Expert PGA Betting Picks: U.S. Open

Expert PGA Betting Picks: U.S. Open


Look, predicting a pre-tournament winner in golf isn’t easy. While it’s true sports bettors can find fantastic value, it’s incredibly frustrating when one of your picks doesn’t even make the cut. That’s why I’m here to help at the 2020 U.S. Open.

The U.S. Open was initially slated to be played on June 18-21 at Winged Foot Golf Club but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will now take place on September 17-20, marking the first time the U.S. Open has ever been played in September. 

With the action at Winged Foot almost here, it’s time to capitalize on some pre-tournament value. Here’s a look at my top three picks to win the 2020 U.S. Open, along with a few sleeper bets that could pay off big on Sunday.

For a full breakdown of the tournament, check out my betting preview. To learn more about how to bet on the links, visit our How to Bet on Golf page.

Odds courtesy of Bodog

My Favorite Pick: Webb Simpson +2500

Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, always seems to be in the mix at the top of leaderboards when the lights are brightest. He’s proven he can handle the rigorous conditions of the U.S. Open, as his 2012 victory came with a winning score of +1. Simpson was the only member of the top 10 to break par in both weekend rounds.

The American is a two-time winner in 2020 (Waste Management Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage) and has four other top-10 showings in just 12 tournaments. Avoiding bogeys is critical at Winged Foot, and Simpson was first on the PGA Tour in bogey avoidance in the 2019-20 season.

Simpson went T-10 at the 2018 U.S. Open and T-16 at the 2019 edition of the major. The timing looks right for him to win his second U.S. Open.

My Second Favorite Pick: Daniel Berger +2800

Despite winning the Charles Schwab Challenge, placing T-2 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and finishing a solo third at the Northern Trust last season, Berger continues to be a bit undervalued at sportsbooks. That’s good news for golf bettors who’ve backed him over the past year.

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The 15th-ranked player in the world finished the season at No. 13 in the FedExCup standings and is entering the upper echelon of PGA Tour players. The 27-year-old has appeared in six U.S. Opens in seven professional campaigns, including a sixth-place showing in 2018.

He has yet to win a major, but if he does, I think it will happen at the U.S. Open.

My Third Favorite Pick: Patrick Reed +4000

Love him or hate him, Reed has been in excellent form of late, making him an attractive U.S. Open play at +4000. Reed has notched three top-15s in his past six starts, including a T-13 at the PGA Championship.

Reed already has a major win to his credit after emerging triumphant at the 2018 Masters. Winged Foot is known for its treacherous greens, meaning golfers who excel in the short game will have a huge edge in the Empire State. That’s the biggest reason I’m betting Reed to win this week.

My Favorite Sleeper Pick: Kevin Na +20000

Speaking of short game, Na is one of the smoothest putters on the tour and is an excellent sleeper pick at +20000. We’ve seen many unlikely players come from nowhere to win the U.S. Open, and Na certainly fits the mold in that regard.

Na sits fourth on the tour in overall scrambling, another key stat for success at Winged Foot. He is accurate yet not overly long off the tee, but this course is not designed for big bombers.

My Second Favorite Sleeper Pick: Michael Thompson +25000

At +25000 odds, Thompson is the definition of a long shot this week. Due to the amount of star power in the field, it makes sense to see him this low on the oddsboard. But Thompson is playing in this tournament because of his win at the 3M Open, and he’ll have plenty of motivation to prove he belongs here.

Thompson knows the course, having played his first U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot. If he can keep the ball on the fairway and putt well, he has a decent chance to make the cut and could be a fantastic dark-horse selection.

Tips for Betting the U.S. Open

USGA Adds A Different Element to This Major

Like the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open is a nomadic championship that operates on a yearly rotation. The USGA, which puts on the tournament, is notorious for making the conditions at its courses as hard as possible for golfers. Simply put, the U.S. Open is known for making the world’s best players look like your average joe golfer.

That means it’s important to look to the past to identify which golfers have proven they can handle tough courses. Winning at the U.S. Open is not like winning at the birdie-friendly PGA Championship; it’s a grind from start to finish.

Just look at the last time the U.S. Open was held here in 2006. Geoff Ogilvy won with a 5-over-par score, totaling a whopping 285 strokes over the course of the tournament.

The rough at the U.S. Open is unlike other events, and the rough at Winged Foot is expected to be extremely tricky. The fairways are narrow and even the most accurate drivers will stray from the short grass at some stage.

No Spectators Could Be a Factor

Considering we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, the U.S. Open will be played without spectators. This has been the case since the PGA Tour’s Return to Golf, which started at the Charles Schwab Challenge in June.

While the players might be getting used to having no fans in attendance, it does have an impact on certain players. Golfers won’t have the fans there to boost them up, meaning they’ll have to create their own energy – an energy that’s crucial at major tournaments.

Rory McIlroy admitted the lack of an audience has been challenging, stating he’s been “going through the motions” since competitive golf restarted.

McIlroy has fallen from second place on the strokes gained: total rankings, averaging 2.537 strokes gained per round after the last tournament before the lockdown, to 12th, with an average of 1.243. Similarly, Tyrrell Hatton, who was leading the tour in that stat at 3.078 prior to the hiatus, has slipped to eighth (1.431).

These helpful pages will assist you in handicapping your golf wagers:

Odds Shark’s Golf Pages
  • Betting News: All the golf betting news necessary to give you an edge when placing your bets on the PGA Tour.
  • Odds/Futures: A comprehensive list of every golfer and their odds for upcoming tournaments.
  • Best Golf Sites: A breakdown of the top sportsbooks on the internet to wager on golf. Find the shop that’s right for you!
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