The sports betting gods can be fickle mistresses. And if you had the Clippers winning this series - or to go all the way - a fog of doubt has rolled into your horizon.
And just like that the fate of the remaining teams in the NBA Playoffs has been shaken up again.
It appears that there is no clear favorite in the East or the West - largely due to injury.
Let's see where the sharp money is betting, in all their infinite wisdom, based on these recent events.
As you might expect given home court advantage and Kawhi sitting in game 5, the sharps overwhelmingly favor the Jazz to cover and win straight up tonight agains the Clippers.
The spread is generally -7 (-105). However, the Jazz are -320 to win, so there is very little value in betting on them straight up. It might make more sense to be on the Clippers to cover at -115.
The 76ers are similarly overwhelming favorites to win and cover. In this case, it might be worth a bet on the 76ers to cover - given their overwhelming advantage at home.
Now, let's talk through the US Open.
PGA Tour: The U.S. Open
Who will win the 120th U.S. Open?
That's the million dollar question. Let's see who people are picking:
Kyle Porter, golf writer
Winner -- Bryson DeChambeau (18-1): The odds here just do not match up with how well DeChambeau fits the mold of the modern U.S. Open golfer. Sometimes we discount golfers who won the year before because of how few have gone back-to-back at this tournament, but you could make a real argument that DeChambeau's game fits Torrey Pines far better than it does Winged Foot (which he won by six). He's the pick at all future U.S. Opens until he gives me a reason he shouldn't be.
Sleeper -- Louis Oosthuizen (45-1): Speaking of guys it's easy to like, Oosthuizen's U.S. Open record is pristine. He constantly finishes in the top 25 at this event (every year since 2015), and though he's also a difficult player to pick to actually win a major championship, it's likely that he's going to insert himself in the mix at some point -- just like he did at the last U.S. Open as well as the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
Top 10 lock -- Xander Schauffele: I suppose it's the four straight top 10s at U.S. Opens that has me captivated. I'm not big on him winning, but to me, he -- and not Jon Rahm -- is the lock to play well here this week. Everyone who has said it is correct; he has no holes. Every part of his game is supreme, though he's not necessarily the best in the world at anything. He's also a solid putter on poa annua, contended here in January and had a shot at the Masters late in the tournament. What's not to like?!
Star who definitely won't win -- Jordan Spieth: I feel good about this one. He just has not been very good at U.S. Opens since his win at Chambers Bay. I'm a massive believer in where his game is at and how much the long-term trajectory has changed, but this week at Torrey Pines is not going to be a week it shows.
Surprise prediction -- Jon Rahm falters: I'm fading Rahm this week, mostly because every single thing is pointing toward him running away and winning this thing by four strokes. His U.S. Open record is not that great, and it's not difficult to understand why. For all the physical gifts, the U.S. Open is a mental war of attrition. While the "he needs to change his attitude" stuff with Rahm is way overplayed, there's a truth there that he needs to not let the bad break that just happened affect his next five shots. I think he does this too often at U.S. Opens, and I think he'll do it again this week at Torrey Pines as the favorite.
Lowest score: 66 (-5)
Winning score: 283 (-1)
Winner's Sunday score: 72 (+1)
Chip Patterson, writer
Winner -- Jon Rahm (9-1): Don't overthink it or try to talk yourself into thinking the isolation will hurt Rahm's ability to win. With seven top-10 finishes in his last 13 major championship starts -- including T5 at the Masters in April and T8 at the PGA Championship in May -- no one in the field is knocking on the door of his first major win quite like Rahm. He's a worthy betting favorite, and both his course history and game are set up to survive the grueling task of working your way around Torrey Pines.
Sleeper -- Daniel Berger (40-1): His best major championship finish is at Shinnecock (T6), where Brooks Koepka won with a +1 score. Sure, his early-in-the-day 66 on Saturday helped him fly up the leaderboard while the rest of the final top-10 scored in the 70s, but his form on Friday on Sunday at that extremely difficult and very on-brand U.S. Open tells me got the goods to survive four rounds at Torrey Pines. Other winners are more fun for narratives, but my hunch is we'll see someone outside of those top nine or 10 names on the odds board emerge to win.
