A bettor's guide to the British Open

A bettor’s guide to the British Open

Sports wagering is actually legal in Britain, so even the fans can get in on the risk/reward action by betting on the likely winner. And everyone who knows me knows I like a little extra action, on the golf course or on the poker tables. Here are my picks for this year’s tournament, with a breakdown of the favorites. The Favorites:Sergio Garcia (7-1)*:  He would be the first to say that his chances are much better without Tiger in the field. He is playing well, coming off his win at the Players Championship, and his ball-striking may be the best in the world. However, his putting is always a concern and may be enough to seriously undermine his chances. That said, the slower links greens might be an equalizer for the entire field. This might be his week to finally come through in a major. Padraig Harrington (8-1): He would be a serious threat to repeat if not for a wrist injury. There is no chance of winning if you’re playing out of the hay at the British Open with a bad wrist. He would be off my board. Ernie Els (8-1): The Big Easy hasn’t seriously contended of late. He was close to center stage at Torrey Pines but his putting in key moments wasn’t even close. There is a good chance that Els will have one more run at a major before his career is over, but the timing at this year’s British doesn’t seem right. Phil Mickelson (8-1):  This type of golf doesn’t suit Lefty’s game. His higher ball flight, lack of control with the driver, over-aggressiveness, and flop-shot-oriented short game are like oil to the British Open’s water. While he’s got to love a major without Tiger, it won’t love him back this week. Lee Westwood (12-1):  He is the best in the top five picks from Vegas odds makers. While playing in front of his home county’s fans may seem overwhelming, this Ryder Cup stalwart can handle it. His ball-striking is top notch, he is very strong mentally, and may be one of the better clutch putters in the world (just ask the last few US Ryder Cup captains). A win here will complete his comeback from the depths several years back and be the last piece in a fantastic career. My Dark Horses: Robert Karlsson (25-1): The big Swede has become a world player. He has length, touch around the greens, and plenty of experience on the European Tour. He might sneak in to become Sweden’s first male major champion. Anthony Kim (40-1): Why not? He is doing everything right. He can crush it off the tee, has the best stinger 2-iron in the field with Tiger not playing, and he isn’t afraid. My Pick: Vijay Singh (20-1): This is a great venue for him. The slow greens are perfect for his less than stellar putting and he should have one more major in him before the Champions Tour’s riches come. I love picking great ball strikers, and Vijay fits the bill.*All odds from Caesar’s Palace Race and Sports Book, Las Vegas

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