Open Championships

The Open Championship is here!

Props galore! If you haven’t made any wagers yet, I strongly suggest that you hit these markets since the usual suspects (Outrights, Place, Matchups) have been hit already.

It’s almost always the obscure props that will provide you with the best value.

Pick of the week: (FanDuel)
Sam Forgan to miss the cut, -380.
Let’s see if Datagolf’s 97% comes to fruition. If so he should miss the cut by double digits.
To be fair I don’t think even a decent Challenge Tour player has even a 20% chance of making the cut so this is a good bet for sure.

I made a huge bet on this one.

Other plays:
Grillo low Argentine, -500
Janewattanond low Thai, -195

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FYI, I also played Poppleton and Bairstow to miss the cut at -260.

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I played Deyen Lawson -290, Aaron Pike -290, and Brad Kennedy -235 to miss the cut. These are a bit more risky. The question is how good middling pros in Australia and Japan are. My guess is not as good as decent European Tour and Korn Ferry Tour players which is what it takes to have a 25% chance to make the cut against this field.

Brad Kennedy is the riskiest of the three, he’s played good golf before but isn’t in great form right now.

Another Rahm backdoor Top 10, incoming
The problem is that he’ll probably go off at -200, LOL
That’s the problem with these superstar golfers. They’re always juiced on the position markets and you’re getting maybe 80 cents on the dollar.

From one backdoor top 10 to another
Here comes McIlroy! (He’ll go off at +150 after the round despite being off the Top 10 line and having to pass several golfers to get there)

Other backdoor candidates:

  • Brooks Koepka
  • Cameron Smith
  • Paul Casey
  • Shane Lowry

When the stakes are at their lowest, they are at their best! Love those golfers who produce in garbage time!

FYI, if McIlroy finishes with a Top 10 here it will be the 8th straight year he has at least 2 Top 10’s in a major. Not even Tiger has done that. (Nicklaus’ longest streak was 13 such seasons)

Does anyone know what’s going on with Betcris / Bookmaker? As far as I can tell no odds were posted the last 2 days, unless I’ve missed them.

I’m sure you’ve seen by now, but BM was having “software upgrade” issues. They made quite a few people upset by cancelling winning tickets and parlay legs.

Hope you had a profitable week!

It’s different for everyone but I feel that the best bets are:

  • Big chalk wagers on the cut market
  • Initial 3-ball prices before the market hammers them into shape
  • Props, preferably those involving players not playing full time in a major golf tour
  • Initial finishing position prices before the market hammers them into shape
  • Individual round scores, preferably during tough scoring conditions (just bomb the overs)

We like to talk about the win markets and tournament matchups but it’s very very rare that these are the best bets on the board. These wagers make up a very small portion of my betting portfolio.

FYI I took a bath on the win markets. Numbers were good on Oosthuizen and bad on Morikawa and Spieth. Those markets are frustrating because the math almost always tells you to take the longshots but you’re lucky to hit a handful of those a year. The first rate players in the lead (or just close to it) almost always win but they return 80 cents or less on the dollar.

Prior to the tournament everyone was expecting the course to play difficult with strong winds and so were picking players who excelled in windy conditions and/or on difficult courses.

Bet365 expected 14 players to be under par with a winning score of approximately -7, in the event we got 45 and -15.

With the course playing as easy as it did, it wasn’t a massive surprise that the top eleven featured six Americans and a Canadian. Eight of that top eleven were ranked 23rd or better going into the week.

I’m of the opinion that harder weather conditions and trickier golf courses are a leveller for the field, and this week does little to change that. The obvious exception to this is when the course is difficult due to extraordinary length such as the recent US Open venues, which have essentially ruled all but a handful of players out of winning the tournament before a ball has been struck.

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At the risk of over-generalization, I feel there are essentially 5 types of golf course setups:

  1. High-variance torture tests
    These occur very rarely and are met with expletives from all the PGA Tour professionals. Results in a supremely entertaining tournament for the viewers.