Top 10 lock -- Tony Finau: OK, so maybe one person in the field is knocking the door of his first major win like Rahm, but Finau's win conversion doesn't stack up to Rahm and his 11 worldwide wins (five on the PGA Tour) since the start of 2017. Finau has finished in the top-10 in nine of his last 13 major championship starts, and he was right there with Berger in 2018 firing the low round of the day on Saturday to soar from 45th place to gain a share of the 54-hole lead. The distance between Finau's top-10 floor and ceiling as a winner feels like a gulf, but he's got the goods to deliver on that (very high) floor more times than not.
Star who definitely won't win -- Bryson DeChambeau: He hasn't finished in the top 30 of either of 2021's major championships and while the course set up seems destined to be an advantage for his game I'm out on the back-to-back. DeChambeau will be able to overcome the thick rough in ways others won't, but there's too many big numbers lying around Torrey Pines to think he gets through 72 holes without an ejection hole or two that can cost you on Sunday. Top 10? Sure. But winning requires a sharper edge than he's shown in majors so far this year.
Surprise prediction -- No hole-in-ones: At the Masters, we dialed in on declaring multiple aces, but I don't think we see any through four days of championship action at Torrey Pines. Both of the par-3s on the back nine are a little long for dead-eye accuracy checking in at more than 220 yards, and the shortest par-3 (No. 8) has a two-tiered green with large bunkers on the front and back that will have golfers thinking more about club selection and avoiding the wrong spots than pin-hunting for aces.
Lowest round: 66 (-5)
Winning score: 280 (-4)
Winner's Sunday score: 69 (-2)
Kyle Boone, writer
Winner -- Collin Morikawa (22-1): There are few golfers on the tour right now as good or consistent as Morikawa has been of late. He's finished top-15 in his last four outings and is coming off a loss at the Memorial where he was brilliant before falling to Patrick Cantlay in a playoff. And at Torrey Pines, his strength as a ball-striker and knack to find fairways with regularity will be on full display. If he's able to be just-OK around the greens and on them, I like his chances this week, and I obviously love the value at 22-1 for a young star already with a major championship under his belt.
Sleeper -- Garrick Higgo (50-1): I'll ride the Higgo wave here. Higgo was masterful at Congaree, winning the Palmetto Championship -- his first victory on the PGA Tour in his second start -- this past weekend with a remarkably consistent four-round outing. He is one of the sport's young stars who has incredible length off the tee, and while he needs to pair that with accuracy -- a tall task for a player making his second career major championship appearance -- it's an X-factor that could make him an interesting sleeper if he picks up where he left off at the Palmetto.
Top 10 lock -- Jordan Spieth: How well Spieth has played this year has, rightfully, made him one of the trendy picks to win again at a major championship venue after a years long drought. And while he's been close, he's thus far been unable to convert his old form to new wins. That includes a T3 Masters finish and a disappointing T30 finish at the PGA Championship. Given that, I'm not ready to predict a win here at Torrey Pines where the long track and demanding conditions will require perfection off the tees from a player like Spieth who often struggles with the driver. But if he's able to stay out of trouble coming off the tee box and can channel his short game wizardry, as he is wont to do, then he could easily wind up in contention and finish top 10 on the leaderboard by Sunday evening.
Star who definitely won't win -- Rory McIlroy: Rory is a bonafide star with the physical gifts and talent most on the PGA Tour could only dream of possessing. But he's made a habit of shrinking in major championships, and he's an auto-fade until he sheds that routine. On the first day of the PGA Championship in May, it already felt like he was out of it despite an opening-round 75. Same deal for the Masters where he opened with a 76 and went on to miss the cut. Now, could he open the week with a 4-under 67 and thrust himself into contention? Absolutely. But an opening-round 76 seems more likely for him, and right now winning the U.S. Open feels like a huge stretch given his recent showings at majors. I'd love to be wrong.
