An ill-advised kick-around with friends has put paid to Rory McIlroy’s chances of defending his Open Championship title next week and, as a result, the betting for the year’s third major has been thrown into disarray.
The Northern Irishman had been a strong favourite to retain the Claret Jug but news that the 26-year-old had ruptured ankle ligaments in a friendly game of football sent 2015 US Open and Masters victor Jordan Spieth, to the head of the betting.
The 21-year-old is now Stan James’ 11/2 jolly to land his third major of the year at St Andrews.
Victory for Spieth is also a big ask despite his success so far this season. Some have questioned the young American’s decision to play in this week’s John Deere Classic rather than head to Scotland earlier to acclimatise but even discounting that, picking up three majors in a calendar year would be an enormous and rare achievement.
Indeed, only two players – Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan – have managed such a feat, so the statistics don’t exactly favour the world number two and his price is plenty short enough when you consider how great an achievement it would be – accordingly, it may be shrewd for punters to look a little further down the field to find the value.
Big-hitter Dustin Johnson is a 14/1 shot at bet365 and after the South Carolinian tied for sixth and second in the Masters and US Open respectively, it’s easy to see why.
Louis Oosthuizen was also a joint runner-up at Chambers Bay last month, a result that prompted Ladbrokes to trim the South African to 25/1 to repeat his 2010 success and Justin Rose, at 18/1 with Paddy Power, is expected to lead the European challenge.
With two top-five finishes in a handful of Open Championship appearances, Rickie Fowler is someone that saves some of his best golf for this event so he isn’t without appeal at 25/1 (Winner.com) and William Hill’s 33/1 chance Phil Mickelson, who delivered at Muirfield in 2013, is another that can’t be ruled out.
Elsewhere, betway chalk Tiger Woods up at 28/1 even though he last won a major in 2008, BetVictor can expect interest in their quote of 33/1 about a Jason Day victory and Brandt Snedeker (50/1, bet365) has been turning in some impressive performances of late.
Sheffield’s Danny Willett, meanwhile, is a man whose stock is certainly rising and at 100/1 via Skybet, the 27-year-old could give each-way punters a real run for their money.
St Helens suffered a mauling at the hands of leaders Leeds in the Super League last week but second-placed Saints are set to bounce back tomorrow (Friday) as they welcome Huddersfield to Langtree Park.
BetVictor rate the hosts as 1/2 favourites to send the Giants home empty-handed and in the handicaps, Stan James give them just six points to claw back at odds of 10/11.
Chris Froome has long been favoured by many punters to claim a second Tour de France crown this year and his status as pre-race favourite was confirmed on when he was installed as bet365’s 4/5 jolly to be wearing the yellow jersey in Paris in a few weeks’ time.
Keep an eye on Nairo Quintana, though. He’s currently 5/2 (Stan James) to win the race and a generous-looking 3/1 (BetVictor.com) to claim the King of the Mountains polka-dot jersey, as well as being priced at 1/5 (William Hill) to win the Young Rider accolade.
Bookies have confidence in Lewis Hamilton becoming the first Briton to successfully defend his Formula One driver’s title.
He’s offered at 1/5 by Betway to be crowned F1 champion at the end of the season, with his nearest rival, Nico Rosberg, quoted at 4/1 by Winner.com.
Hamilton has a 17-point cushion going into the next race, in Hungary on July 26, which explains why Paddy Power rate him as their overwhelming 4/9 favourite to win – Rosberg is 9/4 at Ladbrokes.
Bet of the week: Dustin Johnson to win the Open – 14/1 (bet365).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com