PGA Betting Guide to Specials and Props for the U.S. Open

Earlier this week our own Brandon Gdula covered the outright betting options for the U.S. Open from the top of the market to the long shots. This space will cover every other bet you can make on FanDuel Sportsbook this week.

Whereas outright bets only pay out if the golfer wins the event, specials and props can keep bettors interested all the way through the end of the tournament. While Brooks Koepka steamrolled his way to another major win at the PGA Championship, the outright market was devoid of any suspense for most of the weekend. On the contrary, risers and fallers gave those who speculated on finishing positions lots of entertainment throughout the tournament.

Let's dive into these and see what jumps off the page.

Finishing Position

In addition to wagering on the outright winners, we can also bet on golfers to finish Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, and Top 40. To identify who posts a strong value for one of these bets, it is helpful to establish a baseline against which we can compare the rest of the field. Given how wide the range of odds are, we create a baseline for the favorite, the longest reasonably realistic odds, and the median of the two.

Because the U.S. Open has so many qualifiers, the field is actually diluted with a decent swath of the golfers' chances to win the tournament close to absolute zero. Of the 156 golfers in the field, 26 have the longest odds offered on FanDuel Sportsbook at +100000. Another 11 are available for +65000, and still another 13 are up at +55000. That means almost a third of the field is dust the moment they tee it off on their first hole at Pebble Beach. One or even two of these golfers may magic their way into a top 20, but divining who rides that luck box into the weekend is nigh impossible to predict. We'll cap the "longest" odds at +50000.

Koepka is the co-favorite with Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, with Koepka and DJ identical throughout the place market. "Two time defending champ" is enough to lean us toward Brooks as our favorite. The last man in is David Toms at +49000, and he will serve as our long man. That leaves 104 golfers between them and we find Si Woo Kim as the median play on the board, marked at +14000.

Taking these three golfers' outright odds and dividing them by their odds in each finishing position can give us their value quotient. Measuring other golfers against this value quotient will tell us if they are good values or bad relative to our baseline. We are looking for a quotient as close to 1.00 as possible.

GolferOutright OddsFinishing PositionOddsValue Quotient
Brooks Koepka+900Top 5+2400.27
Top 10+1200.13
Top 20-190-0.21
Top 30-370-0.41
Top 40-550-0.61
Si Woo Kim+14000Top 5+26000.19
Top 10+11000.08
Top 20+5000.04
Top 30+2900.02
Top 40+1900.01
David Toms+49000Top 5+55000.11
Top 10+26000.05
Top 20+10000.02
Top 30+5000.01
Top 40+3400.01

Top 5

Rory McIlroy (+250) - At the same win odds as Koepka and Dustin Johnson (+900), McIlroy gets a slightly better price on the top 5. He's missed the cuts at the last two U.S. Opens, but the current form is stellar with six top 5 finishes in 2019, including his win last week at the RBC Canadian Open.

Keegan Bradley (+2900) - Bradley is priced at +140000 for an outright win, the same as our median baseline in Kim. At +2900 versus +2600, Keegan is a clear value with a quotient of 0.21. He happens to be first in the field in strokes gained: approach over his last 50 rounds, according to Fantasy National Golf Club. An elite skill in one of the most important stats of the week makes Bradley very attractive as a value bet for a top 5 finish.

Top 10

McIlroy (+125) - Rory gets the edge for the same reason as above, as he has the same win odds but a slightly longer top 10 number than the other two. He comes in at a value quotient of 13.89 basis points versus 13.33 for Koepka and Johnson.

Tiger Woods (+150) - Just behind the favorites at +1100, Tiger winds up as the second best top 10 value bet with a value quotient of 13.64 basis points. With his injury issues and poor form over the last few years, Woods has failed to make the cut in his last two appearances (2018 and 2015). However, he set the world ablaze en route to a win at the 2000 U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach, and he tied for fourth here in 2010. He arrives at the event on the back of a scorching Sunday at the Memorial to catapult himself into a top 10 finish there.

Paul Casey (+500) - The value evaporates further down the pricing ladder, but in the mid-range Casey finds a nice balance between the two baselines with a 0.102 value quotient. Casey was 16th at the U.S. Open last year and has posted back to back top 10 finishes at the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, so he should have some comfort to go along with his elite ballstriking (third in strokes gained: tee to green, fourth in ballstriking in his last 50 rounds).

Top 20

Jordan Spieth (+100) - Spieth is the first option at even money or better, and he offers the best value at 5.26 basis points. He has been putting the lights out, and at a short course with windy conditions his weaknesses off the tee and on approach are mitigated. He will have to get up and down and make some putts, and he's been doing that for the last month or so. He proved in 2015 that those types of skills are no fluke.

Francesco Molinari (+170) - Molinari showed a propensity to flip the switch on the biggest stages last year, and he showed that mojo in his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and through 64 holes at the Masters. Last year's Open Championship winner is available at a longer top 20 price than Brandt Snedeker or Webb Simpson, both of whom are priced longer than him in the outright market.

First Round Leader

At the top, Johnson (+1800), Justin Thomas (+3700), and Matt Kuchar (+5000) stand out as values. They are ranked third, second, and first, respectively, in Round 1 Scoring Average this season, according to stats on the PGA Tour's website.

Bradley (+10000) was the Thursday leader last week in Canada and ranks 6th in Round 1 scoring for the season, while Chez Reavie (+12000) is just a few paces behind him in 10th.


Given the volume of talent in the pool of American and European players, there are better bets on the board than picking one of those golfers to win their region at far shorter odds than offered for outright unless you are sure that one of the USA guys is going to win and McIlroy will definitely come in second. Avoid those regions and focus on the riper opportunities.

Top Spanish Player

Jon Rahm (-115) - There are only four Spaniards in the field, and Rahm is the most talented by a mile. He has summarily crushed West Coast courses in his career and a top 10 finish should leave him easily clear of his countrymen.

Top Australian Player

Cameron Smith (+850) - For how long his outright odds are (+14000), Smith is not enticing enough at his top 10 number (+1200) to warrant consideration. But all three of the Aussie options ahead of him missed the cut at the U.S. Open last year, leaving some room for Cam to sneak past them at a decent number. He won in Australia to close 2018 and showed well on the West Coast poa courses to start 2019. He doesn't have the talent of Jason Day or Adam Scott, but given their track record and reliance on putting so far this year Smith could easily backdoor into a top Aussie win here with something like a 30th place finish, with definite upside.

Top South African Player

Louis Oosthuizen (+185) - He is the favorite in this region, but with four top 25s in the last four U.S. Open's Oosthuizen would have cashed this ticket three of those four years. Louis always shows up for the majors and has been an elite around the green player (sixth in the field over his last 50 rounds).