Surprise prediction -- Brooks and Bryson get paired: The golf gods eventually bless up at some point in this tournament and pair the behemoths who are at odds with each other. I'll take this a step further and add that they are not only paired together for a round, they are paired together and both top 10 on the leaderboard entering Saturday. Now, off the course, there's been enough beef between these two to feed everyone in San Diego this weekend. But don't let it distract you from the fact that both are top-10 golfers in the OWGR and absolutely capable of winning this weekend.
Lowest round: 65 (-6)
Winning score: 271 (-13)
Winner's Sunday score: 68 (-3)
Jacob Hallex, producer
Winner -- Brooks Koepka (18-1): We're due for a Koepka win. The guy shows up for majors, see last week's Palmetto Championship vs. the PGA Championship just a few weeks prior. Right now, he is sitting at a plump 18-1. The knee has been a bother but it didn't seem to be much of an issue at Kiawah. Brooks finished T2 at the 2019 Masters where we all witnessed a miraculous Tiger Woods victory. Koepka went on to win the next major just a few weeks later. This year, Brooks finished T2 at the PGA Championship where he got a first-hand view of Phil's historic victory… see where I'm going here? At the end of the day, you can never go wrong with picking Koepka in a major championship, especially a U.S. Open where he's already seen victory twice.
Sleeper -- Wilco Nienaber (200-1): He was in the mix last week at the Palmetto, I'd love to see him at the top again this week. The world got to know Will Zalatoris at the Masters, this week Wilco says, "Hello World." The South African is built like a one-iron but hits the ball farther than Beefy Bryson himself. He rates out well on the DataGolf course fit tool. The U.S. Opens favor the long hitters who can smack it out of the rough… I'll take the Saffa as my sleeper.
Top 10 lock -- Patrick Cantlay: Sun, surf and Patrick Cantlay. We're entering the time of year where I expect big things from the current FedEx Cup leader. Cantlay's 2021 Memorial win will always have an asterisk next to it for the diligent golf fans, but you can't deny he had a fabulous week at Jack's Place. Cantlay has gained nearly 3 strokes per round over his last eight measured rounds on the PGA Tour. The U.S. Open is historically his weakest major which is why you get tremendous value backing him for a top-10 finish at +250 on William Hill Sportsbook.
Star who definitely won't win -- Bryson DeChambeau: Bryson is in poor form. He looked meh at the PGA Championship, and the stats bear it out. His rolling strokes gained average over the last eight measured PGA Tour rounds is only +1.22. Yes, it's positive, but hardly the form of an impending major champion. You can also factor in how rare the back-to-back deed is for any player. When Brooks did it in 2017 and 2018, he was the first to do so since Curtis Strange accomplished the feat in 1988 and 1989. Bryson hasn't looked the same since an atrocious Sunday performance at The Players Championship.
Surprise prediction: Dustin Johnson misses the cut. Deej looked… concerning… like week at the Palmetto Championship. In fact, he's looked fairly mediocre since winning the Masters in the fall. He's the number one ranked player in the world, but it's very important to keep in mind that's a two-year rolling average. I'm troubled by his back-to-back missed cuts at the Masters and the PGA Championship this year. He should have rolled at Congaree and avoided the several big numbers he posted in his home state. The putter looks awful, and I'm not expecting things to suddenly turn around on a different coast with major championship conditions.
Lowest round: 67 (-4)
Winning score: 278 (-6)
Winner's Sunday score: 69 (-2)
Paul Casey (+4500)
At these odds, this one might seem like a bit of a stretch, but consider that Casey actually owns a shorter pre-tourney number than Hideki Matsuyama before the Masters (60/1) or Mickelson before the PGA Championship (250/1). At 43 – he’ll turn 44 next month – Casey is playing some of the better golf of his career. It’s not just the week-in, week-out results which have me optimistic for this one, though; it’s the fact that he’s continued to show up for majors, finishing 2nd-17th-26th-4th at the last four, the second of which came at last year’s U.S. Open. While he ranks “only” 37th in driving distance on the PGA TOUR this season, Casey’s strength isn’t just about bombing drives.
