British Open Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Round 3 at Royal Portrush

Credit:

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dustin Johnson lines up a putt on the 18th green during The British Open.

  • Round 3 of the 2019 Open Championship begins at 4:35 a.m. ET on Saturday morning.
  • Our staff lists their favorite bets for Saturday's golf action at Royal Portrush:

Welcome to moving day at Royal Portrush.

Even though Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods failed to make the cut, the leaderboard is still stacked with big names.

Tommy Fleetwood (-7), Justin Rose (-6), Brooks Koepka (-5) and Jordan Spieth (-5) are all within striking distance of co-leaders J.B. Holmes and Shane Lowry, while Tony Finau (-4), Jon Rahm (-4), Matt Kuchar (-4) and Patrick Reed (-4) can vault themselves into contention with a good score in Round 3.

Our golf experts share their favorite bets for Saturday:

Josh Perry

The Bet: Matt Kuchar (-110) over Jordan Spieth

I’ve been high on Kuchar heading into the tournament and through two days, he’s been solid. He may not cash the outright ticket, but he’s in great position for the top 20. Spieth has put up a couple good scores, but he’s been putting himself in a lot of bad spots. It seems like it’s just a matter of time before the erratic tee to green game catches up.

Justin Bailey

The Bet: Matt Kuchar (-110) over Jordan Spieth

I’ll side with Josh Perry on this one as well. The forecast is looking fairly windy on Saturday with winds projected in the 14-16 mph range and gusts coming in at 20-24 mph. If the wind gets nasty, I prefer Kuchar.

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Kuchar.

Per Fantasy National, Kuchar has historically averaged 1.80 strokes gained in strong winds while Spieth is sitting at just 0.43 average strokes gained.

Jason Sobel

The Bet: Matt Fitzpatrick (-0.5, -165) over Ernie Els

Give all the strokes. I mean, seriously: If you can find a book that’ll let you take Fitzy and give 2.5-3.5 shots to Els, do it.

The young Englishman has shown a propensity got going super-low at majors — and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got another one in him Saturday. I love the fact that Els has played this well so far, but he’s a big-time fade for me moving forward.

Dr. Lou Riccio

The Bet: Bubba Watson (+138) over Graeme McDowell

Yes, McDowell will have the home crowd fully behind him, but my model gives Watson more than a full-stroke edge over G-Mac in round three. At plus odds, it’s hard to pass up, and I fully expect Watson to come out firing.

There are some great birdie opportunities early in the round at Royal Portrush for aggressive players like Bubba. If he can pick up a few early, I like my chances in this matchup.

The Bet: Dustin Johnson (22-1)

Even at 3-under and five shots back, my model has Dustin Johnson at 14-1, making this 22-1 number one of the more enticing ones on the board. Five shots can easily be made up in an Open Championship, especially if the weather picks up.

It looks like it will on Sunday, so if DJ can go out and post a number on Saturday, he could thrust himself back into single-digit odds range. Get him at 22-1 while you can and hope he puts on another ball-striking clinic like he did on the weekend at the U.S. Open, where if he just made a few putts he would have been right in the mix.

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.

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