Open Championship Betting Preview: Odds, predictions, recommended wagers

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The 144th playing of The Open Championship begins Thursday at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. The staff at theScore put on their prognosticator hats and offered up three packs of picks with an eye on favorites, longshots, and those in the middle of the pack.

Selection Bottero Bourne Sarson
Favorite Fowler Spieth D. Johnson
M.O.P. Snedeker  Mickelson Kaymer
Longshot Fleetwood Kisner Schwartzel

Gino Bottero's 3 Pack

Favorite: Rickie Fowler +1500

The last five Open champions played the Scottish Open the week prior to golf's oldest major. Of the players to tee off at Gullane last week, none are in better form than Fowler, who won the event, birdieing three of the last four holes to overtake Matt Kuchar. Prior to a forgettable performance at the U.S. Open, Fowler had finished top-five at four of five major tournaments, including a T2 at last year's Open Championship. In 2010, he posted a final-round 67 at the Old Course.

Middle of the pack: Brandt Snedeker +4000

Snedeker makes the trip to St Andrews having finished inside the top 10 in each of his last four starts, including a solo eighth at Chambers Bay in the U.S. Open. He's made it through to the weekend at The Open each of the last three seasons, including a T3 in 2012 after leading through 36 holes.

Longshot: Tommy Fleetwood +8000

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played over four rounds, two at St Andrews, one at Carnoustie, and one at Kingsbarns. Tommy Fleetwood finished with results of T2 and 5 the last two years, but a closer look at his performance at the Old Course tells another story. The Englishman carded scores of 65-67 in 2013 and 62-68 in 2014, making him 26-under for his last four rounds at St Andrews. Going even further back, he's played his last eight rounds at St Andrews at 42-under par.

Justin Bourne's 3 Pack

Favorite: Jordan Spieth +600

I hate, hate picking chalk. And worse, it feels like unlikely chalk, given the amount of things that have to go right (conditions, weather, bounces, etc.) to win one major, let alone three in a row. But a roulette ball that lands on red 14 five straight times is no less likely to land on red 14 the next spin. And, sorry, you're not gonna pick the guy with two major wins this season coming off a 20-under playoff win the week before? You can talk yourself into anyone - Dustin Johnson's skill set, in particular, matches up well this week - but I like Spieth in a week where the ability to play a wide range of shots is going to be key. Wind, rain, or, let's face it, wind, the guy has the tools to adapt. I'm trying not to overthink this one.

Middle of the pack: Phil Mickelson +3000

When you consider what St Andrews and the accompanying weather bring, you'd like someone who has the touch and creativity to handle difficult or unusual situations. Phil has that in spades. We also know that Phil, as much as anyone, gears up for majors as a top priority, particularly as he gets older. And he happens to be coming off a week at the Scottish Open where he played some fantastic golf, despite putting like Happy Gilmore before his game-changing hockey stick putter. If Phil gets his flat-stick going - and we know he can get streaky with it - it's not hard to see him threatening the top of the leaderboard.

Longshot: Kevin Kisner +8000

The easiest thing to do would be to post a screenshot of his finishes since mid-April, but that might come off lazy. So, text form: The 31-year-old (which is almost exactly the prime age of PGA members contending at majors) has been a runner-up in some legit events over the past three months. And not just "runner-up," I should note - he lost in playoffs at the RBC Heritage, the Players, and the Greenbrier. He also hasn't once finished outside the top 40, with two additional top-10s and a 12th-place finish at the US Open. Among longshots, I've got no problem picking a guy who's been knocking on the door to finally see it answered.

Adam Sarson's 3 Pack

Favorite: Dustin Johnson +1200

On the surface, it's pretty difficult to trust Dustin Johnson in this spot. He has a history of disappointment in major championships - the most recent coming last month at the U.S. Open, when he couldn't take down Jordan Spieth - but he's a perfect fit for this golf course. The one criticism of the Old Course is that these days, it can be overpowered pretty easily if the wind is down. Based on the forecast, it looks like Johnson may have gotten the better end of the weather with the early-late combo for the first two rounds. With the expected wet conditions, his length is a huge advantage and his short game is underrated. He's in good form as well, and finished tied for 14th when the Old Course last hosted the Open Championship in 2010.