Those Popeye-like forearms should be enough to hit some quality shots from the gnarly rough. Having spoken with Casey in multiple post-round interviews during the festivities at Kiawah, I can easily see him drawing some late-career inspiration from Mickelson, which should be a real thing this week.
In a year that’s already seen some major championship surprises to varying degrees, don’t be afraid if another one is lurking at Torrey Pines.
Patrick Reed (+2900)
I’ll look to this year’s Torrey Pines champ, Patrick Reed, at +2900 for my favorite outright bet. This track has been a happy hunting ground for Reed. In addition to his win, he has a sixth-place finish and has never missed the cut in four starts. Reed’s also got a strong U.S. Open record, finishing inside the top 15 in four of his last six outings.
He’s not among the bombers, so he’ll need his short game to be completely dialed in if he’s to contend. That’s been the case for a few months now. He hasn’t lost strokes around the green since March and has gained strokes putting in 11 of his last 13 events.
Rory McIlroy (+2100)
This number falls in the auto-bet category for Rory McIlroy. He has rounded back into form over his last several events, jumpstarted by his win at the Wells Fargo at the beginning of May. Even as Rory fell short of his lofty expectations at the PGA Championship, he was still fantastic tee to green. In fact, McIlroy has gained more than four shots on approach in each of his last three events, which is a great sign for him coming into the week. He has long been known as the best driver of the ball in the game, and if he can dial that in just a touch better this week, he will be in position to contend for his first major since 2014.
While much of the focus this week will be on Jon Rahm and his success at Torrey Pines, Rory also has a strong history on this course. He has two top-5 finishes in three trips, and all three of his appearances have resulted in top-20 finishes.
The combination of great form, a course that clearly fits his game, and a rare strong number make Rory McIlroy stand out to start the week.
Brooks Koepka (+1900)
This one is pretty simple: Bet Brooks Koepka at major championships.
Yes, he missed the cut last week at Congaree. But missed cuts haven’t meant much in terms of predicting success for Koepka in the past. His second-place finish at last month’s PGA Championship followed two consecutive missed cuts. His win at TPC Scottsdale in February was more of the same.
Throw the stats out the window. Koepka knows the recipe to winning U.S. Open Championships: He will keep the ball in the fairway, hit greens in regulation, and there is a strong chance he will be in the mix one way or another on Sunday.
Shane Lowry (+5000)
Remember to shop around, because the numbers on Lowry vary pretty wildly from sportsbook to sportsbook. The case for the Irishman is simple, he’s simply too talented and battle tested to be priced around guys like Matthew Wolff or Harris English at a major championship. He’s been in extremely good form of late, posting a T-6 at the Memorial and a T-4 at the PGA Championship. Lowry also has two really strong finishes at Torrey Pines, so I have no worries about him handling the length of this course.
His U.S Open resume is solid but not spectacular, but he does have a pair of top 10’s at this event in both 2015 and ‘16. He’s always been pretty strong around the greens, which is true of most major champions, however, it’s his ball-striking that’s been the catalyst for him of late. He ranks 15th in that department over his past eight rounds in this field while sitting fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green in the same time frame. Lowry shows up regularly in big time fields and getting 60/1 on a former major winner in this spot feels like a slam dunk bet.
Collin Morikawa (+2550)
It doesn’t need to be said, but the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines looks like it will be a difficult test. Videos that have surfaced from the course have shown a long course with very thick rough, meaning errant shots will be punished severely and the winning score will likely be single digits under par.
I’ll be looking for players that consistently hit fairways and greens, play cerebrally to avoid the big numbers, and don’t try to overpower golf courses on their way to victories. A few names come to mind when I think of this type of player, but none measure up to the run of consistency that Morikawa has been on of late.
Over the last 24 rounds, Morikawa ranks 1st in greens in regulation, 1st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 2nd in double bogey avoidance, and 11th in fairways gained. His last four starts have resulted in three top-10 finishes, highlighted by his recent runner-up at Memorial where he lost in a playoff to Patrick Cantlay. In these four tournaments, he has gained over 30(!) strokes on approach against the field. He is absolutely dialed in right now, and fits the mold of a U.S. Open champion.
