The Open Championship – Betting Preview

Eight years ago, the sun beamed down on Royal Liverpool, creating crisp fairways and golden greens. After the recent downpours across Merseyside, the course is back to a much more visually pleasing lush green, and is set-up to be a links course to favour the better ball-strikers.

Tiger Woods landed his third claret jug the last time it made an appearance in Hoylake back in 2006, and the American was a whole lot shorter than the current 25/1 on offer for him this time around. I strolled past Tiger this morning (Royal Liverpool is fifteen minutes from my house), and he looks as stern an concentrated as I have seen in a long time. His practice rounds have been coming together nicely, yet even to make the cut would be a fair achievement given his recent injury troubles. He is an interesting proposition in the ‘back-to-lay’ sense however, as any early indication he is finding a bit of form will mean his odds will plummet, and he will become a false price. Punters love to steam into Woods, and he often goes off shorter than he should, so backing him at his price now may not be too soft, as he is likely to drop shorter at some point of his opening round.

However, there are plenty of others who take the eye in this competitive field. The Open has been held in Hoylake 11 times throughout history, however you have to go back to 1967, for the last time before the 2006 Championships. This means it is slightly tricky for punters who like to follow certain trends, so for this reason, certain statistics have to be left out and you have to take the chance with attributes of the golfers that will suit the course.

I was fortunate enough to visit the course recently, and the tweaks that have been made since 2006 are slight, but the key factor this week will be avoiding the tricky fairway bunkers that will spell disaster for many players. This means we have to side with tacticians, and brilliant ball-strikers.

Graeme McDowell led the field after the opening round back in 2006, following a masterful 66. He slipped away as the week went on, but the Irishman went into the tournament in poor form, which could have been to blame for his failure to maintain his early impressive play. This time he heads to Merseyside in a buoyant mood, following a fair showing in the Irish Championship, and a win in the French Open. He has a solid record on links courses, and he strikes the ball better than most, which is key, along with a fantastic driving accuracy. He is currently trading at 30/1, which is very fair, considering most firms are playing at least the first six places, with seven and eight also being offered with certain bookmakers. His mental strength is vital, after learning from his previous mistakes he seems to be at ease, and growing in confidence as opposed to the stress he felt in majors gone by. This could well be his time, and his is the main selection for the week.


It is easy to forget Jordan Spieth is only 20 years old. The Texan has been making waves since he burst onto the scene, and he came very close to landing his first major, when finishing runner-up in the Masters. He is part of the up-and-coming youth that are not fazed by pressure, as shown in his latest few outings. He is a confident young man who possesses plenty of raw, natural talent. He’s not a stranger to links golf and possesses the ability to perform well on any course, in any conditions. He is a tremendous ball striker, and is gritty enough to stick around come Sunday afternoon. The 50/1 on offer is large, and it should be taken before she shortens up before Thursday morning.

The final selection is Paul Casey, who will be out to show everyone his true talent after failing to perform to the best of his ability in recent times, due to injury troubles preventing the Englishman from stringing together much form. He has begun to put together big performances and his play has been impressing many in recent weeks. He is in with a real shout of being one of the Wildcard picks for the European Ryder Cup side, and will be aiming for a big performance to ensure he is top of the list in captain Paul McGinley’s mind. The home advantage may pay dividends, and his iron play will give him a real chance of a big performance at Royal Liverpool. His tough mental attitude will put him in a strong position from the off, and he looks a tad overpriced at 66/1 with many firms.

Selections (all with firms playing at least six places);

Graeme McDowell @ 30/1 

Jordan Spieth @ 50/1

Paul Casey @ 66/1

US PGA Championship – Preview With Tips

The last major of the golfing season is upon us, and the betting seems based around one man, Tiger Woods, who is aiming to end his five year wait for a fifteenth major.

The American has began to piece together form of late, all culminating with a magnificent victory in the WGC-Bridgestone, when he managed to shoot a 61, equaling his lowest ever round.

