How to Bet the 2021 British Open

While golf’s four major tournaments are special in their own right, there’s just something about the Open Championship, aka The British Open. Perhaps it’s the locale. This year’s edition takes place at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England.

Or maybe because it’s on a links course, which makes for a decidedly different type of game. You’ll notice that in the odds for the Open, it takes a certain kind of golfer to excel in this type of setting.  That has a wide-ranging impact from the active golf futures market down to live betting.

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about the final golf major of the year right here. From the best sports betting sites to place your bets to the type of wagers, we share all you need to know about betting on golf.

The Open Championship is an exceptional tournament. You’re going to want to take the time to get up to speed. We’ll begin by taking a look at the top spots to place your bets legally and safely.

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How to bet on the Open Championship online

Legal sports betting continues to expand across the US, with a growing number of states now offering legalized betting on sports. These are currently the top states with regulated sports betting markets:

State Online / MobileRetail
New Jersey Sports BettingYesYes
Pennsylvania Sports BettingYesYes
Colorado Sports BettingYesYes
Indiana Sports BettingYesYes
Iowa Sports BettingYesYes
West Virginia Sports BettingYesYes
Virginia Sports BettingYesNo
New Hampshire Sports BettingYesYes
Illinois Sports BettingYesYes
Michigan Sports BettingYesYes
Tennessee Sports BettingYesNo
Arizona Sports BettingYesYes
Wyoming Sports BettingYesYes

British Open Championship future odds

While we still have some time to go before the Open Championship tees off, you can always weigh in on which golfer you think will win it all. That’s thanks to the futures market, which is quite active for golf’s majors.

As you can see, there are some variances in the odds for the current 10 consensus favorites. It can happen due to market action, as some books may attract more or fewer golf wagers on certain players.

When talking about golf odds, it’s not uncommon to wonder what Vegas has to say. Since Las Vegas remains the sports betting capital of the world, folks are accustomed to treating odds that emanate as being the best.

We concur that the odds from Vegas are great, but you’re going to find that the other major operators in other states are right in range. You can check on the Vegas odds as part of your research, but just know that you’ll be getting comparable prices at our recommended operators.

What is ‘links’ golf?

The phrase “hitting the links” is a common part of the golfing lexicon, but the meaning, in this case, is a bit different as “links” refers to the type of course.

A links course is the oldest style of a golf course, and the term traces its roots back to the earliest days of the sport in Scotland. It’s derived from the Old English word “hlinc,” which translates into “rising ground, ridge.”

Links courses are typically situated in coastal regions and include several dunes, but they’re generally devoid of trees.

The true links courses are located across the pond, hence the home of the Open Championship. Links courses are more natural than the majority of the manufactured courses here in the US. The style of play is generally closer to the ground, as coastal winds can have an impact on the way the ball bounces.

Top contenders at the Open Championship

The unique style of course at the Open means that anything can happen throughout the four-day tournament.

While there will be plenty of legitimate contenders in the field, there’s a handful of contenders who seem to be in a better position than the rest:

  • Rory McIlroy: Currently, the top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), McIlroy is also the favorite on the futures board. He won it all back in 2014, and his current level of play suggests another Open Championship may be in the offing.
  • Tommy Fleetwood: The top-ranked player in the world from England, Fleetwood checks in at 10th on the OWGR and is among the favorites to win the Open. Fleetwood finished second in this tournament last year, and he enters the 2020 edition as a significant threat to taste victory.
  • Shane Lowry: The defending Open champion, Lowry tore it up in his home country of Ireland last year, winning by six strokes over Fleetwood. He shot -15 for the event as a whole, a stellar performance on the links course of Royal Portrush Golf Club. A repeat performance wouldn’t be stunning.
  • Tiger Woods: Beyond being one of the sentimental favorites, Woods is also a three-time Open champion. While Father Time continues to tick, Woods still checks in at 11th on the OWGR. He’s a popular choice on the futures board, and there’s a lot more to it than just his popularity. Woods could add another trophy to the case.
  • Jon Rahm: Currently, the second-ranked player in the world. Rahm finished in a tie for 11th at last year’s Open by shooting a -3 for the tournament. He closed out 2019 ranked 3rd in the OWGR, but his consistently strong play has bumped him up a spot. Rahm is the real deal and can make some noise across the pond.

