This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
The Open Championship Betting Preview
It's time for the fourth and final major championship of the year as the golf world turns its attention to the historic Old Course at St. Andrews for the 150th Open Championship.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, at 14-1 odds, and tournament favorite Rory McIlroy -- who checks in at 9-1 -- headline a field that heads back to St. Andrews for the first time since 2015, when Zach Johnson hoisted the Claret Jug after beating Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff. Last year, Collin Morikawa -- at 35-1 -- defeated Jordan Spieth by two strokes at Royal St George's for his second major championship.
A par-72 at approximately 7,300 yards, the Old Course is unique in that it only has a pair of par-3s and par-5s on the course. Half of the par-4s play around 400 yards or less. The Road Hole -- the long par-4 17th in which golfers have to navigate a tough landing zone with a hotel on the right and trouble around the green -- is one of the most famous holes in golf. It also played to nearly a 4.7 scoring average in 2015. The fairways and greens are some of the widest in golf, which gives a boost to driving distance over accuracy as well as lag putting, particularly with the course expected to play firm and fast this week.
I don't think there's one specific type of golfer to target this week, as the course requires creativity to play a lot of different shots. Ultimately, I'll aim at golfers with success in majors and links setups, as well as those who excel with their irons.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 1:00 PM ET Tuesday.
Open Championship Chairmen
These five golfers, with a minimum of two appearances, have the lowest scoring average in The Open Championship since 2015.
We know how well Spieth has played at Augusta National, but his results in the Open don't lag too far behind. The 2017 winner of the event came up one shy of the playoff at St. Andrews in 2015 and it's the only major he's never missed a cut in, going a perfect 8-for-8. The oddsmakers have taken note, as they have him as the fourth choice on the board at 16-1, even if his form has been inconsistent of late. A bit further down the board -- and in better form is -- Finau, who has 35-1 odds to win. He's done an excellent job throughout his career elevating his play on the game's biggest stage, with over half of his major starts resulting in top-25 finishes and his worst finish in five Open Championship appearances being a tie for 27th. The long-hitting Finau ranks top-20 in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Approach this season, and his ball-striking prowess should make him a contender at the Old Course.
The Right Approach
These players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds.
- Xander Schauffele: 1.24
- Hideki Matsuyama: 1.17
- Scottie Scheffler: 1.17
- Rory McIlroy: 1.11
- Harold Varner III: 0.99
It's no surprise to see Schauffele's name atop the list, as he used precise iron play to lead him to victories in each of his last two starts. While he has caught his share of flack for not winning enough over the last several years, not many players have posted quality results more consistently. Schauffele is gaining over a quarter shot in the four primary Strokes Gained categories and has 14 top-25s in 21 major starts. He's made the cut in all four of his Open Championships and posted a T2 finish in 2018. Meanwhile, it's no surprise that McIlroy enters as the favorite, as he's the lone player to show up on both lists. Historically one of his best majors with five top-5 finishes at The Open, he missed the cut in 2019 and finished T46 last year. An injury prevented him from playing the Old Course in 2015, but his recent from -- five top-10s since The Masters -- makes him the clear top choice to take home the Claret Jug.
Open Championship Bets: Outright Picks
Patrick Cantlay (20-1)
Cantlay is the eighth choice on the board this week, but he's looked much better than that over the past few months, recording five top-15 finishes in his last six starts. Some bettors may be hesitant to take him given his less-than-stellar track record in majors, but he should be full of confidence on the links after a T4 at the Genesis Scottish Open.
Tyrrell Hatton (40-1)
Hatton is no stranger to links golf, as the Englishman began his career on the DP World Tour and still makes several starts overseas each year. His only major championship top-5 came at The Open, and two of his five top-10s in majors came at the event. Hatton is a two-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, an event in which two of the four rounds are played at the Old Course.
Mito Pereira (100-1)
Pereira makes for a good long shot due to his boom-or-bust nature -- with an emphasis on the boom. He followed up his near-miss at the PGA Championship with a pair of top-15 finishes but has now failed to play the weekend in three straight starts. I'm not going to take too much from his missed cut last week, as the Old Course will play differently than The Renaissance Club.
Open Championship Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Joaquin Niemann (5-1)
I don't have quite enough confidence in Niemann to bet on him to win, but he has made the cut in eight straight majors, and he's been in good form recently, recording a T3 at the Memorial and a T16 last week. Niemann has been solid across the board statistically and ranks 16th in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Robert MacIntyre (9-1)
MacIntyre hasn't shown the best form since entering the top 50 in the world last year, but it's also difficult to overlook the fact he has posted top-10 finishes in both of his Open Championship appearances. He'll have the home crowd behind him as the Scottish player most likely to be in contention.
K.H. Lee (12-1)
The oddsmakers aren't giving much respect to Lee, who is playing arguably the best golf of his career. He won in Texas a couple months ago and has made the cut in both majors since. He's also gaining shots in the four main Strokes Gained categories, which figures to be key, as all facets of a player's game will be tested at the Old Course.
Open Championship Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Power has looked comfortable on the big stage, posting a T27 in his first major championship appearance earlier this year at Augusta and following that up with a T9 at the PGA and a T12 at the U.S. Open. The Irishman should be comfortable on the links. The Open was traditionally one of Scott's better major venues, but since 2016 he's failed to record a top-15.
Pieters has been pretty hyped over the years, but his last top-20 in a major came four years ago. I'll side with the major champion and go with Woodland, who made the cut in Scotland last week and finished T10 at the U.S. Open.
Open Championship Bets: Tiger Woods Odds
Woods comes into The Open at +6000 odds to win, -165 to make the cut and +120 odds to miss the weekend. The last time we saw Tiger, he withdrew following the third round of the PGA Championship and then elected to skip the U.S. Open. He seems re-energized in his preparation for St. Andrews, where he has claimed victory twice. I like the value on Woods at +550 for a top-10 finish.