Try the new bettingexpert

How To Bet On The British Open


The British Open, officially known as The Open Championship, takes place each July. As one of the four golf majors, betting on the British Open provides punters the opportunity to wager on golf at the pinnacle of the sport. Our detailed guide to betting on the British Open covers everything you need to make a profit on this year's Open Championship.

Betting On British Open Golf: An Introduction

The Open Championship, popularly known as the British Open, dates back to 1860 and is currently the third Major out of four to be played annually on the golfing calendar. The tournament is usually held in the third week of July and is shared on a rota basis between ten different courses across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. St Andrews, known universally as the home of golf, tends to host The Open every five years.

Here are the venues that are scheduled to host Open Championship's in the coming years:

2016 – Royal Troon
2017 – Royal Birkdale
2018 – Carnousite
2019 – Royal Portrus

The other six courses on the rota are St Andrews, Muirfield, Turnberry, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal St George's and Royal Liverpool.

British Open 2019 Dates

The 2019 Open Championship will be played at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Antrim from July 18th to July 21st.


1 - British Open Tournament Format
2 - British Open Betting Odds Explained
3 - British Open Value Bets
4 - British Open Golf Betting Explained
5 - Skills Needed To Win The British Open
6 - British Open Betting Strategies
7 - British Open Bookmakers
8 - British Open Free Bet Offers
9 - British Open Live Streaming
10 - British Open Golf Betting Tips

1 - The British Open Tournament Format

156 players make up the field at The Open Championship with the majority of places taken up thanks to exemptions. These include all previous winners of The Open under the age of 60 plus anyone who has won any of the other three Majors in the past five years. The top 10 from the previous years The Open Championship leaderboard qualify automatically as do the top 30 from both the European and PGA Tours previous years money list. When you throw in the rest of the worlds top 50 that are not already included in these categories, then we start looking at successful players from The Open Championship regional qualifiers. There is also a place for both the UK and US leading Amateur golfer.

Four Rounds, 72 Holes

The Open Championship is held over 72 holes (four rounds of 18 holes) like any other standard stroke-play golf tournament with rounds one and two adopting a two tee start from the 1st and 10th tees. These opening two rounds are played with the golfers in groups of three before a 36 hole cut is made in which the top 70 (and ties) make it through to the weekend to play the final two rounds. Previously the R&A also allowed anyone outside this bracket within 10 shots of the leader to also make the cut, but this was abolished in 1996. Rounds three and four are usually played as groups of two golfers.

Recent Open Championship Winners

1996 Tom Lehman USA Royal Lytham & St Annes -13
1997 Justin Leonard USA Royal Troon -12
1998 Mark O'Meara USA Royal Birkdale E
1999 Paul Lawrie Scotland Carnoustie +6
2000 Tiger Woods USA St. Andrews -19
2001 David Duval USA Royal Lytham & St Annes -10
2002 Ernie Els South Africa Muirfield -6
2003 Ben Curtis USA Royal St.Georgies -1
2004 Todd Hamilton USA Royal Troon -10
2005 Tiger Woods USA St Andrews -14
2006 Tiger Woods USA Royal Liverpool -18
2007 Padraig Hamilton Ireland Carnoustie -7
2008 Padraig Hamilton Ireland Royal Birkdale +3
2009 Stewart Cink USA Turnberry -2
2010 Louis Oosthuizen South Africa St Andrews -16
2011 Darren Clarke Northern Ireland Royal St Georges -5
2012 Ernie Els South Africa Royal Lytham & St Annes -7
2013 Phil Mickelson USA Muirfield -3
2014 Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland Royal Liverpool -17
2015 Zach Johnson USA St Andrews -15
2016 Henrik Stenson Sweden Royal Troon -20
2017 Jordan Spieth USA Royal Birkdale -12
2018 Francesco Molinari Italy Carnoustie -8

2 - British Open Betting Odds Explained

The first step to betting on Open Championship golf is understanding what betting odds are and the probabilities that they reflect. This probability is often referred to as the implied probability. For example, let's say that Jordan Spieth is at odds of 10.0 to win the Open Championship. What do these odds reflect? Well, at odds of 10.0, the bookmakers are suggesting that Jordan Spieth is a 10% chance of winning the tournament. This implied probability can be calculated as:

Implied probability = 1 / decimal odds

Understanding betting odds is important to golf and British Open betting as it is to betting on any other sport, league or tournament. If you truly want to bet on this year's Open Championship, it's crucial that you understand betting odds and their implied probabilities.

