Spanish Open Betting Tips and Preview
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.
Club de Campo Villa, Black Course - Madrid, Spain - Par 71, 7,100 Yards
The European Tour returns to the mainland this week as the players head to Club de Campo Villa, four miles north of Madrid for the Spanish Open. First staged back in 1972, this event has floundered somewhat in terms of the quality of fields, and also the level of prestige, due in no small part to the economic crash in Spain which saw prize funds heavily reduced over the past decade. This week is sadly no different with only two of the World's top 50 players in attendance; local favourites John Rahm (5th) and Sergio Garcia (34th).
The venue itself is as typically tight and strategic as you would expect in this area. Spanish opens are famed for short and tricky venues, and this one does not disappoint. Designed back in 1956 by local man Javier Arana, the black course is a tight, tree lined, undulating parkland course just outside of Madrid. From the tee, players need to be strategic and to place the ball in the right half of the fairways on holes that often dog leg, or to set up approaches to greens that can be blocked out even from the fairways. The rough is not thick, but the trees are a genuine hazard. Placement rather than length is the key from the tee here on a first shot course that closely resembles Valderrama, last year's venue Centro Nacional, and other Spanish Open courses.
The greens are small, contoured, and well protected by substantial bunkering. They are also fast measuring this week up to 14 on the stimpmeter. The key metrics for success this week are strokes gained off the tee and greens in regulation. A real thinking players course, and one that offers up a great chance to a larger than normal percentage of the field. The most recent event here was the 2008 Madrid Masters, won by Charl Schwartzel on nine under par. The Black Course has hosted the Spanish Open nine times, won on the last occasion by John Rahm.
Last Five Winners:
|2015||Miguel Angel Jimenez||-4|
The Market Leaders
Home sensation John Rahm (7/2) comes into this week as the overwhelming market favourite following his impressive recent performances. These have included his win at the Irish Open, and a 2nd place at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship before a disappointing missed cut at the Dunhill Links Championship last week. That challenge represents an entirely different one to that facing the players last week, and not too much should be read into it when considering his chances this week. At a similar venue earlier in the year Rahm produced a very satisfactory runners up spot at Valderrama where scoring was similarly low, and he has every chance here. What i would say is that tight venues aren't ones that play to his strengths, and if a round or two begin to get away from him, Rahm could end up playing himself out of the tournament as happened last week, and the Open Championship back in July. As defending champion there are extra pressures and commitments throughout the week, and at a venue that brings so many players into contention, this price is just too short for me this week.
Following on from his win last month at the KLM Open in Holland, fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia (13/2) sits second in the market. Garcia almost always performs well in Spain, and has won on six occasions when playing in his home country. At a strike rate of once every three years, Garcia will be a force to be reckoned with, particularly having entered the winners enclosure for the first time in two years. Sergio has the perfect game for this type of venue. His placement off the tee is immaculate; he sits 4th in strokes gained off the tee, and leads the Tour in strokes gained on his approach shots. If he can replicate those statistics for another week he will be almost impossible to beat in a tournament where such a premium is placed on an accurate and intelligent long game. For me he is the better of the two at the top of the market, but I see the greater value down the market so will reluctantly pass on Sergio.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (10/1) is the next player, and third successive Spaniard at the head of the betting. Cabrera Bello posted an encouraging 6th place at Wentworth four weeks ago as he heads towards the climx of a rather unimpressive season for such a gifted player. His long game is solid, but the approach play is too erratic for me to put him up as a bet at this price around such a demanding course. Li Haotong (16/1) from China is the next player in the market. Aside from a 2nd place finish at the China Open back at the start of the season, Li has also endured a fairly ineffective year. Although only missing two cuts, he has only posted one other top 10 finish, and i cannot see this price as a fair reflection of his chances this week, and he is easy to oppose.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
This week I've decided to go for one of the slightly less fancied Spaniards in up and coming twenty four year old Adri Arnaus. Arnaus is enjoying an effective season, and seems to have very good weeks combined with some poorer performances. In recent weeks Arnaus has posted a 2nd in the Czech Republic, and followed it up with a 6th placed finish at Crans Sur Sierre on a similarly tricky tree lined course to that which the players face this week. When his 2nd place finish at four under par alongside John Rahm behind Christian Bezundheit at Valderrama earlier in the year is considered, his synergies with this course type and chances of contending this week far outweigh the price.
Arnaus hits the ball straight, and has a lovely low ball flight similar to the likes of Garcia. His recent performances and the intermittent missed cuts can be attributed to different course types, and Adri is a player I think who could become very accustomed to a certain profile of venue. This week is on the money for the kind of course where he has previously excelled, and it would be no surprise to see him in the mix this week. Added to that is home advantage that he showed no fear of at Valderrama and I feel that the time is right to back him. He is my headline pick this week, and I will be having 3 points e/w at 28/1.
Other Betting Tips
I'm going for another twenty four year old with my second selection, in Jeunghun Wang. Wang managed last week to put four rounds together for the first time on Tour for an encouraging 5th placed finish on nineteen under par. Wang is a huge talent, and should be able to tackle any sort of venue. Prior to that he had shown flashes of his Asian form, none more so than with an opening 66 at the European Masters last month. That was followed by a 76 which saw him miss the cut, but the quality is there, and now that he has managed to string together four consecutive rounds, i feel Wang will kick on strongly. One concern I would have is whether he can compete as freely on the tougher venues in Europe, but he overcame this problem on tight, undulating, courses in Asia so I feel is definitely worth a bet this week when in such clearly strong form. I will be having 2 points e/w at 80/1.
Italian Lorenzo Gagli is one of the less fancied or exciting players on the Tour, but this year he has shown real improvement, and has had some notably strong finishes that point towards a good chance of him being successful here in Spain this week. At the European Masters in Switzerland Gagli lost in a playoff having been odds on in play to claim his maiden European Tour title. That was at a venue with large similarities to this week. That result had been preceded by a 14th place at the Scottish Open where he posted seventeen under par, and by four sub par rounds at the Scandinavian Invitation where he again finished inside the top 40.
This is a new venue for almost all of these players, and Gagli should be well suited by his strongly technical and strategic play. He will find fairways and greens with regularity, and a three figure price is far above reflecting his true chances of contending this week. I recommend 1 point e/w at 100/1.
I'm looking at one more Spaniard as my final selection this week in the shape of Eduardo De La Riva. His best two finishes this season have come on home soil at the Challenge de Espana (42nd) and the Andalucia Masters (2nd), and as well as being a home venue, this track should suit his game well. Similarly to the other players that we have looked at this week, De La Riva is a plotter who can often be out muscled on the bigger courses, but who should be contending on a fair more even playing field here in Madrid. Although his recent finishes aren't great, he has made two of his last three cuts, and was in contention on his last start at the KLM Open following three sub par rounds before a final round of 76 dropped him back into the pack. In a relatively weak field, this price represents good value with 1 point e/w at 150/1.
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