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DD Real Czech Masters Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 25th August 2015 / 16:16

The Albatross Golf resort is the host for the second playing of the Czech Masters. Last year this tournament had a proper edge with it being in the run up to the Ryder Cup. Jamie Donaldson needed a fine performance to notch a place in that team and he duly obliged here winning despite being in trouble a few times in round four. The defending champ has some niggling injuries so fails to declare himself for this week. The Albatross course doesn't seem to favour any golfers in particular. Donaldson gave us a tee to green masterclass last year and the same will suffice this time around. I'm not ruling out longer or shorter hitters to be fair. It'll take good golf, it's as simple as that.

Our first bet comes in the shape of the fav. The swash-buckling, enigmatic Frenchman that is Victor Dubuisson. I didn't look at this event with too much enthusiasm to be fair, but when I saw the 14/1 on offer for Victor I began to start salivating Hannibal Lecter style. This is a tasty price. Three top 20 finishes in three quality tournaments the BMW, Open De France and Scottish Open were good enough signs that Dub was hitting some form. What is even more impressive was his finish at Whistling Straits. He finished the weekend shooting two 67s which was as good as anyone in the field bar the winner. He is by miles the best golfer in the field and if he's in any sort of shape here this week he walks away with this.

The fact that a hugely overrated Kristoffer Broberg is next to him in the betting says it all really. This is for the taking and having length on his side will surely be somewhat of an advantage around this lengthy track. My only fear is he lands in the Czech Republic with some of the finer things in life on his mind and takes his eye off the prize. He's a strange character this one and that stops me from having a bigger bet. However, it is big enough and I'm extremely excited by the 14/1.

Victor Dubuisson - 3pt @ 14/1Lost 3pt

Second on our list is James Morrison. This year has been the best in his career and he'll see this week as an opportunity to make it even better. He won the Open De Espana in the spring and knocked in some decent performances since. He finished 2nd in France and a made cut at Whistling Straits is a huge plus for somebody very inexperienced in that sphere. He is sitting inside the top 20 in the Race To Dubai and there is no doubting he should be slotted in as second fav. Some firms have got that right but the 22/1 on offer is very tempting. He notched a top 15 here last year which demonstrates his ability for this week considering he wasn't in any way near the sort of form last year than what he's in now. He has certainly improved his game this term and I fully expect him to play well here this week.

James Morrison - 1pt e/w @ 22/1Lost 2pt

Finally we're going to have a bit of a stab at a longshot. Merrick Bremner is somebody I'm sure many will be unaware of, and I don't blame you. He hasn't done much of note on the European Tour and is certainly unlikely to to go ahead and win at odds of 100/1. However he has shown signs that he is capable. He has won four times on the Sunshine Tour, now a breeding ground for many young talents. At only 29 years of age Merrick may have some improvement in him. He has been consistent on the Sunshine Tour this term and his best finish on the European Tour in 2015 was a top ten finish in Mauritius. He has played the last two Tshwane Opens quite well and having notched a tied 3rd at this venue last year I'm hoping the same trend may continue. He definitely plays his best golf in South Africa, however this is certainly an opportunity as the field is quite weak. With decent prize money on offer compared to what he is used to I expect him to give this his full attention.

Merrick Bremner - 0.5pt e/w @ 100/1Lost 1pt

The Barclays Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 25th August 2015 / 10:54

And so it begins, the Fedex Playoff series that will culminate in just over a months time at East Lake. Personally I love this format. The top 125 in the Fedex standings are eligible to tee it up this week and this gets whittled down to a final 30 for the Tour Championship. This is when it gets serious. A 10 million dollar bonus is on offer for the winner of the Fedex and despite many of these having plenty in the bank, try to dissuade Mark Zuckerberg to take part in a social media contest for 10 million. These guys are more hungry than ever to bag this satchel and it makes for some great viewing.

First up is the Barclays event where 121 dollar hungry golfers go to post at Plainfield CC in New Jersey. As far as form guides go there is little in the way to help us. The last and only time this event was held here was 2011. Dustin Johnson won then in a shortened 54 hole event due to an incoming hurricane. I do remember a lot of the venue as I had backed Dusty that week so I'm quite familiar. The course is a relatively short par 70. It has had over 1000 trees removed in the last ten years so is a lot more open for those who like to open their shoulders and have a real dig. That's what Dustin did in 2011. He ripped it off the tee at every opportunity and made the majority of his 19 under par total from being within 50 yards of the greens off the tee. He putted quite well and that is a must this week. The weather has been a lot more kind to the venue in the run up to this event so this somewhat changes the dynamics as it will definitely be a bit firmer. I don't think it'll play much different to those big hitters mind you. They'll all be trying to get as close to the green as possible. This was the tactics of many a few weeks back at the Bridgestone and it worked fairly well for the winner Shane Lowry. The rough can be nasty enough, but with little in the way of rain about it should be manageable.

On the face of it the shorter hitters have every chance to make a score around here. That will probably be the case and a few in that category will play well. I am of the opinion the bombers have the advantage and they can attack this course from the get go.

Click here for all the best odds on The Barclays

Once again Spieth heads the market at an uninviting 6/1. Some prices just make up my mind every week, and that's one. Win or lose, anybody investing in Spieth at these odds is a tad foolish. It just won't pay in the long run as Spieth, despite being the quality golfer that he is, won't consistently go off at the odds Tiger was in his pomp, nor McIlroy when he is firing. We will await better opportunities and better prices to land Spieth, which I suspect won't be too long. Jason Day and Justin Rose turn up in fine form and either could contend this week. Day could possibly be a bit drained as his PGA victory really did require hard work. He may also leave plenty in the tank for East Lake where I think he could be a big force. Rose still isn't firing on the greens however his streaky nature means he could contend. We'll leave both of the staking plan at the minute.

