Italian Open Golf Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
Olgiata Golf Club, West Course - Largo Olgiata, Italy - Par 71, 7,566 Yards
Forty minutes drive north of Rome sits the Jim Fazio redesigned Olgiata Golf Club which this week plays host to the Italian Open for the first time in its history. A long, open par 71, Ogliata is not a course that i'm expecting to be one of the tougher venues on the European Tour, but what this course lacks in difficulty it makes up for in beauty.
A tree lined, undulating course with water, in the shape of winding creeks, in play on 5 of the holes, players will have to be careful to guard against complacency. From the tee there is a lot of room, but shots that are sufficiently errant will cause difficulties for the field, and just being able to bomb dives will not be enough to get the job done this week. Fairways are undulating, and the runoffs are into the trees so placement will be crucial. Braun will help, but brains too are needed to find the short grass here.
The approaches to the greens are fairly benign with little bunkering to protect the large, fast putting surfaces. Run off areas are few and far between, and greens in regulation numbers should be high. With so many players setting up birdie chances, proximity to the hole and putting will be the crucial stats. For the former, players will need to have quality mid to long iron skills as the approaches aren't short. The par 3s average 210 yards, and there are six par 4s over 450 yards. I would expect a winning score between 12 to 15 under par; higher than in recent Italian Opens.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
A fantastically strong field has assembled this week in Italy for what is an ever popular and improving event. Golf in Italy has really increased its profile ahead of hosting the Ryder Cup in 2022, and this event is certainly a testament to that. Paul Casey (8/1), who we tipped successfully last month in Germany, leads the betting as he makes only his second appearance following that success in Hamburg. Casey ticks all the boxes of long, straight, driving mixed with strong mid iron play and a good touch around the greens. I have some concerns about his slightly low win propensity of 0.75 events per year, and for a player of such ability this suggests that there are some mental blockers. That said, this has probably been the best and most consistent year of Paul's career and, given the suitability of the course, I would not be surprised to find him right in the mix again this week.
Another Englishman, in the shape of Justin Rose (11/1) sits second in the betting having followed up his promising top 10 at the BMW PGA Championship with a slightly less impressive 38th place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links a week later. Rose similarly has a game that will suit a long open venue with fast greens, but his game is certainly at a level below that of Casey's at the moment. If I had to go for either player at the price, then Paul represents better value to me and I will be leaving Rose alone this week, if only for that reason.
Home favourite and 2016 winner Francesco Molinari (14/1) comes next as his form seems to be improving slightly as he has struggled to follow up his stunning 2018 this year. That year saw Molinari win The Open, and very nearly follow it up with the USPGA Championship, however he remains winless in 2019. That said, he has seen recent improvements with top 15 finishes in two of his last five events, and the home players are always a factor in Italy. Francesco has a well suited game if he is on form. Open Champion Shane Lowry (18/1) has posted back to back top 15 finishes and seems to be recovered from that hangover; he is another who could contend, but the course might be less suited to him than others. Danny Willett (22/1) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (22/1) make up the remainder of the head of the betting. Willett rejoined the winners circle in impressive style at Wentworth where he overcame last week's winner John Rahm, and looks one to beat this week. Fitzpatrick has lost some form lately and this venue is not one where I expect him to turn that around, and of these two Willett looks by far the better value.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
Englishman Matt Wallace sits fourth in the Race to Dubai after twenty two events as the season moves towards a close, and it's finale in Turkey and Dubai over the next six weeks. This reflects what has been a very solid, but so far unspectacular season for Matt who followed up back to back wins in 2017 with another three on Tour last year, and he will be itching to get back in the winners circle before the end of the year. Recent results have given strong cause for encouragement with a 3rd place at the KLM Open being followed up by an opening 65 at the BMW PGA at Wentworth which saw him take the early lead, however he was unable to sustain that form and finished in 41st position. At the Dunhill links three weeks ago Matt improved his score every day and closed with an impressive 65 at St Andrews to finish inside the top 15, and arrives in Italy rested after taking a couple of weeks off, and I think ready to challenge at Olgiata.
