The British Open sets up as one of the trickiest events to handicap all season. Crazy weather that change in a moment’s notice, along with a course that contains pot bunkers that can ruin a round on one bad hop, means best laid plans can go to waste in a hurry. For first-round leader purposes, it does create some opportunities, though. Good links players who haven’t necessarily shown great form of late can often pop up and showcase for one solid round, especially on an easier setup like St. Andrews, where the course record is 61.
The 7,305-yard par 72 should yield plenty of low scores this week (if the forecast stays reasonable, which it should) and will likely see one or two players go extremely low if their putter gets hot. The course record is 61, and it has yielded plenty of 62s as well. Emphasizing players with good links form and great around-the-green stats and recent putting form will be key then. Using OddsShopper golf betting tools, we’ll identify some of the best values on the board below for the first-round leader market at the 2022 British Open this week.
2022 British Open First Round Leader Bets
Best First Round Leader Picks
The weather split this week doesn’t look dramatic, but the gusts will be slightly worse in the a.m., with cooler temperatures for the Thursday morning wave in the low 50F range. Afternoon players the first two days will likely have a slight advantage, and leaning that way with first-round leader bets seems optimal based on that information. Patrick Cantlay has a solid late-afternoon draw on Thursday and has had a perfect lead-in with his fourth-place finish over in Scotland where he displayed confidence on and around the greens. He sits fifth in first-round leader scoring on the PGA Tour this season and is overdue for a breakout round in a major based on his seasonal ranks thus far.
Like Cantlay, Cameron Smith has looked close lately to recapturing some of that scintillating form that led him to two wins early in 2022. He performed well at the Scottish Open last week, driving the ball much better than he had in his last couple of starts. Smith is no stranger to going low either, reaching an uncanny 34 under at the season-opening Tournament of Champions, which also had a quirky setup with lots of shorter par 4’s in play. He sits sixth in first-round leader scoring this year and is a player to get exposure to at +4000. He does have an early tee time, but some action on both sides of the draw isn’t a poor idea for Thursday.
Ben Rasa and Eytan Shander break down the best British Open 2022 golf betting picks and predictions. See who they’re building their card around this week.
Longshots First Round Leader Picks
As far as players with big odds go, Emiliano Grillo is a great bet to get off to a hot start this week. He is showing a lot of confidence on and around the greens, posting a second-place finish in his last outing at the John Deere, an event which has propelled Zach Johnson (winner 2015) and Francesco Molinari (winner 2018) to Open wins. Backing Grillo to win seems foolish, but backing him as a first-round leader at massive +12500 odds does not. He has gained over three strokes on approach in two of his last three starts, and if his putter stays hot, he could easily start fast on Thursday as well.
Alexander Bjork is a DP World Tour regular who can get super hot with his irons and putter and makes for an ideal one-round spike candidate. Last week he only managed a 42nd-place finish, but that was punctuated by a round of 67 in tough conditions in the third round. Bjork has massive odds and, more importantly, has a solid early-afternoon tee time to take advantage of. Five of his last eight rounds have been under par, and he’s trending well going into this week.
Big-hitting Dean Burmester is another European regular to get exposure on a first-round bet at long odds. He will be able to drive all of the short par 4’s if he prefers and has played the Alfred Dunhill Links event at St. Andrews multiple times, landing a seventh-place finish at the event last season. His form lately has been solid shooting 69 or better in each of his last three first rounds on the DP World Tour. He does have an early tee time, but again, if making a basket of bets this week, getting exposure to both sides of the draw isn’t a poor idea.
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British Open First Round Matchup Bets
There is nothing wrong with taking on Abraham Ancer in this group, who sits as an undeserving favorite at +140. Emiliano Grillo has outperformed the LIV Tour golfer considerably over the last month and also has the better Open Championship record, having landed a 12th-place finish at the Open last year and once before in 2017. Ancer’s 11th place at the LIV event in Portland is hardly to be respected, and his best finish at the Open is a 59th from last year, his third career start in the event. With Ancer’s approach game not performing well (he’s lost strokes on approach in his last two PGA starts), his short game simply isn’t good enough to save him around St. Andrews’ quirky greens. Grillo has a much better chance of success this week on the easier setup and should be the favorite in this Round 1 matchup given his recent form (second at the John Deere) and Open Championship record.
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