We'll start this week with Dustin Johnson. His 'demise' as some people like to call it at Whistling Straits was another tranche of evidence that Dusty still has some ghosts to exorcise in the majors. With 8 top 7 finishes in this season he is without doubt one of the most consistent. Many naively thought this would be a tough year after his comeback at the start of the season. There are a lot of opinions about DJ. Through my spectacles I see one of the games most talented artists who attacks 100% every time he tees it up. This will inevitably result in disasters. It did so for Phil Mickelson before he landed a well overdue major. Dusty is in the same mould, and his time will come in the major sphere. As it is this week he arrives as being the last champion at this venue. He tore the place apart in 2011 attacking many of the par 4s and it resulted in him stretching the field before overcoming Matt Kuchar down the stretch. I expect him to take the course on again and make a bold fist of defending. He'll make plenty of birdies and it'll be a matter of keeping the ricks off the card. I expected to see him priced a bit higher than 12s if I'm honest. I suspected the bookies might be looking to get him in the book and offer a 14/1 carrot. Unfortunately not but I'm happy to have a smaller investment at the 12/1.

Dustin Johnson - 2.5pt @ 13/1

I wanted bigger than the 35/1 about Matt Kuchar also. The price almost made him unbackable, but I feel he is on the verge of something special and I have to support him on a venue on which he played so well on last time. He chased Dustin home that weekend in the bad weather and had every chance of overhauling him. That was impressive to keep up with the winner that week and I do feel the course suits him a lot. He finished tied 7th at Whistling Straits two weeks ago, a venue which he played well the last time in 2010 before capturing the 2010 Barclays title a few weeks later. He has been trending towards this and a similar pattern may emerge to his 2010 campaign. All parts of his game are in fine shape and the tall gentleman has all the tools to contend here once again. A shade skinny price at 35/1, however we'll still go in.

Matt Kuchar - 1pt e/w @ 35/1

I'll side with another who had a decent performance here in 2011 with a top ten in the shape of Webb Simpson. Simpson has failed to fire on all cylinders ever since landing his US Open. Bigger things were expected but Simpson has stalled and will more than likely have a successful career without reaching multiple major status. He has a solid chance this week though. He has had his troubles on the greens and can be described as streaky at best. There was a definite positive last week though with a change to a conventional length Ping Cadence putter and it resulted in a strong tied 6th finish in the Wyndham. Simpson is always a tad risky to get involved with however we have to act at the correct times. This week he is certainly overpriced at 66/1 with form shown at Plainfield. He is gearing towards some better finishes and although this may be a step too far, he is certainly worth the risk.

This is as far as the staking goes for the Barclays. Absolutely nothing else appeals in the market so we'll go to war with these three.

Webb Simpson - 0.75pt e/w @ 66/1

Wyndham Championship Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 18th August 2015 / 13:34

Sedgefield is once again the host for the 2015 renewal of the Wyndham. The course is inviting to the punter as we can narrow our search for a winner due to it's intricacies. The course is a shortish par 70 that rewards accurate driving and stellar wedge play. The great and the good of wedge players have always fared well here down the years and I expect this time around to be no different. The course may receive a bit of rain over the next few days which isn't ideal for our betting preparations. Ideally we'd be looking for one of the shorter hitters who has a decent wedge game. The rain might cause a little concern to those guys as it will play longer, as a result I have focused my search on those who are a a shade more average in length off the tee.

Brooks Koepka heads the market and with the potential for the course to get soft he has every chance of obliging. Quotes of 16/1 are fair although I think his chances best lie on a wider open track. This tree-lined layout won't exactly suit his driving as he likes to really open his shoulders. I'll conclude the price is quite good but I'll pass him up because of the venue.

Branden Grace arrives here in very good nick off the back of an impressive performance in the PGA. Grace has really become a big time player in recent months with looking all over the winner at Chambers Bay in the summer before sending his tee shot on the 16th into oblivion. That remains his weakness while in contention. He has a tendency to get very fast with the club and body not perfectly in motion together which results in some wild shots under pressure. Still, he is worthy of consideration taking into account his form, but we will leave him off the staking plan because of those reasons, despite the fact he is putting as well as ever. We'll go with a three pronged attack to the Wyndham.

Brandt Snedeker is one worth a few dollars this week. Snedeker usually shows some form before landing a win and he is posting some very impressive results of late. Four top tens on the trot during the summer, one of which was the US Open was backed up with an impressive 12th placed finish at Whistling Straits last week.

The 70s on offer last week was very tempting considering his form and we were a bit unlucky he couldn't turn it on a bit more. Quotes of 20/1 have made way for 18s here and although I consider that quite short, I feel he is the most likely winner so we'll have to invest. He won this title in 2007 on a different track however he has backed that up with two top 5 finishes at Sedgefield since. This place really suits his game and if he can get the putter a bit hotter than what it has been then he'll be in contention no doubt. A solid each-way bet.

Brandt Snedeker - 1.25pt e/w @ 18/1Lost -2.5pt

Luke Donald is slowly working his way back to where he used to be. I was surprised Luke went so off the boil, but it happens when you start messing around with different coaches, and it can take a long time to get back. This summer has been very encouraging. Top tens at the Travelers and Scottish Open were backed up by a solid tied 12th finish at the British Open. He is on a run of 9 made cuts on the trot and this is a welcome return to consistency for the Englishman.

Possibly the most impressive of those was a 43rd place finish at Whistling Straits last week. The Straits course was a long slog for somebody who doesn't hit it a mile out there. Also, considering how short he hits it, if he strayed left or right it would have been severe punishment as he'd be left long approaches in. He has never taken part around Sedgefield which I find surprising. Maybe it has clicked that this venue should suit, and with the form he is beginning to show he is certainly an ounce of value at 66/1.

Wyndham Championship - Luke Donald - 1pt e/w @ 66/1Lost -2pt

I'm disappointed to have missed out on the early quotes of 33/1 about Billy Horschel. I can't leave him out though and we'll have to invest a few quid at 28s. Billy hasn't finished any lower than 33rd in his last nine events and is slowly building towards another fine ending to the year. He scythed through the world of golf last autumn to win two events and claim the treasure chest that is the Fedex Cup.