Examples: 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Final Round), 1999 Players Championship (3rd round), 1999 Open Championship (Car-Nasty), 2005 U.S. Open, 2007 U.S. Open

  1. Low-variance torture tests
    These tournaments are very boring to watch. Very few birdies and double bogeys+.

Examples: Too many U.S. Opens to count

  1. High-variance medium level challenges
    Just because the course is easy doesn’t mean it’s boring. Lots of birdies/eagles but just as many bogeys/doubles+. This setup is one of the more common ones we see in majors.

Examples: Most Masters and Players Championships, Memorial (before the redesign)

  1. Low-variance medium level challenges
    This is the most common Tour setup. You see this 30+ times a year. A sprinkling of bogeys and birdies. Very few doubles+.

Examples: almost every week on tour

  1. Low-variance pushovers
    This is the second most common Tour setup which you see 10-15 times a year. This is also the most common setup in Europe. Weak fields, cuts at -3 or better, bunched up leaderboards, and winning scores south of -20. If you make 2 bogeys on the back 9 on Sunday you go from T-5 to T-20.

Examples: Opposite field events, European Tour events, a handful of regular Tour events every year

From a viewer’s perspective, the high-variance torture test is the most entertaining without a doubt. A few birdies to give the players hope only to be crushed by 2 or 3 doubles+. It’s the big numbers that provide the entertainment and no matter how well you’re playing, the course can grab you at any time. It definitely is an equalizer but not as much as you think, unless it totally goes off the deep end like 1999 Carnoustie. I’m disappointed that this stunt was never repeated because it was the most entertaining golf course setup I’ve ever seen.

From a bettor’s perspective it’s the low-variance pushovers that gives you the biggest thrills. If the course setup at the Open Championship was super-soft and -25 was the winning score, guys like Dylan Frittelli, Mackenzie Hughes, and Emiliano Grillo can absolutely win. Heck, Min Woo Lee won the Scottish Open last week and it came as absolutely no surprise. The easiest golf courses are the best equalizers.

Since I’ve gone from being a fan to a bettor I root for the extremely easy conditions now.

The reason why we don’t see the “high variance torture test” is because the players spend the entire week moaning about how unfair it is, and you probably do need the weather to play its part. Basically only the majors and WGCs can set up like that, because if a regular Tour event is that difficult then the players are just going to skip that week.

I remember when the players whined away the Classic Course from the rotation in the Desert Classic. It was windy and not that easy but the course average was something like +0.5. I guess there just weren’t as many birdies as they wanted.

I’ve never seen PGA West Stadium Course play as it was intended for the exact same reason. Place is wide open with deep bunkers and is in the middle of the desert, it’s supposed to play dry, hard, and fast. I would love to see them play a PGA Championship there in May and let the place bake out. The target areas are fairly generous so it’s playable even with rock-hard fairways and greens and a desert breeze. The place doesn’t really need rough either, just the bunkers, water, mounds, and the natural desert brush.

From a fan’s perspective I don’t need to see a high variance torture test every week but I would like to see them more often in the majors, Players Championships, and WGC. Some courses like TPC at Sawgrass and PGA West Stadium Course are especially suited for this kind of golf.

For the regular tour setups, high variance setups with course average between 0.0 and +2.0 provide enough birdies to be exciting and enough bogeys to keep you wary. Bay Hill and Honda Classic were pretty good examples this season.

In a perverse way it might be interesting to see a US Open with a scoring average of -2.5 too. Just bomb away with journeyman PGA Tour pros in the T10 and T20 markets and get paid when 1 or 2 of them hit.

Congrats on the Forgan bet. Always fun to win a HUGE one.

Was finally able to open a FanDuel account and used my $1,000 “riskfree” wager on Lanto Top-40…pretty excited about his par on 18 to make it just under the buzzer and avoid the dead heat.

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Strange week in the Open Championship as it played more like a typical PGA Tour stop than an Open Championship, with mild weather, soft conditions, and generous setup. It seemed to be a very controlled environment.

It’s not just the course difficulty, Royal Portbrush in 2019 wasn’t that tough but it played more like an Open due to the different setup and the varying weather.

To be honest I think the Palmetto Championship played more like an Open Championship than the actual Open itself.

However it turned out to be great for Datagolf subscribers because the Datagolf model basically treated this tournament as a regular Tour stop while the books treated it as an Open Championship.

Actually I think the books got it right but we got very lucky, fortune shined on all of us this week