DraftKings’ Johnny Avello Talks British Open Odds & Betting Strategy

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Rory McIlroy is the British Open favorite at DraftKings. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Bettors seeking the definition of wide-open look no further than the DraftKings board for the Open Championship this week at St. Andrews in Scotland.

From pacesetting Rory McIlroy at +900 to the colossal +6000 for three-time champion Tiger Woods, and beyond, the Open has a strong package of variables. They include a talented field, uncertain weather conditions and a unique style of play for the 150th edition of this event.

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Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, shared his betting interest with our readers and gamblers as players prepared to tee it up.

“I have aways thought the European guys would benefit from this course layout,” Avello said about a talent pool that includes McIlroy, a native of Northern Ireland, heading the field. McIlroy won the Open in 2014.

“This is a different type of game than a tournament in the United States,” Avello added. “You are not seeing players put the ball up high, have it land 20 yards behind the hole and spin it back.”

“A lot of times you have guys running the ball up,” Avello noted about the European style, in which players observe many greens that are unguarded in the front, choosing low pitches that roll the ball onto the putting surface.

Avello said that McIlroy has two significant reasons to attract bettors. One is his personal history. The other is recent play.

“Rory has been playing on these type of courses his whole life,” Avello said. “Not only does the course fit him, but Rory may be the most consistent player on the tour right now. He’s been around the top 20 in every event he has played in this year, even if he is not winning much.”

Avello advised bettors to freely consider longshots well down the list. The large number of entries ensures that many of the world’s top players will be overlooked in the betting odds.

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2022 British Open Odds on Top Contenders at DraftKings

PlayerDraftKings Odds
Rory McIlroy+900
Xander Schauffele+1200
Scottie Scheffler+1400
Justin Thomas+1600
Jordan Spieth+1600
Jon Rahm+1600
Matthew Fitzpatrick+1800
Patrick Cantlay+2000
Shane Lowry+2200
Cameron Smith+2200
Will Zalatoris+2800
Collin Morikawa+3000
Dustin Johnson+3500
Tony Finau+3500
Tommy Fleetwood+3500
Max Homa+4000
Sam Burns+4000
Tyrrell Hatton+4000
Louis Oosthuizen+4000
Viktor Hovland+5000
Joaquin Niemann+5000
Hideki Matsuyama
Brooks Koepka+5000
Tiger Woods+6000
Justin Rose+6500

As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.

Expert Takes and Some Big Names to Consider

Collin Morikawa captured the tournament win in 2021. And he’s +3000. Spieth was second. Jon Rahm, one of the hottest players on tour a couple of years ago, was third.

Scheffler, now the world’s top-ranked player, riding a streak of four wins in six weeks including the 2022 Masters, showed an indication he was ready to bust out last year. He finished T-8. Zach Johnson prevailed in 2015, the last time the Open was held at this course. He shot -15.

“I don’t think you are going to see a number like that this time,” Avello predicted. “You might have one day in which the conditions are fine, a couple with real high winds of 20-25 MPH and some other days in which you have a lot of rain.”

Avello believes that some totals could be influenced by when players tee off.

“Yes, everybody plays the same course, but there can be a huge swing between players going out early and others going out late,” Avello said. “We stay on top of that stuff, we absolutely have to. The guy in the morning may face a calm day and can shoot better. The afternoon group is dealing with the wind and it is a far different story for them.”

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Tiger Woods Drawing Action at DraftKings

What major would be complete without the presence of Tiger Woods? Woods has won the Open three times, twice at St. Andrews (2000 and 2005.) But he was much younger and healthier then. Woods last won this event in 2006.

“Tiger is drawing some money,” Avello indicated. “There are pretty good-sized wagers on him.

“There aren’t as many believers for him as there was for the Masters, but the gamblers are giving him one last shot this year. Tiger is not normally this high a price. Yet I thought it might even be higher. He might be able to put some good rounds together, but this is a talented group of players. It would be asking a lot for him to get by all of them.”

Avello said he was grateful for Woods’ presence in the game. Tiger attracted attention even before legalized online betting in 2018, commanding attention at the brick-and-mortar based Wynn, which Avello operated in Las Vegas.

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St. Andrews Provides a Solid Test

The pot bunkers at St. Andrews represent an unusual landmark. They are deep, punitive and the golfing version of the Bermuda triangle. They are unique to European courses in general and St. Andrews in particular.

“For you and I, we quit at that point if we get into them,” Avello laughed. “For these guys, they will probably have to hit out of there by hitting the ball sideways and it will cost them a shot.”

Next-hole bettors, here is a general course overview, minus the wind conditions. Holes 1 and 3 look relatively short and present excellent birdie chances. Hole 4 has a wealth of pot bunkers and less than half the shots reach the green in regulation. Bogey threat.

Short par 4’s and par 3’s mark the middle section, holes 7-12, and may play into the bump-and-run style Avello referenced. The finishing holes are tough and the 17th , a 495-yard Par 4, is one of the hardest par 4’s in all of golf. Par will be a good score.

Avello said a player can adjust from one day to the next on a given hole over the first three days, but “if he has trouble every time for those days, it’s probably in his head for Round 4.”

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British Open TV Schedule

The betting handle could be impacted by the unusual start times in the Eastern United States, Avello noted. According to pgatour.com, here is the television schedule, ET:

Thursday and Friday: 4 a.m.-3 p.m., USA Network

Saturday: 5-7 a.m., USA Network; 7 a.m.-3 p.m. NBC

Sunday: 4-7 a.m., USA Network; 7 a.m.-2 p.m. NBC

Check the times where you live. The schedule will be augmented by numerous live-streaming feeds.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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