This might just be the time of year to catch Billy as he starts thinking about defending that trophy. He will need a win or two along the way and with three made cuts from three appearances here he might be able to improve on that. He played quite well at Whistling Straits last week and has every chance of going better at Sedgefield. 0.75pt each-way B.Horschel 28/1

Wyndham Championship - Billy Horschel - 0.75pt e/w @ 28/1Lost -1.5pt

Made In Denmark Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 18th August 2015 / 09:47

On we charge into this week's offerings after a very pleasing result landing Jason Day's win at the PGA. We were a tad unlucky to lose out on a 66/1 placer with Matt Kuchar finishing one shot out of the money.

The Made In Denmark tournament was first played last year with Marc Warren taking home the spoils. The course has been redesigned in recent years and it made for a spectacular tournament last year with record crowds turning out to cheer on local favourites Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen. This year I expect the tournament to be equally successful. If you stray from the fairways here you can end up in some peculiar places. The rough either side of the fairway is manageable however stray a bit further and you're likely to find yourself in some gnarly dunes that wouldn't look out of place on a seaside links.

Hitting the ball straight is definitely a requirement around Himmerland and those with accurate irons who can fire at the right portions of the greens will gain significant advantage. There are plenty of changes in elevation so I will be keeping that in mind when sifting out the selections this week. Weather should be favourable enough however the wind will almost certainly impact at some point during the week.

Marc Warren heads the market at a top price of 10/1. Despite some recent good form I find his price nothing short of scandalous. Before looking at the market I considered backing Warren, hoping for some 22s or 25s. Needless to say 10/1 doesn't interest me in the slightest and I'm happy to let him win unbacked at those odds. Bjorn and Kjeldsen are next in the market in what is a weak enough field. There are a number of outsiders I have pinpointed who have a sneak at inflated odds and I'll get to them later.

I've talked myself out of backing Thomas Bjorn at the last minute. Quotes of 20/1 are a shade risky about the Dane with 15 European Tour wins to his name. At first glance after making the cut at Whistling Straits last week I considered the the price to be very tasty in a weak field. However there have been no top tens posted on tour this season and he is woefully out of form. An in form Bjorn would no doubt turn up here at a single figure price, however the more I dwell on it the more I realise that the price is maybe warranted. We'll leave him out and hopefully it is the right decision.

After much deliberation and a shade of annoyance at having to invest in this lad at these odds our top bet this week goes to Matt Fitzpatrick. My main reason for investing is my belief that Matt is by far and away the most talented golfer teeing it up this week. Bjorn may have banked his wins over the last 15 plus years, but the yet winless Fitzpatrick is a proper golfer in the making. He will be England's next best golfer behind the Westwood generation and surely a win is just around the corner. He came very close in Crans a few weeks back only losing a back 9 lead to Danny Willett. I am highly confident this lad will win many tournaments and, with accuracy being more his strong suit than length, I consider this venue as quite enticing. 22/1 is nothing to get over excited about, however, considering he is twice the golfer that Marc Warren is, it becomes almost impossible not to include him in our staking plan. The most likely winner in my book.

Made In Denmark - Matt Fitzpatrick - 1.25pt @ 22/1Lost -1.25pt

Another worth supporting at Himmerland is Robert Rock. He who sports the trendiest hair style on the circuit has been stringing together a consistent spell of results which all point towards a decent showing this week. Robert doesn't hit the ball a mile but is quite accurate when he's on form and it is always worth keeping an eye on him at venues where the shorter hitters have more opportunities.

This is definitely one of those and at 60/1 Rock represents solid value. Top tens in Dubai and and the Tschwane Open was backed up by a tied 3rd finish in the Lyoness Open in the summer. Making the cut in France and Scotland is solid enough heading into this week. He will rate this one of his better chances this season and I expect a decent showing from Rock. He works hard and with two wins on tour is more experienced than most should he get into contention.

Made In Denmark - Robert Rock - 1pt e/w @ 60/1Lost -2pt

Our next selection is Bradley Dredge. The 50/1 on offer is just too much to turn down. He held the joint lead in this event with Marc Warren heading into day 4 last year and I feel the venue suits his game to such an extent that he should go well again. I was impressed by his top ten performance in this summer's Irish Open which he backed up with a top 25 finish at a tricky Nordea venue the following week.

His two wins on tour were at Crans and Madeira. Both experiences will be beneficial for the Welshman around a track which requires some similar tools. A second placed finish in the Dunhill links in 2006 also backs up the argument that he has a chance this week. Considering he has posted some decent results this year I'm more than happy to snap up the 50/1 on a venue where he played so well on last year.

Made In Denmark - Bradley Dredge - 0.75pt e/w @ 50/1Lost -1.5pt

We'll have a small bet on Englishman John Parry. The field is littered with players who have barely come close to winning while John landed the Vivendi Cup in 2010. That field contained some big names so John has a slight advantage on most. He has posted some impressive finishes this term in Mauritius and Africa and this might just be the week where things click for him. What makes him a better proposition than usual this week is the venue. With elevation changes and hint of links, Parry has shown perfect credentials to play well here. He has top ten finishes twice in Madeira and Scottish Open as well as the Alfred Dunhill Links.

Form shown in Joburg and African open is worthy of note also as elevation changes take place there. He would have been a bigger bet had he not missed recent cuts in Madeira, Scotland and France. That is without doubt a shade worrying as those courses should be in his wheelhouse. However, at the odds I'm prepared to support him in a weakish field.

Made In Denmark - John Parry - 0.5pt e/w @ 125/1Lost -1pt

With four official European Tour wins to his name I will conclude our staking this week with Darren Fichardt. I personally followed Fichardt around Royal County Down for a few holes in the summer and I was s bit more impressed that I thought I would be. He in quite neat and posted a decent finish there as well as the Nordea Masters a week later. Those two venues are not too dissimilar to what faces the field this week and I feel Fichardt is a shade overpriced to go well. That form coupled with consistent form on some undulating tracks in South Africa convince me Darren has the tools to play well and surprise a few people.

