2022 Open Championship Odds, Picks: The Case for Betting Xander Schauffele at St. Andrews
Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele.
This has been a season of heaters for a number of the top players in the world. First, it was Cameron Smith with wins at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and THE PLAYERS Championship, then it was Scottie Scheffler who topped a stretch of four wins with a green jacket at the Masters.
Now, Xander Schauffele is on an impressive stretch of his own after winning on TOUR for the first time in more than three years at the Travelers Championship, then backing it up with a win last week at the Scottish Open. He also squeezed in a win in an elite field at the JP McManus Pro-Am at the start of last week.
Schauffele is simply on fire with his game and has finally found a way to close the door on wins in consecutive starts. He would be an easy bet this week if he held around the low 20s like he has in many majors before, but now he is the second player on the board at many books. He’s +1400 at most books, in the top four on odds boards alongside consensus favorite Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler.
All of this put together becomes a much more interesting conversation about whether or not to add Xander to the betting card this week for The Open.
The Case for Betting Xander Schauffele at +1400
No one on the planet is playing better golf right now, period.
Even before he started stacking up victories in recent weeks, Schauffele was posting a number of top finishes. In the 13 tournaments he has played on TOUR this year, he has missed just two cuts and only had one other finish outside of the top 20. All of the other 10 have been finishes have been T18 or better, including four inside the top five and those two recent wins.
Schauffele now comes into a major championship week carrying more confidence that every before and these are the weeks he generally steps up with his best play. He has nine top-10 finishes in his 22 starts in major championships across his career, putting out that type of result better than 40% of the time. It’s a remarkable track record, and one that is really only missing a win since he already has a runner-up from this event back in 2019.
All of this adds up to really put Schauffele on the shortest short list of players you truly expect to contend this week. It’s reflected in his odds, but the story behind it makes sense for anyone to add Schauffele to their card.
The Case Against Betting Schauffele
It’s hard to make a case against Schauffele this week, and I certainly can’t point to anything specific on the course as I noted previously.
Where I would make my stand is simply on the odds being offered and the strength of this field. While the wins at the Travelers and Scottish were nice, they pale in comparison to the field he will be matched up against this week. All of the top players in the world will be getting after it at St. Andrews, including that Tiger Woods guy.
While the career numbers for Schauffele in majors have been great, he hasn’t put up his best in the elite fields this year. He missed the cut at both THE PLAYERS and the Masters, with T13 and T14 finishes at the PGA and U.S. Open. His only really shot at contending those weeks was squelched by an ugly 75 on Saturday at the U.S. Open.
The only other on the course argument against Schauffele this week is still the way he has struggled on Sunday, even in his recent wins. He held five-shot leads in both of those tournaments that he won but struggled in the final round had him behind on the leaderboard down the back nine.
We are splitting hairs here since he ultimately got it done in both tournaments, but could there be some lingering effects if he is at or near the lead on Sunday with the best players in the game looking to hunt him down? I personally doubt that really sticks with him, but it’s been his issue for a long time and led to three plus years of golf without a win.
I get it if you want to go there and ride the hot streak, it’s just not for me. I see too much talent with value further down the board to take short odds on frankly any of the guys at the very top. I’ll start my card around the mid twenties where I can make similar cases at better numbers on the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, and Colling Morikawa.
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