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U.S. Open Golf Championship Expert Picks

U.S. Open Golf Championship Expert Picks

U.S. OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERT PICKS – After another heartbreaking loss on an outright (for the second week in a row we’ve had a guy in the hunt on the back nine, only to watch them hit it in a hazard while laying up off the tee), we are back for our national Open at Los Angeles Country Club.

Newly renovated and ready to host a major, I’ve heard nothing but good things about how the USGA has chosen to set up LACC. This course hasn’t hosted a major since the Germans invaded France during WWII (1940), and, unbelievably, Los Angeles hasn’t hosted a major of any kind since 1948. Needless to say this is probably overdue for the second biggest sports market in the country.

This course is going to be long, measuring out at 7,400 yards or so and playing to a par 70. It’s also a quirky setup with five par 3s and three par 5s. That being said, there are a lot of different tee boxes and configurations that can and, likely, will be used to either shorten or lengthen holes. There are no water features on this course, but it’s filled with barrancas and the bunkers are going to be tough to play from, as many of the players have complained about how much sand is in them (making it easy to plug and difficult to control spin).

Bombers will probably have an advantage, as always, in the U.S. Open. Don’t count out some of the more creative players though. Being able to shape shots and be creative around the greens will likely be more of a deciding factor than being able to bomb it 330 off the tee.

We’ve run through our picks on our podcast, Clubhouse Picks, already. But here’s the short and fast version if you don’t have time to listen. As always, I’ve formatted the picks in the style we use for the pod. Good luck!

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, June 14, 2023

The Driver (Scottie, Hovland)

These are the guys who are at the top of the leaderboard, usually at +2000 or better. They are the favorites for a reason, and though we don’t always bet them, these are our favorite bets from the top of the board.

Scottie Scheffler (+600)

It’s difficult to have segment where we highlight the big favorites, without mentioning Scottie. The run that he’s been on since October is just nothing short of otherworldly. The wins haven’t piled up in huge amounts, but he’s in every single tournament with a shot to win these days.

For relevant stats, he’s 1st in SG: Total, SG: Tee to Green, and in bogey avoidance. Almost everything he’s doing right now is at an elite level aside from the putter which has been holding him back. If Scottie wasn’t 148th in SG: Putting, he’d be putting up Prime Tiger type results this season and a lot of those close finishes could’ve been runaways. That he leads the Tour in SG: Total while posting those numbers with the flagstick speaks to his brilliance in every other facet.

He hasn’t finished outside the top-12 since October of 2022. That’s just an insane stat. He’s also collected two wins this season at the Phoenix Open and the Players.

His price is ridiculous, but nobody around here is going to fault you if you don’t want to spread your money around this week, and instead just fire one bullet with a bet on Scottie. He’s that good right now.



The Irons (Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day)

Our reliable players. You can usually find these heroes in the 20/1-80/1 range. They’re reliable and often a good bet for top-5, top-10, or top-20 props if you’re not feeling especially frisky.

Jason Day (+5000)

Jack threw out a bonus pick on the show when he highlighted two guys, and I’m more interested in Day simply because the confluence of form and price is so intriguing.

We’re getting a good price here because he’s missed his last two cuts following his win at the AT&T Byron Nelson. But I’m not sure we should throw in the towel on Jason Day. Remember, he won the Byron Nelson after missing the cut the week before at the PGA, so I’m not terribly concerned about him needing to bring in some sort of outrageous recent form to this tournament.

At his best, he was a force in U.S. Opens. From 2011-16 he was in the top-10, with two runner-ups, in five out of six tries. In ten total trips to the U.S. Open, he’s made the cut eight out of ten times. I’m not getting bogged down in some of the more lackluster results in recent years because they aren’t indicative of where his game is right now. He’s flashing form that is more akin to the stretch of golf that led him to number one in the world, not a guy struggling with health and swing issues.