Made In Denmark - Darren Fichardt - 0.5pt e/w @ 150/1Lost -1pt

US PGA Championship Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 11th August 2015 / 08:38

We return to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the final major as the curtain comes down on the four big ones in 2015. The majors this season have been relatively straight forward to predict with many of the bookies favourites filling the win and places. Zach Johnson bucked that trend in The Open, beating a well-backed Louis Oosthuizen. Spieth, Day and Dustin all made their presence felt throughout that week too.

This week the Pete Dye test is likely to produce the same type of result. It seems you need to have notched a victory in that year prior to teeing up at the PGA, and playing well at last week's Bridgestone is another positive factor. That trend is widely talked about heading into this week, and while I don't want to rule out everybody outside of those parameters, it is worth keeping that in mind when narrowing our search for a potential winner.

The course is one of those manufactured links that are becoming all more common on the major rota in the States. I for one love them because certain players seem to play well on all these layouts. The course is without doubt a stretch and although some short hitters have made the argument here down the years, longer hitters do have the advantage. Kaymer and Singh have won the recent majors here, both big hitters who on their day have a silky putting touch. The 2010 renewal was particularly memorable with Kaymer, Dusty, Bubba and Rory fighting out the finish. Dustin Johnson was penalised two strokes for grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole and fell out of the playoff before it even began. Rory was just a kid back then and really could have won the tournament outright by a few shots had his putter behaved a bit more during the four days. There is sure to be a bit of bad weather at some point in the tournament with wind and rain likely scattered across the first few days. This should really play more into the hands of the bombers, as they'll be able to overpower the course relatively speaking.

Jordan Spieth maintains the role as tournament jolly and his price of 13/2 is enough to put me off entirely. He has every chance of playing well however I'd give the likes of Day, Dustin and Rory the same kind of chances so I'd be looking almost double those odds to get interested. There are plenty of questions to answer with the others. Will Rory's lack of match practice result in him playing a cameo role this week? How will Dustin fare after some major disappointments this year, and also returning to the scene of his lowest moment on the course? Can Day finally put that final round together to become the major champion he so deserves to be? Unfortunately I don't have the answers, but these are the question marks surrounding the top of the market.

I have to say I was tempted by the 14/1 on offer on the exchanges on McIlroy. He is swinging it well in practice and has been working hard with his coach over the last number of days. He shows no signs whatsoever of the ankle giving him bother. He's teeing it up, and is fit. However he isn't match fit and that is just about enough to put me off investing. He will have battled mentally to get prepared for this week also and he may just be a shade overcooked when Thursday comes.

There is no doubting the best bet here this week in the shape of Jason Day. The Aussie has been trending towards this all season long. With a win two weeks ago in Canada and earlier in the season at the Farmers, Jason is slotted in behind Spieth as the most impressive player of the year. He finished in the Top Ten here at Whistling Straits in 2010 and he has kicked on and become a better player since. His major record is nothing short of spectacular without landing a win. What I distinctly remember from a hot and sticky final day in 2010 was the amount of opportunities passed up by some players, most notably McIlroy on the final 12 holes.

I believe a lot of the story will be told on the greens over the four days and I've been impressed by Jason's performance in that category lately, especially when under pressure. No more so was this demonstrated when he holed a 30-footer across the 18th in Canada a few-weeks ago to seal the title. This represents a decent opportunity for Day considering there are question marks surrounding the others and his price of 14/1 is more than fair. He was lying second after day one of the Masters before fading, leading going into day four of the US Open, and finished one off the pace at St Andrews. His major play is outstanding and I fully expect Day to contend once again.

Jason Day to win the US PGA Championship - 3pt e/w @ 14/1Won 52.5pt

Let's deal with another towards the top of the market. Dustin Johnson will not be as effected as many people presume by his major woes in recent years. This man has had some serious personal issues off the course and as a result is a lot more mellow while on it. Believe me, Dusty has enough money in the bank and a sufficiently stunning partner to sleep next to so as to not be too worried about not crossing the line in a golf tournament. Life is good to him. So when he tees it up this week, his 2010 mishap and three-putt at Chambers Bay will be far from his mind. What is important is his golf. His failure to go on to victory following a 36 hole lead at The Open is a shade more worrying for me. The long delay in play between the 2nd and 3rd rounds certainly upset his rhythm and I suspected he was a shade tired after a taxing year. He won impressively at the Cadillac after a brief hiatus from the tour to sort his personal problems. He has dealt with the aftermath and the publicity of this and a somewhat disappointing showing coming 53rd and shooting 7 over at the Bridgestone was all the evidence I need to suggest he is running out of steam.

Bubba Watson comes into this in some serious form and has every chance of going one better than he did in 2010. His 16/1 is tempting also, but I can't help but feel there is a rick in him even in the closing stages of this event. The course can bite you towards the end and I'm not prepared to take that risk, especially since he is liable to miss the cut also. Anything goes with Bubba, but I'm more than happy to pass him up this week.

Matt Kuchar is one who doesn't fit the trend of having won earlier in the season however I'm more than prepared to take a punt on him this week at tasty odds. Kuchar is a likeable big sod and seeing him win a major would delight the golfing public. Sentiment doesn't rule our decisions however and he has plenty going for him heading into the final major of the year. He is mighty consistent having missed only one cut in the last 16 months. He finished fifth at Harbour Town in the Spring - another Pete Dye designed course. Of course he won at another Dye venue, Sawgrass, although I fail to see many similarities between there and Whistling Straits. A Top Ten in Canada a few weeks back was backed up by a consistent performance at the Bridgestone. The performance of his year came at the Scottish Open playing magnificent stuff down the stretch only to be outdone by a sparkling performance by his buddy Rickie Fowler. He seized his opportunity that day and looked all over the winner before Fowler played great stuff down the closing holes. It demonstrated the ruthless streak Kuchar has at his disposal when he's in the mood. He doesn't win as often as he should considering the amount of cuts he makes, however he is still a major champion in the waiting. He finished 10th here in 2010 which was a shade disappointing having held the 18 and 36 hole lead. He started with 65,67 in 2010 and that shows a real likeness for the venue. He has added four wins since then, three of them being big tournaments the Heritage, The Memorial and The Players. If ever there was somebody coming in under the radar it's Matty. This represents his best chance at a major in a long time, I expect him to play well.