Potential dark horses for the 2021 Championship

If you scroll further down the futures market odds board, you’ll find several intriguing golfers who could surprise at the British Open. Here are four names to keep in mind as you get set for the tournament:

  • Collin Morikawa: The 23-year-old has been turning heads on the season with a trio of Top 10 finishes under his belt. He’s 11/11 on cuts, so Morikawa deserves a spot on the intrigue list at the least.
  • Im Sung-jae: The surprising leader of the FedEx points list, the 21-year-old Sung-jae is having himself quite a season. He has a win under his belt at the Honda Classic and five Top 10 finishes to date.
  • Tony Finau: He came in third place at last year’s Open with a solid score of -7 and checks in at 16th in the OWGR. Finau flies slightly under the radar in comparison to more high-profile peers, but he’s certainly one to watch.
  • Jordan Spieth: The 2017 winner of the Open, Spieth hasn’t been able to live up to the promise he showed earlier in his career. That said, the talent is still there, so seeing him get it back together wouldn’t be surprising.

How betting on the Open Championship works

There are several ways that you can get in on the action at the Open. Here’s a look at the main wager types you’ll come across and an example for each:

Finishing Position: Beyond the futures market, you can place a bet on the outright winner of the tournament or for a golfer to finish highly, such as in the Top 10 or Top 20. Odds will be listed for each golfer in the field, such as:

  • Rory McIlroy +120
  • Jon Rahm +140
  • Tiger Woods +180

Each Way: This is a bet on a golfer to win the tournament or to place in the Top 5.

  • Brooks Koepka +150
  • Tommy Fleetwood +160
  • Tony Finau +200

Leader of Round: You can zero in even further and place a wager on which golfer you think will be the leader for specific rounds of the tournament.

  • Rory McIlroy +140
  • Justin Thomas +160
  • Dustin Johnson +180

Group Betting: This is a wager on which golfer you think will perform the best from a group put together by the sportsbook.

  • Rory McIlroy -120
  • Jon Rahm +110
  • Tony Finau +190
  • Collin Morikawa +250

Two- or Three-Balls: These bets are similar to group wagers, but they revolve around two or three golfers.

  • Tiger Woods -110
  • Tommy Fleetwood +120
  • Tie +130

Head-to-Head: Golfers will be paired up by sportsbooks in individual matchups. You can decide which one you think will post a better score.

  • Hideki Matsuyama -120
  • Sungjae Im +110

Golfer Versus Field: This is a bet that’s typically available on the tournament’s bigger favorites. You decide if you like them to perform better than the field.

  • Rory McIlroy +140
  • Field +110

Nationality of Winner: To open up additional opportunities that cover several golfers at once, you can pick the home country of the tournament champion.

  • USA +120
  • Ireland +150
  • England +170
  • Australia +180

Open Championship live betting

One of the most significant developments at online and mobile sportsbooks in recent years has been the advent of live betting. These are bets that you can place after an event has already gotten underway.

They open up the potential for new profit opportunities or to hedge your initial bets, and also help to enhance the overall entertainment value. However, the market and odds move fast, so discipline and strong bankroll management are essential.

Offerings will vary based on what’s happening at the Open, but here’s a sampling of the more common live betting opportunities:

  • Golfer score on the next hole.
  • Final leader of the current round.
  • Total round scores for individual golfers.
  • Updated odds on tournament winner.
  • Golfer to birdie next hole: Yes or No?

To fully take advantage of all that live betting has to offer, a sports betting app is the way to go. The fast-moving markets and the fact that the tournament plays out over several days means you have to be at the ready as developments unfold.

You’ll be able to more efficiently take advantage of what comes up when you have a mobile sportsbook within reach. Additionally, some operators have live streaming capabilities and provide live tracking of each shot.

You can further immerse yourself in what should be a stellar Open Championship and give you even more confidence in the wagering opportunities you find most appealing.

Open Championship betting tips

Each golf tournament on the yearly calendar has its unique characteristics. All courses are not created equal, and that can impact the play of even the top pros. As such, it’s essential to approach each event with a clean slate.

The Open Championship is no different, especially due to the links-style of the course. Quite simply, some golfers can excel in this environment and others who are poised for a rather long four days.

