Jordan Spieth returns to the scene of his 2015 U.S. Open title on Thursday, as he joins some of the world’s best pro golfers for an intense major at Oakmont Country Club.
Spieth will be joined by a bloated golfer pool that will vie to take his title, ranging from studs like Jason Day and Rory McIlroy to Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
In addition to the intense competition, Spieth may have his work cut out for him, as the Oakmont Country Club and long and puts an extra emphasis on avoiding crippling mistakes. Oh, and the event hasn’t had a repeat champion since Curtis Strange won back to back titles in 1988 and 1989. Before that, Ben Hogan was the last to do it back in 1951.
Needless to say, Spieth may not be the easiest play for golf bettors come Thursday, but a jam-packed field doesn’t make picking the winner easy. Let’s look over the top favorites and touch on the most interesting sleepers in an effort to creep closer to predicting a winner for the 2016 U.S. Open:
The favorites are pretty obvious, but the best part for this event is there isn’t one guy that stands atop everyone. Day is in the lead, but even with +650 odds, he offers a nice payout per bet. Day is also a very realistic pick to win this year, as he’s arguably been the hottest golfer of 2016. He already boasts two wins on the season and has five top-10 runs. He’ll be in the mix at the end and he just might take home his first U.S. Open victory.
While Day leads the way in terms of odds, per Bovada, he’s not the only favorite to consider. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have both won here and round out the top-three options with +850 odds or better. Rory has yet to win in 2016, but he’s had a solid season with three top-5 finishes and four stays inside the top-10. He’s getting closer, too, having placed inside the top-5 in two of his last three tourneys.
Many still recall Spieth’s Masters collapse, but he’s remained strong in 2016, nabbing two wins and finishing inside the top-10 four times. He got a win just two events ago and after struggling at the Memorial Tournament, could be ready to kick his play back into high gear.
The top three need to be heavily considered, but they don’t always make it down the stretch, so we need to consider the other favorites heading into the U.S. Open.
Of the remaining top contenders, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson feel like the best bets.
Johnson has been money all year, firing off six top-five finishes and placing inside the top-10 seven times. He has yet to lock down that elusive first win of the year and he’s also never won the U.S. Open. It’d be a mighty fine time to get his first win of the year, and with two straight top-five tourney runs, there is a strong argument he could get it done.
Mickelson is another guy who has done quite well at the U.S. Open, yet he’s also never won here. He’s enjoyed a strong 2016 run, though, pushing through for five placements inside the top-5. He’s been in top form recently, too, finishing in second place in his last tourney.
Kuchar, Willett, Koepka, Garcia and Watson are borderline top contenders who have odds that make them appear more like sleepers. All five have a shot to place high or even win this event.
Watson is unorthodox and pretty unpredictable, but he’s had some solid success at the U.S. Open despite not winning. He’s tailed off lately, but his 2016 has largely been strong, with one win and three top-10 runs. Due to his talent and random spikes in play, he could be a fun try to worm his way back into the limelight this weekend.
The next guy outside of that group is Kaymer, who actually won the 2014 U.S. Open. That shouldn’t incite a whole lot of excitement, however, as he’s had a very poor 2016 and doesn’t feel like a viable contender. He did win in the past and has at least survived the cut in five of his six tourneys this year, however.
Oostuizen has never lined up at Oakmont, but he has had success in U.S. Open tourneys. He finished second last year and has twice cracked the top-10 in the event. His 2016 numbers aren’t great, but he’s certainly a sleeper to consider.
Kisner, Walker and Simpson all have terrific odds for some serious U.S. Open betting, and all three have the talent to make some noise, as well. Simpson actually won the 2012 U.S. Open and has looked rather sharp lately with 11th and 3rd place runs in his last two events. Walker and Kisner have never won at the U.S. Open, but Kisner has had a strong 2016 overall and Walker has three top-10 runs. Both guys have cooled off as of late, but are still interesting sleepers with killer odds.
Furyk could be a fun throw-in bet, as his +10000 odds give you something to work with and he did win the U.S. Open in 2003. He has not fared well in 2016, but he’s been lightly run and could come in fresh.
McGirt qualifies as both a sleeper and a fun bet, as he did just win the Memorial Tournament and will be riding high with confidence coming into this event. He hasn’t blown the door off the hinges other than that, but he does have four top-10 finishes on the year.
Els and Ogilvy are throw-ins due to their history here, as Ogilvy won the 2006 U.S. Open and Els has won twice at this event. Neither is enjoying a remotely good 2016 season, however, failing to finish in even one top-10 between the two of them.
Beyond these guys, there is plenty of room to throw some blind darts, with Bovada providing five bets with +250000 odds and a total of 35 golfers boasting odds of +100000 or greater. A $100 bet on a player with +100000 odds could bring home $100,000, so some of the options near the bottom could be worth looking into.
Day is the hottest golfer in the world over the past year and Spieth did win this event in 2015, but the rugged Oakmont Country Club is a different animal.
Rory McIlroy’s ability to dominate off the tee could give him a serious leg up here, which could keep him out of unwanted trouble and only allow his inconsistent putting to get in his way. If he’s firing on all cylinders, he just might lock up first place and secure a U.S. Open win this weekend.
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