The only crack in Morikawa’s game is his putter, which ranks 71st in this field over the last 24 rounds. However, he did gain 5.4 strokes putting in his last showing at Memorial, snapping a streak of four tracked events in a row with negative putting performances. I’m not ready to say that the putting issues have been resolved, but knowing he’s coming off a positive performance on the greens can only help his confidence with the flat stick.
I believe Morikawa’s game is in peak form, and he will be in contention come Sunday with a chance to win his second major.
Jason Kokrak (+7000)
We can debate whether 70/1 is worthy of “sleeper” categorization, but however you view it, I wanted to list Kokrak here, because I think he’s hugely underpriced.
When he won his long-awaited first career title at Shadow Creek last year, it was a nice story, if not one which was overdue. When he won again last month at Colonial to become just the third player with multiple victories this season, he earned some much deserved attention, but perhaps not enough.
Kokrak is still undervalued in the marketplace, being priced as a player who’s surprisingly won a few titles, rather than one who’s becoming more consistent – and a closer – before our very eyes. Results of T-37 (2016) and T-53 (2017) before two years of failing to make the field, then a T-17 last year not only parallel his development, but mirror how this event has started suiting him better.
Jump on this value while you still can, because it won’t be around much longer.
Chan Kim (+75000)
The one sleeper I’ll be watching this week is Chan Kim, who can be found as high as 750/1 on FanDuel. He’s not going to win but is worth a look in the place bet markets as a top-20 or top-40 play or as a first-round leader if he gets a good tee draw.
Kim is usually one of the longest hitters, if not the longest, in Japan and just blew away his U.S. Open qualifying field in California to get into this event. He was also 23rd in the PGA Championship, where he gained almost six strokes ball striking. He’s got five wins in Japan, including two majors in the Far East, on courses that aren’t really set to cater to the bombers.
The Arizona State alum played a lot of amateur golf on the West Coast, as well. While he’s still unknown over here, he’s the type of player who could pop up and have a good week.
Max Homa (+10000)
While Max Homa has arguably become more well known for his social media presence than his golf at this stage, he has also shown to be quite the player as well. Earlier this year he went through the West Coast Swing with a number of impressive finishes including nabbing his second career TOUR win at the Genesis Invitational.
The field at the Genesis was one of the best non-major fields of the year, showing that he can compete and even win against the best players in the world. He now comes in to the U.S. Open off of a sixth-place finish at the Memorial, and back out to a preferred West Coast course.
Homa showed that when he plays well, he can really run hot, and he may be warming up heading into this week. I expect to see a quality performance from Max and he is simply mispriced as his peak game is class above the other players in this range.
Adam Scott (+9500)
Adam Scott hasn’t been playing his best golf of late, but this number is simply too enticing to resist. Torrey Pines will certainly play a lot different this week for the U.S. Open, but Scott did finish 10th at the Farmers Insurance Open this year and has excellent course history including a second-place finish here in 2019.
At this stage of his career, the Aussie probably isn’t winning any birdie-fests but he can still grind as well as anyone when he is on his game. Scott also putts much better on POA greens and the putter has been a bright spot lately; gaining strokes on the field in six of his past seven events.
If he can get his historically excellent tee to green game going, he has a real chance to contend at Torrey Pines.
Webb Simpson (+5500)
The disrespect for Simspon has gotten out of control. I get that he hasn’t played Torrey much in his career as he usually skips the Farmers every year, however, we’re still talking about the No. 12 player on the planet and former U.S Open winner at 55/1 odds. It’s also not if he’s in bad form, as he’s posted three top-12 finishes in his last four starts.
He ranks 15th in this field in total strokes gained over his past 24 rounds, including 13th in SG: Around-the-Green and 15th in putting. He putts well overall on poa and we know his short game is a major strength. He seems to get penalized by the public for not being the longest off the tee at long courses like Torrey Pines, however, he’s one of the best long iron players on TOUR and knows how to keep the ball in the fairway. I’ll gladly take my chances at this price.
