Mears: Don’t Sleep on These 5 Under-The-Radar British Open Matchup Bets


Photo credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Adam Hadwin

  • I created a golf model optimized for the 2019 British Open to identify head-to-head betting opportunities for this week's tournament.
  • Below are my five favorite matchup bets among the longshots in the field, including Adam Hadwin vs. Jason Kokrak.

It can be frustrating betting to-win odds when fields are as big and loaded as they are for the British Open. A fun way to bet instead is with head-to-head matchup props.

Below are five of my favorite values for this week’s British Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

Ben Hebert (-120) over Keith Mitchell

Hebert has seen heavy line movement against Mitchell so far this week at some books, but you can still find him at a good number depending where you look. The dude is hot: He finished second at last week’s loaded Scottish Open, hitting a ridiculous 86.1% of his greens. He’s one of the best at hitting greens in the field, and he’s been especially good lately.

Mitchell has a win this year at the Honda Classic, but he’s missed two of his last three cuts entering the Open Championship and has a miserable 62.5% Recent Greens in Regulation mark. He typically gains strokes with his driver and doesn’t seem to be a great fit for links-style courses.

I’m not expecting a great finish in his first Open Championship. I handicap Hebert at -143 for this matchup, which gives a bunch of value at -120.

Matt Baldwin (-115) over Jack Senior

We have a matchup here of two European Tour golfers I’m sure most U.S. fans have never heard of before. Neither are great, but Senior has been particularly bad lately, missing five of his last seven cuts at lower Euro events. He’s woefully inaccurate, hitting 58.4% of his greens and 50.0% of fairways over his last five events, and his short game isn’t great, either.

Baldwin is better in those categories, and he’s seen positive line movement already. I’ll ride with that and take Baldwin at -115; I’d bet him to -125.

Adam Hadwin (-120) over Jason Kokrak

Hadwin has been excellent lately, finishing in the top six in two of his last three events. He’s missed just one cut since April, and that was entirely due to the short game, which hasn’t been a problem in other events. Over his last four, he’s hit 73.6% of his greens and 72.3% of his fairways — some of the best marks in this loaded field.

Kokrak, meanwhile, has come back to Earth after a tear to start the year. He has a Recent GIR of 64.6%, and his putting and scrambling have been particularly rough. He’s a guy who typically gains strokes with his driver, especially on par-5s, and I don’t think he’s a great fit for Royal Portrush.

Jim Furyk (-130) over Aaron Wise

Furyk is still hanging around -130 vs. Wise at some books, whereas he’s up to even -160 at others after strong positive line movement. Furyk has been steady, placing inside the top 35 in each of his last four events, and over his last two he’s hit 70.8% of his greens and 71.4% of his fairways. He’s old at 49, but he’s a solid fit for links-style courses.

Wise has hit just 66.2% of his greens and 58.3% of his fairways of late, doing most of his damage on longer par-5s where he can utilize the big stick. That won’t work at Royal Portrush like it will at PGA Tour events, and Wise will have to adjust on the fly in his first Open Championship trip. I usually like betting on young talent, but I’ll take the more experienced golfer playing better right now.

Alex Noren (-110) vs. Phil Mickelson

Mickelson is always going to attract betting money considering he’s one of the biggest names in golf. But the form is terrible right now: He’s missed six of his last nine cuts, and he hasn’t been inside the top 50 since the Masters. He struggled a couple weeks ago in a low-tier PGA event, and over his last four rounds he’s hitting just 61.8% of his greens and 51.8% of his fairways.

Our own Josh Perry had a good note on him here, too:

Mickelson is also in the middle of a diet where he’s fasting and dropping a lot of weight in a short period of time. He said in an interview this week that the focus really isn’t on winning or contending. He might sneak through to the weekend, but I’ll take the plus money on him.

I’m not crazy high on Noren this week, but this is the best price vs. Mickelson you’ll likely find if you want to fade him. And I definitely want to fade him.

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