GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the U.S. Open

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the U.S. Open based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

As we chug along through this compacted PGA Tour season, we arrive at the fifth major of the campaign at the South Course at Torrey Pines. With about 40 qualifiers standing no chance and a decade's worth of evidence that only the truly elite stand much of a chance, our targets this week in the betting market absolutely must be in the upper echelon of the PGA Tour.

We know from prior editions that we can expect driving to be of paramount importance. Each of the past five editions was won by a golfer currently in the top 17 on Tour in driving distance, and so we'll look to power off the tee and overall class as the starting points for just about every golfer on our card. We'll get more creative in our specials and props article also up on numberFire, but for outright bets, we have to lean toward what we know gets it done at the U.S. Open.

For more info on the South Course at Torrey Pines along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Bryson DeChambeau (+1700) - Vegas seems quite convinced that Jon Rahm (+950) is the runaway favorite this week, with defending U.S. Open Champion DeChambeau one of three golfers tied for the second shortest odds at 17/1. Bryson is favored over Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele at the same price, largely because he seems to have tailored his style to the exact specifications for success at USGA setups. He is the longest golfer on Tour off the tee, and his cartoonish clubhead speed allows him to blast through the stickiest of lies.

The South Course will require most approaches to be from 175 yards and beyond, and DeChambeau will not only be closer to the hole than most but also can wield a wedge or short iron from a longer distance than anyone else. He already showed how effective his approach is when winning at Winged Foot, and there's every indication he'll be suited to Torrey Pines as well.

Rory McIlroy (+1900) - Having just won at another monster of a course in Quail Hollow, McIlroy looks the prat this week having added the Farmers Insurance Open -- the annual stop at host Torrey Pines -- to his schedule a few years ago and yielding finishes of 5th, 3rd, and 16th. Another top 10 in the latter was spoiled by a Sunday 73 where he lost 2.1 strokes off the tee, and despite that uncharacteristic round McIlroy still finished second in the event in strokes gained: off the tee. He's been feast or famine at the U.S. Open, with three top 10s and three missed cuts in his last six tries. He of course won this major in 2011, and trailing only DeChambeau in distance on the season makes McIlroy an easy addition to our card.

Value Spots

Will Zalatoris (+4100) - Zalatoris has top 10 finishes in his three major championship appearances, and he is primed to break through for his first win. That each of those three came at courses that place a premium on driving only further hammers home how well Zalatoris fits these types of setups. He is 25th in driving distance this season and already one of the best approach players in the world. He finished T7 here in the winter, and if the course plays longer and narrower this week it only plays to his advantage. We've said it all about Zalatoris since he burst onto the scene, but this is someone who is going to be around for a long time and rack up a ton of wins on Tour. There's no reason why that can't start this week.

Scottie Scheffler (+4500) - Like Zalatoris, Scheffler is among the top young players in the world who has yet to pick up that signature win. He was forced to miss the U.S. Open in September due to a positive COVID-19 test, but over the last year, he has acquitted himself well enough in his three major championship appearances to warrant consideration. He was fourth at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, 19th at the November Masters, and then 8th at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He ranks 35th in driving distance and 11th in strokes gained: off the tee this season.

Long Shots

Adam Scott (+8500) - Scott has played a light schedule the past couple years, but he's found good form on the West Coast in that span, including finishes of 2nd and 10th at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He won at the correlated Riviera Country Club in 2020 and was seventh in 2019, and in the two major championships in California, he finished 7th at Pebble Beach and 22nd at Harding Park, the latter coming after a five-month layoff. The Aussie ranks 20th in distance this year and would likely still be a borderline top-20 player in the Official World Golf Ranking if he played more. Scott will figure into the specials as well but at 85/1 he's definitely worthy of an outright sprinkle.