Golf’s oldest Major returns this week and its set to be one of the toughest Open Championships for punters in recent years. There is no clearly outstanding candidate at the top of the market; instead we have numerous contenders all capable of carrying off the Claret Jug and any number of lively outsiders who will fancy their chances of upsetting the odds over four days at the famous Royal Birkdale course in Southport.
With such a wide-open event, punters are looking for some help from the bookmakers and luckily there are a number of bookmakers making special offers for this highlight of the golf season. Many are giving generous each way odds for the top few finishers, including Skybet, who are offering an impressive each-way payout for the top ten finishers. If you back your selection each way and he finishes in the top ten, you are guaranteed to get 1/5 of that player’s outright odds on the place portion of your bet.
That sounds like a pretty good deal. So now the tricky part: who to back? With no one player dominating the world game in the way that Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Speith have in the last few years, the outright market for the Open Championship is wide open, with Speith sharing favouritism with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson with most bookmakers.
None of this trio has ever won the Open but all have had their moments, and all have shown good tournament-winning form this season. Speith goes into the tournament having won his last event, and can be backed at 16/1 with a number of bookmakers including Ladbrokes and Betfred. He’s a tremendously talented young player, but unlike some of his rivals, has opted not to play either of the traditional warm-ups for this event. Could that hurt him?
Unlike Speith or Johnson, Fowler is yet to win a Major, but he’s been knocking on the door a lot and is surely going to get his hands on one soon. The Open has a good reputation for providing players with their first Major and given that Fowler has twice made the top five in this tournament, he looks a solid bet at 16/1 with BetVictor. Dustin Johnson, winner of six tournaments in the last 13 months is also available at 16/1 and is sure to be a contender.
Adam Scott has come close at the Open before and is available at 30/1 with SportingBet, and you can get 22/1 from Paddy Power about Hideki Matsuyama, the world number two. Rory McIlroy has not had the best of seasons but can’t be written off at 20/1 with Coral and nor can Sergio Garcia, now that the Spaniard has finally earned his first Major. You can back Garcia at 20/1 with William Hill, and fellow Spaniard, Rafael Cabrera Bello, the winner of last week’s Scottish Open, is backable at a tempting 70/1 with Betfred.
There are any number of other possible winners in the betting, including former champion Phil Mickelson, who is 50/1 with Ladbrokes, and rising star Jon Rahm, generally available at 18/1. Few winners would be more popular than Justin Rose, who made his breakthrough as an amateur in this event, and he can be backed to finally get his hands on the Claret Jug at 22/1 with Betfred, while rising English star Tommy Fleetwood should not be underestimated. If you fancy him to land his first Major, you can back him at 25/1 with Bet Stars.
Whoever you choose to back, this should be one of the most exciting Open Championships in history as the world’s top players do battle with the elements and the unique challenges presented by links golf. Make sure you maximise your advantage by checking out the many offers provided by bookmakers ahead of this event, including the chance to profit if your player makes the top ten thanks to Skybet’s Paying 10 Places offer.