One of the cooler aspects of sports overseas is the fact that gambling is considered an acceptable thing to do and is legal.
Betting houses are active sponsors of top flight soccer teams in England—Aston Villa for example—and even display current odds of the game in progress during the game itself on the advertising boards around the sideline.
It should not come as a surprise then that the 141st Open Championship this weekend is a big betting deal across the United Kingdom then. A few pounds on your favorite golfer could net you quite a bit in return.
Remember though, these sports books are in the business to make money. They want you to take the chance in making a bet that they will never have to pay off in the hopes that the 1000-1 long-shot never wins.
Golf is a notoriously difficult sport to handicap. While there are clear favorites on any given week, one just never knows what will happen on any given week.
We look at the top-10 favorites according to Ladbrooke’s as of Monday night and rank them accordingly.
All prices, of course, are in pounds.
33-1 is good enough to be considered a top-10 favorite this week.
Garcia is the perfect example of a bet Ladbrookes hopes that you would take.
Garcia certainly has the talent to pull a win off. He has been in the final group a couple of times and can be incredibly creative around the greens.
His putting, however, along with his self-confidence leaves a lot to be desired. Even at 33-1, there are better players—such as Ian Poulter at 40-1—that have a better chance of paying off than the unsure Garcia.
Another attempt for a sucker bet, Donald’s odds should be frankly better.
He should get a lot of play at that price because his game seems to fit Royal Lytham St. Annes to a tee.
The odds maker also watched his first round at Olympic Club at the US Open and thought he could make some pretty good money dangling Donald at that price.
Donald could win and a nice £200 payoff on a £10 bet could be yours. On the other hand, Donald is feeling all the pressure in the world right about now.
Even at 8-1, this is not a bet that really looks to be in the gambler's favor.
The one thing we know from Tiger’s history so far in majors is that we will know by Friday night on whether he has a really good chance of winning or not.
While his creativity is certainly back where he would like it to be, if he sprays shots all over the rough then he has no chance. His distance control also has to be better
Tiger could win this week. He has played well here and enjoys the Open Championship. That in itself, however, should not making him the betting favorite.
Kaymer has had a not-so-great summer.
His scoring average is higher on both tours and his putting is weaker than it was in years past.
Martin’s price should be probably closer to 40-1 than what it is, but his only major came at a links-style course—the 2010 PGA.
His record coming into this week in 2012 would not indicate a top-10 finish, but he has a major already.
A fair value that could be a really good bet.
If Rose can get some confidence with his putter going, he certainly can win this week.
Justin needs to show patience all four days and trust himself when things do not go his way.
A great iron player, this course fits him like a tailor-made suit if he can make putts.
The odds on Westwood look to be pretty much spot on.
Westwood played well at the US Open on a similar layout and now has the wisdom and experience to win his first major.
While there is added pressure in trying to win, as there is with all players from the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is not as great as the pressure on Luke Donald.
If he does not shoot himself out of the championship on Thursday, his steady game is championship-worthy.
If the focus is there, Rory could lap the field.
He has had an up-and-down season to date, but the cool weather and soggy course will be a natural to McIlroy as compared to a Bubba Watson or Steve Sticker.
Rory could also miss the cut and also not surprise people.
20-1 seems like a pretty fair bet. Not the favorite, but not a long-shot. It seems to sum up his 2012 rather well.
There are two golfers on this list that have won Claret Jugs and Padraig is one of them.
His game seems to be rounding back into shape at the right time and seeing his name engraved for a remarkable third time is not all that far-fetched.
Unlike Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, there is absolutely no pressure for Harrington to win and that is how he should approach the week.
His odds are priced accordingly with how well he has played this summer and for his history. A third win would match Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo for Open Championship wins.
Golf’s ultimate riverboat gambler deserves those odds as he could make the bookies pay big time at that price.
He has all the shots, professes to love the weather and the creativity needed to win and can certainly get hotter than a pistol on the course.
The question for Phil is, as always, can he keep enough tee shots in play that he can actually score instead of scramble?
While his good finish up in Scotland gives him some confidence coming in, his poor US Open gives him a higher price. His fans have to like that.
Like Paddy Harrington, the pressure of McDowell to break through to win a major is not there
Also, like Harrington, his play has steadily improved this summer and was in contention at the US Open a month ago.
When your home course is a true links course like McDowell’s is with Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, then a golfer like Graeme must be feeling pretty confident coming in to the week with all the talk of a waterlogged course and really nasty rough.
This does not mean he will win the thing, but at 33-1 it is very hard to pass that up. He really is that capable and that good.