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Top-ranked Day pegged as betting favorite for U.S. Open

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As the world’s No. 1-ranked player it figures that Jason Day has the top odds for the U.S. Open, but Oakmont Country Club will play anything but straightforwardly.

The notoriously tough par-70 course in Plum, Pa., which is hosting the traditional second major of the PGA Tour season for a record ninth time, is often known to get into even the calmest players’ head.

Even by the standards of the U.S. Open, renowned as the toughest major to win, Oakmont is unforgiving for even the smallest bit of imprecision on a shot. Not surprisingly, the betting board is largely predicated on which players are among the Tour leaders in strong gains off the tee – iron play – and strokes gained around the green.

Day has top odds at +650 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, which reflects a belief that his game might hold up to Oakmont. The 28-year-old Australian leads the PGA in strokes gained putting, averaging 1.145 per round. However, the large, sloping greens at Oakmont could be a great equalizer between the top-ranked putters and the above-average putters who have a peak performance.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who is listed at +750, is one of the most aggressive golfers in the world. In any sport, it’s tough to win without using the strategy one knows most.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who is listed at +850, was not even born in 1989 when Curtis Strange became the last repeat champion. Spieth seems destined to win multiple majors in his career, but winning back-to-back will be daunting.

Adam Scott, who is listed at +3000, leads the PGA in strokes gained approaching the green. Both Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Justin Rose (+2800) are in the PGA’s top 12 in that statistical category. Rickie Fowler (+2800) has been inconsistent in recent tournaments, but is a past Open runner-up and is overdue for a bounce-back in his short game.

Phil Mickelson, who has been the Open runner-up six times, is listed at +2800. It’s tough to picture Mickelson winning at Oakmont, which is all about discipline.

The last seven Opens have been captured by a first-time winner. Sleeper pick Daniel Berger, the 23-year-old who won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last weekend while many players took the week off to get ready for Oakmont, is listed at +6600. Berger has three top-10 finishes in his last seven events.

Jordan Spieth betting favorite heading into the TOUR Championship

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It is mathematically possible for Jordan Spieth to capture the FedExCup title – and the $10-million bonus – without winning the TOUR Championship. Perhaps that might be a prod to look beyond laying chalk for the PGA Tour playoffs’ finale.

Spieth, who’s first in the FedExCup standings, is listed as a +500 betting favorite to win the TOUR Championship, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Like Spieth, four others in the 30-man field converging on the 7,385-yard par-70 layout at East Lake in Atlanta would win the FedExCup automatically by winning the tournament. That includes (in order of seeding, not price), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+750), Mark Leishman (+1800) and Jon Rahm (+1200).

Spieth’s average finish since June has been 7.7, so it’s a safe bet he’ll continue his strong play. But a situation could arise where, if none of the other top five seeds are in contention, he might focus on the Cup and not the tournament itself, which has a slightly smaller payout of $8.8 million.

Johnson has been outside the top 15 in his last two starts, so it might be best to fade him. Leishman (+1800) is coming in hot after his five-shot win in the BMW Championship, but do remember this will be just his second time in the event. If you’re basing your pick on recent performance, Rahm has three top-5 finishes in a row and is in the top 20 on tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, which is a good quality on a long par-70 such as East Lake.

The highest price of any player outside of those top five seeds belongs to Rickie Fowler (+1000). He was 10th at this event in 2015, the last time he played in it, and he’s second on the entire Tour in strokes gained.

Likewise, Justin Rose (+1200) has two second-place finishes at the TOUR Championship in the last four years.

Incidentally, Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) is ninth in the approach-the-green stat, which might make him a wild card this weekend even though his results have been inauspicious of late. Another darkhorse play with an enticing price on the golf betting lines is Matt Kuchar, who has had three top-10 finishes in the last four tournaments and is very steady, a handy trait to have at a par-70 course.

Each of the past seven FedExCup champions has secured it by winning the TOUR Championship. The law of averages would indicate that streak might end sooner rather than later.

PGA Championship Odds: McIlroy, Fowler coming in hot for Quail Hollow

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The combo of a soggy course and a season-long trend of first-time winners could come into play at the PGA championship this week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Two-time winner Rory McIlroy is the +700 favorite on the odds to win the PGA Championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Jordan Spieth (+800), who’s less than a month removed from his British Open victory, is a close second favorite, with WGC-Bridgestone Invitational winner Hideki Matsuyama (+1100), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Rickie Fowler (+1600) also high on the board.

Quail Hollow is a fixture on the PGA Tour, hosting the Wells Fargo Championship each May. The course has had an aggressive renovation to get it “major ready.” Rain is also expected for all four days, which could create an advantage for long hitters who don’t need a huge roll from tee shots. A course also plays differently in the summer than it does in the spring.

Playing the chalk is justifiable. McIlroy has two Tour victories on this course and had a strong fifth at the Bridgestone last weekend at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. However the course renovations factor into scoring, he’s still been dominant at Quail Hollow. It’s probably reasonable to fade Spieth, given his wonky putting last weekend. It’s just tough to win two majors in a row.

Among the players with odds in the 10/1 to 20/1 range, Dustin Johnson has simply been too inconsistent to inspire much confidence. Fowler will be playing at the course where he got his first Tour victory and he’s playing well, as evidenced by successive 67s at the Bridgestone. He’s also third in the Tour’s total driving stat, which suggests his strengths are suited to Quail Hollow.

Similar things can be said about Matsuyama, who like Fowler is still in search of his first major championship. The 25-year-old Japanese standout won the Bridgestone in a showing that was a testament to his burgeoning talent, and he’s also 12th in driving accuracy.

If the weather is as wet as promised, it plays to the advantage of Brooks Koepka (+2500), the U.S. Open champion who is sixth in driving distance this season. Koepka’s top-10 finish at the British Open indicates that he is not some big-driving one-hit wonder.

The value pick might well be Daniel Berger (+5500), who has three top-five finishes and a win in his last six tournaments. Berger was also in the top 20 at the 2016 Wells Fargo tourney at Quail Hollow. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson (+6600) also has a high price that belies that he was runner-up at the Bridgestone last weekend.

Jimmy Walker, the defending champion, is listed at +10000, only slightly below the +12500 price he had at online gambling sites prior to his unexpected victory in 2016.

This will be the second-last PGA Championship held in August; starting in 2019, it will move to May and become the second major on the golf calendar.