Matt Kuchar to win the US PGA Championship - 2pt e/w @ 66/1Lost 4pt

I was extremely surprised to see Patrick Reed chalked up at 66/1. His game is one to suit here surely, and if he's on his game from the off the others will find him difficult to get past. Top Twenty finishes in his last two majors have been impressive enough and this may just be Patrick's time to nail one. He wasn't totally on his game last week but I was pleased with the way he battled to a T15 finish. He had every chance heading into the weekend at Chambers Bay a few months back but if anything it was a bit early for him to win such a prestigious event. The PGA remains his best chance of a major and just like when Keegan struck when the iron was tropical, Reed might be about to do the same. Nobody would be surprised should this lad land one and his price is of major value this week. He is an absolute bulldog when he has got a sniff and major opportunities should surely come his way in the coming years. Early quotes of 66/1 have made way for 60s however that is still 20pts too big for me. He is a solid each-way selection.

Patrick Reed to win the US PGA Championship - 1.5pt e/w @ 60/1Lost 3pt

Ian Poulter's putting absolutely caught fire last week and I was expecting to see around 70/1 for this event. At 125/1 he has to be worthy of our support. He chased McIlroy home in the 2012 PGA at Kiawah Island, another similar Pete Dye design. He has shown some very decent form on the tour this year and although he's a bit of a lottery at times, the price is just far too big to ignore. He lacks the length required, however as I said in my intro, some shorter hitters have fared well here, most notably Justin Leonard who just missed out in a playoff with Vijay Singh. He posted a T6 finish at Augusta and there's been a few other close calls at the Honda and Crowne Plaza. A return to a venue similar to Kiawah will get Ian's juices flowing, and he'll be excited after last weeks exceptional putting display.

Ian Poulter to win the US PGA Championship - 0.5pt e/w @ 125/1Lost 1pt

Another in the same mould as Kuchar is Brandt Snedeker. He has won twice around Pebble Beach which no doubt has some similar tests to that faced at Whistling Straits. Another win at Harbour town suggests he has the skills to flourish around here. He had four Top Tens on the trot before missing the cut at St Andrews. His one-under par total at Chambers Bay was worth noting and with a few more putts falling he could have contended there. With enough question marks around some of the leading contenders I believe Snedeker along with Kuchar will be licking their lips at the prospect of contending here. His price of 80/1 is a shade on the big side and we'll have to have a small bet, despite it being a bit risky.

Brandt Snedeker to win the US PGA Championship - 0.5pt e/w @ 80/1Lost 1pt

One more small wager on American J B Holmes. Holmes has had his fair share of health problems down the years however there is no doubting his talent and he comes to Whistling Straits on the back of a very successful year. Second place finishes at the Farmers and Cadillac were finally backed up with a win at the Shell Houston Open. He loves taking courses apart and he may have the right attitude to succeed here this week. A T25 finish at this venue in 2010 included a second round 66 which shows what he is capable of. He arrives this time around in better form and he fits that trend I mentioned above. at 125/1 he is another who must be supported.

Rickie Fowler is another I thought long and hard about however I worry slightly about his ball striking on this layout. I may be wrong and he could play very well. I'm unsure to be honest. It could go either way and I just can't pull the trigger. I've got solid enough reasons to oppose some, I have to admit there's little in the way of negatives right now with Rickie. Justin Rose throws in absolute stinkers with the putter occasionally and I find it hard to invest when I believe this will be won and lost on the greens on Sunday.

J B Holmes to win the US PGA Championship - 0.5pt e/w @ 125/1Lost 1pt

WGC Bridgestone Invitational Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 4th August 2015 / 08:25

I am sure we are all still reeling from Bill Haas' collapse on the back 9 last week as he had hit 8/13 from an advised price of 35/1. Hard to believe we didn't get full place money either from someone who looked like they had the tournament in the palm of their hands. Golf deals blows like this to us frequently, the key is making sure our next bet is just as informed and well thought out.

Firestone is the familiar venue for the 2015 renewal of the WGC Bridgestone. A course which has yielded a lot of wins to Tiger Woods down the years so only a handful of players turn up this week with this tournament already tucked away. Firestone is not a million miles off last week's Quicken Loans venue and some similar tests will face the players. Rough is tangly and can be tricky however the longer hitters, who get closer to the greens, can cope pretty well as they can get a lofted club through the tall grass. It is worth noting that although Firestone is considered a bombers paradise, plenty of plodders have fared well here down the years. Furyk has played well here regularly, while the likes of Kuchar, Palmer and Moore have all posted consistent results despite not having the tools to overpower the course.

Golden Child Jordan Spieth unsurprisingly is our jolly this week at a top price of 6/1. He finished far down the field in his maiden voyage here in 2014 but Firestone is somewhere where experience seems to pay. Spieth seems to challenge even when not at the peak of his powers. That's how good he is. I do feel the need to steer clear though whenever I feel a course's length might stretch him. His ball striking can definitely be questionable on a longer layout.

Spieth could play well, but his lack of experience around here and the skinny price allows me to happily rule him out. Fowler, Dusty, Day and Rose are all playing sparkling golf this summer and I expect at least two of them to contend over the weekend. How to decide between them is a conundrum though and I find it near on impossible to chose one over the other.

