In non-major PGA Tour events, there’s a level of uncertainty about each weekly outcome. The winner could easily be Jon Rahm or Scottie Scheffler, who each have multiple PGA Tour wins this season, or it could be someone like Nick Taylor, who won the Canadian Open with a walk-off, 72-foot eagle putt on Sunday.
Major championships, like this week’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club, tend to be the opposite. Between the field strength, course length, green firmness, and mental pressure, majors are typically won by world-class players.
This year’s first two majors were won by Rahm (Masters) and Brooks Koepka (PGA Championship). Last year’s majors were won by Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Cameron Smith. In 2021, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Rahm, and Collin Morikawa were major champions. All are widely considered elite players.
“I like betting majors and have been successful at them in part because the stronger field limits the possibility of total outliers winning the event,” Action Network writer Matt Vincenzi, who has correctly picked the winner in four of the last five majors, told Sports Handle via email. “In most cases, a top-25 or so player in the world wins them. At that point, it’s just looking at the course and deciding which of those players has the correct skill set to be successful on that particular layout.”
Scheffler a well-deserved favorite
This week, oddsmakers for mobile sportsbooks view Scottie Scheffler as the betting favorite. He’s +600 at Barstool Sportsbook and bet365, +650 at BetMGM, SuperBook Sports, and DraftKings, and +700 at FanDuel. Other top contenders include Rahm (+1100 at FanDuel), Koepka (+1200), and Rory McIlroy (+1300). All four of those players are previous major champions.
“U.S. Open betting favorite” is a well-earned title for Scheffler, who, while going through some putting woes, boasts an elite short game and is a superb ball-striker. If he can putt well at Los Angeles Country Club this week, he’s expected to contend.
Vincenzi plans to wager on Scheffler, and he holds a +6500 future on Bryson DeChambeau.
“In his past five starts, Scheffler has gained an average of 14.1 strokes on the field from tee to green,” Vincenzi said. “In his most recent start at the Memorial Tournament, he gained a whopping 20.7 strokes from tee to green and lost more than eight putting. In U.S. Opens, the best players typically win, and no one has been better than Scottie this year.”
RotoGrinders’ Derek Farnsworth joins Vincenzi in believing Scheffler is worth an outright winner play, given his recent ball-striking stats.
“I know betting the favorite isn’t as fun as chasing the odds on a longshot, but Scheffler is striking it like prime Tiger Woods right now,” Farnsworth told Sports Handle. “And no, that’s not an exaggeration.”
Scottie Scheffler is currently on pace for the 2nd-best strokes gained tee-to-green season since tracking began in 2004.
2006 Tiger Woods, 2.98
2023 Scottie Scheffler, 2.78
2007 Tiger Woods, 2.37
2012 Rory McIlroy, 2.35
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) June 13, 2023
Viktor Hovland, who enters the tournament in great form, is +1700 to win at FanDuel. Hovland won his most recent start and has finished in the top 10 in each of this year’s majors. Patrick Cantlay has the same odds as Hovland, while Xander Schauffele sits at +1900 to win. Schauffele has never finished worse than 14th in his six U.S. Open appearances. Last year’s champion, Matt Fitzpatrick, has +3100 odds to win.
Former U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth sits at +2400 to win the event at FanDuel. Cameron Smith’s odds to win are +3000 at FanDuel, and his creativity figures to play well at Los Angeles Country Club, a course that seems like it will reward spectacular approach play.
“We often talk in hyperbole in the sports betting world, but I’m not sure I have ever been more excited to see a course in action. … We don’t know exactly how the course will play once the USGA gets their hands on it, but I think more creativity and planning will be needed this week compared to most U.S. Open venues,” Farnsworth said. “A couple magicians with the golf ball that come to mind are Jordan Spieth and Cameron Smith.”
Homa’s home-course advantage?
Slightly down the odds board sits Max Homa (+3100 at FanDuel), a Los Angeles native who holds the course record (a 61 shot during his college career) at Los Angeles Country Club.
Homa, a frequent guest on popular podcasts such as No Laying Up and Pardon My Take, has a loyal fan base and strong connections within the golf media landscape. He’s even been dubbed “the face of the U.S. Open” this week by a PGA Tour staff writer.
While Homa’s popularity is soaring these days, his play in majors doesn’t match up with his six career PGA Tour victories. Homa has never finished in the top 10 at a major championship, and he’s missed the cut in the U.S. Open in three of his four appearances.
“I’m out on Max Homa until he proves he can contend with the best in the world at a major championship,” Vincenzi said.
Lot of love for Max Homa at the US Open (and rightfully so), but he will need to buck a trend to capture major No. 1.
The world No. 7 is still without a career major top-10. The past 43 major winners have had a previous major top-10 (last without one was Webb Simpson in 2012).
— Patrick McDonald (@AmateurStatus) June 12, 2023
SuperBook Sports had Homa at +1600 to win the U.S. Open about a month ago, but he’s drifted to +2500. Jeff Sherman, SuperBook Sports’ vice president of risk and head golf oddsmaker, told Sports Handle via text message that Homa has become a less popular bet at SuperBook in recent weeks, but they’ve still taken significant wagers on Homa to win the event since opening their U.S. Open market.
“He is still No. 1 in tickets and money,” Sherman said.
Prop bets galore
Betting on the tournament winner is always a popular market, but there are plenty of other interesting golf bets across mobile sportsbooks.
Odds suggest a hole-in-one could be coming during this year’s event, with SuperBook Sports offering -180 odds on an ace being made at some point during this year’s event. FanDuel lists odds at -174 for an ace, and DraftKings has odds of -150. Los Angeles Country Club features five Par 3 holes on its Par 70 layout.
Phil Mickelson needs to win the U.S. Open to complete the career Grand Slam, but FanDuel doesn’t even have Mickelson favored to finish as the top left-handed player. There, Brian Harman (-120 odds) is given the slight edge over Mickelson (+125). Mickleson is +18000 to win the championship on FanDuel.
DraftKings offers a “Big Guns vs. the field” prop bet, with one of Scheffler, Rahm, Koepka, and McIlroy to win the U.S. Open at +200 odds. The field is -280.
“While I love looking through all of the props that are available for the majors, they are often too juiced up for my liking,” Farnsworth said. “However, I do like the idea of making placement parlays this week. The cut at the U.S. Open is top 60 and ties, so if the golfers in your parlay make the cut, there’s a good chance they will finish in the top 40. My favorite placement parlay is Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, and Cameron Smith to all finish in the top 40. This can be placed on FanDuel Sportsbook at +662 odds.”