’ve easily ran away with two different majors this year if it wasn’t for one blow up round in each tournament so the talent is clearly still there, he’s definitely hungry to silence the haters and he’s the defending Open champion coming into this week… Don’t sleep on him.
And now for our sleeper picks. Dustin Johnson has arguably the most to prove out of anyone in the field this week. Couple his LIV Tour drama with his historical angst for the British Open/St. Andrews specifically… It definitely feels like the right time for him to remind the world of how good he still is. DJ has finished second at a British Open, he’s had the 36 hole lead at St. Andrews specifically (which ended in horrific fashion) and he’s been playing well on the LIV Tour. Throw your emotions aside, DJ’s ability off the tee makes him a contender this week, no question, so to neglect the value being gifted to us by Vegas would be an absolute insult to sports betting everywhere. So who is Ryan Fox? Ryan Fox is a New Zealander who’s been absolutely tearing up the European Tour since March. He’s posted 8 top 15 finishes in 11 showings since February and Vegas virtually turned on its head when his initial opening lines were released (that’s a very, very good sign). Fox winning it all would be a long shot but we see enough promise there to sprinkle a few fractional units. You don’t want to be the person who misses out on a +10000 payout, right?
Taking another slight detour from our normal course of action… Normally I wouldn’t list any Top 10 favorites who I don’t think could win the tournament outright. This week I’m actually going to list less Top 10 picks than favorites to win it all.
Not much to add to these titans of the league currently other than the fact that I trust them on a consistency level much more than the other players listed in our outright winners section. McIlroy, Scheffler, Schauffele and Fitzpatrick have played lights out all season thus far, they play well in majors (on difficult courses specifically) and it feels like there’s a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type scenario brewing between the group so expect the majority of them to show up on Thursday to claim their rank amongst the best in the game right now. Just to add more context, Rory has averaged a 5th place finish in majors this season, Fitzpatrick has averaged around a 7th place finish in majors this season and Xander/Scottie (both missed one cut in majors this year) have a combined average of 7.5th place in majors in which they’ve made the cut this year (Scheffler finished 1st and 2nd in his two majors, respectively). Think “the three best players of the year combined with the best player right now” mindset.
We get some solid hedge value for our Top 10 favorites as well as our Outright Winner picks in this range. Snagging Fitzpatrick, Lowry, Morikawa or Zalatoris with positive odds in this category feels like an absolute steal.
We also get to see some of the magic Side Hustle Bets cooked up here with Tony Finau at +200. Normally I’m timid to list Finau as a favorite in majors but he seems to love playing links golf across the river. He’s never missed a cut at a British Open, he has an average finish position of 14.4 and he finished 15th at the Open last year. Not picking him to win the Claret Jug outright, but top 20 definitely feels attainable at very attractive odds.
Top 30 is where we start seeing value for our second tier contenders, we hedge some of our backend top tier talent (Morikawa) and we start dipping our toes into the long shot pool. We stake our Dustin Johnson claim at +115 odds in a tournament that he could/should contend for the outright title and we get to shoot our shot at Corey Conners, Chris Kirk and Seamus Power to simply break the top 30 at massive odds.
Remember, Conners is elite off the tee, Kirk ranks surprisingly high in almost all of our projections and Power hasn’t finished worse than 27th in any of the first three majors of his career (and this is the Irishman’s first shot at The Open).
We finish off our finishing place bets with a top 40 group that provides us additional hedging for our top 30 long shots while also grabbing some last minute value on Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland and Ryan Fox.
Matsuyama virtually never misses cuts at majors, he posted the low round at the US Open last month and his consistency across the board should serve him nicely at the Old Course as long as he focuses on his putting from short range. Ryan Fox has been on an absolute heater on the European Tour since February so simply cracking the top 40 feels very much within his grasp this week. We’d place more investment in Sungjae Im this week just based off of his stats alone if he wasn’t coming off a back injury and two missed cuts in a row. Slightly risky play but given how well his game aligns with our formula this week we’re comfortable throwing 0.75 units on Im to at least crack the top 40. Hovland is another player who we’d be investing more capital in if it wasn’t for the cold streak he’s riding heading into this week… His play around the greens has yet to improve and he’s missed the cut at his last two tournaments (the last being the Scottish Open last week). That said, if he can pull it together around the short grass this week then he absolutely could contend. For now, we’re comfortable throwing 0.75 units on him to break into the top 40 and we’re open to reevaluate as the tournament progresses.