We'll have a four pronged attack at this WGC starting with the old timer Jim Furyk. His record around here is very consistent despite being a short hitter. He is deadly accurate and can not be underestimated heading into a tournament he loves. He has posted no fewer than 9 top tens around this track and had a few very close shaves when finishing second. He lost in a mammoth 7 hole play off to Tiger in 2001 and simply threw away the title in 2012 handing it on a silver platter to Keegan Bradley. Indeed many were questioning Jim's ability to close out a tournament until he duly obliged in April winning the RBC Heritage.

Two respectable performances in the US and British Opens were sandwiched in between Top Five finishes at the Memorial and Canada a few weeks ago. Jim Furyk is without doubt having a consistent year and I can't rule out a second win of the season at a venue he loves. This time of the year seems to get his juices flowing, never more obvious than when he landed the Fedex Cup a few years ago.

We will also have a tickle on the first round lead for Furyk. He has shot in the 60s ten times here off the starting blocks and held the lead twice, and twice been in second spot. With those four top performances I feel the 33/1 on offer is worth a small win bet. Each-way for first round lead doesn't interest me at all as you will rarely get the full place money unless you finish one shot behind.

Jim Furyk to win WGC Bridgestone Invitational - 1.25pt e/w @ 40/1Placed 11pt

Jim Furyk First Round Leader - 0.5pt @ 33/1Lost -0.5pt

Reward for the unluckiest golfer of the year has to go to Kevin Kisner. I believe Kisner to be one the best young golfers out there yet to parade in the winners' enclosure. The Greenbrier, The Players and The Heritage have all starred in Kisner's 2015 feature length hard luck story movie. Three play-off defeats at quality venues highlight this lad is a big-time player. Further top tens at the Memorial and Wells Fargo suggest Kisner loves these classical tests and his price to oblige this week is way beyond what it should be.

Brooks Koepka, who I think of very highly of, has no form whatsoever around these layouts and is half the price in places. If bookmakers continue to chalk this lad up at 80/1 around these tracks we'll make them pay sooner or later. With this being his first time around Firestone, a winning outcome is still very unlikely, but evidence is there to suggest he can overcome his inexperience. It is this slight negative that stops me from at least doubling the advised stake. A magnificent ball striker, Kisner will get his win sooner rather than later.

Kevin Kisner to win WGC Bridgestone Invitational - 1.25pt e/w @ 80/1Lost -2.5pt

Having finished solo third here last year I was surprised to see the in form Marc Leishman chalked up at 66/1. I wasn't surprised by his mini wobble in the closing stages of the Open a few weeks back, however that experience will no doubt help shape the future for Leishman. I'm a little unsure to be fair how much improvement there is in this lad. He hits the ball a mile but regarding his game nothing really seems to stand out. It is worth noting that Leishman has form on similar courses. Torrey Pines, River Highlands, Bayhill all have the odd similarity to here. Leishman is a horses for courses golfer which is mainly why I'm prepared to invest, especially after his performance at The Open. He has posted two Top Five finishes at The Open, Farmers Insurance Open and the Byron Nelson. He has backed up a win at the Travelers with more consistent results and he without doubt plays consistent golf at his favourite venues. With a 3rd placed finish here last year I'm more than prepared to take a chance this is one of his courses, especially at 66/1 on the back of a career best performance at St Andrews.

Mark Leishman to win WGC Bridgestone Invitational - 0.75pt e/w @ 66/1Lost -1.5pt

Finally we'll have a smaller bet on Keegan Bradley. I have backed him here the last few years and he hasn't been out of the top 5. He is showing a shade more form this term and I was pleased to see the top ten finish at the Memorial. Form around there, Torrey Pines and Bayhill are always encouraging when looking for a winner around Firestone. Keegan loves this place and this remains his best chance of a win every single year. The bookies are well aware of this and have priced him up a shade skinny at 40/1. I can not fault his chances however and we can not choose our bets simply on value prices alone. We can't lose sight of trying to find a winner and Keegan is certainly one of the more likely ones here. A win in 2012 has been backed up by two Top Five finishes and it's worth noting that those finishes have been amidst some sketchy form. A smaller bet simply because of the malnourished odds.

Keegan Bradley to win WGC Bridgestone Invitational - 0.75pt e/w @ 40/1Lost -1.5pt

Barracuda Championship Preview - Niall Lyons

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 4th August 2015 / 21:48

A low-key event awaits us at the Montreux GC in Reno as plenty of journeyman pros and young hopefuls tee it up in the hope of gaining a victory that can yield much gold. Over half a million dollars on offer to the winner won't be sniffed at by the majority of this field and plenty will see this as an opportunity as the top players head to Firestone for the WGC. The Jack Nicklaus-designed layout is in the Nevada mountains and plays at quite a high altitude. This results in the ball flying a lot further. Most will conclude from this that longer hitters have the advantage around here as they can hit irons off the tee and drive a few of of the par 4's but strictly speaking, although that may be true, it is not always an advantage. This represents a chance for the shorter hitters to narrow the playing field with the bombers and statistically they have fared quite well around here.

Our stakes will be kept relatively small for this minor tour event, nevertheless these guys are definitely worth supporting. Brendan Steele has one PGA tour win to his name and he will be looking to add to that this week as he tees off as the bookies fav. He is worthy of that tag and I feel he is worthy of a bet. I have always been impressed by Steele's desire, and he has traveled away from the States too in his quest to further his career. None more so was this demonstrated when he posted a top 10 finish in the Open De France in July. He has had three top ten finishes there in France and he returns this week to a venue on which he has played well. He has notched two top ten finishes here at the Montreux golf course and he it is because of this he is worthy favourtie. Three Top Ten finishes at the Phoenix, and a 2nd place at the Humana is more than enough evidence to suggest that Steele can make enough birdies to contend at these target contests. The bookmakers have got him priced accordingly, I would have loved bigger. Nevertheless, he has every chance in a weak field.