Middle of the pack: Martin Kaymer +4000

When looking at the top players in the world, few struggle with consistency quite like Kaymer, who tends to go months without contending in a tournament. From the first week of February until the last week of June, Kaymer missed six cuts, and his best finish in a stroke play event was a tie for 18th at the BMW PGA. But he finished solo fourth in his last start at the Open de France, which leads me to believe that he's coming back into form, and his history at the Old Course is impressive. He has won and finished as the runner-up in the Dunhill Links, which is played partially at the Old Course, and he finished tied for 7th in the last Open Championship held here in 2010. If he's in form, he's almost impossible to beat.

Longshot: Charl Schwartzel +8000

Of the players in this group, Schwartzel is probably the most talented. On top of that, he has a strong record in this tournament, finishing inside the top 16 in four of the last five years. He hits the ball far enough that he should be able to keep pace with the big hitters, and his iron play is usually good enough to mask the fact that his putter has let him down far too often in big tournaments. He's placed inside the top 10 in his last two worldwide starts, including the U.S. Open last month at Chambers Bay.

Odds for the field

Player Odds
Jordan Spieth 6-1
Dustin Johnson 12-1
Rickie Fowler 15-1
Adam Scott 15-1
Louis Oosthuizen 20-1
Justin Rose 20-1
Henrik Stenson 20-1
Jason Day 25-1
Sergio Garcia 30-1
Martin Kaymer 30-1
Hideki Matsuyama 30-1
Phil Mickelson 30-1
Bubba Watson 30-1
Tiger Woods 30-1
Paul Casey 40-1
Branden Grace 40-1
Brooks Koepka 40-1
Matt Kuchar 40-1
Shane Lowry 40-1
Brandt Snedeker 40-1
Patrick Reed 50-1
Victor Dubuisson 60-1
Jimmy Walker 60-1
Luke Donald 80-1
Tommy Fleetwood 80-1
Jim Furyk 80-1
J.B. Holmes 80-1
Zach Johnson 80-1
Kevin Kisner 80-1
Ian Poulter 80-1
Charl Schwartzel 80-1
Lee Westwood 80-1
Bernd Wiesberger 80-1
Byeong Hun An 100-1
Keegan Bradley 100-1
Billy Horschel 100-1
Graeme McDowell 100-1
Francesco Molinari 100-1
Ryan Palmer 100-1
Danny Willett 100-1
Jamie Donaldson 125-1
Jason Dufner 125-1
Bill Haas 125-1
Ryan Moore 125-1
Graham DeLaet 150-1
Ernie Els 150-1
Harris English 150-1
Padraig Harrington 150-1
Charley Hoffman 150-1
David Howell 150-1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 150-1
Marc Leishman 150-1
Joost Luiten 150-1
Hunter Mahan 150-1
Kevin Na 150-1
Webb Simpson 150-1
Marc Warren 150-1
Gary Woodland 150-1
George Coetzee 200-1
Ross Fisher 200-1
Russell Henley 200-1
Thongchai Jaidee 200-1
Russell Knox 200-1
Ben Martin 200-1
Geoff Ogilvy 200-1
Eddie Pepperell 200-1
Andy Sullivan 200-1
Thomas Bjorn 250-1
Jonas Blixt 250-1
Stephen Gallacher 250-1
Pablo Larrazabal 250-1
John Senden 250-1
Brendon Todd 250-1
Stewart Cink 300-1
Tyrrell Hatton 300-1
Morgan Hoffman 300-1
Mikko Ilonen 300-1
Soren Kjeldsen 300-1
Matteo Manassero 300-1
Cameron Tringale 300-1
Darren Clarke 500-1
John Daly 500-1
Bernhard Langer 500-1
Edoardo Molinari 500-1
Tom Watson 500-1
Romain Wattel 500-1
Justin Leonard 1000-1
David Duval 2000-1
Field 15-1

(Odds courtesy: Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

Open Championship Betting Preview: Odds, predictions, recommended wagers
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