The 2014 British Open is the third major championship of the year on the men’s golf schedule, and the fans of the sport from around the world are checking the latest Vegas odds to determine the favorite in the tournament.
With bona fide stars like Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson all coming into the event with a head of steam, the competition will be intense. Add in the return of Tiger Woods, and the excitement is through the roof.
Here are the latest odds and the underrated sleepers in the field worth a wager.
Breaking Down the Long shots Worth A Wager
While many bettors will lean toward the big names like Rose, McIlroy or even Woods, there are several players who are considered underrated sleepers who could steal the show at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
The three players fans should be watching this week are Jordan Spieth (33-1 odds), Rickie Fowler (33-1) and Bubba Watson (40-1).
At only 20 years old, Spieth is already turning heads as a major contender on the PGA Tour. Not only did he manage an impressive second-place finish at the Masters, but he also managed a 17th-place finish at the U.S. Open and followed it up with a seventh-place finish in the John Deere Classic.
Woods was asked about the performance of Spieth, and the legend responded to the Associated Press, via Fox News, with a genuine compliment coming from one of the game’s best:
For a person to have come out of college and done this well, this fast and been as consistent ... normally when you're young, you come out and you may have two, three good weeks a year, maybe more. It just seems like he's having one every week. He's always up there.
Another player worthy of a wager is Watson.
There is no doubt that the 2014 Masters champion will gain some media attention, but his performances of late have scared bettors. Watson missed the cut at the U.S. Open and finished in 34th at the Travelers Championship.
The pressure will be on as he will be grouped with defending champion Mickelson and tour veteran Ernie Else, via Golf Central:
Phil Mickelson’s #OpenChamp defense will begin Thursday at 9:05AM ET alongside Ernie Els and Bubba Watson.— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) July 14, 2014
Despite the lost momentum, Watson finished 16th in The Greenbrier Classic and looked to be playing much smarter golf. His career performance in the Open Championship isn’t great (best finish is 23rd), but he has the ball striking and the putting ability to dominate links golf at times.
If he puts it all together, there would be a major payoff for gamblers.
Which bet would YOU take?
The bet that could turn out to be the biggest risk-reward payout of the tournament will be Rickie Fowler. The 25-year-old has never won a major before, but he has been playing well enough to remain in contention throughout the weekend at the top events.
The 2014 British Open could be Fowler’s chance to take the step into the upper echelon.
Fowler has found success at this event before—he finished fifth in 2011—but missed the cut last year. After back-to-back top-five finishes at majors (fifth at Masters and second at U.S. Open), the momentum is on the young player’s side.
Add in his eighth-place finish at the Scottish Open as the precursor for the British Open, and Fowler is a pick who is worth a serious investment.
Predicted Winner: Rickie Fowler