PGA Betting Guide to Specials and Props: U.S. Open

Picking winners for a golf tournament is incredibly difficult and requires -- we hate to say it -- tons of luck to get it right.

One wayward drive, one plugged bunker shot, or one shanked approach is all it takes to turn your magical big money payout into a stone-cold zero. Fortunately, we can play the prop market on FanDuel Sportsbook for the U.S. Open and find a few other ways to wager on this week's tournament without that all-or-nothing downside.

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. So let's focus on some of those opportunities: finishing position, first-round leader, matchup betting, and geography propositions.

Finishing Position

Paul Casey (+450 for a Top 10 Finish) - Casey has put together a terrific year across the globe so far in 2021, with 7 top 10s in 12 starts including a win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Two of those came in California, and looking further back, he was runner-up at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park last summer.

Lee Westwood (+950 for a Top 10 Finish) - Wedding swag alert! The 48-year-old recently tied the knot in Las Vegas and shipped right off to San Diego for the U.S. Open. He's fallen off since consecutive runner-up finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship, and he skipped the West Coast altogether this winter. He returns to the site where he missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to join Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate in a playoff in 2008, and quite possibly his best last chance at a major is either this week or next month at Royal St. George's. He looks live to contend here again.

Brooks Koepka (-130 for a Top 20 Finish) - We aren't getting juicy enough odds on higher finishes, and so we'll place a larger wager and lay the 130 for a top 20. Since 2014, Koepka's finishes at the U.S. Open are 4th, 18th, 13th, 1st, 1st, and 2nd. Overall in major championships, he has just 3 finishes outside the top 15 since 2016.

Adam Scott (+270 for a Top 20 Finish) - Scott's record in California is excellent, and even with a lighter schedule, he's managed to include at least a couple of California events in his workload each of the past few years.

First Round Leader

Tony Finau (+3700) - Finau has crushed it at Torrey Pines in his career, with finishes of 2nd, 6th, 13th, 6th, 4th, 18th, and 24th. He's been on fire tee to green but has putted so poorly that he is long overdue for a hot round with the short stick. In his last three events, he's gained 8.9, 9.3, and 8.6 strokes tee to green but lost 5.8, 4.4, and 0.4 putting. He just needs one round where the ballstriking stays hot and he sinks some putts and all of a sudden Finau is the front runner.

Tournament Match Betting

Koepka (+112 over Xander Schauffele) - With respect to Schauffele, look again at those U.S. Open and major championship finishes for Brooks. Xander is a popular play and the books are so afraid of getting burned that he's priced up to the second shortest odds on the board. Both guys are going to show up this week, but head to head with Koepka it's an easy choice to back the dog

Phil Mickelson (+120 over Joaquin Niemann) - Were it not for his historic win at Kiawah Island, Mickelson would be bearing a tremendous burden arriving at the U.S. Open on a special exemption as the clock runs out on his PGA career. But now he can play a more relaxed game, picking his spots and getting aggressive when he needs to with the security of a five-year exemption in his back pocket. Niemann is a good young player but he's yet to show his stuff on the big stage, with his T23 at last year's U.S. Open his best career finish in a major and one that was buoyed by a plus-7.1 strokes putting figure.

Tournament Props

Adam Scott (Top Australian Player +250) - This is a lean market with seven players to choose from and only Cameron Smith (+200) and Marc Leishman (+250) of the same class as Scott. Neither is even as close to as long off the tee as Scott, and relying heavily on power off the tee this week guides us back to him.

Lee Westwood (Top GB & Ireland Player +2000) - We'd consider Rory McIlroy (+310), who leads this market, and Casey (+700) as fair options here, but if we think Westwood can vie for the top 10, we have to consider this a grinder's course and, while certainly capable, McIlroy has not shown a propensity to beat the field in those types of conditions. At nearly triple the price, Westwood is the choice over Casey here.