So how can you spot those who may be in line for a great tournament? Research is your friend, and you can drill into several key areas, such as:

  • Open History: An essential piece of research you can use for every tournament, but it’s especially imperative here. For all the golfers you are considering placing wagers on, review their past performances at the Open.
  • Current Form: You’ll want to key in on how golfers have been performing for the season to date. While the links course is a different animal, those who have been crushing it could be in line for a solid showing.
  • Weather: The coastal location of the Open Championship can lead to some pretty significant wind impacts. Take some time to review the weather forecast as this can provide you with a good idea of what kind of scores you may see for the tournament.
  • Understand the Odds: Think of the futures market and general odds board as a free research tool you can use to your advantage. Favorites are those with the best chance to excel, all the way down to longshots who may have a tough time.

Just like any other sport, there are also plenty of different stats you can dig into as part of your research. Among the most useful to consider are strokes gained, Top 10 finishes and cuts made percentage for the season as a whole.

Open Championship DFS

DFS golf was initially thought of as a niche offering. However, explosive interest has moved it into the realm of most popular offerings. DraftKings and FanDuel both offer contests for every tournament on the docket.

The major golf tournaments attract the most users, and they have the biggest prize pools as a result. The largest tournaments will see top prizes of a cool $1 million. Yep, you can earn some serious coin playing DFS golf.

Of course, that takes some doing. Tournaments with massive prize pools will attract tens of thousands of users. To make some noise on the leaderboard, you’ll need a lineup that knocks it out of the park.

On both of the major operators, the goal is to build a lineup of six golfers that you think will score the most fantasy points during the tournament. Golfers earn points based on how they perform, as well as on their finishing position.

For an added wrinkle, there’s a salary cap that you need to stay below. You can’t just pick the six favorites and call it a day. You’ll need to scan through all the golfers in the field at various price points and find the optimal plays.

To do so, you can follow the same essential research points as you would when setting up your wares: course history, recent form, stats, etc.

There are also DFS lineup optimizers to be found online, but just know that others will be doing the same.

For tournaments, you’ll need to have at least a little uniqueness to your lineup to finish highly. That’s not the only way to play DFS, as you’ll find game types, such as 50/50s, head-to-heads and leagues, among others.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to wait for the Open Championship to try out DFS golf. There are contests available whenever PGA tournaments are going on. The best way to get up to speed is by playing through a few events.

Open Championship details

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s edition of the Open Championship:

  • Date: July 16-19, 2020
  • TV: NBC, Golf Channel
  • Location: Sandwich, Kent, ENG
  • Course: Royal St. George’s Golf Club
  • Designer: Laidlaw Purves
  • Established: 1887
  • Stats: Par 70, 7,204 yards
  • Par 3s: 4
  • Par 5s: 2
  • Open Championships Hosted: 14
  • Last Open: 2011, won by Darren Clarke (-5)
  • Field size:156
  • Purse size: $10,750,000
  • Defending champion: Shane Lowry (-15)
  • 2021 Futures market favorite: Rory McIlroy

The Open Championship will be easily accessible on TV. You can also find NBC and Golf Channel versus various streaming providers. Consult the websites for both networks for streaming options via their respective mobile apps.

Also, keep in mind that you can get live feeds of the tournament through certain sportsbooks.

Recent British Open champions

For further confirmation on the difficulty of the Open Championship, consider that there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Padraig Harrington turned the trick in 2007 and 2008.

Here’s a look at the previous 10 winners:

YearGolferCourseTotal ScoreTo Par
2019Shane LowryRoyal Portrush - Northern Ireland 269-15
2018Francesco MolinariCarnoustie - Scotland276-8
2017Jordan SpiethRoyal Birkdale - England268-12
2016Henrik StensonRoyal Troon - Scotland264-20
2015Zach JohnsonSt. Andrews - Scotland273-15
2014Rory McIlroyRoyal Liverpool - England271-17
2013Phil MickelsonMuirfield - Scotland281-3
2012Ernie ElsRoyal Lytham & St. Annes - England273-7
2011Darren ClarkeRoyal St. Geroge’s - England275-5
2010Louis OosthuizenSt. Andrews - Scotland272-16

Over the past decade, Stenson’s -20 at Royal Troon stands as the top score. Mickelson’s -3 for the title in 2013 at Muirfield is the lowest.

