At around 1:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, the 148th British Open – golf’s oldest major championship – tees off from Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland. It’s just the second time in history the tournament will be held outside of England or Scotland. The other was in 1951 and also at Royal Portrush, with Englishman Max Faulkner winning at 3-under par.
The recent successes of Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy (multiple-time major winner), Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open winner) and Darren Clarke (2011 British Open winner and his home course is Royal Portrush) are what helped Royal Portrush lure the Open Championship to a country that has just 1.7 million residents and is about the size of Connecticut. The fans there are so excited they sold out all four rounds before the tournament. That never had happened before. There will be no tickets sold at the gate.
SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks roll out a huge number of props for all four of golf’s major championships, of which the British Open is now the last on the calendar with the PGA Championship’s move to May. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites from Bovada.
Lowest Completed Round
64 exactly (+135)
65 & over (+180)
63 & under (+220)
Hard to gauge this prop because we don’t really know how tough the course will play. It hasn’t hosted a Tour-level event since the 2012 Irish Open, but there have been a ton of renovations since then so it hardly will resemble that layout. It will play to par 72 at somewhere around 7,300 yards with plenty of elevation changes and winds from the Irish Sea. Most believe it’s going to play tough, but the weather will be a key factor as it always is in the British Open.
The 18-hole tournament record is a 62 by Branden Grace in the third round of the 2017 tournament at Royal Birkdale. The Royal Portrush record is a 61 by McIlroy, who shot that in an amateur tournament when he was just 16. Again, though, the course has changed a lot since then.
Free pick: 65 & over
Will There Be A Playoff?
Writing this prop mainly to remind readers of the playoff format at the British Open. It’s four-hole aggregate and then sudden death if still tied after that. The last playoff was in 2015 at St Andrew’s and in which Zach Johnson beat Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen.
You can also bet on the winning margin, in which a playoff is +300 with one stroke at +250, two at +400, three at +500 and four or more at +300. Oddly, there hasn’t been a one-stroke margin of victory since Ernie Els in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes over Adam Scott (my pick to win this week, by the way).
Free pick: Yes on playoff
Big 6 Vs. The Field
Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, and Justin Rose +150
Tiger has won three British Opens but not since 2006 and he hasn’t played this year since the U.S. Open – we think he’s rusty and doesn’t contend. Johnson has a 2011 runner-up at the British Open but otherwise links-style golf for some reason doesn’t seem to suit him. Rahm hasn’t contended in his three trips to this tournament. Koepka has a best finish of sixth two years ago. Rose was a runner-up last year. McIlroy has been Top 5 in his past four British Opens and won in 2014 – he obviously will know Royal Portrush better than just about anyone in the field other than his two countrymen.
I only think Rory can win from this group.
Free pick: Field
Top American Finisher
We like Xander Schauffele at +1000. He was a co-runner-up at the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie, T2 and T3 at this year’s Masters and U.S. Open, respectively, and has been Top 20 or better in seven of 10 career major starts. He’s due a major.