For more advice on betting odds and what they mean take a look at these articles:

How To Bet On Golf: A Beginners Guide
How To Convert Odds To Probability
Betting Odds Explained

3 - British Open Value Bets

Understanding betting odds is key to successful sports and golf betting. Why?The most important thing when it comes to profitable golf betting, or betting on any sport, is to only place bets in instances where you have identified betting value. What is betting value? A value opportunity is when you consider the chances of a given outcome to be greater than the probability implied by the bookmaker's odds.

Determining betting value requires a simple calculation:

Value = (Decimal Odds * Your Assessed Probability) - 1

So let's consider our previous example, if we are offered odds of 10.0 (an implied probability of 10%) for Jordan Spieth to win the Open Championship and we consider the likelihood of that outcome to be 15%, then we have a value betting opportunity because our assessed likelihood of Spieth winning the tournament is greater than that implied in the bookmaker's odds.

For more information on betting value and tennis staking strategies, read the following articles.

How To Bet On Golf: A Beginners Guide
How To Find Value Bets
Calculating The Perfect Bet Stake
How To Manage Your Betting Bankroll

4 - British Open Golf Betting Explained

Tournament Winner

Betting on a Tournament Winner is the most popular market when someone is looking to bet on The Open Championship. Sometimes backing a favourite outright is simply just the way to go in any sport, especially if we get a calm weather forecast. When a favourite goes off at a low price such as sub 15.0, it almost makes the ¼ odds each way market seem pointless; the stake you'd place on the each way half of the bet would surely be better off being invested in the outright market. Before backing a really short priced favourite ask yourself will their price lengthen at any stage, perhaps due to a slow start? If that's likely to be the case, it could be wise to wait and back him in play at a bigger price than the pre-tournament quote.

Each Way Betting

It often makes sense to back a golfer that isn't one of the favourites in the golf bets Each Way market. Quite often the ¼ odds for top 6 can offer more return than backing a favourite outright only. For instance backing a 81.0 shot each way (21.0 the place) can give a punter more return than backing just an 11.0 favourite outright only. It can also give a punter a far better run for their money, just in case their chosen player(s) gets off to a slow start or one of the favourites gets off to such a quick start.

First Round Leader

Fancy a player to get off to a fast start due to a favourable early/late Open Championship tee off time? After all, he will get the best of conditions (much less wind than the PM starters, fresh greens, no leaderboard pressure) If so then an ever growing popular golf betting system is the First Round Leader market (FRL) This is perhaps a good market to back a few outsiders in who could take a fancy to the course or type of test that The Open offers, but could otherwise struggle to put a low round together when the pressure is on in the later stages of the tournament.

Top 10/Top 20 Finish

Top 10 / Top 20 finishing position markets can also be profitable when betting on The Open golf tips. Given the decent record of outsiders in this Major, these can prove to be extremely profitable markets for bigger priced fancies. Look to back links specialists perhaps born in GB&IRL or the Scandinavian countries who have grown up playing this form of golf.

Match Bets

Another way is to focus on Match Bets. These can either be bets placed on who will shoot the lowest score out of a two or three ball group, or a virtual match up between two individual players who are playing the same course but in different groupings. This can be an interesting alternative, and although it doesn't offer the glamour of an outright or each way winner, it can lead to exciting finishes if your player is going head-to-head with an opponent heading down the 18th fairway! For instance a big name younger American with little experience of links golf could be drawn with a 40 year old Dane or Swede, yet the big name from the States would so often go off as a shorter price within the match bet.

