There is no better time to place some prop bets than the week of a Major, and there is no shortage of value out there this week for the 2021 Open Championship. I am still emotionally recovering from my -5 Winning Score prop missing by one stroke at the US Open after Rahm miraculously pulled off his sand save for birdie on 18 at Torrey Pines. But be that as it may, I’m ready to jump back in for redemption in the Matchup and Placing markets amongst others. Let’s get into it!
Best Matchup Value (At + Odds)
Brooks Koepka (+148) > Jon Rahm (FanDuel Sportsbook)
This makes two consecutive Majors I’m backing Brooks Koepka at plus odds in a matchup. It paid off versus Bryson DeChambeau at the US Open, and now I’m rolling it over against the odds-on favorite in this tournament, Jon Rahm.
Rahm is a prohibitive favorite in this matchup at -192, and maybe I’m just not as bullish on Rahm as the general public this week, but this should be near even odds in my opinion for what some books are listing as the top 2 favorites in this field. When we think about the floors in this matchup, Rahm’s is much lower than Koepka’s in Open Championships. Dating back to 2015, Brooks has 3 finishes inside the Top 10, while Rahm has failed to register a T10 finish in his 4 career appearances. This week is all about feel, and when I think about the matchup market for The Open, there’s nobody that scares me more 1v1 than Brooks. Not even Rahm.
Best T20 Value
Stewart Cink +450 (DK Sportsbook)
Name a narrative this week and ole Stewart Cink fits the bill for it. He’s got plenty of experience and success at The Open, with 6 T25 or better finishes in 15 appearances dating back to 2014. And his name just so happens to be on the Claret Jug thanks to a victory at Turnberry in 2009. More recently, he’s gaining the most strokes per round on average this season of his career since 2010, which has culminated in two victories at The RBC Heritage and Sanderson Farms. Cink has been getting it done this year with new-found driving distance and hitting greens in regulation at an elite clip, ranking 10th in this field in GIRs Gained L36 coming in. Historically the trends at Royal St. George’s have favored longer hitters off the tee who can hit a high percentage of greens in regulation and lean on years of experience at The Open. Few others in the field are able to check all those boxes like Cink, and no others have a +450 number hanging over them in this market.
Safest Prop (-120 or Better)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout Top 40 (-110) (DK Sportsbook)
Cbez has been as close as you can come to a lock bet in the Top 40 market. In 16 starts this season between the PGA and Euro Tour, Bezuidenhout has 0 MCs, 11 finishes inside the Top 40, and 13 finished inside the Top 45. On the PGA Tour, he only has two finishes outside the Top 40 this season; one was a T41 at THE PLAYERS, and the other was a T55 10 months ago at the US Open. While he has lived in this mid-range of the leaderboard throughout the season, links golf at Royal St. George’s should suit him better than the traditional courses we’ve seen him have success on already. Bezuidenhout ranks 2nd in this field SG: SG L36 behind only Louis Oosthuizen, and on a course where many approaches are expected to be battered off target by high winds or severely undulated slopes around the greens, having an elite short game will be a safe formula to avoid huge numbers on the scorecard, which is all you can ask from a T40 bet.
Best Missed Cut Prop
Bryson DeChambeau (+250) (William Hill)
You hear a lot of NFL executives say on Draft Day that certain players are just off their board, meaning even if they were a first round talent and slipped to the 3rd or 4th round, they would still pass. I never understood that line of thought, but after watching Bryson slip all the way down to the mid-30s on the betting board this week without batting in eye, I think I finally get where they’re coming from. Bryson is off my board, because for every conceivable notion, I think he is set up to fail at Royal St. George’s. Bryson does not hit a low flighted ball, in fact with his swing speed, I don’t think he’s even capable of keeping a ball low with his driver, which means every tee shot he hits is going to be effected by the wind. Unlike recent US Opens where he’s found success bombing and gouging, he is not going to be able to hack his way through the OB fescue and pot-bunkers that await for errant tee shots. The number of hazards and penalty areas on a links set up really deter anyone from playing aggressively, and that’s come to fruition with the number of older, experienced plotters who have found success here instead. Course fit aside, Bryson also has a terrible Event history at The Open with 2 MCs and a T51 in 3 career appearances. Looking at recent form, his short game has been abysmal ranking 124th SG: ARG L24, and last we saw him tee it up on Tour, he looked awful against a weak Rocket Mortgage field en route to a MC. Add on the caddy change and media distractions all week, and I’m still left searching for any outcome that doesn’t result in Bryson packing his bags on Friday.
Best Longshot Prop
Top Scandinavian Plater: Henrik Stenson (+750) (William Hill)
Experience? Event History? It’s been a long time since I’ve felt compelled to back Henrik Stenson, but at least in a field of just 5 other Scandinavians, I can finally say I like the number I’m seeing on the 2016 Open Champion. The obvious frontrunner in the Scandinavian group is Victor Hovland, listed at -120. While I understand the Hovland hype, there’s plenty of ways I could see this going south quickly in his Open debut. It’s well known that the weakest area of Hovland’s game is Around The Green, and there are few other events on the schedule that will test your touch there than The Open. He’s also had trouble avoiding blow up holes at recent Majors as we’ve seen at the US Open, PGA Championship, and Masters this year, so I find it hard to believe Hovland doesn’t continue to find trouble in these conditions where danger is lurking on even the slightest of miss-hits. So if we’re not afraid of Hovland, the only other legitimate adversary to Stenson is Alex Noren, who I know by now should only be trusted in birdie fests, not grinder Major events. The other 3 Scandinavians in the field (Marcus Kinhult, Rikard Karlberg, and Christoffer Bring) aren’t exactly threatening for the Claret Jug, so even though Stenson is having one of the worst seasons of his career, I’ll still ride behind the Event history with these odds.