Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Open Championship - Betting Analysis

Based on the statistics on Golf Predictor for The Open Championship, here is my analysis of the tournament for betting purposes. The analysis for fantasy golf or DFS golf would be similar, except of course at the top end, where picking the favourites makes more sense (if possible from a usage or salary point of view). Of course, you are free to disagree and log in to Golf Predictor to make your own informed choices for the tournament! 

Overview

All the big names have gathered in Fife for the big one, except for the injured Rory McIlroy of course. It being Scotland, the weather could be a major factor this week. Rain and fairly high winds are forecast, so that could turn the form book on its head. However, there was a similar forecast for last week's Scottish Open and that didn't turn out too bad, except possibly for some wind on Sunday. Here's hoping for some good golf and may the best man win!

Form Golfers

Jordan Spieth's season keeps getting better and better. He overcame a slow start (mostly with a career low round!) to win for the fourth time last weekend at the John Deere. The two major wins, the two regular tournament wins, the three second places (one solo) and a tied third place finish means he is the favourite to win what would be a historic third leg of the grand slam. Rickie Fowler had a great win in Scotland at the weekend in similar conditions to what is expected at St. Andrews and is a self-confessed lover of links golf. Of the others, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Francesco Molinari and Brandt Snedeker all have good recent form also.

Horses for the Course

Louis Oosthuizen won The Open Championship the last time it was held at St. Andrews in 2010. The course is also used for two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship every year on the European Tour. Oosthuizen also has two top six finishes at this regular event in the past five seasons, but he also has two missed cuts there in the same period. Lee Westwood, Shane Lowry, David Howell, Tommy Fleetwood and Luke Donald all have decent course form too.

Tournament Specialists

Adam Scott is the form man in this category, with top fives at last three Open Championships. Dustin Johnson also has pretty good tournament form and he did play very well at the links style Chambers Bay until the final green! Brandt Snedeker has had two top eleven finishes in the last three years at the tournament and Luke Donald has had some good results too, although not in the past two years.

Long Shots

Given Luke Donald's stats and welcome recent return to form with two top  tens, he's a great outside pick at 90/1. Victor Dubuisson has also shown some good form lately and has some good course and tournament form in the past few years, so he could be worth a punt at 66/1. Funny to think of Jim Furyk as a long shot, but at 80/1, that's what he is!

Undervalued

Based on their statistics, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar are the main undervalued golfers from the top echelon in the tournament. Bubba has never performed at The Open Championship, but Furyk was fourth last year and is coming off a win and two top fives in the recent past. Kuchar almost won in similar weather conditions on a similar type course on Sunday and finished tied twelfth at Chambers Bay in his previous outing. He also has had two top fifteen finishes in the past three years at this event. Lower down the order, Zach Johnson, Billy Horschel, Keegan Bradley and especially d├ębut man Robert Streb are undervalued by the bookies.

Overvalued

The bookies are afraid of Oosthuizen and Fowler and they are thus overvalued. Similarly, former winners on the course, Martin Kaymer and Branden Grace, are bad value as the bookies are taking no chances with them either. Big tournament performers Jason Day and Phil Mickelson are also a little overvalued for the tournament and the deserved favourite, Spieth is too short at about 6/1.

Addendum: Tiger Woods is very overvalued, given his largely abject performances this season. However, he has been showing signs of improvement lately and the course will be navigable for him with minimum use of his errant driver.

Summary

Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler would all be good fantasy/DFS choices, but are available at too short a price for betting purposes. Fowler at about 16/1 might be just about worth backing.

The lower priced golfers who offer good value for an each way bet based on their stats are Adam Scott (about 20/1) and Shane Lowry (about 33/1). The Aussie has a great recent record at the tournament, finished tied fourth on the links style Chambers Bay last time out and is a proven major winner now. His price of 20/1 is the absolute lowest price I would ever back a golfer at. While a patriotic bet, Lowry has got a good record on the course, is coming off a great US Open and has great experience playing links golf, including that famous tournament victory as an amateur in the 2009 Irish Open. Brandt Snedeker at about 45/1 is also worthy of consideration, given his stats.

Higher priced golfers worth considering are Matt Kuchar, Victor Dubuisson, Jim Furyk and Luke Donald. It is inexplicable to me why Kuchar is available at 60/1, so he should be a lock for an each way bet. Dubuisson and Donald are coming into form and have performed well at the tournament in the not too distant past. Furyk is usually a solid performer, has pretty good stats and is also available at the generous price of around 80/1.

Note that the weather forecast could be vital as being on the wrong side of the draw could spell the end of a golfer's chances in this event. Therefore, it might be prudent to wait for the draw and studying the weather forecast before committing any money!

Weather Update (Wed, 16th July)

 Winds are forecast to be strong, especially on Friday afternoon. This favours those who start late on Thursday and early on Friday, so check the tee times before making your final selections! Friday afternoon starters include Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods, Victor Dubuisson, Dustin Johnson, David Howell, Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen.

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