The weakness for Wallace this year, as it was last, has been his ability to keep the ball on the fairways. He sits outside the top 150 for driving accuracy, and that has certainly slowed him down this year. The West course here is more forgiving, and will impact him less than at venues like Crans where he missed the cut, and will see him finish far higher in that category this week. As a rule, Wallace hits it long and generally finds greens being in the top 30 for each of these categories, and he sits in the top 12 for putting which will be a challenge for some of the field on these large, fast greens. At the USPGA at Bethpage Black, Wallace finished 3rd on a tough setup with fast greens, and more open fairways. That week he was beaten only by runaway leaders Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, and this week he does not encounter opponents near that class. Wallace should be far higher up the market, and I am very happy to be able to back him with 3 points e/w at 28/1.
Other Betting Tips
Thomas Pieters returns to the European Tour after a three week break that brought to an end the hottest run of his career. Pieters won the Czech Masters in August, and quickly followed that up with three consecutive top 20s, including a 10th place finish at the KLM Open where he could easily have challenged for the title but for a slow weekend having opened up fast with a second round 66. Pieters sits 38th in the Race to Dubai, and will also be very aware that Ryder Cup qualifying has now begun, and he will be keen to return for the European team after playing such a crucial part in the victory in Chicago last time it was held in the US. To do that, Pieters needs to amass a lot of points quickly in these big end of season European events, and this seems like the perfect venue for him to do so.
Pieters has a very similar profile to Wallace from the tee, ranking 13th for distance, but 147th for accuracy, and is another who will benefit from the larger than normal fairways at Olgiata. He sits in the top 25 for all the putting statistics, and also performed well at Bethpage where he was in the top 25 along with Wallace. If Pieters keeps the ball relatively straight this week, he will have a huge advantage in approaching these large, fast surfaces with shorter irons. His ball flight is high, and this will help him to keep close proximity to the hole and set up chances for his putting to separate him from the field. He is another I am very excited to back this week and I suggest a staking strategy of 2 points e/w at 33/1.
Scotsman Robert MacIntyre fits a slightly different profile to the previous selections, in that he has more of an all round game, sitting in the top 50s for all categories without excelling in any. That isn't in any way a bad thing, and that is backed up by the incredible results that he has achieved during his rookie season. MacIntyre has three second places, and a host of other high finishes, but remains yet to get over the line and claim his maiden victory. That can only be a matter of time away, and MacIntyre has produced several results that point me towards the belief that his duck could be broken this week.
On a similarly long, largely second shot, course five weeks ago in Munich, Macintyre had a very impressive week, finishing 2nd to Paul Casey despite a 3rd round 74. I have complete confidence that he has scores in the 60s in him this week, and if he can cut out the bad round will go very close. With the consistency that he has showed this season so far, MacIntyre is a bet for me. I suggest 2 points e/w at 50/1
Andrew Johnston (affectionately known on tour as "Beef") is a player that has performed right at the highest levels both on the US and European Tours. At the end of 2018 and the start of this year, his game was not where it needed to be, he has a long run of missed cuts, and moved back to Europe to refocus his game. Recently there have been signs that this approach is coming to fruition with top 10 finishes at the Scottish Open, Scandinavian Invitation, and the BMW PGA Championship amongst his last six results. This represents a huge step forward for him, which has been largely ignored by the markets.
Johnston has a very solid long game; he ranks in the top 100 in all stats on tour; as well as in the top 40 for the greens in regulation statistic which will be so crucial to success this week. His game is also going in the right direction, his form is progressive, and this is a very similar undulating tree lined course to Valderrama where he gained his only Tour victory to date at the Valderrama Open back in 2016. Johnston does have an aura of unpredictability about him, but with the recent high finishes and at this price, I am very happy to be on him this week with 1 point e/w at 80/1.
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