The third Major of the golfing year is upon us in what is widely acknowledged as the most challenging of all Open courses. Carnoustie in Scotland is the venue for the 2018 British Open Championship golf this week, where winners frequently finish over par but benign conditions could see some low scoring this week.
As always, this is the UK’s strongest field of the year and the betting market has the world’s best golfer at its head.
Dustin Johnson responded in the best possible way to the loss of his number one ranking by victory at the St Jude Classic in June. That win took DJ back to the top of the world list and he leads the betting for Carnoustie with the USA bookmakers by a small margin at +1200 (12/1) with Bovada for sports betting, whose odds we will use throughout this Open preview.
It is a concern for some to see Johnson take such regular breaks from the game but if he maintains form then he is definitely the man to beat this week.
Behind Dustin we have three players locked as co-second favorites with most sportsbooks, who can’t split Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy (all around +1600) as we head into Thursday.
Of those three, Fowler appears in second place in the Power Rankings and with six top 25s in his last six Majors, including three top 5s, many feel his time has come.
The defending champion, Jordan Spieth, finds himself at +2000 (20/1) and that is largely down to the absence of a win on any tour since his success at Royal Birkdale 12 months ago.
There is not much support for World Number Two Justin Thomas (+2200) either, mainly due to his lack of experience with links golf. It’s an issue that can only be improved with more play on the coastal venues and we are finding some very generous odds as we move through this list.
Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tiger Woods and double US Open Champions Brooks Koepka are all listed at similar prices (22/1) and could all have the key stats needed to lift the Claret Jug on Sunday.
Among some long-priced outsiders are players who have enjoyed success on the PGA Tour but are largely untested on the other side of the Atlantic in 2018. Phil Mickelson (+6600) did compete in the Scottish Open but looked to be off the pace from the start and Lefty has drifted for Carnoustie as a result.
Bubba Watson (+8000) has won three times this season in an incredible career resurgence but he’s no big fan of The British Open and has so far recorded a best of a tie for 23rd place in 2012. Elsewhere, English golfers Tyrrell Hatton (+4000), Ian Poulter (+6600) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (+6000) have all been consistent in Europe this year without getting over the line.
There are so many options for a Major that we can’t mention all possibilities in this Open preview but Luke List (+12500) performed well in Scotland at the weekend while Francesco Molinari (+3300) has recently found his best form on both sides of the Atlantic.
Keegan Bradley (+30000) comes in for the injured 1995 Champion Jon Daly and along with Brandt Snedeker (+15000), we now have a pair of golfers who give us consistent top 10 profits on the PGA Tour.
Finally, a word for our Scottish Open winner Brandon Stone (+15000) who came within inches of recording a historic 59 on Sunday. Only Mickelson has won the Open and the Scottish Open in consecutive weeks but the South African could be a genuine, long-priced Top Ten contender, if he maintains that stunning form.
The Open Predictions, Course Trends & Betting Picks Verdict
The 147th tournament sees a return to Carnoustie for the first time in 11 years to what is the most northerly point on the Open circuit. The bare numbers show that this is a lengthy par 71 at just over 7,400 yards with only two par 5s and some long par 4s.
Wild rough, narrow fairways and fiendish pot bunkers mean that accuracy is going to be a key statistic but length off the tee and scrambling should also combine as we look for a winner with our Open predictions.
There is a lot of support for Dustin Johnson this week and it’s easy to see why: Aided by baked fairways and a lack of wind, his consistent accuracy could make a mockery of the ‘Carnasty’ threat and if he’s on form with conditions in his favor, no-one will live with him.
We rarely go for the favorite with our golf betting pick and while the odds here aren’t exceptional, that is no reason to ignore the most likely winner. Dustin Johnson as 2018 Open Champion is the tip alongside three additional Top 10 suggestions.
These are The Open picks and predictions for this preview:
- Dustin Johnson to win @ best odds of +1370 with Bookmaker. He is +1200 with Bovada, +1140 with 5Dimes and +1100 with Intertops.
- Rickie Fowler +175, Phil Mickelson +450, and Francesco Molinari +275 for Top 10 finishes. Those quoted odds are with Intertops, who offer better value on those three selections than Bovada.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.