Brendan Steele to win the Barracuda Championship - 1pt @ 18/1Lost -1pt

Mark Wilson has endured a tough time this last couple of years but there are potentially signs things are on the improve and I'm prepared to invest in him on a course that shouldn't stretch his length limitations. Three made cuts on the trot is encouraging and a Top Ten finish in the Travelers in June is enough to suggest Wilson may be turning the corner. Scores will be very low here this week and it's worth highlighting that Wilson's five wins on tour have resulted in a combined total of 76 under par. He posted 24 under to win the Humana in 2012, and 18 under to win the Phoenix in 2011. These are a few years back and ideally I would have liked to see a bit more form before heading into this week, but his price is certainly worth risking with some recent consistent results. As ever, the course is what attracts us most. He doesn't hit a long ball, but the course is no stretch and the altitude should also help his ball fly. He has posted two Top Ten finishes here before and this rates as his best opportunity of the year to date.

Mark Wilson to win the Barracuda Championship - 0.75pt e/w @ 100/1Lost -1.5pt

Finally we'll have two smaller bets on a few outsiders. First up Alex Cejka landed his first PGA tour victory in a similar low grade event the Puerto Rico Open in March. With 4 other European Tour wins to his name we can not ignore his credentials, as he will be better than most to cope with whatever Sunday throws up if he is in contention. There is nothing much else to go on apart from the fact he can make plenty of birdies in these easier events. I was surprised to see him chalked up at 100/1 while he is as short as 50s at other firms. Certainly an ounce or two of value to record his second win of the year. Finally we mist have a small investment in the burly shape of Ken Duke. He was motivating himself big style last Friday in the Quicken Loans as he made the cut and his desire to kick on is as bright as ever. He has posted a few decent results at this venue and I feel he is a shade of value in this weak event.

Alex Cejka to win the Barracuda Championship - 0.5pt e/w @ 100/1Lost -1pt

Ken Duke to win the Barracuda Championship - 0.5pt e/w @ 100/1Lost -1pt

Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 28th July 2015 / 18:06

Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay

Murcar Links Golf Club in Aberdeen is our host this week for the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play event. Paul Lawrie has personally founded and promoted this event in order to put more Match Play golf on the schedule. This is a relatively low-key event with little in the way of prize money to tempt the higher profile players from attending. However, Paul Lawrie is widely respected in the game and many players high enough in the rankings are making their way to the Seaside Links in hope of notching a victory.

The format is straight knockout, just like how the WGC Matchplay used to pan out years ago. The draw has just been made but with co 20/1 favs I don't put too much an importance on the outcome. This is up for grabs and whoever can master the conditions will have a great chance of going deep into the event. The weather looks half decent with wind and rain forecast at various times throughout the week. Nothing as vehement as what can be felt in Scotland will face the players though and hopefully they should get an event free from the disruption we've seen on tour in the last few weeks. The course is very short so the bombers wil have little advantage as the course usually narrows towards the greens. I expect plenty of birdies, especially under this format, but the plodders might just be the ones to invest in this week.

The bookies can't really separate the field and from a punting perspective it isn't easy to decipher. Match Play events are always a conundrum and there is no doubt that an element of luck is involved in getting a winner here. We will have a few plays, but it is an event to tread very carefully with and not get too heavily involved before the off. There may be opportunities to have a few bets on the matches as the week progresses, and if there is I will be in touch.

There's no doubting my strongest selection and that is GREGORY BOURDY. The Frenchman has shown flashes of brilliance all year without ending up in the winners enclosure. He has been found wanting at the business end of many tournaments this term, most notably when he blew a lead on day4 of the Lyoness Open. His is a tidy game and while many others will be finding trouble around this tight track Gregory should be down the middle. In 2013 he became the first man to win all his matches at the Seve Trophy swotting away everybody who came to challenge him that week. That should give him the confidence needed to go far in this event.

He is up against a tricky opponent in Nicolas Colsaerts in round 1 but if he can scrape through that match he has the ability to go on to lift the trophy. With the each-way terms not appealing this week I will be going win only on the rest of my selections but with Bourdy I feel he warrants an each-way bet as I see him as a great chance to get to the semi finals.

Gregory Bourdy - 1pt e/w @ 45/1Lost 2pt

Our second selection this week comes in the shape of one of the favourites in RICHIE RAMSAY. He was just drawn against Shiv Kapur so it is a generous first round opportunity. Interestingly he beat Shiv Kapur in a playoff to win his maiden European title in the South African Open in 2009. I was impressed with a T10 finish at Royal County Down a few weeks back and this only backed up his previous credentials on links. He has notched two top5 finishes in the Alfred Dunhill Links and another top20 finish at Portrush a few years back. The only bit of course form we have here is the 2006 Scottish Challenge on the Challenge Tour where Ramsay finished a creditable 4th early in his career. We will need luck in running no doubt, and stakes will kept pretty low for this event, but he represents the value in this field.

Richie Ramsay - 0.75pt @ 21/1Lost 0.75pt

Considering RAPHAEL JACQUELIN'S form of two top 10 finishes in three weeks around some tricky tracks I feel he is worth something small for this event. His game is neat and tidy and I expect that to fit well to the Murcar Links. He has been putting very well of late and that will be one of the key aspects in getting deep into this tournament. He plays Seve Benson in round one and hopefully that shouldn't pose too much of a threat to our bet. He has a plethora of top10 finishes around Links or manufactured Links courses and with this in mind we'll support the Frenchman this week. Low stakes once again as Match Play outright markets don't lend themselves to heavy wagers.

Raphael Jacquelin - 0.75pt @ 33/1Lost 0.75pt

Quickens Loan National

Niall Lyons / Tuesday 28th July 2015 / 15:35

Quicken Loans National

The Quicken Loans National changes venue this year to the Robert Trent Jones GC in Virginia. Most viewers will be unaware of this layout yet it is a hidden gem. This course hosted the President's Cup four times between 1995 and 2005. We basically have no form to go on from those renewals but that is no hindrance to us having some well-informed wagers here. Where there is little course form I see this as an opportunity to gain some value from the markets as the odds compilers will simply be pricing up on the back of rankings and recent form. We can dig deeper to see what type of player will do well at this course.

