By Dan Kilbridge | | 12 mins
LIV Golf Series Odds, Picks & Betting Predictions For London Event
The possibility of a disruptive, Saudi Arabia-backed golf league setting out to compete with the PGA Tour has been floating in the golf rumor mill for years. It sounded controversial and far-fetched at best. Normalcy bias made it hard to believe such a thing would ever even get off the ground, let alone entice quality players away from the PGA Tour.
And yet, as the league that would come to be known as LIV Golf has since proved, anything is possible with unlimited funds and willing participants as they prepare to host their first event this week for LIV Golf London at Centurion Club.
That’s basically how we got here, with LIV luring Tour stars like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, among past-their-prime names like Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter. All have received lucrative contacts – Mickelson and Johnson reportedly of the nine-figure variety – to risk legacy and a permanent ban on Tour.
The checks will clear because LIV is backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, valued at roughly $600 billion. All involved are accused of participating in sportswashing, where an oppressive regime will look to distract from human rights abuses and appear legitimate by presenting a grand show via sporting events – never mind what’s happening behind the curtain.
LIV promises to grow the game using an innovative approach. Tournaments are three rounds instead of four, there are no cuts, shotgun starts will be employed and there’s a team aspect with captains and uniforms and fancy draft parties.
That all obviously has nothing to do with any player’s decision to jump ship. The only thing that makes LIV unique and attractive to players is a willingness and ability to throw money at everyone, with no concern for the league’s bottom-line financial standing.
Only 48 players are in the field and the purses are obscene, with $4 million for first place and $120,000 for last place this week in London. Add in the ridiculous signing bonuses, and the lure of generational wealth was too much for some to pass up. The moral responsibility they bare in this form of sportswashing is a matter of personal opinion, but the threat to the PGA Tour is now very real.
That didn’t seem to be the case just several weeks ago, before the LIV announced its first wave of big signings. The golf betting world was quiet on the matter considering you can’t handicap a field until you know who’s actually playing.
Dustin Johnson is the betting favorite with golf odds of +400. The two-time major champ reportedly received $125-$150 million just to pledge his allegiance to the LIV. With $4 million on the line each week against fields he should dominate for years, there’s no telling how much he’ll be able to clear by turning his back on the PGA Tour.
Louis Oosthuizen is next with +900 odds while Talor Gooch – a surprising addition to the roster at age 30 – is next at +1000. Kevin Na and Sergio Garcia round out the top five at +1200.
Given how all the league’s promotional tools and branding appears thrown together last-minute, it still remains to be seen if LIV can even host a legitimate, logistically-sound golf tournament, viewable only on YouTube for now. If so, the betting interest will likely be there this season. If not, we’ll likely see certain states continue to decline to offer odds.
Either way, it doesn’t really matter to LIV and the Saudi government how many people watch and bet or how much money the league loses.
That’s the irony here.
Players are only joining LIV for financial profit and will accept the reputational hit as a result. Saudi Arabia only helped form LIV to bolster its global reputation and will gladly accept any financial hits as a result.
It was curious, then, to see several players seemingly overwhelmed with the line of questioning in midweek press conferences as the public faces having to answer for past human rights abuses of their new employers.
What exactly is it they think they were paid so exorbitantly to do?
Top 2022 LIV Golf London Odds
LIV Golf London Expert Picks & Predictions
Sam Horsfield To Win
Odds: +1800 at DraftKings
In the interest of full disclosure, we wouldn’t recognize 35 of these guys if they walked into our living room at this instant. We’ll probably see several of those anonymous players win this year considering the setups should be relatively easy and 54 holes rather than 72 makes it easier for lesser players to get hot and win.
Horsfield isn’t exactly an unknown, but he’s not a big enough name to receive all the scrutiny and questioning of guys like Johnson, Mickelson and McDowell. He also has serious game having won the Soudal Open last month, and he’s been T-12 or better in four of his last six starts worldwide.
We’re on Horsfield to win the first LIV event with +1800 odds at DraftKings.
LIV Golf London Betting Tips
We don’t have much to go on from a course perspective. We know it’s a short track at just over 7,000 yards and that LIV will likely employ generous setups. That brings most of the field in play, especially considering these are shorter tournaments. You might not know Pablo Larrazabal, but he’s ranked 65th in the world and those are serious chops given some of the, ahem, lesser-ranked players in the field.
For some perspective, Mickelson is eighth on the betting board and hasn’t played a competitive round in more than four months. He’s 51 years old and looked like death warmed over while making his first public appearances Tuesday after months out of the public eye.
We fully expect Johnson and Gooch to clean up on this thing all season, but it’s hard to imagine either will play great this week given the massive amount of distraction and scrutiny their moves in particular have received.
Our advice is to target a few lesser-known names this week, and they don’t necessarily have to be long off the tee. Otherwise we’ll have to see how this all unfolds ahead of the next event June 30-July 2 in Portland.
LIV Golf London, Date & TV
When: Thursday-Saturday, June 9-June 11
Where: Centurion Golf Club, Hemel Hempstead, U.K.