Golf Betting Tips for the 2021 Open Championship
Golf Betting Tips
Well here we are, it's the sixth major of the 2020-2021 super-season as the PGA Tour shifts from Illinois to Sandwich, Kent, England, for the 2021 edition of the Open Championship. This historic golf event is the oldest of its kind in the world, and dates way back to 1860 when a fellow named Willie Park Sr. won with 174 strokes which was better by two strokes than Old Tom Morris had. This will be the 149th year this tournament has been played, it would have been the 150th had the COVID-19 pandemic not wiped out last year's event. We have a full 156-player field this week, and the top 70 golfers plus ties will move on to play round 3 and round 4 on the weekend.
There's $11.5M available to be won this week, the winner gets $2.07M, and also receives 600 FedEx Cup points. The tournament this year will be played at Royal St.George's Golf Club, it's 7,211 yards in length, is a par 70, and the greens are bentgrass. The average winning score at this event over the last ten editions is -11.8 - the winning score when the tournament was last played at Royal St.George's Golf Club in 2011 was -5 by Darren Clarke and I think we will see something similar this week, so it's a tough track to navigate. The record winning score for the Open Championship is maintained by Henrik Stenson when he shot -20 just five years ago in 2016 - albeit on an easier course at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. Place bets on golfers this week who are solid with their approach shots, have a good drive percentage, putt well on bentgrass, are sound around the green, and are good about avoiding bogeys.
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Below you will find two players from each of four different betting tiers (from DraftKings Sportsbook) to win outright, these are the golfers that I like the most for this week as fantasy golf bets, plus a golfer in each tier that I would stay clear from. I would also advise you to throw in some top 5, top 10, and even top 20 or 30 bets for the long shots as well to hedge against your outright bet(s).
+2500 and lower
Brooks Koepka (+1800) - If it's a major tournament then count me in for putting money down on Koepka as he has full motivation, focus, and his best golf game on the world's biggest stages. In his past fifteen major starts he has four wins, three runner-up or co-runner-up finishes, and another four top 7's - how do you like them apples?! He is looking for his first win at the Open Championship but does have three top 10's in his last four tournaments played since 2015 including a T4 in 2019. He enters this week with three top 5's in his past four starts including a co-runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, a T4 at the U.S. Open, and he's coming off a T5 at the Travelers Championship. I think a wager on him to win, to finish top 5 and/or finish top 10 are all in play this week. The pressing question I have about Koepka this week: will his putter let him down? He has lost strokes with the putter in three out of his last six events including losing over 4.5 strokes at the Byron Nelson in May.
Jon Rahm (+800) - Rahm finally broke through with his first major win in his most recent PGA Tour start at the U.S. Open - now that it has happened, it makes me wonder if the floodgates will now open where he wins several more majors in the years ahead. He has ten top 10's this season in 17 starts between the PGA Tour and one on the European Tour - last week where he finished T7 at the Scottish Open. I think you can bet him to win, finish top 5 and/or finish top 10 - same as Koepka above. The pressing question I have about Rahm this week: how will his recent U.S. Open win impact his mentality, drive, and play? I think he should have full confidence this week after winning his first major not even a month ago, but perhaps he won't have the same motivation since he has already answered the question of will he win a major.
Avoid: Rory McIlroy (+2200) - It's usually hard to fade one of the favorite players near the top of the betting board, especially one who has accomplished so much in his career, but this week I'm off of McIlroy. We last saw Rory on the PGA Tour when he finished T7 at the U.S. Open last month, but he has played twice on the European Tour more recently and had a T59 in a fairly weak field at the Irish Open, and he missed the cut by a bunch last week at the Scottish Open. He does have seven top 10's this season in 18 starts, he won at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, and has other good finishes too, but I can't put money on Rory until he heats up again. The pressing question I have about McIlroy this week: can he put his two previous poor tournaments behind him to compete in a stronger field and at a tougher course? In his win this season he was coming off a missed cut, so it's entirely possible he has a huge bounce back this week too, of course, but a top 10 finish is likely a bit of a stretch.
+2600 to +5000
Louis Oosthuizen (+2800) - The 2010 Open Championship winner has been absolutely tearing it up lately with three runner-up or co-runner-up finishes in his last five PGA Tour starts, he finished T8 at the Valspar four starts ago, and finished T18 at the Memorial Tournament two starts ago. He's coming off a T42 at the BMW International Open on the European Tour, but don't let that average finish deter you from betting him this week. He has a strong history at the Open Championship overall, has two top 28's since 2018, and had a co-runner-up finish in 2015. I think betting him to finish top 5 or top 10 is a good way to go this week, you could place a more safe top 20 wager on him if you're unsure what to do. The pressing question I have about Oosthuizen this week: can he keep this heater going? He has been one of the very best players in the world since late April, but he might be due for a bit of a market correction from his baseline play, it could go either way this week, but I still like him as a bet.
Paul Casey (+3000) - Casey should have lots of experience on these types of links-style courses since he's an Englishman and is a mighty fine golfer to boot. He has three top 7's in his last four starts across the PGA Tour and the European Tour including a T7 at the U.S. Open and a T4 at the PGA Championship. His approach play has been especially rock-solid since The American Express as he has gained strokes in this stat category all but once in his last twelve outings, and the one tournament where he lost he only lost 0.24 strokes. I think betting him to finish top 10, top 20, or top 30 are all in play this week, it's up to you how much risk you're comfortable with. The pressing question I have about Casey this week: what will his putter do? The only thing holding Casey back from huge finishes every week is his flat stick - he has lost strokes in putting in five out of his last seven starts, and his biggest gain was a mere 0.15.