Built around Lake Manassis in Virginia this course is very easy on the eye. The course is 7,385 yards in length and a par 71. There are a few hefty par 4s here and I would suggest tentatively that the course may suit the longer hitters. The rough has been grown, as was the case when this event was held at Congressional. The greens look in great shape and with plenty of undulation it will give the tournament officials rope to play around with pin positions. Those who can accurately dispatch their irons at the pins may also hold an advantage over the others. I expect attacking golfers to make up the top of the leaderboard come Sunday evening. They may also get a bit of rain which should play into the hands of the longer hitters once again. With no course form to go on however we have little in the way of course stats to guide us towards narrowing our search.

Justin Rose goes down to post as the jolly at a top price of 9/1. He is worthy of the tag and has every chance of producing the goods on a course that should suit his game. He has won this event twice on two different tracks so he certainly has a fondness for it. I couldn't rule out a hat trick however he has played a lot of competitive golf in big events this year and with a few more to come in the next few weeks I would be looking a few points bigger price if I was to get involved this week. Rickie Fowler slots in next at 11/1 and although I consider him a better proposition to Justin I'm still not bowled over with the odds. His iron play wasn't as accurate at St Andrews as it has been all summer. It has been a tough summer for the kid with stern tests in Ireland and Scotland and I suspect he may run out of some puff this week.

Our top selection this week goes to BILL HAAS. First of all let's address the Missed Cut situation. He has got the guillotine in his last 3 events but this doesn't bother me an awful lot. Two of these were tough major championships with the Greenbrier sandwiched in between. A missed cut preceded his win here in 2013 and the same happened when he won the Bope Hope a few years back. Most importantly Billy shoots solid scores around these layouts in his sleep. His win here was at the tough Congressional layout where he shot a winning total of 12 under. Wins also at Riviera and more crucially at East Lake at the Tour Championship result in him being the best betting proposition of the week. The odds of 40/1 are quite enticing for somebody with such credentials. We would stake slightly more had he been posting some better finishes but the missed cuts do throw an element of uncertainty into the equation. He is a consistent driver of the ball and can go hunting pins which will certainly help this week.

Bill Haas (Dead Heat) - 1pt e/w @ 35/1Placed 1.25pt

JUSTIN THOMAS is a rookie who hits the ball an absolute mile and there is no doubt that a win is around the corner for this lad. This year he has notched five top10 finishes which is extremely impressive for a rookie. Once again I highlight one of those at Torrey Pines earlier in the year which should suggest this type of test will suit Thomas. Slotting in behind Rose, Fowler and Walker in the betting it tells us how much the bookies think of him. Rookies that show this type of form usually go ahead and win at some point and with this somewhat lull in proceedings between some big events I expect him to consider this one of his best opportunities of the season. He ranks 18th in driving distance and this will likely be an important element to playing well this week. In the heat of battle there are still question marks surrounding how he will cope, but the talent that he has makes his stock worth investing in.

Justin Thomas (Dead Heat) - 1pt e/w @ 30/1Placed 0.83pt

Next on our list this week is the Sea Island resident HARRIS ENGLISH. I was impressed by his performance earlier in the year when he was beaten in a playoff in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Around the lake here this course will have elements of Torrey Pines, but has the look of a resort course in places also. Harris' form in events such as the Travelers and the Zurich Classic suggest he goes well on these types of test. I've also noted a top10 finish at Riviera. As ever, my approach is to link as much form course to course before looking at the market. His record in this event is modest at best although the change in venue should be to his advantage. With two wins in his relatively short career English will no doubt have plenty more in his locker before he hangs up his glove. The price of 55/1 is fair and worth a small investment. We won't go overboard in the staking this week as the change in venue keeps us in the shade a little and although I can put my own perception upon how it will play, the scores are always the proof in the pudding.

Harris English - 0.75pt e/w @ 55/1Lost 1.5pt

The next golfer we'll go to war with is the underrated JAMES HAHN. He missed the cut two weeks back at the Open but either side of that we have strong finishes. A top10 in the Greenbrier was backed up with a T11 finish in Canada last week with an impressive final 3 rounds in the 60s. He showed his worth when he beat a feisty twosome in Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey in a playoff at Riviera in February. A result on a venue like that is no fluke and James certainly has a game. I was a bit surprised to see odds of 80/1 chalked up by the bookmakers and we'll certainly take a chance on him producing another fine performance on a venue which should suit.

James Hahn - 0.75pt e/w @ 80/1Lost 1.5pt

Finally, a small investment on DANIEL BERGER. With nine top25 finishes on tour this year Berger is one of the hotter rookies out there. Once again, with the cat and mouse we are playing second guessing how this course will play my attention turns to his finishes at the Honda and Zurich. A top30 finish at Quail Hollow is also noted. I am certainly wary of his wobble at the Honda where he had his chance to win. However to be in a playoff at that event is an early feather in his visor and I'm prepared to have a small bet on him this week at hefty odds of 100/1.

Another who was close to making the staking plan was Russel Knox. His likeness for resort courses is worthy of note heading into this week. Knox is very inconsistent and although I like his game his results during his career so far are not good enough to warrant me getting involved. At this moment in time he is overrated by the bookies, and I'd be looking double the 50/1 on offer before parting with a few shillings of my own.

Daniel Berger - 0.5pt e/w @ 100/1Lost 1pt

Golf Tips

Golf and betting have been two passions of Niall’s from an early age. He started working in the industry when he was 21 and has spent the last nine years honing his skills to gain an advantage on golf markets. Niall’s subscription service ‘LyonsDen’ has proved extremely profitable in recent years and Oddschecker users now have access to his valuable insight on a weekly basis. Follow Niall on Twitter @betgolfworld

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