2021 British Open Sleeper Picks: The Best Longshot Bets at Royal St. George’s (July 16-19)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Berger
- The 2021 British Open begins on Thursday, July 15 at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.
- The Open Championship is known as the most unpredictable major championship, so don't be surprised if a longshot wins the Claret Jug.
- Here are our favorite sleeper bets for the year's final major:
There is nothing quite like The Open Championship. From the iconic links-style courses to the rugged scoring conditions, this major championship stands out as one of the best betting events on the sporting calendar.
The Open tends to produce winners from all over the board. We’ve seen favorites like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy lift the Claret Jug. But we’ve also seen some big prices come through with Darren Clarke, Zach Johnson and Shane Lowry. In other words, the betting can be just as chaotic as the tournament.
With that in mind, here are our favorite longshot bets and sleeper picks for the 2021 Open Championship:
Marc Leishman (+7000)
In poker terms, I’m pot committed on Leishman right now. After a T-5 result at the Masters, I really liked him at the PGA Championship, where he wound up missing the cut. Employing the reverse psychology defense, I doubled down for the U.S. Open, on a course where he’s won in the past, only to see him finish in 64th place. This is the point when I’m probably supposed to abandon ship, but the truth of the matter is that there was a reason in the first place that I liked him at those previous majors and it’s the same reason I like him here. He owns experience, bombs his long irons and hits a low trajectory shot. That type of game should work better at Royal St. George’s than it did at Kiawah or Torrey Pines.
Sergio Garcia (+7000)
Of all the majors, The Open is where Sergio has been the most consistent. He’s finished inside the top 10 on 10 different occasions, compared to 13 at the other three majors combined. He’s also played well twice at Royal St. George’s, taking 10th in 2003 and ninth in 2011.
The approach game struggled a few months back, but he’s got the ball-striking on track in the past couple events, leading to top 20s at Colonial and the U.S. Open.
Sergio Garcia (+7000)
One player that jumped out to me as I started my research for this event last week was Sergio Garcia. He hasn’t had the best track record at majors of late, but his history at The Open shows four top-5 finishes earlier in his career. As always the big question is what will he do on the greens, but the ball-striking seems to be reliable for him and is trending in the right direction.
Garcia gained 4.5 strokes on approach in the elite field at the U.S. Open as he posted his first top-20 at a major since his Masters win. It’s a sign, even if very small, that things could be coming back for Garcia who captured a win last fall at the Sanderson Farms and has shown more signs of life this season.
We often see this major as the one where players seemingly come out of nowhere, at older ages and compete for the Claret Jug, and I can see that happening with the Spaniard this week.
Marc Leishman (+7000)
Marc Leishman is a golfer who has what I covet most when making outright bets in golf: win equity. Win equity is something bettors often overlook when betting golfers who may have stats that jump off the page but rarely win tournaments. Leishman is the antithesis of that. With six career PGA TOUR wins, he has gotten the most out of his talent to this point in his career.
Additionally, the Aussie should be a perfect fit for the 2021 Open Championship. Historically, golfers who have won that season have won this event, and Leishman accomplished that with at the Zurich Classic (with Cameron Smith as his partner). He also comes into the tournament with a strong showing in his most recent start, having finished third at the Travelers Championship where he narrowly missed getting into the playoff.
The Open Championship is most definitely an event where past success is important and may indicate future success. Nine of the past 10 Open Championship winners have had a previous top-10 in the event. Leishman passes that test with flying colors as he has three top-6 finishes in the past Open Championships including a playoff loss to Zach Johnson in 2015.
One of the most difficult aspects of Royal St. George’s are the pot bunkers on the course. The 37-year-old Australian has the necessary skill to manage those bunkers as he ranks ninth in the field (past 24 rounds) in sand saves gained. While driving of the golf ball has been a concern for Leishman at times, he gained 4.5 strokes off the tee in his most recent start at The Travelers; indicating that his driver may have come around.
If Leishman gets himself in the mix on Sunday, he has the mettle to go toe to toe with an elite player and win the Claret Jug.
Scottie Scheffler (+5000)
Scheffler has been a marvel at Majors this season, posting a T-18 at the Masters before going T-8 and T-7 at the PGA Championship and U.S Open. We’re all well aware that this tournament has been dominated by 30-year old’s in the past, however, there’s something about Scheffler in that he plays like a grizzled vet. He stays out of trouble off-the-tee which will be paramount this week and is actually both pretty good on and around the greens. Over his past 48 rounds in this field he ranks 26th in SG: Short Game, which encapsulates both ARG play + putting.
He does not have a ton of links experience, but he showed zero issue last week at the Scottish Open, finishing in a tie for 12th place. If you’ve followed my content this year you know I am a huge Scheffler truther, as I believe he’s close to breaking through for his first career win, which could open the flood gates. Either way, I think 50/1 here is a pretty decent number for someone with his talent.
Daniel Berger (+7000)
This number just seems flat out wrong. By any statistical measure you want to look at, Berger has been playing at an elite level over the past two seasons.
Since the beginning of the 2020 season, he has played in 30 total events. In those starts, he has collected two wins, 12 top-10 finishes and has only missed three cuts. One of those top-10 finishes was at the most recent major, where he gained 8.3 strokes tee to green on his way to a seventh-place finish at the U.S. Open.
Since the Masters in April, Berger ranks 11th in bogey avoidance and fourth in strokes gained approach averaging over 4 strokes gained per tournament against the field average. To boot, he has gained strokes putting in five of those last six events; yet another sign that his game is peaking heading into this week.
How this number drifted out to +7000 is truly a head-scratcher, but certainly one I’ll be looking to take advantage of. If this number is still hanging, go grab it!