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The Four Players to Bet on at the Open Championship

Looking at the odds and history of the tournament, House tells Cousin Sal the best picks to make this weekend

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The 146th Open Championship starts on Thursday, so it’s time for House and Cousin Sal to allocate a little capital. On the latest episode of Against All Odds, House listed the four guys he’s looking at this week, given their histories with the tournament and the greatest potential for big returns. The Open generally favors older winners — eight of the past 10 tournament champions were 35 or older, and the average age of the past six champs was 38.5 years old. So keeping all that in mind, here are House’s four suggestions:

Justin Rose

House: It’s kind of a no-brainer to pick Justin Rose, [even though] I don’t love his odds at 22-to-1. In 1998, he had a top-5 [finish] at this course … as an amateur. He has been practicing at Royal Birkdale since July 10, and he [finished] fourth at the Irish Open two weeks ago. His pedigree is pretty well-established. We saw him finish second to Sergio [Garcia] and it took an extraordinary finish by Sergio at the Masters. 22-to-1, Justin Rose. We’re gonna play Justin Rose. We’re gonna put a little bit on Justin Rose, maybe like a half unit or something like that. … This feels like a terrific bargain for this guy and his pedigree–-by the way, Justin Rose is 36.

Adam Scott

House: Adam Scott is 37 years old. He was available yesterday at 30-to-1, now he’s down to 28-to-1. He’s made the cut in the previous seven Open Championships, with four top-10s in the past five years and a T-16 nine years ago at this golf course. So he was a top-20 finisher, tied for 16th at Birkdale in 2008. He played the Scottish [Open] last week — now that’s another little tidbit here: six of the past seven Open champs played in the Scottish Open the week before. What does that have to do with anything? I can only imagine, I have no idea. [Do] the fish and chips at the Scottish propel guys to victory? That’s the way I would think about it.

Cousin Sal: I’m a little upset at Adam Scott. … He screwed me with the U.S. Open. But I will get over it. This is a different course, and you like him at 28-to-1.

House: 28-to-1 feels like a bargain. He’s been a little under the radar. He has top-10s in two of the past five outings. One curious thing: Australians have won three of the nine Open Championships hosted at Birkdale. What does that have to do with anything? I don’t know. But Adam Scott’s Australian, and 28-to-1 feels pretty good.

Matt Kuchar

House: This is one of my heavy hitters this week: Matt Kuchar. Matt Kuchar is available at 50-to-1. He’s 39 years old, and he’s made the cut at the Open Championship each of the past five years. [He’s in] outstanding form. His past five events: tied for fourth; tied for 16th at the U.S. Open; another tied for fourth; a tie for 12th; and a tie for ninth. … Matt Kuchar’s available at 50-to-1. I like that.

Cousin Sal: [That’s] pretty good. He’s not a young man either — he’s right in that age range you like [at this tournament].

House: 39 years old. If you wanted to talk about [the] best [players] to have never won a major, he doesn’t quite get included in that [list], but he’s not won a major before and he would fit the narrative of guys who are due who won their first major, guys like Sergio, like Henrik Stenson, who’ve come around.

Branden Grace

House: This is my only guy under 30 years old, and this is a bad-weather play. I’m allocating a touch of capital to Branden Grace. Branden Grace is a South African. He’s never missed a cut at the Open Championship. I like his pedigree. He has top-5 [finishes] in two different majors: a top-5 at the U.S. Open a couple of years ago at Chambers Bay, and he also has a top-5 at the PGA Championship. I like that diversity of skill. That shows … he’s adaptable. He won the RBC Heritage, which is an event down in Harbour Town in South Carolina notorious for the wind, and he also has a series of top-20s this season at venues known for wind. I like Branden Grace at 50-to-1 on a bad-weather play.

Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.