Top Nationality

If you are struggling to find value within any of the above markets then perhaps the Top Nationality markets could be the one for you. This can be particularly rewarding when only two or three players from a certain country are teeing it up, meaning your chosen player only has to outscore one or two others in order to win out. We don't like selecting a top nationality if there are multiple players (say top American or top GB&IRL) as we believe this becomes too much like a lottery to offer any kind of value. If we like a player within a group of half a dozen or more of his own nationality, then we might as well use that stake in the traditional golf each way betting markets or Top 10/20 markets and get more returns for a successful tournament. A Top Nationality market also offers the chance to put together a small accumulator of say three or four players to potentially win big money for limited stake.

Will There Be A Hole-In-One?

Finally how about a bet that encompasses all 156 competitors that tee it up? The Will there be a hole in one market certainly keeps interest going throughout the entire event. Given that over 1,700 tee shots are played over four rounds of golf on a course with 4 par three's, you'd think there would be a good chance of a hole in one. However 2015 saw Daniel Brookes make the first ace since 2012.

5 - Skills Needed To Win The British Open

Whilst The Open Championship might be shared around ten different venues in three separate countries, what defines The Open is that only traditional coastal links golf courses are used.

Dealing With The Wind

Links golf is the purest form of golf and takes a certain type of golfer to excel on. Any links courses' biggest defence is undoubtedly the weather, and in particular, the wind. A seemingly easy golf course full of birdies and eagles on a calm day can be turned into an absolute brute overnight if the wind picks up, whereby shooting level par is a brilliant score. Holes can differ so differently from one day to the next depending on both the strength and direction of the breeze. Take the postage stamp 8th hole par three at Royal Troon, host of the 2016 Open Championship. Called the postage stamp due to the tiny nature of the green, the hole measures just 123 yards off the tips. On a calm day any professional golfer could get there with a flicked sand wedge and expect a birdie putt. Into a 30mph stiff breeze the following day, and the same players could be taking a 6 iron into the same green and would be praying for par!

The other side of a strong coastal breeze can see a links golf course totally dry out and as such makes holding greens with long distance irons almost impossible.

A look at the wide range of winning scores over the past twenty years or so shows us just how different The Open Championship can be depending on how hard the wind blows. Paul Lawrie infamously won at Carnoustie in 1999 with a score of +6 over par, yet eight years later Padraig Harrington won at the same venue with a score of -7, some 13 shots better!

Hit Knock Down Shots

Other skills needed to excel at links golf include the ability to hit 'knock down' shots. This is where a golfer takes a less lofted club, say a six or a five iron where he'd usually launch it up into the sky with an eight iron. He'd perhaps only take a half-swing and look to play the ball further back in his stance. This would automatically reduce the height that the ball sails up into the breeze, lessening the chance of the ball being taken astray by that pesky wind.

Larger Greens, Longer Putting

The Open Championship links courses also tend to feature much larger than average sized greens, meaning golfers need to be able to putt well from long distance – get the ball close to the hole with your first putt and if it goes in then it's a bonus – this is known as lag putting.

Avoiding The Higher Number Of Bunkers

Finally many link courses are protected by hundreds of bunkers. Some of these are known as pot holed bunkers; hit these and often the only way out is sideways or even in extreme situations, backwards! St Andrews has 112 bunkers and famously Tiger Woods didn't hit a single one during his 2000 Open Championship victory.

Patience, Experience

Patience is also required on links courses, both during benign conditions and windy conditions. Not getting frustrated at not making bogeys and accepting that there will be the odd bogey, or even double bogey, is simply part of the course. British and Irish golfers often excel on links courses, as do Scandinavian and Nordic golfers from countries such as Denmark, Sweden and even Finland.

6 - British Open Betting Strategies

Study the previous week's Scottish Open

A good Open Championship golf tips guide to follow is look at your selections preparation for this Major. All five winners of The Open between 2010 and 2014 played in the Scottish Open on the European Tour the week before. This naturally makes sense as they would have had good time to practice and acclimatise to the Scottish weather, time zone and played links golf in the lead up to The Open Championship.

Look to back someone who's won an event recently

Since the turn of the century, only four winners of The Open Championship hadn't won a PGA or European Tour event in the twelve months leading up to their Major win. One of those was 2015 winner Zach Johnson, though he'd won within 18 months of his St Andrews win having won the Hyundai PGA event in January 2014.