Avoid: Bryson DeChambeau (+3500) - DeChambeau hasn't looked overly elite lately as he missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic - an event he won last year, and he doesn't have a top 10 since the Wells Fargo Championship in mid-May. I want players who are good around the green this week since missing greens will make it hard to get up and down with all of the deep and difficult bunkers to contend with plus the thick grass is no joke, and Bryson just isn't good in this category more often than not. The pressing question I have about DeChambeau this week: how will the new caddie impact his game? He has a brand new caddie now, and I'm just not sure it's a good time to bring a new one on board with one of the toughest golf courses on the menu this week. It could give him a positive spark he needs, but I'm thinking it will take a while before the two can form a solid bond out on golf courses and become a good team.
+5100 to +10000
Ian Poulter (+6000) - Poulter played some excellent golf last week at the Scottish Open where he back-doored a T4 thanks to his 63 in round 4. He has six straight top 40's now and two of them were top 4's including his T3 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. I like that he's a native of England, and has three top 14's at the Open Championship since 2012. He excels with his around-the-green play and putting, and those two elements of his game will serve him well this week since the short game will be pivotal throughout. I think a top 30 bet on him is where I would head with Ian this week, you could do a top 20 but I wouldn't feel as comfortable in that range. The pressing question I have about Poulter this week: what will the approach play look like? Arguably the weakest part of Poulter's game is his approach - he often loses strokes in this stat category and it's regularly at least 2 strokes when he does.
Lucas Herbert (+10000) - I'm favoring the European Tour players a bit more this week than I normally do because they typically do see more links-style courses than PGA Tour players do. Herbert won the Irish Open two starts ago and he's coming off a T4 last week at the Scottish Open in a pretty good field - he even scored better than Jon Rahm. He had two top 19's on the PGA Tour before heading to Ireland including his T18 at the Memorial Tournament, and he gained strokes across the board in both of those events. I think betting him to finish top 30 or top 40 is perfectly good with me this week, or you could bet him to finish top 20 if you think his strong play will continue. The pressing question I have about Herbert this week: can he do it again? Prior to his four straight top 19's finishes between both tours, he had been playing pretty bad with missed cuts and other bad finishes even when he made the cut. I do think he will have another good week, but his ride could be over for now - time will tell.
Avoid: Daniel Berger (+5500) - Berger seems like a great deal this week from a betting and DFS perspective, but I think it's because his Open Championship history isn't too good with two missed cuts and a T27 in three starts, he's coming off a T34 at the John Deere Classic last week in a sub-par field, and he hasn't been all that great in majors recently, outside of the U.S. Open last month where he finished T7. His stats look stellar for the most part, but when he loses strokes putting, he can miss cuts or finish T75 - his result from the PGA Championship. I do have some mild interest in him for DFS, but not really from a betting angle. The pressing question I have about Berger this week: can he play well overseas? He doesn't have a ton of experience playing at Open Championships, but in his limited play, he hasn't really done too much - perhaps he's just best suited for North American courses.
+11000 and higher
Guido Migliozzi (+16000) - The talented young Italian has been playing quite well since the British Masters where he finished runner-up, then he also finished runner-up at his next European Tour event, he followed that up with a T4 at the U.S. Open, went on to finish T13 at the Travelers Championship, and had a T35 last week in Scotland. I think you can bet him to finish top 30 or 40 this week - he could finish something like T17, but I wouldn't bet him to finish inside of the top 20. The pressing question I have about Migliozzi this week: is the party over? Nobody expected his top 5 finish at the U.S. Open, but he played outstanding gaining over 6 strokes with his ball-striking, almost 5 strokes around the green, and over 11 strokes tee-to-green. If he comes anywhere close to those stats again this week then watch out, but I think he would be happy to finish top 30.
Stewart Cink (+11000) - Cink has already won twice on the PGA Tour this season, has five top 30's at the Open Championship since 2011 including his T30 at this track ten years ago, and he just keeps killing it with his approach play - he has only lost strokes once in his last eleven tournaments played and the loss was only 0.28 strokes. I think betting him top 30 is very doable this week, you could sneak into top 20 territory but I would advise against that. The pressing question I have about Cink this week: will his around the green game be better? He has lost strokes around the green in four out of his last five events - his gaining week was just 0.01 but at least his worst week was just -1.19. As long as he loses under a stroke in this category then he should be just fine and finish half-decent.
Avoid: Billy Horschel (+12500) - Things are going the wrong way for Horschel these days as he only has one top 20 in his last eight events played, he finished T54 in Scotland last week, and I don't like how his approach play and around the green play are trending lately. Too bad that there aren't more match-play events on the schedule as he won the WGC-Dell Technologies tournament in March and finished T4 at the Zurich Classic in April. The pressing question I have about Horschel this week: will he find his way out of bunkers? We already know that he's not that great of a player around greens, and he ranks 106th in sand saves this season - not too promising since the bunkers this week will be punishing.
Be sure to do lots of research and due diligence on each player before parting with your hard-earned money, and all the best in having a profitable week!
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Jeremy has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 successful years, and actively plays golf, hockey, baseball, and table tennis. He has over three years of fantasy sports writing experience - including writing a daily fantasy sports strategies and tools eBook in 2016. He is an active member of DraftKings - specializing in NHL and PGA contests over the past 5 years. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to hot places in the frigid Canadian Winters, binge-watching on Netflix, and starting and managing digital businesses.