On the eve of the Championship, on Wednesday night, I spent £100 -- about $160 -- on the legal British exchange sports betting website Betfair, as follows:
- £5 on Tiger Woods at odds of 10.5 to win £47.50.
- £10 on Lee Westwood at 15 to win £140.
- £10 on Justin Rose at 32 to win £310.
- £10 on Graeme McDowell at 36 to win £350.
- £10 on Rickie Fowler at 40 to win £390.
- £10 on Sergio Garcia at 40 to win £390.
- £5 on Jason Dufner at 48 to win £235.
- £5 on Zach Johnson at 75 to win £370.
- £5 on Bubba Watson at 85 to win £420.
- £10 on Branden Grace at 200 to win 1,990.
- £5 on Brandt Snedeker at 300 to win £1,495.
- £10 on the winning nationality being South Africa at 8.4 to win £74.
- £5 on a winning score of 5 strokes or more at 8.8 to win £39.
Snedeker opened with 66-64 to tie the 36-hole Open lead and his odds shortened considerably down from the opening 300. With £1,495 in credit against Snedeker (from a £5 stake), I started making "lay" bets -- betting against him -- on Thursday night and throughout Friday when, at one point when he had a four-shot lead, his odds had fallen to 4.2. Snedeker is a thoroughly likeable character, but for him to go on to win seemed highly unlikely. I also put lay bets on Zach Johnson at odds of 17, Graeme McDowell at 18, and Bubba Watson at 30. These hedge bets all earned me back more than my initial stake of £100. On Sunday, when McDowell hit the 7th green in two and was looking like mounting a challenge, and his odds had fallen to 4.6, I started making more lay bets on him.
I didn't make a single bet all week either for or against surprise champion Ernie Els, whose odds hovered around 50 on Wednesday, but he made good my "winning nationality" bet which erased all my bogeys for the week--the likes of Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, among several others, especially Tiger Woods who I foolishly kept backing throughout the weekend.
The end result? A modest profit. You win some, you lose some, as Adam Scott knows only too well.
-- John Barton