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Dustin Johnson the British Open Betting Favorite, but Carnoustie Plays Shorter

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With his best asset perhaps rendered irrelevant, Dustin Johnson seems like a vulnerable betting favorite for the British Open.

Johnson is the +1200 favorite on the British Open betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s third major due to begin at the 6,941-yard, par-71 Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland on Thursday.

A warm summer in the United Kingdom has created some firm fairways at the famously wind-whipped course. That could keep many players’ drivers in their bag, which would negate the edge that big hitters such as Johnson get from strokes gained off the tee. Johnson also has just three top-10 finishes in nine starts at the British Open.

Rickie Fowler (+1600), Justin Rose (+1600) and Rory McIlroy (+1600) are also high up on the board. There is a case for backing Fowler until he sheds the stigma of “best player not to have won a major,” as he has three top-five results in his last five majors. Rose has only placed in the top 10 twice in 16 starts at the British Open, so it might be wise to look past him for value.

McIlroy is a past winner but season-long putting problems might make it hard to trust him.

Getting into the longer odds to win the 2018 British Open, reigning two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka (+2200) has cracked the top 10 in his last two starts in the British Open. Only Tiger Woods (2000) and Tom Watson (1982) have won both the U.S. and British titles in the same year in the last 45 years. That doesn’t automatically rule out that it could happen.

With that said, Tommy Fleetwood (+2200) holds the course record at Carnoustie and also has recent momentum, what with being a U.S. Open runner-up. Tiger Woods (+2200) has the same price and could benefit from not needing to use his driver frequently this week.

The tournament comes at a bad time for defending champion Jordan Spieth (+2200), who has missed the cut in three of his last seven starts.

The case for, or against, Francesco Molinari (+3300) comes down to whether bettors give more weight to recent results or his track record in the event. Molinari has two wins, a second-place finish and a tie for second within his last five tournaments and his proficiency at hitting fairways could serve him well. He’s finished outside of the top 30 in the last three British Opens, but all of those were at other courses.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Triple Crown winner Justify under observation at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify has re-located to Del Mar where trainer Bob Baffert is keeping him under observation after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago.

Baffert says Justify will probably just walk around the stable area for the next two weeks at the track north of San Diego. The probable scenario for the colt is a return to racing sometime in the fall with the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

“Right now, we’re just looking to get him 100 percent,” Baffert said Monday. “We’re in a holding pattern. I’d love to run him again because he’s so much fun and exciting to watch. We should know more in a couple of weeks.”

Justify has won all six starts in his brief career that began this year. He has won four straight Grade 1 races, including a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion.

The colt hasn’t had a workout since the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Chris Froome happy as Tour de France heads for the mountains

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ANNECY, France – Chris Froome believes the mountains will reveal the true Tour de France contenders as he looks forward to the first of three grueling stages in the Alps.

“I’m feeling good and optimistic about the upcoming stages,” the four-time champion said on Monday, the Tour’s first rest day.

Froome, who is eighth overall after nine stages, is 1 minute, 42 seconds behind yellow-jersey holder Greg Van Avermaet before the first Alpine stage on Tuesday.

Van Avermaet is not expected to be a threat in the mountains, and Froome suggested the Belgian “will find it difficult to hang on tomorrow. It’s a proper climbers stage.”

After an opening week of relatively flat routes, the first significant ascents begin with four categorized climbs as well as the punishing Montee du plateau des Gileres, which features a six-kilometer climb at an incline of 11.2 percent.

“It’s a tough stage. It will definitely start shaping the GC,” Froome said of the general classification.

Sky teammate Geraint Thomas is second overall, 0:43 behind Van Avermaet, meaning the team has two viable options to claim the yellow jersey over the second week of the three-week Tour.

“It’s great for us to have those options to play when it comes down to it, especially looking at some of our rivals who have got two or three options in their team,” Froome said.

“The team around us is such a capable group of guys, and we’re really going to be coming into our element now in the mountains.”