The Open Championship 2019 – Golf Betting Preview
The fourth and final major of the year awaits bettors as golfers cross the pond to County Antrim, Northern Ireland, home of the 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and most recently Gary Woodland took down the first three majors of the year, but who will walk away with Claret Jug? We hope to help you find the winner with some early golf betting picks strategy for The Open Championship 2019.
A number of golfers are battling at the John Deere Classic for their last chance to qualify for an Irish vacation. Some who have already earned a spot, like Justin Rose, are spending extra time in Northern Ireland to prepare at the venue itself.
Others visit nearby Scotland, using the tournament environment at the country’s national open to polish their game before for next week’s test. One person doing that, someone you’re sure to hear plenty about in upcoming days, is Rory McIlroy. It’s not unusual for McIlroy to be the talk of the town leading up to a major – The Open Championships especially. But this Open at this venue is even more noteworthy for the Irishman.
The Open Championship 2019 Betting Favorite
At the age of 16, two years before turning pro, McIlroy set the Royal Portrush course record with an 11-under 61 at the North of Ireland Championship. The record stands 14 years later, and it may never be broken.
Other than 50-year-old Darren Clarke, no golfer in the field knows Royal Portrush better than McIlroy – one reason why McIlroy is the odds-on favorite across most online sports betting sites. Another reason is his recent prowess at Open Championships. Rory has finished Top-5 or better in four of his last five Open appearances, including his first and only win in 2014.
You can find McIlroy at +800 at William Hill, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetStars. However, Brooks Koepka is the favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet. Out of those, the best price is at PointsBet, where you find McIlroy +900. Compare that to the two most recent major tournaments: After a T21 at the Masters, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson were ahead of McIlroy on the PGA Championship betting board, according to GolfOdds.com. On the U.S. Open betting board, he was behind those two and Brooks Koepka.
Before we take a look at golfers coming into form in the early rounds of the Scottish Open – guys who we might want to buy shares of before sportsbooks make adjustments – let’s take a closer look at the site of the 148th Open Championship.
The Open Championship Course Preview – Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush
Golf’s oldest championship returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. Like in ’51, the Dunluce Links (Old Course) at Royal Portrush plays host. Dunluce will play just over 7,300 yards, but unlike when McIlroy set the course record, The R&A has converted a Par 5 into a Par 4, making it a Par 71 track next week. The last time a professional tournament was held at Royal Portrush was in 2012 for the Irish Open.
With little precedents to look at, predicting how tough or easy the course will play is a guessing game. The course difficulty will largely be determined by weather, as is often the case for this tournament. One thing to note is that the course will have the fewest bunkers in Open Championship history. Expect fast greens, but those too will be impacted by weather conditions off the North Antrim Causeway Coast.
In 2012, Jamie Donaldson shot 18-under, smashing the field by four strokes. Rafa Cabrera-Bello was one of three runners-up at 14-under. McIlroy wasn’t far behind at -11, while fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell shot 10-under. Sportsbooks are giving McDowell plenty of credit, pricing him at a very charitable +5500. They may be overestimating the home-country/course advantage, as McDowell missed the cut at last week’s Irish Open before missing the cut at the Scottish Open early Friday morning.
Expect Portrush to play more difficult this time around. The course has made several alterations since 2012, including lengthening hole No. 2 by 40 yards, adding several bunkers, and replacing the 17th and 18th holes entirely. In total, the renovations added 200 yards to the scorecard.
While we should expect it to play more difficult, low scores at The Open aren’t unprecedented. In 2016, Henrik Stenson won his first Claret Jug by shooting 20-under at Royal Troon. Before that, Zach Johnson shot 15-under at St. Andrews, and McIlroy won with a 17-under at Royal Liverpool. But again, Mother Nature will have her say.
Golfers At The Scottish Open – Buy Early?
The market often makes adjustments for golfers who win or find themselves in contention to win the week before a major. Sometimes you can beat oddsmakers to the punch if you jump on these golfers before the tournament finishes.
Currently, three golfers are tied for the lead after Round 2 of the Scottish Open. Among them, Bernd Wiesberger and Erik Van Rooyen have already qualified for next week’s championship. Wiesberger is +15000 (150-1) to win The Open at PointsBet and Van Rooyen is +25000 (250-1) at William Hill. Interestingly, it looks like you can find great value at William Hill relative to other sportsbooks. Compare that to FanDuel where Wiesberger is +8000 and Van Rooyen is +10000.
(If you’re lucky enough to be able to partake in NJ online sports betting, you might want to give more of William Hill’s golf betting lines a look!)
Gauging European Tour players is tricky, as advanced statistics are more difficult to find and competition is weaker than the PGA Tour (Wiesberger finished T76 at the U.S. Open). Wiesberger has missed the cut in two of five Open Championship appearances.
Still, Wiesberger is playing particularly well after a second-place finish in the Irish Open and a T16 at the BMW International Open three weeks ago. He won on the European Tour in May. At the Irish Open, John Rahm beat him by only two strokes and he’s currently leading a field that includes Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy. That’s not easy even if a few of them might be looking ahead to Portrush.
Van Rooyen’s recent form isn’t as impressive, but the South African did finish T43 at the U.S. Open after a T8 at the PGA Championship in only his second major championship. Last year, he finished T17 in The Open Championship at Carnoustie. Both golfers might be worth putting a small bet on.
Another Scottish Open competitor to keep your eye on is Andy Sullivan. Sullivan is currently 9-under (T20) and tied with Wiesberger last week. Similar to the golfers mentioned above, Sullivan is +30000 (300-to-1) at William Hill compared to +8000 at FanDuel. Sullivan has made three of four cuts at The Open with his best finish a T12 in 2016.
More notable golfers to watch from the Scottish Open field are Stenson, Cabrera Bello and Matt Kuchar. Stenson is only two strokes back from Van Rooyen and Wiesberger, while Kuchar and Cabrera Bello are tied with Sullivan at 9-under. You can still find Cabrera Bello +10000 (100-to-1) at William Hill, while Kuchar and Stenson remain steady at +4000.
Be sure to check back Monday for more golf betting picks and strategy for the Open Championship 2019.
And once again, if you’re looking for general golf betting tips, please refer to our PGA golf betting guide.
(Top Photo: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports)