US Open weekend betting preview

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Following Thursday’s 1st round of the US Open, there were many people complaining about how easy Winged Foot was playing. In what was supposed to be one of the most challenging tournaments of all time, there were around a dozen players unders par after the first round and the score of 65 put up by Justin Thomas was far better than anyone thought a golfer would shoot coming into the week. Well, all of those naysayers got their wish as the course fought back Friday afternoon and the average score was way higher as the leaderboard saw more golfers go backwards as the day progressed. 

As expected coming into the event, golfers who miss the fairways are penalized as they struggled to battle the thick rough. For example, the same Justin Thomas who was leading after the first round, was unable to hit a fairway on the front nine on Friday and that led to a score of +3 through his first nine holes. One of the biggest causes for this change in scoring was due to the wind. On the first day the wind was almost non-existent leading to perfect playing conditions. Friday afternoon, the gusts ramped up and the golfers visibly struggled. The weekend should offer similar conditions that were seen on Friday which should lead to an eventful final two days of golf.

No rain is in the forecast but the wind should remain constant and the greens will continue to firm up throughout the second half of the event leading to the course maintaining its difficult scores. With the expected conditions for the weekend, there are a number of golfers still in contention at the halfway point of the event. Even some that after walking off the course Friday felt they were out of it are still very much in the mix as the leaders came back to the pack throughout the afternoon of the second round. 

Current leaderboard

Patrick Reed (+3300) has pulled out to a one shot lead at the halfway point of the event but a few of the best golfers in the world are right behind him. He will go off in the last group on Saturday paired with Bryson DeChambeau. Bryson eagled his 18th hole on Friday early in the day and with the afternoon playing much harder than the morning, he sat back and watched the leaders fall back to him. 

PlaceNameScore
1Patrick Reed-4
2Bryson DeChambeau-3
T3Rafa Cabrera Bello-2
T3Harris English-2
T3Justin Thomas-2
6Jason Kokrak-1
T7Thomas PietersE
T7Xander SchauffeleE
T7Matthew WolffE
T7Brendon ToddE
T7Hideki MatsuyamaE
T12Bubba Watson1
T12Joaquin Niemann1
T12Louis Oosthuizen1
T12Jon Rahm1
T12Stephan Jaeger1
T17Tony Finau2
T17Billy Horschel2
T17Viktor Hovland2
T17Webb Simpson2
T17Lucas Glover2
T22Renato Paratore3
T22Lee Westwood3
T22Daniel Berger3
T22Dustin Johnson3
T22Thomas Detry3
T22Rory McIlroy3
Leaderboard

Pre-tournament outrights review

With the course playing as expected to this point, the pre-tournament outrights have been strong so far. There were four main golfers identified as value prior to the tournament starting and all four of them currently find themselves inside the top 22 with two of them in the top 7. Xander Schauffele (+2200) and Matthew Wolff (+6000) are both near the top of the leaderboard and are looking to make a run at the title. Webb Simpson (+2800) and Daniel Berger (+2800) are also very live to attack the weekend. I had also made a strong case for Harris English (+6600) being a solid play for the week and he currently sits in a tie for 3rd. 

The main disappointment so far has been world number one, Dustin Johnson. He is currently sitting at +3 which is 7 shots off the lead. It just goes to show how difficult it is to win a major championship, even as the best player in the world. However, in what looked like a score that may even miss the cut, as the day progressed he is now in a tie for 22nd. Seven shots will be hard to make up this weekend especially with the quality of names ahead of him, but with how low he is able to go on any given round, anything is possible. 

Live stats summary

As we typically like to cover heading into the weekend rounds of an event, below are the leaders in Strokes Gained: Approach compared to their current Strokes Gained: Putting stats. For a review on the idea of “strokes gained,” visit the detailed breakdown in the article “What is strokes gained.” We are always trying to find golfers who have been strong with their irons but struggling on the greens. Hitting greens is always a key to success on the PGA Tour but especially at Winged Foot.

PLAYERAPPROACHPUTTING
Shugo Imahira5.78-1.92
Patrick Reed5.685.07
Tony Finau5.18-0.84
Rickie Fowler5.09-3.85
Thomas Pieters4.521.42
Will Zalatoris4.37-2.15
Erik van Rooyen4.340.31
Viktor Hovland4.310.03
Romain Langasque4.23-1.26
Alex Noren3.581.51
Harris English3.492.81
Sungjae Im3.38-0.73
Abraham Ancer3.31-2.7
Justin Thomas3.283.42
Bubba Watson3.1-0.06
Matthew Wolff2.961.7
Robert MacIntyre2.93-0.75
Brendon Todd2.856.95
Tyler Duncan2.59-0.15
Hideki Matsuyama2.43-1.37
Dustin Johnson2.411.51
Daniel Berger2.394.7
Bryson DeChambeau2.353.33
Patrick Cantlay2.33-0.26
Paul Casey2.14-2.46

At first glance, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Abraham Ancer, and Sungjae Im are just a few of the golfers who look primed to have a good weekend. I’ll be looking to target all of them when placing round 3 head-to-head matchups.