Corey Conners (+7500)
It’s been a frustrating year for Conners bettors. There have been multiple times where I thought my commitment to the cause was finally going to pay off, but the Canadian just couldn’t keep it together on Sunday.
We’ve seen plenty of flashes of the tremendous talent that Conners possesses, none more recent than the PGA Championship where he led the tournament by two strokes after the first round. We all know the deal with him though, he is a ball-striking machine who struggles on and around the greens.
Over the last 24 rounds, he ranks 11th in this field in Strokes Gained: Approach and is 13th on TOUR in total driving, which will be a huge asset on a course that demands both length and accuracy off the tee.
From a stats perspective, it all lines up for Conners. However, the same question remains; will he be able to make enough putts to win the tournament? Given how well he has been striking the ball, I’m willing to take one more gamble on the putter at this number.
Tony Finau Top-10 Finish (+205)
There are plenty of reasons not to list Top-10 Tony (aka Top-Five Tony) at the top of any list of fave picks for this week’s event – 140 of ‘em, actually, the number of events since his lone victory at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open – but it’s similarly impossible to resist the potential upside.
Since the beginning of 2018, he’s finished top-10 in 9-of-13 major championship starts. That number is more than either Brooks Koepka or Xander Schauffele, perhaps the two players best known during these past few years for the ability to rise to the occasion at the biggest events. If you want to fade Finau as an outright, I can certainly understand that, but don’t ignore him for prop bets and other formats.
I’ve always liked how his game matches up with Torrey and it could – finally – all come to fruition this week.
Chan Kim (+300) & Cameron Young (+500) Top-40 Finish
My favorite props for this event will mostly be focus on bombers near the bottom of the board, as I’m hoping the U.S. Open tradition where length trumps all hold up on Torrey Pines.
Both Kim and Young hit the ball a mile. Kim is second in driving distance in Japan this year, while Young is ninth on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Kim is a West Coast guy who played college golf at Arizona State, so he’s got plenty of experience in California. He proved as much during his qualifier just south of Los Angeles, finishing as the medalist in the 90-man field that produced just five entrants into the event.
Young actually qualified for the Farmers at Torrey this year and played well on the South Course, gaining 3.5 strokes tee-to-green in his round there. A bad round on the North Course did him in and he missed the cut. Luckily, it’s just the South Course at the U.S. Open.
Jason Kokrak Top-10 Finish (+600)
One name that I jumped on before this week was Jason Kokrak. He is playing the best golf of his career and a big part of that is the huge improvement he has made with his putter. He now has a more complete game to bring to the table every week, and he is the exact type of fit I am looking for at Torrey Pines.
Kokrak is long, but accurate off the tee, is sharp with his approach play, and as noted above has shored up his putting. He also comes into the week with a big boost of confidence having taken down Jordan Spieth in Texas a few weeks ago at the Charles Schwab. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him truly contend, but this Top 10 at +600 has plenty of value for him to post a solid finish.
Viktor Hovland Top-5 Finish (+500)
Viktor Hovland has all of the physical tools to be part of golf’s class of “super elites”. While it’s still extremely early in his career, he hasn’t quite had his breakthrough big win on TOUR…yet. The U.S. Open at Torrey Pines feels like a perfect place for that to change.
In his most recent start at Torrey Pines, Viktor Hovland finished tied for second place — although he was well behind the winner, Patrick Reed.
The Norwegian has the ideal skillset to contend at the course: Hitting it long and straight off of the tee. His penchant to post big numbers certainly worries me; but if he can limit the damage and avoid the huge mistake, then I think he can get in contention this week.
Adam Scott Top-40 Finish (+115)
Getting plus-money in this spot is extremely enticing to me. In the seven cuts Scott has made at the U.S Open since 2011, he’s finished inside the top-40 in six of those, and the one where he did not he finished T-45. What this means is, we’re almost getting plus money on Scott simply making the cut.