Look to back outsiders here over any other Major

Due to the nature of the links golf beast, it is well worth chucking a few quid at outsiders and dare we even say 'no-hopers' in your Open Championship bets. Since 2009 Darren Clarke won at 201.0, Louis Oosthuizen was 251.0 and Stewart Cink as high at 176.0. This is the Major in which you shouldn't be afraid to look down the market, especially if the wind blows!

Experience counts for plenty

As we have touched upon, a golfer that excels on links courses is usually pretty patient and often knows where is a good miss (in regards if you are going to miss a fairway or green, make sure it isn't the side with the huge bunker etc) Tom Watson so nearly won The Open in 2009 at the ripe old age of 59, and Greg Norman led after three rounds the previous year at the age of 53. Watson was matched at 751.0 prior to the off and would have made some each way punters very happy indeed with his incredible display that defied his years. Four out of five winners between 2011 and 2015 have been aged 39 or over, further suggesting this is the Major to back the elder statesmen in.

Place your bets till as late as possible

As explained, links golf and its scoring is so dependant on the weather, and in particular how hard that seaside wind blows. So often we see a draw bias favouring an early/late or a late/early tee off. For instance it could blow really hard all day on round one but on round two the weather could be calm in the morning, but blowing a gale in the afternoon. Here the late/early tee off time groups could get a huge advantage as they would have played one round in much calmer conditions. Whilst we may lose some value on those early prices, it sometimes pays to watch the forecast right up until the morning of the first round. Wind plays a huge factor and should be a huge consideration when we bet on The Open Championship golf tournament.

Don't back a debutant

Since 1934 there have only ever been four winners of The Open Championship who were making their first appearance at this Major. Two of those were greats of the game; Ben Hogan and five-time Open winner Tom Watson. 2003 was the last time an Open debutant was victorious, Ben Curtis' win at Royal St George's was the first virgin win since 1975. So when asking yourself 'How to bet on The Open Championship? - rule out those first-timers.

Don't back someone outright who hasn't played multiple Open Championships

Leading on from the above, not only can we rule out first-time winners of The Open, we can also look to only back golfers with significant experience of competing in this Major. Between 2000 and 2015, 13/16 winners of The Open had played in at least six Open Championships prior to their win. All 13 had also recorded at least one top 10 finish as well.

Don't back someone to win outright that played in the US the week before

When asking yourself 'Who will win The Open Championship?' perhaps bear in mind that Zach Johnson's 2015 win bucked a real trend in which previously only one winner of The Open Championship in the last 24 years had played an event in the USA the week before. This still means only 2/25 played in the US the week prior to their Open Championship victory, which still points to being a real good indicator to follow when punters bet on The Open Championship. Zach was also in great form having finished T19 or better in 6/7 events leading up to St Andrews.

Don't stake all your money on the ante-post market

Links golf is so weather dependant that it makes sense to hold off staking anything big in the lead up to The Open Championship until you've taken a good look at the weather forecast. When the wind blows in this Major it totally changes the complexion of the event – a level par score can become a winning score. When the wind is calm, so often the event becomes all about birdies and scores of -17 or less are needed to be challenging at the top of The Open Championship leaderboard. In other Majors we have encouraged ante-post betting. Here, unless backing rank outsiders, we suggest holding off until the week before.

Don't back anyone in play who doesn't get a fast start

Between 2005 and 2015, only Padraig Harrington won The Open in 2008 having been outside the top-ten after the first round. Get off to a slow start here and forget lifting that Claret Jug. Bear this in mind if using The Open bet in play markets.

Best Sites For Golf Stats

If you're looking to further your betting analysis for this year's British Open tournament, here are our top five best sites for golf statistics:

7 - British Open Bookmakers

Competition for punters business is fierce amongst all the traditional bookmakers during any of the four Majors, and The Open Championship betting odds are certainly no different. As you can see from the below free bet and offers section, there are great deals to be had.

Once we've decided on our list of reputable bookmakers that we can trust, we should factor in three things when backing a golfer in The Open betting odds outright win market.