To Miss The Cut
DeChambeau has struggled to regain his form since undergoing surgery on his wrist earlier in the year. Since winning the US Open last year (his sole major championship victory), he’s posted a T56 finish and a missed cut at majors. He’s another wounded player who recently hobbled his way to the LIV Tour where he’s not playing his best golf either. He’s far from top form, he has zero experience playing St. Andrews and he ranks towards the very bottom of the field in virtually every single one of our projections this week. Hard Bryson fade.
Joaquin Niemann (+160) (0.5 units) vs Max Homa (+185) (0.5 units) vs Brooks Koepka
This matchup is more of a Koepka fade than allegiance towards Niemann or Homa. I think Niemann is super talented (especially off the tee) and he’ll be primed for a breakthrough in majors once he cleans up his game a bit. Homa might already be at the point of making a breakthrough at a major, already winning twice this season and posting 12 top 25 finishes on the year, but until he does we’ll only be betting on him in the format of aiding fades such as this. Now for Brooks… Koepka just isn’t the same player we’re accustomed to seeing due to his injuries over the past year. He’s one player that opted to leave for the LIV Tour that made a lot of sense to me. His body isn’t 100% (and hasn’t been for awhile now), he isn’t even playing very well on the LIV Tour currently and it feels like he’s lost all passion for the game. Taking two young bucks hungry to show up at a major over a slightly washed former great with one foot out the door.
|Top English: Matthew Fitzpatrick||+310||0.4|
|Top English: Tommy Fleetwood||+550||0.25|
|Top English: Tyrrell Hatton||+550||0.25|
|Top English: Justin Rose||+950||0.1|
|Top Continental European: Jon Rahm||+200||0.7|
|Top Continental European: Viktor Hovland||+600||0.3|
|Top Japanese: Hideki Matsuyama||-105||1|
|Player To Break Course Record (61): Yes||+1500||0.2|
Top English: Matthew Fitzpatrick/Tommy Fleetwood/Tyrrell Hatton/Justin Rose
So Matty Fitz should definitely win this group but due to several factors we’re going to spread the wealth across 4 players and virtually ensure we net ~0.5 units or at least break even (if Justin Rose pulls off the upset). Fleetwood and Hatton are both great links golfers vs the rest of the field, Hatton has a lot of experience at St. Andrews specifically and Justin Rose plays great at British Opens/almost broke 60 at the RBC Canadian Open last month. The major championship slump is very real so, although Fitzpatrick aligns very nicely with our formula this week, we’re spreading our odds in respect of the mental challenge he has in front of him this week.
Top Continental European: Jon Rahm/Viktor Hovland
Both Rahm and Hovland should have a great chance at seeing success this week at the Old Course. Rahm leads the field in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and Hovland has arguably the most consistent game across the board minus his god awful game around the greens. The next closest competitor for Top Continental European in the field is Sergio Garcia and Thomas Pieters so I like spreading our odds here across two of the best players in the world right now.
Top Japanese: Hideki Matsuyama
We’ve already talked about Matsuyama a bit so I’ll keep this brief. If he can keep the ball in the fairway, continue to avoid big numbers and eliminate his lapses in focus when putting, then he should have a great opportunity to keep his momentum rolling from his final round at the US Open last month (low round of the tournament). He’s obviously comfortable in majors (first Asian born player to win the Masters/4th place finish at the US Open last month) and the rest of his competition for Top Japanese is… not very competitive. There’s only a handful of Japanese players even in the Open this year and one of them is an amateur so I like my odds with the premier Japanese player in golf right now.
Player To Break Course Record? Yes
Local patrons have been worrying about super low scores at the Old Course this week ever since the first weather reports came out indicating relatively tame and preferable weather conditions throughout the weekend compared to previous years. Jack Nicklaus and Shane Lowry were both interviewed about any possible concerns of a player cracking 60 in a round this week which definitely makes me think there’s a chance for a player to break the current course record of 61. Several players have come close or tied the record over the years and Rory shot a round of 63 at the Old Course back in 2010. Obviously only sprinkling a small fraction of a unit on this prop but feels worth it given the improved technology/equipment for players over the years as well as the likely possibility of quality weather throughout the tournament.