He looked comfortable in the Open Championship, until a late semi-collapse left him tied for sixth, and that will have given him the added boost he needed to ensure he sees out his rounds, which has shown at Bridgestone.

He is the greatest golfer in the world, and comes into the event in great form, however is 4/1 really value? Of course, if he bolts up by seven shots like he did last week, it will look tremendous, however this is set to be a lot tougher.

If he manages to escape the mental toughness that seems to be overriding his psyche in majors of late, he will take all the beating, but he can’t be advised at such a short price, and the firms offering money back if Woods wins, may be worth siding with this week.

Fortunately for us, due to the superiority of Tiger in terms of the betting, we can find massive value elsewhere, due to the shortest price outside of the master, being 16/1.

However, we look to side with Henrik Stenson, who looks like massive value at 25/1, given his current form.

He finished second at Firestone last Sunday, and continues to be backed every time he lines up for a major.


Ranking fifth on the PGA tour for driving accuracy, it is his putting which has often let the Swede down, and if he manages to piece together a bit of form on the greens at Oak Hill, it would be no surprise to see him end his long wait for a first major.

He has form in the USPGA, finishing top-six in successive years, back in 2008 and 2009, and given the drive and determination etched on Stenson’s stern face every time he lines up at the first tee, you can tell how much it would mean to him, to end the season with a major.

He looks set to be the main selection of the week, whilst we look elsewhere for potential springers at bigger prices.

Although he has been in abysmal form of late, Rory McIlroy has the ability to make a mockery of his 35/1 odds.

The reigning champion landed last years prize in tremendous style, and would be a lot shorter had it not been for his well-documented dip in form since signing a mega-money contract with Nike.

His distance control when using a wedge has been dramatically inconsistent, and he will need to show massive improvements in his short game, as-well as driving accuracy.

However his final round and the Open showed signs of improvements, and states he is entering the week with positives.

Although I wouldn’t advise having a massive amount of McIlroy, it is worth chancing your arm at a bigger price that he can find enough improvement with his new clubs, to mount a serious challenge.

Any signs of a big round early on, and his odds will crumble, as the layers know what he is capable of. This offers a great chance to lay your bet off and escape with a profit, before he has the chance to crumble.

Our final selection is one readers of the golfing selection of this blog, won’t be surprised to see, GMac.

He has been put up in every major covered, and we still need to keep our unwavering faith with the Irishman.

At the last two majors I have been incredibly happy to get 25/1 and 28/1, so imagine the delight of having a quick browse of Oddschecker and seeing the 66/1 widely on offer.

He has been fairly uninspiring of late, and enters the week needing to improve on previous efforts. However, he has won three times in 2013, and all have been on the back of poor performances.

With no pressure on him (like Rory), we could see a different man come Thursday morning, and he looks too big to ignore at 66/1.


1.5 points e.w: Henrik Stenson @ 25/1 (Various)

0.75 points e.w: Rory McIlroy @ 35/1 (Coral)

0.75 points e.w: Graeme McDowell @ 66/1 (Various) 

The Open Championship – Betting Preview With Tips

The biggest four days in the British golfing calendar has finally arrived, and it is back at the course the legendary Jack Nicklaus described as ‘the best course in Britain’.

The Open hasn’t been staged at Muirfield since Ernie Els’ dramatic win in 2002, when he came out best of all in a four-man play-off.

However the course has changed considerably since then, with extra length, new bunkers, and four more championship tees in attendance.

There are even narrower entrances to the sloping greens, due to the extremely deep green-side bunkers. This means we are looking for players with great approach play, and are consistent in finding the greens.

This leads us to our main fancy of the competition, Graeme McDowell. He has just notched up his third victory of 2013, when landing the Open de France in fine fashion.

His incredible driving accuracy and scrambling are two key components that the winner must have in their locker, and this means that the 28/1 on offer for GMac looks very tempting. Coupled with the fact he has grew up playing links golf, unlike many of the competitors, this could give him the vital edge and he looks a great each-way punt.