Current leaders breakdown

Patrick Reed +450

After picking up a birdie on the final hole of the day, Patrick Reed takes a one shot lead heading into the third round. Adding a US Open to his resume would certainly solidify what has already been a stellar career. He gained most notoriety for his strong performance at the Ryder Cup when he went head-to-head with Rory McIlroy and came out victorious. Since then, he has won the Masters, a WGC event, and a few other PGA tournaments. Reed is currently 2nd in the field in strokes gained: approach which is promising for the weekend but sitting 6th in strokes gained: putting does leave room for concern as this could easily negatively regress.

PLAYERTOTALOFF THE TEEAPPROACHAROUND THE GREENPUTTING
Patrick Reed11.82-0.945.682.015.07
Patrick Reed Strokes Gained

With the strong names right behind him, I don’t see a ton of value at the 4.5/1 number. He is definitely a high quality enough golfer to hold this lead and take home the title but it will be a pass for me when placing live outright bets.

Bryson DeChambeau +450

The first US Open since his overly discussed body transformation has been good so far. As mentioned above, an eagle on the 18th hole finds him just one shot back of Reed and in the final group heading into the third round. He is currently gaining strokes in all major categories including approach which is where he has struggled as of late. 

PLAYERTOTALOFF THE TEEAPPROACHAROUND THE GREENPUTTING
Bryson DeChambeau10.823.872.351.273.33
Bryson Strokes Gained

Since his top-5 finish at the PGA Championship, he hasn’t cracked the top 20 of an event but he seems dialed in this week and could be in line for a nice weekend making way to his first major title. Again, the 4.5/1 odds are a little low for me to bet but I do prefer him to Reed. 

Justin Thomas +500

I loved JT coming into this event. He had been in great form and checked all boxes when it came to relevant stats for Winged Foot. He has proved all of that to be accurate as he has charged him way up the leaderboard. He was leading after the first round and battled his way through a grueling second round to still remain near the top of the standings. He is only two shots off the lead and sits in 3rd place. 

PLAYERTOTALOFF THE TEEAPPROACHAROUND THE GREENPUTTING
Justin Thomas9.970.483.282.83.42
Justin Thomas Strokes Gained

His driver has been shaky so far as he has struggled to find the fairway but the fact that he missed his first ten fairways on Friday and still is tied for 3rd is very telling. I love JT to get it done this weekend and take home his first US Open. He needs to find consistency with the driver and continue to putt the way he has so far and I don’t see either of the two guys up top being able to hang with him. The odds of 5/1 are a little low but I like that number way more than the +450 for Bryson or Reed. 

Live outright value

Harris English +1400

What a season that Harris English has had. He continues this blistering summer by heading into the US Open third round tied for 3rd just two shots off the lead. Other golfers who potentially have more “name value” have odds much lower than his even though they are tied or behind him on the leaderboard. There is no reason why English can’t compete with the best of them heading into the second half of this event. 

PLAYERTOTALOFF THE TEEAPPROACHAROUND THE GREENPUTTING
Harris English9.821.123.492.42.81
Harris English Strokes Gained

He is currently gaining strokes in all key categories including a full 3.49 strokes on approach. Continuing to hit greens will be crucial to finding success this weekend and Harris English can do just that. With all these high profile names in the mix, I could see English getting lost in the shuffle but don’t sleep on him at the odds of 14/1 to take home the title.

Matthew Wolff +3300

If you followed the pre tournament picks you would already have the young Matthew Wolff at 66/1 but it’s never too late to get in on the action and sitting only three shots off the lead, 33/1 is value for this caliber of golfer. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy continues to pop up in premier events. Only a few weeks removed from a top 5 finish in his first career major, we see Wolff back on the first page of the leaderboard. He has made his way here with an all around consistent game.

PLAYERTOTALOFF THE TEEAPPROACHAROUND THE GREENPUTTING
Matthew Wolff7.821.412.961.741.7

The one part of his game that is typically the struggle is his around-the-green play. However, this week he seems to be dialed in with the wedges. With the way he drives the ball, if he can keep the short game in line, I am looking for him to make a big move up the leaderboard throughout the weekend. I’m all about the 33/1 odds that sportsbooks are currently giving.

Bubba Watson +6600

The two-time Masters champion is well known for his length off-the-tee. He quietly has been piecing together a nice few months of golf. His past four events have seen three finishes of 25th or better. The driver is never the question when it comes to Bubba but he has made this run as of late with an elite approach game. Over his past ten events played, he has gained a full stroke on approach which is appearing to be a new strength of his. Long driving mixed with solid irons and Bubba could easily make a run at the title this weekend. Keeping it in the fairway will be key to Bubba making a true charge on Saturday but as long as he is hitting from the short grass, the five strokes he is behind could be made up in a hurry. 66/1 for a two-time major champ is a value as far as I’m concerned. 

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