Sobel’s 10 Favorite Matchup Bets for the 2019 British Open
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Wallace
- Jason Sobel goes through his 10 favorite matchup bets for this week's British Open at Royal Portrush.
- Check out the plays he's making including his stance on Adam Scott vs. Tommy Fleetwood.
Some people dream about world peace.
I dream of a society in which we can bet head-to-head golf matchups for any players, every week. If you really like Player A, plug in his number against 30 other players and make those bets; if you really don’t like Player B, take 30 others against him.
This really shouldn’t be so difficult. All the data and odds are already out there. If we can convert a price for the tournament favorite to beat the fourth-favorite, then we should have the ability to figure out a number for the 37th-favorite over the 113th-favorite, or whatever the case may be.
At least we’re close during major championships weeks.
Even though we’re not quite at the point where we can bet anyone in the field against anyone else, at least there are more options available for the bigger events than usual. I guess this will have to suffice until the day my dream finally comes true.
Oh, and world peace would be pretty cool, too. If there’s time.
Anyway, here are my 10 favorite matchup bets for this week’s British Open, in order starting with those I like the most.
Matt Wallace (+105) over Bryson DeChambeau
It’s almost like the books sought out this week’s most underrated player and matched him up against the most overrated. Wallace has already fared well in majors this year, is in good form and has proven to be a solid player on links courses.
While I’m not pessimistic on DeChambeau long-term, he’s primarily a high-ball hitter who should struggle to keep his shots under the wind. Take Wallace in this one — and it might not be close.
Marc Leishman (+110) over Paul Casey
Because of his propensity for playing the ball on the ground with a low-ball flight, which also neutralizes any wind impact, I always like Leishman on links courses — and he’s proven himself lately, with three top-six finishes at this event in the past five years.
Casey often gets lumped in with other Englishmen who succeed in these conditions, but he’s a high-ball hitting Americanized version of a player from over there.
Ian Poulter (Even) and Graeme McDowell (+115) over Gary Woodland
Fresh off his first career major championship, the odds have dropped on Woodland against the board, meaning we can find value in betting against him. In seven starts at this event, he’s never missed a cut, but also never finished top-10.
Poulter is coming off a solid result at the Scottish Open and this one could be right up his alley, while McDowell should be pumped to compete in front of the home crowds.
Tyrrell Hatton (-105) over Webb Simpson
A two-time winner of the Dunhill Links Championship, it’s difficult to understand why Hatton owns a T-5, a T-51 and five missed cuts in seven career starts at The Open. He obviously understands how to attack links courses, and I think this could be the year he gets closer to replicating that T-5 than the MCs.
Simpson has played this event enough that we sort of know what to expect. He’s usually good enough to make the cut, but not much more.
Chan Kim (-115) over Alexander Levy
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, Levy was tabbed as a potential Ryder Cup player, the type of guy who would qualify for majors and WGCs, then presumably parlay a strong result into temporary PGA Tour membership. That might still be the case, but earlier this year he WD’d from the Oman Open, didn’t play again for two months and has missed seven of eight cuts ever since.
Kim is a guy that I’ve liked for a long time, but can’t seem to play his way off the Asian tours. He was T-11 in his only previous Open start two years ago.
Andrew “Beef” Johnston (-105) over Joost Luiten
Two weeks ago, Beef went public with news of his recent mental-health struggles; last week, perhaps buoyed by the support, he closed with a final-round 62 to claim his spot in this week’s field. He’s a talented player who is clearly trending upward, so I look for that to continue this week.
Andrea Pavan (+105) over Kevin Streelman
In his last four starts, Pavan owns a win at the BMW International Open and a T-4 at the Scottish Open, playing some really strong golf leading into this week. So, too, is Streelman, but history says that won’t continue, as he’s never finished better than T-54 in four career Open starts.
Adam Scott (+105) over Tommy Fleetwood
Well, I’ve got Scott at No. 1 on my overall list of the field ranking, so in theory I like him to an extent in any potential matchup, but this was the best number I could find. Fleetwood is a guy I certainly don’t hate this week, but as high as I am on Scott, I expect him to win this matchup — and most others, too.
Joaquin Niemann (+110) over Byeong Hun An
Consider this one a little hunch-y. An is the more experienced player, but the younger Niemann owns more upside and has been playing better in the U.S.-based events lately. He’s never played in The Open — and his major championship record isn’t much yet, with a T-71 and three MCs in four starts — but like I said, this one is hunch-y. I could see him posting an Andres Romero-like performance, circa 2007, when the Argentinian finished solo third here.
Padraig Harrington (+120) over Thomas Pieters
Yet another hunch play, where I’m taking the two-time Open champion on what should be familiar territory against the hotheaded Pieters, another European whose game appears a better fit for the Masters and PGA Championship and other events on big ballparks in the U.S.