His other two wins, in the RBC and Volvo Matchplay were equally as impressive, and he seems to be able to handle the burden of being a major winner a lot better, after a dip in form following his 2010 US Open victory.

He tied fifth in last year’s Open Championship, which is his best ever finish and provides a solid platform for the Irishman to kick on and improve on last year’s placing.

Alongside GMac, we can delve into two more fancied entrants, who are also in great form.

Jason Day was still in school when the Open was last at Muirfield back in 2002, but the Aussie has gone from strength-to-strength since turning pro, and has been consistent at the top level over the last couple of years.

Finishing joint-runner up in the US Open this year has highlighted the 25 year-old’s ability to continue to mix it at the top.

He has only played in the Open Championship twice in his blossoming career, disappointing in 2010 before going on to improve and finish a respectable 13th in 2011. He missed last year’s competition due to injury and the birth of his child, which will further spur Day on to give a solid account of himself.

His temperament is to be admired, and after a recent spout of top-ten finishes, it would be no surprise to see Day’s odds tumble in the days leading up to the big event, with a number of firms already only offering 25/1 on the Australian.

He is extremely consistent, and no-one can deny his major pedigree. He looks sure to give punters a solid run for their money at 33/1.

The final selection for the week is an intriguing outsider in the shape of Thorbjorn Olesen.

The 23-year-old has been in patchy form of late, but on his day, he’s shown incredible ability.

He’s more than capable of putting together a big performance, and the 65 he shot in the second round at Royal St George’s last year shows how he can cope with a difficult links course.

He is yet to piece together four rounds of consistent golf, but on the day he does, he is sure to land a big prize.

In the final two rounds at his only appearance at Augusta to date, he managed successive 68’s, so it’s clear to see he has no problem finishing off his rounds.

However his opening 18 often lets the Dane down, so if he is within two or three shots at the close of play on day one, he is in with a solid chance.

Stan James are offering a massive 125/1 on Olesen, who is as short as 50/1 elsewhere.


2 points e.w – Graeme McDowell @ 28/1 (Sportingbet)

1 point e.w – Jason Day @ 40/1 (Coral/Youwin)

0.5 points e.w – Thorbjorn Olesen @ 125/1 (Stan James)

2013 US Open Tips

Another great spectacle in the Golfing calender tees off this week, with the second major of the season, the US Open, taking centre stage at Merion.

All the big players are in attendance, and whilst Tiger Woods is likely to be the pick of most, following his win in the Players Championship, but at 4/1 he looks a little too short for your average punter on what is a wide-open event.

Fortunately for us, BetVictor are very kindly offering a quarter of the odds, and placings down to seventh place, as opposed to the top five with other major bookmakers.

This means we can look for value, and there seems to be one player who is rather overpriced, at 22/1.


My main selection for the event is the in-form Northern Irishman, Graeme McDowell.

He is in tremendous form, having notched up victories in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, before going to land the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.

His record in the US Open is exemplary, having never missed the cut in seven appearances in the second major of the golfing calendar.

Since 2009, his record in the competition reads, eighteenth, first, fourteenth, second, so you have to question why the 33-year-old’s odds are as big as they are.

He was exuding confidence in a recent interview, which is important at such a course. Confidence is needed in your own game, if you are to be at home on what can be a difficult course.

“You could say I’m in the form of my life going into an event in which my record kind of speaks for itself.”

McDowell’s accuracy off the tee, as-well as his short game will be a major factor in his success this week, as the Merion course is renowned as short and tricky, at just  6996 yards.

The Heritage Pro-Am April 20, 2011 Hilton Head, SC

This means his recent quote, when he said: “I would say I’m quite good at acknowledging that par is a great score at the US Open. When that becomes a good score, I’m a decent scrambler. I drive it straight, my iron play is solid and I’m a good putter,” should instill confidence in any punters wanting to invest in GMac.

