British Open Predictions to Win
July 16-19, 2015
Course: The Old Course at St. Andrews Scotland
by Evergreen, PGA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Let me get my apologies out of the way. I know this tournament is officially The Open Championship and it deserves all its history and glory after essentially inventing tournament golf but I call it the British Open and Im sorry. Maybe, I dont know. All semantics aside, I do love this event as it often provides some of the best golf drama that a fan can see. That drama isnt confined to just those in the hunt either. Part of the British Open often a big part is the weather. Those images of flagsticks bent nearly sideways and players in stocking caps are really only found during this week. Throw in the best players in the world at St. Andrews and you have all the making of a thriller event.
Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods are among the highlight players this week but make no mistake, anyone in this field can win. Links golf has a way of including more contenders than usual as crazy bounces and (un)lucky breaks factor into the scoring so often. Rory McIlroy will not be here to defend his 2014 title after suffering an injury during a soccer kickabout. Yeah, that happened. Mamas, dont let your babies grow up to be futbollers. Jason Day, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson join 2010 St. Andrews champ Louis Oosthuizen in the next group of prime contenders but dont forget about Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and even Tom Watson. There are 19 former British champs teeing it up this week so there is plenty of winning experience to go around.
St. Andrews dates back to the 1400s and you can imagine that there are a few unique things that come after 600 or so years of golf. First off, there are only 11 green complexes throughout the course. Seven holes share greens with only 1, 9, 17 and 18 owning their own putting real estate. Those shared surfaces can come into play as players can often miss the green and still be on the green with 100+ foot putts as a result. This is the 29thtime St. Andrews has hosted a British Open and with the exception of Oosthuizen, only big names have won here. Since 1970, the names on the Claret Jug have read Nicklaus, Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Faldo, Daly, Woods and Woods. The course has a way of separating only the best while offering up plenty of scoring chances, a fact that usually opens the field. Dalys winning total was 6-under par but you have to go back to Nicklaus second win to find a winning total that wasnt at least 12-under. The 7,305 yard, par-72 course rarely plays to the yardage book so solving that puzzle of shot-making in bad weather becomes the key factor. A fully faceted short game is necessary here as players will have to bump and run shots in certain places, play flops in others and even bring in the putter or fairway metal runner on the short approaches. Negotiating the 112 bunkers is tricky, especially the famous Hell and Road Hole traps and there will be plenty of opportunities for players to display their shotmaking creativity through the week.
Each tournament, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think are the best bets. We make some picks to win outright and breakdown a couple of head to head matchups that you can find at any online betting site. Here are our picks for the 2015 British Open.
v. The Field Props
As with any Major Championship, 5Dimes Sportsbook runs plenty of prop bet action and a popular offer is a select four golfers against the field.
The Big Four (Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose v. the Field)
Big Four +200/Field -200
I like the Big Four in this bet as Spieth and Johnson handled Chambers Bay so well and that is about as close of a British analog as the US Open could provide. Fowler bombed out at the US Open but is coming off a Scottish Open win and has a great recent British Open record. Rose is the dud here on paper and I will talk more about that later but isnt a bad add to three that could easily win any tournament on any course.
Henrik Stenson, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson (+500) v. the Field
I like the selected four in this prop as well. Oosty is the defending St. Andrews champ and Adam Scott has been in the top-5 in three straight British Opens. Stenson is super-solid with plenty of links experience and Lefty is a wildcard that likely has money on himself. Good value here my opinion.
Paul Casey, Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia (+800) v. the Field
Here is one more that I like simply due to value. Who knows what we are going to get with Woods but he is a two-time St. Andrews champ and you dont have to be accurate off the tee to score here. Casey isa popular darkhorse who was 3rdhere in 2010 and Garcia is much the same as Stenson with plenty of talent and overseas experience. Watson is the scary one here as he can manipulate shots with the best of them but prefers a higher ball flight that doesnt often play well in high wind. The reported softness of the course helps Bubba so maybe there is a bit more of a chance for him than usual.
Jordan Spieth Note:
Hes less than 5 to 1 at every betting outlet and hes clearly as hot as you can get so there isnt much else to say about him. He should be great this week but I dont like the value you get betting any of these guys (Tiger, Rory) at their peak. You dont need my advice to lay some cash on him, lets move on to some guys that could pay a bit better.
