The Open 2019: One deep sleeper and other best bets from Portrush
Our crew on the ground at the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush has been scouting out the Northern Irish conditions, with some unexpected warmth and sun yielding to the inevitable wind and rain, which arrived Wednesday morning. It’s good indoors weather, in other words. One particularly popular Portrush haunt in the nasty weather? The William Hill sportsbook. My colleagues Jess Marksbury, Luke Kerr-Dineen and I popped in to check out the odds with our newfound local knowledge and are here to serve you, dear readers, with our insights.
BEST BET FOR A TOP-10
Dylan Dethier (@Dylan_Dethier): Walking around Portrush, one thing seems clear — players with a Big Miss will struggle this week. It’s going to take a relentless showing, some steady ballstriking, creativity around the greens and, of course, some good luck from the weather. I like Patrick Cantlay for all the above reasons plus the fact that the very late Thursday times seem like they’ll have a slight advantage, and Cantlay is off at 3:21 p.m local time.
Luke Kerr-Dineen (@LukeKerrDineen): Henrik Stenson’s a great shout in this spot. Hovering around 40/1 at the start of the week but now about 25/1, Stenson’s price has been dropping because people realize he has the exact skill set required for this week. He’s got tee-to-green accuracy, which will be key, plus power when he needs it, a steely temperament under pressure, and experience winning an Open before.
Jessica Marksbury (@Jess_Marksbury): At 16/1, Jon Rahm won’t make you any big-time money, but it’s hard to deny his performance record in Ireland. His Irish Open win just a week ago marked the second time in his career that he claimed the title, and he’s also coming off a T3 finish at the U.S. Open last month. What’s not to like about his chances this week?
DEEP SLEEPER WORTH A FLYER
Dethier: I like Lucas Glover at 200/1. Don’t look now, but Glover is playing his best golf in a decade. Another steady grinder who seems to have inflated odds — a nice each-way bet will pay out if he’s in the top seven.
Kerr-Dineen: I’ve got Kevin Kisner at 125/1. Kis has no right being a “deep” sleeper, but the American is coasting under the radar in a European-heavy betting public. Kisner has had a few top-notch results this year, he’s wickedly accurate, and he’s coming off a T2 at last year’s Open Championship. Banking on him to do one better this year.
Marksbury: How about the resurgent Andrew “Beef” Johnston? After going public with his struggles with depression, Beef had an emotional T4 finish at last week’s Scottish Open. With 300/1 odds and some solid momentum, he feels like a great bet this week.
BEST PROP PLAY
Dethier: How about Robert Rock for low Englishman — 50/1. I actually bet this one each way (if he’s top-four Englishmen, it’s a win), but I am digging golf’s savvy middle-aged grinders this week. Rock’s T4 at the Irish Open two weeks ago has me hoping for a repeat showing and a big payout.
Kerr-Dineen: I’ll counter with Matt Fitzpatrick, low Englishman — Dylan’s bet is fanciful, but ultimately unrealistic. Matty Fitz has the game to suit this test, and the short game to bail him out when it doesn’t. 11/1 is a good price in this spot for a player who’s become too trendy in the general market.
Dethier: Okay, we can’t just be betting on the Brits. I’ll add in Brian Harman at 4/1 for low left-hander. You think Phil and Bubba are going to hang around on a course rich with wind, rain and gorse?
Marksbury: The winner will be a non-American. This is available at around even odds at William Hill. Walking around with the wind and rain whipping on Wednesday, my feeling is that this Open will present a special challenge for players who are used to teeing it up in the warm and balmy environs of the U.S. Having experience grinding it out in the elements will be a big advantage for European Tour players, who play in these conditions all the time.
PICK A WINNER!
Dethier: I’m going with Matt Kuchar. Accurate driver. Steady player. Above-average in every facet of the game. And I like his ability to land those high soft cuts on these springy greens. Plus, I walked around with Kuchar yesterday and he seems at ease, eager to play well but generally content with his game. He was 50/1 at William Hill, though I see those odds are down to 33/1 elsewhere. Bet the farm!
Kerr-Dineen: I’m sticking with Rory McIlroy. You can see it in his eyes. It’s his destiny to win this golf tournament.
Marksbury: I’m taking Adam Scott, and the reasons are numerous. At 25/1, he’s a super solid bet, and in his last seven appearances, he’s finished outside of T22 only once. He hasn’t missed a cut at the Open in a decade, and he’s been having a quietly excellent season, with six top-10s — including a T7 at the U.S. Open. He’s been posted up in Portrush for over a week, and still feels a bit under-the-radar coming in to this week, which makes me like him all the more.
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