He rounded off a recent interview by saying: “I feel like I’m a substantially better player than I was three years ago (when he won at Pebble Beach).”

Which points you in the direction if thinking if he manages to step up on his performance at Pebble Beach, it will take something special to stop him. He looks a solid-bet each-way at 22/1 with BetVictor, and he could be a lot shorter come Sunday evening.

However, it often pays to back more than one in these sort of events, as if GMac just so happens to misplace a few on the first day, you don’t want to be having to watch the rest of the three days in angst, knowing you have no chance whatsoever.

My betting strategies always result in me having a ‘saver’ on one of the leading contenders to attempt to minimise any potential losses, however this year I am opposing Woods, McIlroy and Scott, which means that the next solid bet on a leading contender, will have to be Matt Kuchar.


Kuch’s strong mentality will be a major strength over the four days at Merion, and his ability to put behind him any mistakes he will make is a great trait to have.

He arrives at Pennsylvania in great form, with a win and a second in his last two appearances on a golf course.

Tie that in with the six top-ten finishes in only fourteen starts in 2013, and you have yourself a real contender.

Verizon Heritage Pro-Am in Hilton Head, SC April 14, 2010

His record in majors is solid, with five top-tens and only a pair of missed cuts since 2010, and this could be a great place for the 35-year-old to finally break his Major duck.

His tee accuracy is what usually lets him down, but with the opportunity for his magnificent short game to take centre stage, he should be in his element, and with him currently sitting at fifth in the PGA Scoring Average (69.739), he looks set for a big week.

That means we have two leading contenders on our side, but like in the Masters when I put up Angel Cabrera at 125/1, it always pays to have a big outsider onside, to make the last couple of days that little bit more interesting.

One good round, and you would be able to lay your bet off, essentially meaning you have a profit/free bet regardless.

This year’s big-priced selection for the US Open is last year’s tied-second Michael Thompson.


The American’s calm demeanor and impeccable short-game mean he enters the US Open with a real chance of going one better than last year’s result.

He ranks top ten in putting from ten to twenty-five feet, which is key to his chances this week, as with the fast and tricky greens, this is a real chance to pick up shots on the field.

His win in the Honda Classic showed his performance last year was no fluke, and his recent performances when finishing top-ten in the WGC Cadillac, and eighth in the incredibly difficult conditions at Muirfield Village when last seen, suggests he is set for another big challenge.

A three figure price looks too big to ignore, and along-side our two leading contenders, they should all hopefully go close.

Advice (All with BetVictor):

1.5 points each-way: Graeme McDowell @ 22/1

0.75 points each-way: Matt Kuchar @ 20/1

0.25 points each-way: Michael Thompson @ 100/1

2013= +30.41

US Open Graphic

Bet Victor’s suggestions on how to win the US Masters

Bet Victor are renowned for their incredible special offers on major sporting events, and the US Masters is no different.

They have trumped other market competitors by offering an incredible special for anyone who is contemplating having a punt on this weeks big event.

Only at Bet Victor will you find the special offer of receiving your money back of up to £50 per person/household if Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy win the US Masters!

This means that you can be free to back your outsiders in the knowledge that you will be receiving your stake back if either of the two main contenders land the prize at Augusta this week.

So enjoy the four days, and if it comes to the final day and you’re choices are without a chance, make sure you get behind Tiger or Rory to retrieve your money for the week!

Now we’ve got your attention, and you’re contemplating who to back, have a look at Bet Victor’s guide on how to win a Masters..

Follow the trends and best of luck for the week.


US Masters 2013 – Tips

The opening segment of this week’s post about the 2013 US Masters comes from my course-mate  and golf fanatic Matthew Southcombe.

The Welshman cleaned up at the Ryder Cup, so I have drafted him in, in the hope of making us all some money on the big event in America this week.

There are plenty of offers around if you care to shop about, however if you are fancying a bigger priced bet but scared that the front two in the market could snatch it, in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, make sure you have a bet with Bet Victor.

