The Open Championship begins in less than two weeks and sportsbooks have released their top five contenders. They include Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, and Justin Rose. There are odds for each player available at this resource for online betting but keep in mind that there is still time for odds to change. It’s a good idea to check back every now and then until the start of the tournament to stay up to date on the numbers in case they change.
The power five listed above is no big surprise, as each also lands in the top five slots of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Brooks Koepka is currently number one in the world, followed by Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Tiger Woods.
The Open Championship makes its return to Northern Ireland (and Royal Portrush) for the first time since 1951. Landing in McIlroy’s homeland, it’s hard not to imagine him being the top favorite, despite Brooks Koepka’s recent stretch of major championship performances. Rory also has three straight top ten finishes at the Open Championship and was the winner in 2014 at Royal Birkdale.
Top dogs aside, who could (and should) be considered sneaky selections heading into the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush?
Here are five early value picks, accompanied by futures odds. Again, each can be tracked regularly (and easily) via the Sports Betting Dime website.
148th Open Championship: Five Early Value Picks
It is hard to imagine why Kuchar (+5000) isn’t one of the favorites heading into the Open Championship. In general, consider the entire package and recent history. Kuchar has a T9 finish at Carnoustie in 2018 and was the runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2017. Toss in the fact that this season, he has eight top ten finishes, two wins and currently sits on top of the 2019 FedEx Cup standings. Kuchar is also 7th on the PGA Tour in both scrambling and ball striking (necessities in these tournaments). Other than the absence of a major championship win, what’s not to love?
The Englishman is ranked 24th in the world (OWGR), has four international victories and has familiarity with these types of courses and conditions. But is Matt Wallace (+4000) battle tested and ready to compete in the majors? Yes, he is. Look no further than his T3 finish at this year’s PGA Championship, as well as a T6 at Arnie’s tournament and a T12 at the 2019 U.S. Open. Statistically, he checks off a number of boxes, as well. Wallace cracks the PGA Tour’s top 50 in SG: Total (48th), SG: Tee-to-Green (42nd) and SG: Around the Green (12th). He is a very well-rounded player.
With Leishman (+5000), you first look at past history at the Open Championship. He finished T6 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, T2 in 2015 at St. Andrews and T5 at Royal Liverpool in 2014. This season, he has played well, ranking 23rd in the OWGR and currently sits 13th in the FedEx Cup standings. He is 24th in SG: Approach the Green and 14th in scrambling – both solid keys to being successful in the Open Championship. It just feels like his time.
Somehow, Webb Simpson (+8000) continuously gets overlooked. He’s 19th in the OWGR, just behind Jason Day and ahead of players such as Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama. He is a major champion (2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club). Furthermore, look at Webb’s recent performances at major championships. Webb Simpson has made ten straight cuts at majors. His last missed cut was the 2017 Masters. He has finished in the top 40 in each of the last ten majors, including a tie for 10th at the 2018 U.S. Open and a tie for 5th at this year’s Masters.
If looking for a long shot, how about Emiliano Grillo (+15000)? The 26 year-old from Argentina is having a solid season and hasn’t missed a cut since the Honda Classic on March 3rd. He landed in the top ten at the Memorial Tournament. He has made four straight cuts at majors, including a T23 finish at the PGA Championship this season. Perhaps most importantly, he is very solid off the tee (24th in SG: Off-the-Tee) and with his approach shots (6th in SG: Approach the Green). Where he typically falters is around the green (178th – SG: Around the Green) and on the putting surface (187th – SG: Putting). The game is there and the talent is there. One hot putting week in Northern Ireland and Grillo could really surprise a lot of people.
In the end, we still have a few weeks until The Open Championship. Odds can (and will) change. Players can get hot. It is sure to be a wild ride once we hit Royal Portrush.
Who do you consider to be a sleeper heading into the PGA season’s final major?
Featured Image Credit: PGA Championship Twitter