1st Round Bets
1st Round Top 20
Given the appealing odds Vegas is providing us in the Top 20 range for the 1st Round, we’re not going to venture into 1st Round Leader or 1st Round Top 10 bets this week. Weather always plays a large role for round by round bets (specifically the wind) and St. Andrews will definitely be no exception. The weather on Thursday should include light winds early morning progressing into stronger 15-20 mph winds late morning/early afternoon. Winds should begin to die down again mid to late afternoon. What does this mean for us? Not much since most of the players who lucked into the better side of the draw for Thursday (early morning tee times) aren’t real contenders and most of the players who have to deal with the wind to start their rounds (Schauffele, McIlroy, Smith and possibly Zalatoris) should have more favorable conditions towards their back nine. Some players tee off so late that they could face favorable conditions virtually their entire rounds (Scheffler, Rahm and Fitzpatrick). All and all, we don’t see the wind preventing our favorites from going low compared to the rest of the field on Thursday.
Rory, Scheffler and Cam Smith all love to jump out to hot starts regardless of where they’re playing… especially at majors. There’s some concern about Cameron Smith at St. Andrews this week (valid concerns in our opinion) but he just posted a top 10 finish at the Scottish Open last week (links course) and the wheels tend to fall off for him in the later rounds vs at the start.
Schauffele, Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick all have massive momentum to carry into St. Andrews this week which could mean low numbers on Thursday for the group. Xander Schauffele is coming off back to back wins in back to back starts, Zalatoris feels like he’s determined to complete a runner up majors grand slam at this point and Fitzpatrick is obviously coming off of the first major championship victory of his career last month at Brookline. All three should come out firing to start their British Opens tomorrow.
Jon Rahm has been very vocal about how much he wants to win a British Open and join the ranks of Spanish golfing great Seve Ballesteros (three time British Open champion). His drive is definitely there (pun intended) and he should have some of the best course conditions out of the entire field on Thursday. Don’t be surprised to see Rahm jump out to an early lead heading into Friday playing alongside Jordan Spieth (a player who loves links courses and is starving to get his name back into the conversation at major championships).
1st Round Matchups
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+120) (0.64 units) vs Max Homa (+180) (0.36 units) vs Tiger Woods
I love Tiger but he’s playing to make the cut this week/to finish the tournament vs actually contending for the championship. Homa is looking for a breakthrough in majors and he’s been quietly putting together a solid season this year, breaking into the ranks of the top 20 golfers in the world and currently sitting 9th in the FedEx Cup standings. Fitzpatrick is obviously a superstar right now after his first major championship victory last month which he followed up with a 6th place finish at the Scottish Open last week. These players are currently going through drastically different stages of their careers. That said, we’re going to spread a unit across the two players going through the improvement stage vs the player in his golden years (sorry Tiger, but it’s true).
Tommy Fleetwood (+120) (0.6 units) vs Justin Rose (+165) (0.4 units) vs Francesco Molinari
Francesco Molinari ranks towards the bottom of the field off the tee as well as approaching the green, he’s missed his last two cuts in a row (including the Scottish Open last week) and his best finish at a major since 2019 was tied for 55th at this year’s PGA Championship. He’s one of the slower starters in the field in regards to 1st round scoring average and he’s missed the cut at 4 of his last 5 major starts. Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose are two of the better links course golfers in the field this week and both have seen consistent success at British Opens. Expect to see fan favorites Fleetwood and Rose get off to solid starts on Thursday and expect to see Molinari in the pot bunkers.
Chris Kirk (+140) (0.6 units) vs Kevin Kisner (+155) (0.4 units) vs Takumi Kanaya
We’ve already spoken volumes about our high hopes for long shot Chris Kirk coming into this week so we’re spreading a unit across Kirk and Kisner over Takumi Kanaya on Thursday. Kanaya has only made 1 cut at a major championship in 7 tries and he’s coming off of a fresh cut at the BMW International Open two weeks ago. He ranks in the lower tier of the field in virtually every statistical category this week, he’s missed 6 cuts since March, he’s averaged over par opening rounds at British Opens throughout his career thus far and he’s never played St. Andrews before. Kirk should win this group on Thursday (adding bulldog Kisner just to be safe) but this is very much so a Kanaya fade as well.
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