They are offering money back of up to £50 back if Tiger or Rory win, on any pre-tournament bets on the big event. This looks a safer option if your player is only a couple of points shorter with the firm, as effectively you also have the front two in the market going with you, for free.


Matt Kuchar 37/1 Betfair

I can’t believe Kuchar’s price is so big!

Kuchar is currently 3rd in the FedEx Cup standings following his win at the WGC Accenture Mactchplay back in February. The Butch Harmon student hasn’t missed a cut all year and has 3 top 10’s out of 7 starts.

The Floridian has proved he has what it takes to hold his own at the major championships. Last season he came T9 at the Open Championship and came T3 at Augusta behind winner Bubba Watson and 2nd place Louis Oosthuizen.

I’m a firm believer that to win at Augusta you need to be hitting fairways, but Kuchar never misses a cut (just 1/22 cuts missed last season) and if you’re there at the weekend, anything can happen.

Justin Rose 22/1 Betfair

U.S. Open Golf Practice Round June 15,  2011

Rose is the finished article with a fantastic, repeatable swing. The Englishman is 18th in the FedEx Cup thanks to no missed cuts from 4 starts this season, he also has 4 top 25’s with 3 top 10’s.

He also has the winning feeling this season after being part of the Lake Albany team that won the Tavistock Cup in March.

The 32-year-old has worked his way to number 3 in the world and last year he finished T8 at Augusta and T3 in the PGA Championship. He also played a big part in the European Ryder Cup success, canning a huge putt on the final day at 17, proving he can do it on the big stage.

Finally in a recent interview at Bay Hill I got the impression that Rose believes he can beat Tiger, and he can.

Keegan Bradley 33/1 Bet365

I’m usually not Bradley’s biggest fan, something about him really bugs me, but there’s no denying the guy can play.

He didn’t really perform too well in the majors last year but managed to get himself T3 at glory’s last shot.

The man from Vermont proved he has what it takes on the big stage by winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last season, he also won 3 out of 4 points on his Ryder Cup debut.

His season has come alive in recent weeks claiming 4 top 10’s in his last 4 starts and has the 11th best scoring average this year on the PGA Tour.

The man has some serious game and I reckon he’s a solid each way bet.

Those selections were courtesy of Mr Southcombe, and now I am going to add my own for anyone who fancies sticking with me!

My Selections:

Charl Schwartzel – 29/1 Betfair

charl schwartzel

Schwartzel has really been on top of his game of late, with his last four starts on the European Tour returning a first, a second, a third and a fourth placed finish.

His final round 75 eradicated any chances he had when last seen in America, but when you take into account, that is his worst strokeplay finish so far this calendar year, it makes the 29/1 seem a marvelous price.

He has a sensational record in Majors, with a run of seven consecutive top 18 finishes.

He landed the US Masters two years ago and arrives to Augusta in better form, and arguably a better player than when he won it. All points towards a big challenge from the South African.

Angel Cabrera – 125/1 William Hill

The ageing Argentinian has a fine record at Augusta including five top 10 finishes in the Masters, with the highlight being his victory in 2009.

His long, straight drives are key to his success at the course, and although his form has not been great as of late, he always seems to make sure he enters early April in top condition for a crack at the big prize.

Matt Southcombe’s advice:

1 point win: Matt Kuchar – 37/1 (Betfair)

1 point win: Justin Rose – 22/1 (Betfair)

0.5 points e.w: Keegan Bradley – 33/1 (Bet365)

My advice:

0.5 point win – Charl Schwartzel – 29/1 (Betfair)

2 points win: Charl Schwartzel – Top 10 finish – 11/5 (Stan James)

0.25 win – Angel Cabrera – 125/1 (William Hill)

0.25 win – Angel Cabrera – Top 10 finish – 8/1 (Ladbrokes)

Here is a link to Matt Southcombe’s sports blog:

2013: +25.11