British Open Championship facts and figures

The Open Championship traces its roots back to 1860. Willie Park Sr. won the inaugural tournament at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland with a final score of 174. In 1972, the historic Claret Jug was introduced and had been awarded to the winner ever since.

Harry Vardon holds the mark for most Open Championships won with six, the last of which came in 1914. Tom Watson holds the mark for most by an American-born golfer with five. He’s tied with three others for second on the all-time list.

There have been 20 British Opens since the turn of the century with 16 different winners. Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and Padraig Harrington have won multiple Claret Jugs over that span.

Winning scores since 2000 have ranged from the stellar -20 shot by Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon in Scotland back in 2016 to the +3-carded by Padraig Harrington as he won at Royal Birkdale in England.

This will be the third time that the British Open has been played at Royal St. George’s over that time frame. Darren Clarke won in 2011 with a -5, three shots ahead of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, who tied for second place.

In 2003, it was Ben Curtis and a score of -1 that proved to be the best. Bjorn and Vijay Singh tied for second at Even.

Open Championship FAQ

Where can I follow the Open Championship leaderboard?

You’ll be able to follow along with the Open Championship as it happens on broadcast partners NBC and Golf Channel, as well as on the PGA website and other major sports outlets. Additionally, sportsbooks will provide updated feeds and, in some cases, shot-by-shot performances.

Where are future British Opens being held?

As of now, venues have been unveiled for the next three editions of the Open Championship.

  • 2021: Old Course at St. Andrews Links. Fife, Scotland. July 15-18.
  • 2022: Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Hoylake, England. July 14-17.
  • 2023: Royal Troon Golf Club. Ayrshire, Scotland. July 20-23.

What makes links golf different from US golf?

A links golf course plays differently from its American counterparts.

Links are typically in coastal settings with few, if any, trees and plenty of dunes. The course type favors play, which is more closer to the ground, as the coastal winds can impact the bounce of the ball.

What makes a course a links course?

Links is the oldest style of course and traces its roots back to the earliest days of the sport in Scotland. The courses are generally in a coastal setting with more of a natural landscape as opposed to the manufactured variety, which is in the US. You won’t see too many trees, but there will be lots of natural hills and dunes.

Where is the 2020 Open Championship being played?

The 2020 edition of the Open Championship takes place on July 16 through 19 at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England.

NBC and Golf Channel will provide television coverage in the states.

Who has won the most Open Championships?

Harry Vardon is the leader on the all-time list with six Open wins, the last of which came in 1914. There’s a four-way tie for second place with five: James Braid, John Henry Taylor, Peter Thomson and Tom Watson.

How many times has Tiger Woods won the Open Championship?

Included on the stellar career resume of Tiger Woods is three wins at the British Open: 2000, 2005 and 2006. He’s among the top 10 choices on the futures odds board for this year’s edition.

When did the Open Championship change from the British Open?

Up until 2017, the tournament was generally referred to as the British Open.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews pressed for changes, and the efforts proved to be successful. The tournament is now officially referred to as the Open Championship.

Who designed the Open Championship golf course?

This year’s tournament is being held at the Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England. The course was established back in 1887 and was originally designed by Laidlaw Purves.

How is Royal St. George’s different from St. Andrew’s?

Royal St. George’s is a Par 70 course, which spans 7,204 yards. The course was established in 1887 and designed by Laidlaw Purves.

The Old Course at St. Andrews traces its roots back to 1552. It’s a Par 72 course, which spans 7,305 yards.

How much do you win for the British Open Championship?

The winner of the Open is awarded a percentage of the overall prize pool, which rises through the years.

For the 2020 edition, the total purse is $10.75 million. In 2019, Shane Lowry was awarded $1.935 million for taking it down.

What is the Open Championship trophy called?

The winner of the Open Championship is awarded the Golf Champion Trophy, which is also commonly referred to as the Claret Jug.

The trophy has been awarded each year the tournament has been held since 1872. Winners get to hang on to the actual trophy until the following year’s British Open.

What is the hardest golf major to win?

Each of golf’s four majors has a high degree of difficulty, so opinions vary on which is the toughest of them all. Many believe that the British Open is the most challenging due to the links course.

Who is the oldest winner of the British Open?

In 1867, Tom Morris Sr. won at the age of 46, a mark that still stands today. Interestingly, Tom Morris Jr. won the following year at the age of 17, making him the youngest winner of the Claret Jug.

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