The key to betting on golf is picking your spots. When it comes to the 2018 edition of the British Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland, starry names like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are topping odds lists, but there’s plenty of sleeper value in the tournament if you dig deep.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some potential sleeper value in this year’s British Open. For a full breakdown of the tournament, visit my betting preview. To find out my top three selections for the third major of the year, check out my Expert Betting Picks piece.
Odds courtesy of Sportsbook
My favorite sleeper pick: Tony Finau +10000
I’ve been waiting for Finau to break through into the upper echelon of the PGA Tour for a few years, and he’s done a great job of getting himself noticed in big events lately. Finau has already recorded two top-10s in majors in 2018, placing T-10 at the Masters and fifth at Shinnecock Hills, so it’s safe to say his ascension to becoming a consistent contender in majors has already arrived.
Finau’s stats are eye-popping when you dig into them. The Utah native, who has missed the cut only twice in nine career major starts, has failed to see the weekend on only one occasion since March and finished outside the top 25 once in that span. He’s going to win a major someday, and he has plenty of time at 28. Don’t be wary about backing players searching for their first major victory – since the 2015 PGA Championship, nine men have become first-time champions.
My second favorite sleeper pick: Rafael Cabrera-Bello +12500
Cabrera-Bello is making his first appearance in the British Open, so he likely won’t be getting much traction at sportsbooks for that reason alone. But the Spaniard has been a straight-up beast in Europe, winning in Dubai earlier this season before adding three more top-three finishes.
Much like Francesco Molinari, whom I chose in my Expert Picks piece, betting on golfers who are comfortable playing on their home continent is a sound strategy. Besides, Europeans have won the tournament five times since 2007, and Cabrera-Bello is 13th in the Race to Dubai standings on the European Tour.
My third favorite sleeper pick: Jason Dufner +25000
At 41, many fans and pundits expected Dufner’s game to tail off by now, but the American doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon. At +25000, it sure feels like oddsmakers aren’t expecting much from him in Scotland, but sharp bettors should be all over that price due to his penchant for producing across the pond.
Dufner has made the cut in each of his last six British Open starts, including a T-14 at Royal Birkdale a year ago. The Duff Man notched a T-5 at the Players and a T-25 at the U.S. Open this season, so taking a flyer on him at his long-shot pre-tournament price seems like a no-brainer to me.