Free Picks: Golf's British Open Odds, Picks & Predictions

Richard O'Hagan

Monday, July 15, 2013 11:31 AM GMT

The Open begins at Muirfield on Thursday, the first time the event has taken place there in eleven years. The field looks wide open this year, with Tiger Woods and Justin Rose the early betting odds leaders.

Picking the winner of any golf tournament before a shot has been played is always tricky. The nature of modern golf is such that any one of about thirty players could easily take the crown. Indeed, this is exactly what we saw in the last two majors, when Adam Scott and Justin Rose came through a packed field to win.

Review our preview of the British Open Early Betting Market.

One thing that we should be able to factor out this year is the weather. So often in recent years the Open championship has been decided by whoever managed the inclement conditions the best. At times, this has led to surprising winners, such as Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton in the mid-2000s. More recently, Darren Clarke’s emotional success came in conditions more suited to January than July. BetVictor will give you 6/5 on the winner not having won a major before, but you have to feel more confident in backing one of the big guns with your sports picks this year. 

Fortunately, none of that is likely to happen this time around. The conditions at Muirfield are currently forecast to be warm and dry, with the temperature rising as the week goes on. Even the wind is predicted to be gentler by the time the first ball is struck. That means that there should be a hard, fast course awaiting the players, with the ball running on further than usual on the fairways and lightning fast greens.

You should therefore expect the winner of this tournament to come from those with the longest games and the most confidence on the greens. That combination should favor the likes of Woods, although at unfavorable betting odds of 9/1 with the likes of Paddy Power for a golfing major.

Another player who might benefit from a course made easier by the conditions is Rory McIlroy. The Irishman has been badly out of sorts since his much publicized change of clubs earlier in the season, but forgiving conditions and what is likely to be a vociferous supporting crowd could be the filip he needs to get back into contention here. It is a measure of how far his star has fallen that a man who less than a year ago was ranked first in the work can now be had at 28/1 (Stan James) to win this tournament and only 6/4 with William Hill to even finish in the top ten.

One market which is always interesting at the Open is the ‘top amateur’ contest. Rose, of course, made his name in winning this and again the conditions should make this less of a lottery than usual. Garrick Porteous is the 6/4 favorite with SkyBet, but Ben Stow is 5/1 with the same bookmaker and the student from the University of Kentucky should find this course to his liking. If he doesn’t let the occasion get to him he looks a good value bet in this market. 

Historically, Muirfield has been one of the lower scoring Open courses, with an average winning total in recent times of around nine under par. In the likely conditions the stage looks set for someone to win big and 188Bet have 7/2 on it being a four stroke or more win for someone. 

If any sport is suited to betting in play, though, it is golf. Four days of play, with each day lasting around twelve hours, will provide you with plenty of opportunity to back and lay players as the tournament progresses. The important thing, though, is to make sure you’re able to pay attention to everything that is going on. The last position you want to be in is with a heavy investment in a player who suddenly has a horrendous three or four holes and drops out of contention, but that happens to at least one player in every tournament and if you’ve picked that as the hour to go to the dentist, you’re going to be in a lot more pain when you come back.