Open Championship 2017: Best Top Nationality Bets

Rory McIlroy - a vulnerable favourite according to The Punter
Rory McIlroy - a vulnerable favourite according to The Punter

Steve Rawlings has had a good look at all nationality markets at this week's Open Championship and he's found a juicy lay and an each-way play...


"The Top Irish Market is a small and select one, containing three major champs and that’s where this week’s most vulnerable side market favourite dwells. Darren Clarke looks to be long gone but in Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington, Rory has stiff opposition and he looks like a weak short-priced favourite to me."

It doesn't usually take me too long to spot a bit of a value in the side markets at major championships but I have to confess, I've struggled a bit this week.

The ever-changing weather forecast has certainly hindered. Just when I think I've spotted a draw bias to exploit, everything changes, and in the space of a few hours today I went from thinking an AM-PM draw would be advantageous to concluding it might actually be better to be drawn PM-AM. After much deliberation, I've concluded that the forecast is so volatile that it might just be best to ignore it until the off.

Back to the markets, and my usual tactic is to look for small fields with strong favourites - the Top Swedish, Top French and Top Italian all looked like ideal candidates but I'm not sure I can take the plunge in any of them.

I really like Henrik Stenson this week and Alex Noren is also one of my pre-event picks but I really wouldn't put anyone off taking the 5/1 about terrific scrambler, Alexander Bjork. He was in-the-mix throughout the recent Open de France where he finished third and if the big two are only slightly off he could reward his backers at a nice price.

The Top French market is a trappy three-man heat but again, the old betting shop adage of backing the outsider of three may pay dividends. Matthieu Pavon clearly loves links golf if last week's third place in Scotland is anything to go by.

Paul Krishnamurty makes a strong case for backing Francesco Molinari in the Top 40 market here and I can't argue with him but should Mollie have an off week and amateur, Luca Cianchett, an inspired one, those that took a chance at 9/2 about the outsider will be in clover.

The Top Irish Market is a small and select one, containing three major champs and that's where this week's most vulnerable side market favourite dwells. Darren Clarke looks to be long gone but in Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington, Rory has stiff opposition and he looks like a weak short-priced favourite to me.

As detailed in my Make/Miss the Cut piece here, Rory arrives at Royal Birkdale on something of a downer and he looks worth taking on at around the even money mark.

Finally, I quite like one in the Top Australian Market. I'm keen to take on Day (see the Make/Miss the Cut piece again) and although it's a lot harder to dismiss the other two big names - Adam Scott and Marc Leishman - with three places up for grabs, Andrew Dodt, could easily place at a nice price.

The 31-year-old had booked a holiday in New York this week but his plans all changed when he finished fourth in Scotland on Sunday to qualify for his first major tournament. Dodt is a nice straight hitter off the tee so that's a plus around Royal Birkdale and I can see him really enjoying himself in what he'll view as a bonus Open debut.

After Scott, Day and Leishman, this is a wide open heat and if one or two of the big three struggle, a place at least is achievable for Dodt at a tasty 16/1.


Selections:
Lay Rory McIlroy @ circa 2.01/1 in the Top Irish Market
Back Andrew Dodt each-way @ 16/1 (Sportsbook)


I'll be back on Thursday night with the In-Play Blog.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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