Dustin Johnson (11 to 1 to win)
Should have, would have, could have at Chambers Bay but seems to really be handling it all in stride. He seems completely back from whatever demons were in his life late last year and he was scary good while he was dealing with all that. He has four top-14 finishes in his last five British Opens and four top-10s in his last six overall Majors. Hes first in driving distance, top-5 in birdies and scoring and good enough for 15thin the all-around. Hes wild at times off the tee but never fell into that trap at the US Open and he should primed for another run at a Major win.
Adam Scott (20 to 1)
It would be hard to find a better British competitor in recent years. Scott has gone 2, T3, T5 in the last three British Opens and has made 11 of his 15 cuts for his career. He had the round of the US Open with a Sunday 64 that led to a T4 so his latest links result measures up. He is 3rdin driving distance, 8th in total driving and 6thin greens hit so I expect him to maneuver his way around St. Andrews in good form. He will need a big week on the greens as his 159thranked putting average isnt going to get it done but putting across the pond isnt always about makes so he should be no worse than the field average once the week ends. I think 20 to 1 is fantastic value for a player that has recently been the best in the game.
Jason Day (28 to 1)
Day has made the cut in ten straight Major Championships and dont forget his T9 at Chambers Bay came while he could barely stand up straight. He hasnt had a ton of British Open success but he has made the weekend in all four of his previous starts and he has established himself as a force in the strongest field events. Day leads the Tour in birdie average at more than 4.5 per round, a good stat to lean on considering the scoring pace is once again expected to be fast. Day can use the long driver when necessary but his overall game is sharp enough to produce the 4thbest all-around rank and he is a solid scrambler. He is rightly in that second tier of possible contenders but no one will be surprised if he is near the lead late.
Brandt Snedeker (40 to 1 odds)
Snedeker isnt really the kind of player that comes to mind when you think Open-contender but he is a solid option a little ways down the board based on his ability to manage his ball during difficult conditions. He has made the weekend in three straight British trips and has a T3 in 2012 as his best result. On American soil, Sneds is riding a string of four straight top-10 finishes, including T8 at the US Open. He is a solid ballstriker and one of the best iron players when he is going well but his true strength comes with the putter. Brandt is 5thin strokes gained-putting and 3rdin putts per round. That helps him make the most out of his rounds and he nets the 10thbest scoring average from just the 43rd best birdie rate. Mistake-free styles can be very productive at British Opens and Snedeker should be on the short list of players that could make sleeper runs.
Zach Johnson (80 to 1)
Like Snedeker, Johnson is going to tackle St. Andrews with a low-risk approach that should limit the amount of wayward drives and iffy approaches. Zach is 6thin fairways and has used his accuracy to make 8-of-11 British Open cuts with top-10 runs in 2012 and 2013. Johnson has been under-the-radar but has put together a run this year that has seen him in the top-20 in 9 of his last 11 and in the top-6 in three of the last four. His overall sheet is good for 11thin the all-around and he stands out with top-20 marks in birdies, scoring and putting average. He has plenty of veteran experience to fall back on and wont be shook by the situation. He is one of the better longshot plays.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on predicted final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a ton of prop bets.
Rickie Fowler v. Justin Rose (pick to win: Fowler)
This seems to be a pretty popular pairing but I think it is one that has Fowler as a heavy favorite. Rickie coming off a Scottish Open win is all the proof you need that his US Open was a throw-away and the British has been Fowlers best Major statistically. He has missed just one British cut in five starts and has two top-5 finishes while Rose has just the 1998 T4 as an amateur to fall back on. Rose has made the cut in just seven of his 12 starts outside that standout year and hasnt really contended at all. Rose has the better stat sheet, especially when it comes to greens hit and birdies per round but St. Andrews will be the great stat sheet equalizer so look more toward the hotter player and that is Fowler.
Paul Casey v. Bubba Watson (pick to win: Casey)
It is so tempting to bet Bubba nearly every week since his game can be so dominant but the British hasnt been his favorite event and he has just one top-25 finish in six starts with three missed cuts, including 2010.. Casey, on the other hand, is 8-of-12 for his British career and finished T3 the last time St. Andrews hosted the Open. On an American-style course, Bubba has the edge as he can use his length advantage and his high ball flight helps control the ball on the greens but links courses and the associated weather will gobble up those moonshots, forcing Watson to go away from his A-game. Casey is the better pure ballstriker between these two and that edge is only amplified under these conditions. Bubba could always surprise, especially if the conditions are mild but Casey is the better percentage play. Bet your 2015 British Open picks at an online sportsbook where credit cards work and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus up to $250 FREE! –> Bovada Sportsbook!
Good luck and good golf!