  • Price for the win
  • How many places for the each way payout
  • What fraction of the win price do we get for our each way payout

Bet Victor offered an unprecedented 8 places for their each way payouts in the 2013 Open Championship outright winners market. They even kept the each way part of the bet as ¼ of the original odds – far better than Paddy Power who might have offered a competitive 7 places, but at a 1/5 of the original odds. 2014 saw Bet Victor revert back to 7 places, as Betfair and BetFred took over the 8 place mantle.

The extra place is all well and good but we need to ensure we look out for whether the payout is ¼ or 1/5 of the original odds. Backing a golfer at 101.0 that 'placed' with Bet Victor would have paid out at 26.0 whereas backing that same golfer with Paddy Power at the same 101.0 price would have only yielded a payout of 21.00 – a pretty big 20% difference.

Quite often the more places on offer for an each way payout, the smaller the price for the win. Coral stuck to just 5 places for the 2014 Open Championship and as such, their outright win price tends to be bigger than any of the bookmakers offering 6, 7 or even 8 places for each way payouts.

With Skybet surprising everyone in 2016 by offering 8 places in The Masters (despite the sub 100 field) will the day come when a bookie offer 9 places?! If so, then The Open Championship could be just the place!

If backing a favourite outright only then naturally we need not worry about the each way payout part of the bet – simply go with the biggest price quoted when studying The Open Championship betting odds.

It is down to the individual punter to decide which to go with – we would suggest chasing the bigger prices and less places for someone we fancy backing at sub 26.0, but any longer priced fancies it is always worth looking at 'losing' a bit on the win price to ensure we get an extra couple of places that payout. That extra place on offer is often vital to land a bigger priced outsider given that The Open field is made up of 156 golfers.

For more detailed bookmaker reviews, please visit our Bookmaker Reviews page, a full listing of dozens of the betting industries top bookmakers.

8 - British Open Free Bet Offers

In an increasingly competitive industry, many bookmakers now offer free bets and other promotional offers as a way of attracting new customers as well as encouraging existing customers to bet on particular events and markets.

Ladbrokes have previously offered stake money back as a free bet if any pre-event bet misses the cut. You'd like to think after researching your Open Championship golf tips that they'd at least make the weekend, but from time to time even the best preparation can lead to one of your selections simply not playing well and missing the cut. This deal was great insurance in case this happened!

The Open Championship betting offers continued over at Coral, where previously they have offered a free £10 to use during The Open bet in play markets. This applied to anyone that staked £10 on a pre-tournament outright winner bet.

Boylesports often offer stake money back if your selection finishes second or third in the outright tournament winners market. This applied to previous Open Championships and given it is a rolling offer for golf events most weeks, we'd expect this to be in place for forthcoming Majors, including The Open Championship winners markets.

Betfair also had a good offer on when Tiger Woods was in his pomp. They offered enhanced odds on Tiger making the cut, effectively giving punters a free Open Championship bet as this was during a time when Tiger simply didn't miss cuts. Specials markets like this often appear in the lead up to any Major, and Betfair (alongside Paddy Power) are the leaders in our opinion when it comes to offers like this.

To see a detailed list of all current golf free bet and bookmaker promotions available, please refer to our Bookmaker Free Bets page. Everything you need to know about free bets and bookmaker promotions.

9 - British Open Live Streaming

2015 saw the end of free to air coverage of The Open. The BBC lost the rights to broadcast The Open to Sky Sports. Previously the BBC had live streaming of The Open on their website and we would expect that Sky Sports customers will be able to access live coverage on SkyGo through their phones, laptops and tablets.

Remember, due to Sky Sports' total ownership of golf coverage in the UK, The Open Championship live stream isn't available on any betting website.

Learn more about live streaming in our guide to Bookmaker Live Streams.

10 - British Open Golf Betting Tips

If you're looking for golf betting tips, then be sure to check our Golf Betting Tips page particularly in the lead up to each of the Majors. There are some great betting minds in the bettingexpert community, posting profitable tips for a broad range of sports and leagues, including golf throughout the year. Visit our Golf Betting Tips page now to see which tipsters have identified the betting value or even better, sign up to bettingexpert now, become a golf tipster and compete with other tipsters across the world in our monthly tipster competition, There's £3,000 up for grabs each month with a 1st prize of £1,200 cash.

Read more bettingexpert How To guides