On the eve of the 149th edition of the Open Championship, Steve's had a good look at all side markets and he's picked out seven bets ranging from 11/10 to 125/1...
"The Top Irish is a competitive enough heat with all four players having lifted the Claret Jug but odds-against about Rory looks big."
I usually like getting stuck into these small Top Nationality fields and taking on Rory McIlroy at 2/7 in the Top Irish market at the USPGA Championship paid dividends two months ago, with both Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington finishing in front of him but he looks a generous price here at an industry-best price of 11/10 with the Sportsbook.
It's a competitive enough heat with all four players having lifted the Claret Jug but odds-against about Rory looks big.
Rory to show the Irish boys the way
Returning to Royal St George's is going to be fabulous for the 2011 winner, Darren Clarke, but it's hard to imagine him contending given his uninspiring current form on the Champions Tour and given the event was cancelled 12 months ago, the 2019 winner, Shane Lowry, has the pressure of defending.
I like the chances of Padraig Harrington at a huge price and he's one of my three Find Me a 100 Winner picks but he was 28/1 to be the top Irish player at Kiawah Island, where he finished fourth, but in comparison, the 5/1 here looks short.
Despite his narrowly missed cut in the Scottish Open, Rory at 11/10 is a bet for me here and now he's been given a late tee-time tomorrow, when the wind is forecasted to ease fractionally, he's starting to look an attractive price in the outright market at a 27.026/1.
As per Justin Ray's Tweet below, he responds well to a weekend off as a rule and if we take out his narrow missed cut two years ago, when nerves may well have got the better of him playing at Portrush, his Open form figures sine he won at Hoylake in 2014 read 5-4-2.
Rory McIlroy missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open.? Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) July 12, 2021
8 of the last 9 times he's missed a cut worldwide, he's finished in the top-20 the following start. In 3 of those instances, he won his next start.
Get with former champ Stenson
Dave Tindall's keen on the chances of Alex Noren in the First-Round Leader market and I'm not about to argue with him. I like Noren's chances too but Henrik Stenson at 4.67/2 in the Top Swedish Market looks a decent price.
Stenson hasn't been anywhere near his best of late but I just wonder how motivated he is nowadays. He's missed a lot of cuts since the game was disrupted by the pandemic but he can get up for certain events. He finished 38th at the US Masters, he made the cut in the USPGA Championship, and he fought hard to make the weekend at the Scandinavian Mixed, an event he co-hosted.
Since romping to victory at Troon in 2016, he's finished 11th, 35th and 20th and another performance like that may be enough to see the bet land.
Markus Kinhult and Rikard Karlberg both command respect but Stenson is the class-act if he's anything close to some sort of form.
A quartet of wire-to-wire punts
It's much harder to spot angles in these days and when you do spot one it doesn't take long for it to be closed off. The price about a wire-to-wire winner at a major used to be around 12/1 and I distinctly remember landing the 9/1 when Brooks Koepka won the USPGA Championship from the front two years ago.
This time around the price is a more realistic 6/1 and that doesn't make any appeal but I like the idea of backing a few different players to achieve the feat.
Tiger woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have all won the Open Championship wire-to-wire recently and if there is going to be a wire-to-wire winner, it's long odds-on that it will be one of the big boys.
Jon Rahm has never won when he's led after rounds one or two so I'm leaving him out but I'm happy to play Kopka, DJ, Spieth and Rory at triple-figure odds.
There are loads of #OddsOnThat bets to ponder on the Sportsbook but the one I like the best is Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka & Xander Schauffele all top 20 finish (incl. ties) at 11/1.
I'll be back tomorrow with the In-Play Blog at some point.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
Other Recommended Bets:
To Lead After Every Round & Win
Brooks Koepka @ 100/1
Dustin Johnson @ 125/1
Jordan Spieth @ 125/1
Rory McIlroy @ 125/1
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