It’s here! The British Open is finally here, which means it’s time for For The Win‘s Luke Kerr-Dineen and Nate Scott to cycle through the field and unearth the best value bets on the market. They’ve picked one favorite, outsider and long shot player each, and all odds are courtesy of Bovada.
Jason Day, 8/1
Quite simply, over the last six months no one has played better than Day. He’s in the hunt almost every Sunday, and while he hasn’t fully separated himself from the McIlroy-Spieth-Johnson pack, he’s the one I feel best about heading into this weekend. Over Day’s last nine tournaments he’s only finished outside the top 25 once, and he finished T27 in that one (The Memorial). Actually, let’s just take a look at those last nine starts, in which he finished 1, 1, T10, T23, T5, 1, T27, T8, T3. Those finishes include wins at the Arnold Palmer, WGC Match Play and The Players’ Championship. You can feel good about any of the big 4, but look for the Aussie to be in contention this weekend.
Hideki Matsuyama, 66/1
Matsuyama can be erratic, and at just 24 years old, he’s still figuring out how to put together consistent rounds. But boy, the talent is there. After winning the Phoenix Open in February, Matsuyama finished T6 at the Arnold Palmer, T7 at the Masters and T7 at the Players. (He then missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but we won’t hold that against him.) Matsuyam is currently ranked 8th in tee-to-green, 20th in total driving efficiency, and 4th in birdie average, per PGATour.com. He can scramble around the green and is one of the best approach-shot hitters in the game. If the putter gets going, he’s someone who might break through.
David Lingmerth, 125/1
Lingmerth is quietly putting together a nice year, and may be peaking at just the right moment. Following a CUT at the Players, Lingmerth finished T27 at Memorial, then finished 12 at the U.S. Open and T7 at WGC-Bridgestone. It’s a nice trend and you’re seeing Lingmerth putting together consistent rounds. While he’s not an exceptional ball striker, Lingmerth is currently ranked 7th on the PGA Tour in overall putting average, and has shown a nice ability to make a ton of putts from inside 8 feet. Anyone over 100-1 odds is going to have flaws, but I like Lingmerth here. If the approach shots are working and other players struggle with the putter, he could be a sneaky pick.
Justin Rose, 35/1
He’s on the high end of the favorite spectrum, which is probably because of his recent back injury. He only starting hitting drivers again the week of the U.S. Open, and it showed (he missed the cut). His ball-striking stats can’t be argued — he’s fourth on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green — and Rose told me last week that he’s finally swinging and practicing pain-free. 35/1 is a big enough price to take a risk on a major winner like Rose.
Shane Lowry, 50/1
Shane Lowry’s good play at the U.S. Open was overshadowed by the rules debacle that surrounded Dustin Johnson’s eventual win, but the Irishman is becoming an increasingly common fixture on major leaderboards. He’s finished T-9 and T-2 in his last two U.S. Opens and has a T-9 in the 2014 British Open.
Alex Noren, 100/1
It pains me to say it, but Nate has actually picked a good one here. David Lingmerth is a good one in this bracket, but Alex Noren has the potential to be as equally sneaky. Noren’s only major top 10 came at the British Open (T-9 in 2012), and he has a T-12, eighth and a first place finish in three of his last four starts. Can do a lot worse than picking an in-form player like that at 100/1.
For The Win
Breaking down the best bets ahead of the 2016 British Open
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