2021 Open Championship First-Round Leader Odds & Picks: 5 Plays for Thursday at Royal St. George’s

2021 Open Championship First-Round Leader Odds & Picks: 5 Plays for Thursday at Royal St. George’s article feature image
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Drew Hallowell/Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Smith

The most fun week in all of golf — for fans, media, players and caddies — is once again upon us. The 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s kicks off on Thursday for whichever players are still in the field by then.

After missing the 2020 Open Championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southeast England is finally getting it chance to shine, exactly a decade after Darren Clarke lifted the trophy here.

Grab your tea and your fancy McDonald’s menus because it’s time for the final men’s major of 2021.

Here’s a look at my favorite First-Round Leader bets for the 149th Open Championship.

Jon Rahm, +1800

Yeah, I know picking the favorite isn’t really that helpful. But here’s the thing, the current World No. 2 and reigning U.S. Open champion is playing incredibly well.

Rahm made his first start last week (at the abrdn Scottish Open) since becoming a major champion and finished solo 7th. The fiery Spaniard made his fourth start in an Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 2019, finishing a career-high T-11.

It’s not surprising that Rahm is a good links player. Spaniards are known for their ability to flight the ball low and create shots where other players don’t see them. Rahm is riding a wave of momentum right now coming into the season’s last major, and he’s the clear favorite to win the tournament, so I’ll take 18-1 that he leads after Round 1. You can find that number at PointsBet.

Justin Thomas, +3300

I wasn’t very bullish on Thomas going into the vowel-less Scottish Open. His ball striking numbers have been worse than we are used to seeing. Despite that, JT tied for 8th last week in what was his highest finish since winning the PLAYERS in March.

Thomas, like Rahm, also finished in that tie for 11th in 2019 in the Open’s return to Ireland. He seemed to have found some confidence at the Renaissance Club, despite hitting the world’s most relatable shot on Saturday. PointsBet, Unibet and Bet Rivers all have 33-1 on Thomas, with most others at 28-1.

Louis Oosthuizen, +4000

When Oosthuizen won The Open in 2010 at St. Andrew’s, he entered the week 200-1 (!!). Since his major win, the South African has amassed nine top-10’s in this event. He has become a stalwart in majors after his maiden win, which was only the second cut he had ever made in a major.

In 2021 alone, Louis already has two runner-up finishes in majors (2nd at US Open, T-2 at PGA). His “worst” major finish this year is a T-26 at the Masters in April.

Matthew Fitzpatrick, +4500

I know, I love Fitz. And last week was a great example of why. He ultimately lost in a three-way playoff on Sunday, but his game is so good on these types of courses. He is an elite ball striker, and that comes in handy here.

Fitzy made the cut in all three of this year’s majors, with his best finish coming as a T-23 at the PGA in May. His best finish at The Open came in 2019 with a tie for 20th.

DraftKings has Fitzpatrick at 45-1, the best price in the U.S. market.

Cam Smith, +6600

Like Fitz, Cam Smith is often a name I find myself betting on Thursday. He leads the TOUR in first round scoring, with an average of 69.1. Smith grew up playing sandy courses in Australia, which has historically translated well at The Open.

Smith, like Fitz, also finished T-20 at Portrush in 2019. The young Aussie’s ball striking stats were phenomenal that year. You’re getting a great value on him this week and hard to deny how good he has been in majors. Unibet and Bet Rivers have him at 66-1.

Lucas Herbert, +8000

Another young Aussie, Herbert is a household name for me (since his 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic win, at least) but maybe not for others. After his good play in Europe, Herbert started playing more on the PGA Tour this season. He’s been playing well, also.

That good play traveled over to Ireland a fortnight ago when Herbert won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. He followed that win up with a top-10 in Scotland the next week.

Herbert is a longshot this week, but he has played so well in GB&I the last two weeks, it’s hard to imagine he won’t have a great week at The Open. DraftKings has Herbert at 80-1.

