The Euros have now ended and the Copa America is also over, the Olympics starts next week in Tokyo Japan, so you’d think that it is going to be a quiet week of sporting action.
But that is where you would be wrong with two big sports events getting underway this week in the fields of golf and darts.
Starting on Thursday, the British Open Golf Championship will get underway at Royal St Georges in Sandwich, Kent. A field of the top players in the world will be ready to contest the action on the fairways as they attempt to win the final Major of the golf season, as well as picking up Ryder Cup points.
Then this weekend at the famous Winter Gardens in Blackpool, the second-most coveted competition in darts will get underway, the World Matchplay Championship. This tournament, played under matchplay format rather than sets, is one of the most popular of the season with players and fans and, of course, punters eager for a bet on the action.
If you would like to have a bet on either of these big events taking place this week then check out the many different pre-tournament markets available at bet365 Sport this week. In addition, remember to check out the Live In Play betting action that is also available when the action is underway in both events.
And if you are located in the United States and want to follow either the golf or darts, then check out the betting options available at present with BetRivers PA. The site offers excellent betting for both sports and is also available across other states in the US, making it a very good option for punters in many different states.
Let’s now take a look at both huge sporting events, starting with the British Open Golf Championship which gets underway on Thursday after an enforced one-year hiatus.
Preview – British Open Golf (Starts Thursday)
After being cancelled last year, and being sorely missed as an event as well as a golf Major, the British Open is back again this year, with the 2019 champion Shane Lowry set to defend his title at the famous Royal St Georges golf club in Sandwich, Kent.
The most southernmost of the Open rota courses, it was the first course outside Scotland to host the Open Championship and this week’s event will be the 15th time that the course has hosted the oldest of all four Major tournaments.
After a lengthy spell without hosting the event since he mid 1940s, Royal St Georges returned to the Open Roster in 1981, when American Bill Rodgers landed the win. Sandy Lyle also landed his Open victory at Royal St Georges in 1985 and in 1993, Greg Norman produced a final round 64 to pip Nick Faldo to the Championship.
Ten years later, it was the unheralded American Ben Curtis who won the Championship at his first attempt and then in 2011, perhaps the most famous and popular win at the course came when likeable Northern Irishman Darren Clarke held off Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson to win the tournament by two shots.
Another decade has passed since that famous win but the challenge of Royal St Georges remains. That includes a famous bunker on the fourth hole, reckoned by many to be the deepest in Championship golf at a reported 40-feet deep.
As with all links courses, it can be the weather that provides the course with its biggest protection against very low scores, but with fine, dry and calm weather predicted for the entire tournament, it does look like that we may see a few of the top players shooting low as they attempt to win the tournament.
Who Should Be In Contention At The British Open?
The bookmakers have Jon Rahm, the winner of last month’s US Open as the clear favourite to repeat his success across the pond in Kent. The Spaniard has been in excellent form after his return from illness, culminating in that win in the United States and having been well rested ahead of this event, and still producing top quality golf when he does play, it is easy to see why he is favoured so strongly with the bookies at 8/1.
Outside of Rahm though, there is a huge quality field. The likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Spieth and Xander Schauffele will all feel that they have an excellent chance, while you can’t discount the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay either.
Indeed, a quick look down the betting list for the outright market and you can make a good case for any player rated as a 150/1 chance or better to have at least some chance of winning the event.
However, for the outright winner I think Brooks Koepka at 18/1 is a great option, although I feel he is not the best value bet available. That’s because bet365 are offering up to eight places and ties for each way bets and I think this is the best market to look for value for.
For each way options the likes of Jason Day (90/1), Phil Mickelson (100/1), Ian Poulter (75/1) and Lee Westwood (60/1) all offer excellent value in my view.
Whoever wins, it should be a cracking tournament and it all gets underway on Thursday morning.
Preview – World Matchplay Darts (Starts Saturday)
Perhaps only the World Championship holds more prestige in professional darts than the World Matchplay Championship. Once the personal fiefdom of the legend Phil Taylor, who won it an unprecedented 16=times in his career, the tournament is played over match play (straight legs) format, rather than sets.
Last year, Dmitri Van den Bergh earned the first big win of his PDC career with victory in the final over former winner Gary Anderson. The only other players in the field on Saturday that have won this event are Michael van Gerwen (who has won it twice), James Wade and Rob Cross.
The atmosphere in Blackpool is always red hot and with 32 of the top players in the world set to compete in the first round, which is the first to ten (although if it goes 9-9 in legs, a player has to win by two clear legs in order to claim victory), it should be an exciting start to the week-long tournament.
Bet365 have Michael van Gerwen as the 7/2 favorite to win the tournament, but he is now a joint-favourite with Gerwyn Price having drifted slightly in the betting. Jose De Sousa’s good form sees him rated as a 10/1 shot with Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton at 11/1 and last year’s Champion Dmitri Van den Bergh a 12/1 shot.
My pick though is Nathan Aspinall, who is a 20/1 shot with bet365 and who I think is overdue a big win in one of the top two tournaments in the PDC.