You’ve considered all the favorites, found your dark horses and joined every 2019 U.S. Open office pool known to man. There’s no more room for another wager, another “pick two players from Group 1, three players from Group 2 …” pool, or another text from a buddy who doesn’t watch golf asking you “Who do we like this week?” You’re tapped out. Let’s just hit the first tee shot and get on with it, shall we?
Not so fast!
You haven’t even truly dug deep yet. There is value to be found at every corner when betting on this week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and much of it lies in the bets you may not have even considered. That’s just what we did for you, finding our favorite “value bets,” the wagers that give you an edge, or at least, a perceived edge on the bookmaker. Below are eight props, parlays and other unique bets that myself and fellow
degenerate New Jerseyean Golf Digest editor Stephen Hennessey really like this week at Pebble (all odds from DraftKings Sportsbook).
Justin Thomas to win (+3300)
Will you ever get Justin Thomas at these odds in a major again? It wasn’t that long ago that he was ripping off wins with relative ease, climbing to the top of the World Ranking and poised to already have a second or third major win by now. Yes, he did just miss time with a wrist injury, and showed plenty of rust at the Memorial, but he rebounded with a T-20 at the RBC Canadian Open and enters the U.S. Open flying completely under the radar. Much of the pre-tournament talk is (rightfully) revolving around Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and now Rory McIlroy. Following his win at the 2017 PGA, it was unfathomable to not think of JT as a top-five favorite at every major he played in going forward. For that reason, you almost have to take him at +3300, especially given that he’s gone T-6 and T-12 in his last two major starts. —Christopher Powers
Scottie Scheffler to be first-round leader (+12500)
On first-round leader bets, you’re taking a flier on someone going low and making a ton of birdies off the gate. Scottie Scheffler is someone who should play like he’s got nothing to lose. The young Texas star is tearing it up on the Web.com Tour—a win, four other top-fives and seven total top-10s so far in 2019—and has three sub-64 rounds this year. That’s the propensity for going low, combined with someone who already has locked up his PGA Tour card for 2019. What better way to show you can hang with the big boys than vault up the leader board on Day 1 at the Open? —Stephen Hennessey
Parlay: Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau to finish in the top 20 (+1400)
I know, I know, parlays are basically throwing money away, but they are an excellent way to produce some great value if you’re smart with them. Nothing is smarter than betting on Matt Kuchar to finish inside the top 20, something he’s done in seven of his last 10 majors (he also finished T-6 at Pebble Beach in 2010). It’s almost a sure thing, so parlaying it with two other semi-sure thing top-20 guys and suddenly you’re on to something. Jordan Spieth is even money to finish top 20? Lock it up. The “slumping” Spieth has finished T-21 or better in five of his last six majors. He’s also gone T-3, T-8 and T-7 in his last three starts, and has excellent history at Pebble. As for Big ‘Tone, who is +200 to finish top 20 (nice value bet by itself), he’s already becoming a top-10 machine in majors. Parlay these three together and you’ve got yourself some juicy +1400 odds and all you need them to do is crack the top 20. Am I a genius or am I a genius? all three proceed to miss the cut. —CP
Straight forecast: Dustin Johnson to finish first, Brooks Koepka to finish second (+6600)
The odds are extremely high for a reason: They’re not in your favor, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing value! These guys finished 1-2 at the PGA, so why not here at the U.S. Open, where DJ has such great history. —SH
Jim Furyk to finish inside the top 10 (+1000)
Simply put, Jim Furyk and the U.S. Open have been a match made in heaven his entire career. Even when the USGA took it to a bigger ballpark at Erin Hills, he still managed to finish T-23. He’s played in 24 U.S. Opens, made 21 cuts, finished in the top 25 12 times and the top 10 seven. He’s enjoying a nice little renaissance season this year, and Pebble Beach may present one of his last great chances at stealing a late-career major. He’s obviously still got the game and the guts to contend, just like he showed at the Players Championship in March, and Pebble is a course that brings his style of play into the mix if he’s clicking. You have to find the fairway off the tee, and no one (literally, no one) on tour does it better than Jimbo. Last time the Open was at Pebble he managed a T-16 finish. We love him to improve upon that in 2019 at these odds. —CP
Make-the-cut parlay: Yes: Kevin Na, C.T. Pan, Matt Wallace, Graeme McDowell, Erik Van Rooyen. No: David Toms (+2000)
These are fun bets to make—you might be sweating it on Friday evening, but it’s worth the chase! A couple of these might be nail biters: Erik Van Rooyen found the top of the leader board at Bethpage, so we like those odds on someone who’s proven to play at an elite level. Same with C.T. Pan, who won earlier this year and finished T-3 at Colonial. Matt Wallace, Graeme McDowell and Kevin Na have all proven to be on top of their game the past month or so. And then we’ll bank on David Toms struggling, since he’s only made the cut twice in the past four years. —SH
Viktor Hovland to make the cut (+138)
Plus odds for Hovland just to make the weekend at a place he just won the U.S. Amateur? How can you not love that. He also had a ho-hum T-32 at the Masters for low-amateur honors and can grab another low-amateur honor this week as he won’t turn pro until the Travelers Championship. This kid can flat out ball, and hasn’t gotten nearly the attention as his teammate Matthew Wolff has. Without Wolff in the field at Pebble, the stage is set for Hovland to impress in a marquee event once again. —CP
Matt Kuchar, Shane Lowry, Kevin Na and Patrick Cantlay to finish in the top 40 (+648)
Another more practical play, if not exciting. As long as these guys make the cut, this should cash. You could even make this a top-20 or a top-30 parlay for a better payout, but the top-40 parlay should be safe. —SH