Full 2021 British Open First-Round Leader Odds

Odds via PointsBet

Golfer Odds
Jon Rahm +1800
Jordan Spieth +3300
Justin Thomas +3300
Brooks Koepka +3300
Rory McIlroy +3300
Xander Schauffele +3300
Dustin Johnson +4000
Tyrrell Hatton +4000
Louis Oosthuizen +4000
Viktor Hovland +4000
Bryson DeChambeau +4000
Matthew Fitzpatrick +4000
Patrick Reed +4000
Patrick Cantlay +4000
Collin Morikawa +4000
Paul Casey +4000
Shane Lowry +5000
Lee Westwood +5000
Scottie Scheffler +5000
Tommy Fleetwood +5000
Justin Rose +5000
Tony Finau +5000
Webb Simpson +5000
Daniel Berger +5000
Branden Grace +6000
Marc Leishman +6000
Robert MacIntyre +6000
Joaquin Niemann +6000
Sergio Garcia +6000
Ian Poulter +6000
Harris English +6000
Cameron Smith +6000
Abraham Ancer +6600
Jason Day +6600
Rickie Fowler +6600
Adam Scott +6600
Will Zalatoris +6600
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +6600
Lucas Herbert +8000
Alex Noren +8000
Garrick Higgo +8000
Phil Mickelson +8000
Ryan Palmer +8000
Sam Burns +8000
Jason Kokrak +8000
Kevin Kisner +8000
Stewart Cink +8000
Matt Wallace +8000
Corey Conners +8000
Bernd Wiesberger +8000
Thomas Detry +10000
Charley Hoffman +10000
Min Woo Lee +10000
Russell Henley +10000
Martin Kaymer +10000
Brian Harman +10000
Gary Woodland +10000
Keegan Bradley +10000
Richard Bland +12500
Billy Horschel +10000
Cameron Tringale +10000
Guido Migliozzi +10000
Kevin Streelman +10000
Lucas Glover +10000
Sebastian Munoz +10000
Francesco Molinari +10000
Max Homa +10000
Sam Horsfield +10000
Danny Willett +12500
Victor Perez +12500
Rafa Cabrera-Bello +12500
Brendon Todd +12500
Carlos Ortiz +12500
Matt Kuchar +12500
Antoine Rozner +12500
Andy Sullivan +12500
Erik van Rooyen +12500
Emiliano Grillo +12500
Jason Scrivener +12500
Chris Kirk +12500
Mackenzie Hughes +12500
Talor Gooch +12500
Brendan Steele +12500
Lanto Griffin +12500
John Catlin +15000
Henrik Stenson +15000
Matt Jones +15000
Aaron Rai +15000
Joel Dahmen +15000
Ryan Fox +15000
Harold Varner III +15000
Brandt Snedeker +15000
ChezReavie +15000
Dylan Frittelli +15000
Marcus Armitage +15000
Matthias Schwab +15000
Justin Harding +15000
Dean Burmester +15000
Joost Luiten +15000
Adam Hadwin +15000
Troy Merritt +15000
Johannes Veerman +15000
C.T. Pan +15000
Byeong Hun An +15000
Adam Long +15000
Takumi Kanaya +17500
Jazz Janewattananond +17500
Romain Langasque +17500
Mike Lorenzo-Vera +17500
Daniel van Tonder +17500
Marcus Kinhult +17500
Chan Kim +17500
Keith Mitchell +17500
Kurt Kitayama +17500
Jimmy Walker +17500
Jack Senior +20000
Shaun Norris +20000
Ernie Els +20000
Rikard Karlberg +20000
Marcel Siem +20000
Jorge Campillo +20000
Rikuya Hoshino +20000
Benjamin Hebert +25000
Ryosuke Kinoshita +25000
Paul Waring +25000
Marcel Schneider +25000
Haotong Li +25000
Darren Clarke +25000
JC Ritchie +30000
Richard Mansell +25000
Laird Shepherd +25000
Sam Bairstow +25000
Jaco Ahlers +30000
Cole Hammer +30000
Matthias Schmid +30000
Yuxin Lin +30000
Yuki Inamori +30000
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano +30000
Christoffer Bring +30000
Brad Kennedy +30000
Poom Saksansin +30000
Daniel Hillier +30000
Aaron Pike +30000
Ben Hutchinson +30000
Ryutaro Nagano +30000
Nicholas Poppleton +30000
Richard T. Lee +30000
Deyen Lawson +30000
Abel Gallegos +35000
Joe Long +35000
Connor Worsdall +35000
Jonathan Thomson +35000
Daniel Croft +35000
Sam Forgan +35000
Ricardo Celia +35000

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