His approach numbers are excellent and he’s always reliable on and around the greens. His accuracy and ability to recover make him a threat here. At +5000, you could do a lot worse than a major champion who is quickly turning into a world-class player once again.

The Wedges (Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose)

We bet on these guys all the time and they never seem to actually win. Nevertheless, we’re enamored with what they bring to the table and will ride with them for as long as it takes. 

Rickie Fowler (+4500)

Rickie is getting a ton of action this week, and his odds have gone from +5000 down to +4500 on DK since yesterday, and he’s down to +4000 at some other shops. If you want get on Rickie, don’t wait.

He’s experiencing a real resurgence since reuniting with Butch Harmon and his swing looks great. The hard work on retooling his game is starting to pay off. He’s 11th in SG: Total this season, 12th in SG: Tee to Green, and 8th in SG: Approach. If we isolate his SG numbers for the last three months, he’s in the top 45 in every category except SG: Off the Tee.

The fairways are a little bit more generous than we’re used to seeing from the USGA and he’s still gaining strokes with the driver because he’s plenty long. He’s no stranger to competing in majors when his game is at it’s best (who can forget his 2014 campaign when he finished no worse than T5 in a major) and I think he’s getting close to being that competitive again.

This is a big price on a guy who is rapidly improving and I don’t think anyone will be shocked when he wins again this season. He’s typically done his best work out West, so I think the stars could be aligning for Rickie to make a solid run this week.

The Putter (Max Homa, Bryson DeChambeau)

Bet regret. We fired off these bets in the heat of the moment, then we pondered them a little while longer. Now we’re wondering if that money would’ve been better spent on literally anything else. 

Max Homa (+3500)

This is a segment where I engage in some self-loathing and negative talk. I don’t actually hate Homa here because he’s had a strong season and he’s been sneaky good despite not putting up eye-popping results like he did earlier in the season on the West Coast Swing.

What I hate is that my FOMO forced me to bet him at +1800 at my sportsbook, before he drifted up to +3000, which cost me significant value. He’s since gone down to +1200 – so maybe my instincts were ultimately correct, if imperfect -at my stupid Nevada sportsbook (looking at you, William Hill). He’s still available at a decent price on DK if you don’t live in a state with archaic sports gambling laws that are aimed at protecting existing institutions in the state while shutting out competitors seeking to enter the market.

He’s getting a lot of love because he’s the course record holder after firing a 61 during the PAC-12 Championship in 2013 (the first high-level tournament post-restoration), so it’s clear he can get after it on this course. And he does his best work in California. In the two tournaments he’s played in the Golden State this year, he’s won and finished second.

He has top-10s in two out of his last three tournaments, so he’s clearly still pretty sharp. The putting, short game and approach numbers all make him a worthy threat to take home some hardware.

The Hybrid (Sepp Straka, Andrew Putnam)

This is our fun long shot that could make us all rich. Or not. It’s tough to hit these, but it’s a damn good time sweating them if they’re in contention. Tread lightly on these guys, but sometimes miracles happen.

Sepp Straka (+25000)

When we get this far down the odds board, there will be some issues that we need to overlook. But I just can’t get away from the upside of someone like Sepp Straka. He’s 9th in SG: Approach and he’s a solid putter ranking 60th in SG: Putting.

Now for the warts. He loses strokes off the tee, marginally, and he sucks around the greens. His issue with the driver has more to do with lack of length than accuracy, so that’s sort of a wash on a course that will probably be playing hard and fast. The length of the course is shocking, but I don’t think it will play that long once the tournament gets underway. I’m willing to overlook the short game numbers simply because his approach is so good. He just won’t be chipping as often as other guys.

He tends to play his best golf on tougher courses where par is a good score. He posted a T5 at the Honda and a T7 at the PGA, both difficult courses. He showed me a lot with that strong finish in the PGA, so I’m all over him as a deep sleeper this week. If you can, it may be wiser to sprinkle him in some top-10 or top-20 props if they’re available, as well.

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