There’s more good news here, as the Aussie also finished T-10 and T-2 his last two trips to Torrey Pines. It looks like everything is lined up for this to be a plus-EV bet. You can even get him at +175 to top-30 which is also something I like. Scott is 20th on TOUR in driving distance this season and is a grizzled veteran that’s being overlooked.
Let’s take advantage of that this week.
Scottie Scheffler Top-10 (+360)
Scheffler is a player that is going to break through for his first career win very soon. His ability to hit the ball both long and straight off the tee, and rack up birdies in bunches puts him in the conversation for one of the best players on TOUR without a win.
Scottie leads the PGA TOUR this season in total driving, which is a stat that I am paying close attention to this week. On a course that will play over 7,600 yards, that has thick rough looming off any missed fairway, the ability to hit it long and straight will give him an excellent advantage.
While he may not win (though I did place a bet on him to do so), I do like his chances to crack the top 10.
Brooks Koepka (+100) over Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson claims to be living rent-free inside Brooks’ head, while Brooks has imposed his Michelob Ultra Army of frat-bro followers to prove otherwise. It should all equate to millions in PIP windfalls for each player later this year, but at some point they’ve gotta settle this feud inside the ropes. Even though they’re not paired together, books are offering plenty of Brooks-Bryson props, including a no-juice, even-money head-to-head on PointsBet.
Can each of these players get into contention this weekend? Might we even see them in a final pairing well into primetime TV for much of the country? It’s certainly possible. This event fits a specific skillset – and it’s a skillset that fits both of these guys. If I can only pick one, though, I’ll go with Koepka. Each player is capable of winning, of course, but those intangibles – the ability to find his A-game for the biggest events – is what I like about Brooks this week and where I think he owns an edge over Bryson.
Scottie Scheffler (-126) over Shane Lowry
Scottie Scheffler is a name that has really grown on me this week in the build up. I have actually added him to my betting card all the way up to a win, as I really like his upside in this event.
He is a player that fits the mold in being long and straight off the tee, ranking first on TOUR in Total Driving this year. I think that will be one of the biggest benefits to him this week as he begins to come into his own this season having played deep into the WGC-Matchplay and putting himself in contention on Sunday at the Memorial as well. While Lowry has really struggled in the U.S. Open of late, with only one top-30 in his past four trips to the event, this bet is more of a byproduct of my positive outlook for Scheffler than anything against the Irishman.
Brooks Koepka (+145) over Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm certainly has everything going for him this week, but things don’t always go according to script on the PGA TOUR. I simply can’t ignore getting this much value on Koepka to beat Rahm this week. -180 implies that Jon Rahm wins this matchup 64% percent of the time; which in my opinion is far too high.
Joaquin Niemann (-152) over Phil Mickelson
After winning the PGA Championship, Mickelson was on a clear hangover at the Charles Schwab, losing strokes tee-to-green in both of his opening rounds en route to missing the cut. While the U.S Open is the one elusive major that Lefty has yet to capture, I do not think Torrey Pines at this stage of his career is going to be the place he gets it done. He’s never really had success at this course over the past decade, missing four of his past nine cuts with one withdrawal mixed in as well.
Niemann on the other hand is coming off his first missed cut of the season at the Memorial, so I would expect that quickly rebounds this week. He’s made both his cuts at Torrey in his career and is coming off at T-21 at last year’s U.S Open at Winged Foot. This is basically a bet on Niemann making the cut and Mickelson not. Regardless, I do not expect Phil to have a strong week and getting -152 on the young Chilean is decent value.
Good luck out there. Hope you grab the bag 💰.
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Where to Place Bets:
Physical Sportsbooks Allowed: AK, DE, IL, MI, MT, NM, NY, NC
Full Mobile Betting Allowed: CO, IN, NH, NJ, OR, PA, RI, WV: Mobile Betting Allowed
Limited Mobile Betting Allowed: IA (need to register in person), NV (need to register in person), MS (only permitted within casino)
Legalized, but on hold: TN, VA, WA, DC, MD, OH, SD, LA
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