Golf’s British Open will still be wide open without Tiger Woods

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The Las Vegas Hilton Super Book’s Jeff Sherman has been setting lines and handicapping golf for over 15 years and expects this weekend’s British Open to be as wide open as ever.

And, it’s not just because Tiger Woods isn’t playing.

“There are so many live golfers that are currently in great form like a Retief Goosen (40-1) and Justin Rose (40-1) that it wouldn’t be shocking to see anyone listed at odds in the 60-1 range payout.”

Surprisingly, the loss of Woods isn’t expected to hurt handle for the weekend, considering he’s the biggest name in golf. But it’s apparent most fans have moved on from the drama of Woods. While most would like to see him come back, there are plenty of storylines coming into this year’s Open at the Royal St. George Golf Club that are sure to create their own drama on the course.

“Our overall handle throughout the season has been amazing, both with Tiger and without him,” said Sherman. “We set a record handle in the Masters with Woods, but we also did more action than all previous U.S. Open’s this year without him. I think bettors like having the chance of hitting a big price. Without Woods playing and others winning at large prices recently, that perception of winning big is justified.”

Rory McIlroy also has a lot to do with capturing the attention of new and old fans as he’s been the major story at both the Masters and U.S. Open this year. His agonizing defeat on the final day at Augusta while leading had all sports fans rooting for him to hold on in the U.S. Open. Not only did he hold on, but he crushed the field in record fashion.

“We opened McIlroy up at 6-1 odds, but since have dropped him to 7 and now 8-1, not because people aren’t betting him – they are – but because the risk on some of the larger odds has become big enough that we can balance the liability out better and quicker by offering McIlroy, a popular bet, with higher odds.”

Sherman has only three golfers lower than 20-to-1 in an odds to win index for the Open that has the lowest theoretic hold in Nevada. Sherman’s main piece of advice when betting this week – especially in matchups – is to check the weather reports at the course.

“Weather can wreak havoc and it’s important to note what time your player tees off at and who he’s matched up against, and when he tees off. The later you can bet the matchups while acquiring those wind reports, the better off players will be with that information.”

 Sherman has also seen a trend of bettors favoring the European golfers in odds to win and matchups. His golfers to watch this week who could be good plays are Charles Howell, Goosen and Rose. He notes that Howell (100-1) is playing well and has finished in the top-five of his last three tournaments.

 The Las Vegas Hilton will have daily matchups for each round, but unfortunately won’t have in-running wagering on the event like they have for the other majors because of the time difference.

Soccer

It’s an odd numbered year, so International soccer isn’t as significant as it normally is in June and July with either the World Cup or Euro Cup, but the women’s USA team is slowly capturing the fancy of American sports fans in the Women’s World Cup played in Germany.

The USA reached the semifinal and will face France Wednesday. Most sports books didn’t have any intention of booking the daily matches thinking there wouldn’t be a demand for it, but after getting so many requests and several books offering it almost forced everyone to do the same.

The USA is -½ (-110) in their match against France with a total of 2½ (under -170). After their exciting short handed quarterfinal win over Brazil last Sunday, there is a little buzz created that will translate well to the windows. It won’t come close to what the men’s World Cup matches do, but it is a nice piece of cash coming through the bet windows that wasn’t expected.

Viva Mexico

After watching the crop of kids playing for Mexico win the Under-17 World Cup that just concluded, Mexico should be considered a live dog to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. They are currently 40-1 to win it all. While it may seem like a very long term investment, by tournament time, those odds will all be gone.

After witnessing what the national team did in the Gold Cup with perhaps the best young player in the world in Javier Hernandez, I was reminded of some of the old attacking Brazil teams who scored at will. When they add Julio Gomez and a couple of the other Under-17 emerging stars to the national team, they will score a lot of goals against teams favored more than them right now.

NFL Props

Everyone in Las Vegas is eagerly waiting for the NFL and players to get a deal straightened out soon. Then we can get on with our normal lives in July.

Usually at this juncture, bettors are closely examining the NFL season win totals and betting with conviction against the sports book number. The line movement on these totals are a great indicator as to who the sharps like this season and where they stand with their initial power ratings.

We already have all the season lines for all 17 weeks posted at the Hilton and Cantor Gaming sports books, but the lack of season wins out right now is the first sign in Vegas something in not going as usual because of the lockout.

Many of the books are waiting until all the key free-agents are signed, which should be a mad rush when the lockout is over. The free-agent signing period will be at such a frenzied pace the NFL Network should dedicate a show – or a day entirely – to all the transactions that take place within a short period of time.

It’ll be like a contraction draft of sorts.

While we still wait for the season totals, Lucky’s sports books offers an index prop on players to have the highest rushing, receiving and passing totals this season.

Houston’s Arian Foster is the 4-1 favorite to win the rushing title with Jamaal Charles next at 5-1. Andre Johnson is favored to have the most receiving yards at 9-2 with Denver’s Brandon Lloyd and Atlanta’s Roddy White next at 7-1.

Peyton Manning is the favorite to have the most passing yards at 9-2 with Drew Brees at 5-1.

The prop specifies you have action no matter how many regular season games are played this season.

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