The 148th Open Championship tees off Thursday at Royal Portrush in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, the first time the scenic course along the Atlantic Ocean has been used for The Open since 1951. With an eight- hour time difference from Portrush to Las Vegas and looking to make a wager on the dozens of props and odds to win, make sure you get the bets in before 10:30 p.m. PT Wednesday.
Since wagering has been open immediately after Gary Woodland captured the U.S. Open last month, the most bet golfer has been Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who grew up 60 miles south of Portrush in Holywood in County Down. He knows the course well, such as shooting a 61 on it as a 16-year-old in 2005, which is part of his appeal at the bet windows.
“We’ve had lots of bettors supporting Rory McIlroy because of him being from Northern Ireland and the idea that he’s more familiar with the course and conditions than most other golfers,” Westgate Las Vegas Superbook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said. “We opened him at 10-1 and he’s down to 8-1, the only golfer we have listed in single digits. He’s our most bet golfer as far as tickets written and No. 2 in money wagered behind Dustin Johnson.”
A McIlroy win would be the perfect fairy tale I want to watch unfold this weekend, and like everyone else apparently, I also want some action on him to celebrate his victory and the moment with him. He won the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool and has four major wins overall. He’s rated third in the world and has two wins this season — Canadian Open and Players Championship.
I can’t wait to see that course boom on an HD television much the way I do with Pebble Beach each year. The beach sands, North Coast waves, elevation changes, wild greens, a wide expanse of rough and mossy cliffs are going to make for some historic backdrop shots of McIlroy hoisting the Claret Jug at home. It’ll actually look awesome with anyone holding the jug, but Rory is the story.
The world’s No. 2, Dustin Johnson, has had the most cash placed on him and his odds have dropped from an opener of 12-to-1 down to 10-1 and the 2016 U.S. Open winner will be looking for his second major win. In the 2011 Open, he was runner-up to Northern Ireland’s own Darren Clarke at Royal St. George’s.
Just a side note, the Mount Rushmore of Northern Ireland celebrities would be Clarke, Liam Neeson, George Best and Van Morrison with McIlroy’s bust being chiseled now, or so I’ve been told by a friend from there.
Clarke will have the honor on teeing off first on Thursday and the SuperBook has him 1,000-1 to win based on playing only one tournament this season and missing the cut at the Irish Open. His last win anywhere was the 2011 Open. If going for the home cooking approach Graeme McDowell might be a more logical approach at 50-1.
World No. 1 Brooks Koepka has had his opening odds jump from 6-1 to 10-1 despite the SuperBook getting the third-most cash bet on him. He won the PGA Championship for the last two years and came three strokes away from winning his third straight U.S. Open last month. His best Open finish was a tie for sixth in 2017. However, he’s finished 57th and 65th in his last two tournaments since the U.S. Open.
Surprisingly, the SuperBook hasn’t seen the public backing Tiger Woods in normal fashion like past majors as he goes for his fourth Open Championship and first since 2006 at Royal Liverpool.
“We’re in one of our better positions we’ve had with Tiger Woods in a major so we bumped him up from 18-1 to 20-1,” Sherman said.
Woods won his 15th major, and first since 2008, at the Masters in April. You would think bettors would be all over him this week getting 20-1 odds.
“I think people are a little skeptical of Tiger this week just because he hasn’t played much lately,” Sherman said. “He’s had only 10 rounds since his Masters win.”
I always love picking Sherman’s brain for what he’s thinking about each tournament so I can place a few bets. But he wasn’t as optimistic about a betting strategy this week as he usually is. Most of his bets were based on current form and value he found at other books.
“The Open is one of the tournaments I get the least involved with just because of the conditions having such an impact,” he said. “But I did make a few wagers such as Jon Rahm at 25-1, Patrick Cantlay at 50-1, Matt Wallace at 60-1 and Bernd Wiesberger at 200-1.”
Wiesberger should be a popular play this week after winning the Scottish Open and the same goes for Rahm who won the Irish Open two weeks ago. The SuperBook has Weisberger now at 80-1 after his win and Rahm dropped to 16-1 as well. Both events serve as a great preparatory for The Open. Rahm might be in the best form of any golfer finishing first, second, and third in his last three tournaments.
The SuperBook has all 156 golfers posted with odds and the final addition to the list came on Sunday when South African Dylan Frittelli won the John Deere Classic for his fifth career win. He’s 300-1 to win this week. Last week Sherman had a dilemma with him when posting the odds.
“He was on the entry list to both the Scottish Open and John Deere so I just put him in the field of each at 3-1.”
By the way, Sherman leans towards a European to win this week because of being more familiar with the conditions, although the United States has won The Open a record 44 times followed by Scotland’s 41 wins and England’s 22 wins. Scotland’s last Open win came in 1999 from Paul Lawrie and England’s last win was in 1992 from Nick Faldo.
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