2019 British Open Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Round 2 at Portrush


Steve Flynn, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy

  • Round 2 of the 2019 Open Championship begins at 1:35 a.m. ET on Friday morning.
  • Our staff lists their favorite bets for tomorrow's golf action at Royal Portrush:

Round 2 of the 2019 Open Championship begins on Friday morning at 1:35 a.m. ET at Royal Portrush and if Thursday is any indication of what’s to come, we should expect some weird golf for the next three days.

J.B. Holmes is the surprising leader after 18 holes at 5-under, but he is not the favorite after Round 1. That honor belongs to World No. 1 Brooks Koepka.

Koepka is now the sole favorite to win the Claret Jug at 4-1. The 29-year-old Florida native is currently tied for third at 3-under par with a gaggle of other golfers, including Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia.

The big story from Thursday was Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman melted down on both ends of his round and shot 8-over par. The pre-tournament favorite is now 350-1 to win the Open Championship.

Here are our staff’s favorite bets for Round 2:

Jason Sobel

The Bet: Sergio Garcia (16-1) to be End of Round 2 Leader

I’ll admit it: Entering this week, I really didn’t have Sergio on my radar, based mostly on his recent major performances — namely, seven MCs in 10 starts since winning the Masters two years ago.

But now that I’ve seen which Sergio is showing up this week, I’m hopping back on the bandwagon of a guy who loves playing links golf.

It looks like the better weather draw will continue to favor the late/early players, which means he could post a nice score in the morning. Of course, he’s got Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm — the two favorites for this bet — in the same wave, but for this price, I like taking a chance on Sergio shooting something in the range of 67 and hanging on for the rest of the day to be leader (or at least share the lead) entering the weekend.

Justin Bailey

The Bet: Patrick Cantlay (-105) over Justin Rose

I’ll take Cantlay as the slight dog in this matchup after Rose had the second-fewest putts on Thursday’s opening round even though he hit just 55.56% of greens in regulation (GIR).

Meanwhile, Cantlay hit 77.78% of GIR, but he didn’t have as hot of a putter (1.39 average putts vs. 1.89).

Dr. Lou Riccio

The Bet: Russell Knox (+200) over Bernd Wiesberger, Haotong Li

The oddsmakers are slightly inflating Wiesberger’s odds after his Scottish Open win last week. My model projects Russell Knox’s second-round score to be almost a full stroke better than Wiesberger, but you’re getting 2-to-1 odds (same as Li). I like fading Wiesberger, who might be tired after that five-hole playoff, and going with the ultra consistent Scotsman, who is a proven links player.

Dr. Lou Riccio, a PhD senior lecturer, teaches rational decision making at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and has served on the USGA’s handicap research team for three decades. More of his predictive analysis can be found over at Golf Digest.

Bryan Mears

The Bet: Top French Golfer: Romain Langasque (-140)

Langasque currently sits at -2 after Round 1; his competition in Ben Hebert (+2), Alexander Levy (+2) and Mike Lorenzo-Vera (+6) are all decently far behind him at this point.

Langasque had a very solid round, racking up four birdies compared to just two bogies. People are certainly prone to blowing up at this tournament (see: McIlroy, Rory), but Romain is coming into this tournament in excellent form, finishing third last week at the Scottish Open. He hit 87.5% of his greens in that tournament, shooting all four rounds at 67 or below.

The guys behind him aren’t exactly the world’s best heavy hitters, so I think his (at least) four-shot lead should be worth more than -140.

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