Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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.

Americans favored against Europe as they look to reclaim Ryder Cup

Leave a comment

The tried-and-true narrative with the Ryder Cup is that Europe somehow manages to outfox the United States, which once again is the betting favorite for the biennial competition.

Europe has won eight of the past 10 competitions, including six of the last seven. With the Ryder Cup slated to begin Friday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chasta, Minnesota, captain Davis Love III’s American squad is a -185 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Captain Darren Clarke’s Europe team is a +145 underdog to win.

Along with home soil, the Americans have the 7-5 edge in world Top 20 players and a 10-7 edge in players with experience in the tournament. The Americans have not won more than 7½ of a possible 12 points from the Sunday singles matches since their memorable comeback in 1999, but having the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed could make a difference on the final day.

Johnson headlines the top U.S. player board at +350. Spieth is listed at +450 and Reed is at +600. Jimmy Walker, the PGA championship winner and one of the better American putters, is listed at +1600.

Rory McIlroy, fresh off capturing the FedEx Cup, is a +450 favorite to be Europe’s top player. It is worth nothing that McIlroy is playing for a fellow Northern Ireland native, Clarke. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, who respectively won the Olympic gold medal and British Open this summer, are listed at +550.

Rickie Fowler, who has never won a Ryder Cup match, is a +225 favorite to be the top U.S. wild card (also known as a captain’s pick). Matt Kuchar has a +240 payout, with J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore each listed at +300.

Martin Kaymer, at +150, and Lee Westwood, at +160, are neck-on-neck in the top Europe wild card prop. Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters (+225) is a big hitter whose burgeoning rapport with Stenson could carry over to the course.

For top U.S. rookie, Brooks Koepka is -120 and Moore is -110 on those golf betting lines.

Danny Willett is +300 to be the top performer among the half-dozen rookies on the Europe team. Pieters, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick are each listed at +400.

The competition begins with fourballs and foursomes matches on Friday and Saturday, before the all-important 12 singles matches on Sunday. Each of the 28 matches is worth one point (with a half-point for a tie), and the first team to accumulate 14½ points wins.

Europe is 10-7-1 since the current Ryder Cup format was introduced in 1979.

Dustin Johnson Johnson brings good history into final FedExCup event as betting favorite

Leave a comment

The combination of course history and coming in hot makes Dustin Johnson the betting favorite for the Tour Championship, the finale of the FedExCup playoff.

Johnson, one of the five players who will capture the FedExCup if he wins this weekend, is listed at +450 to win the tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Not only is Johnson fresh off capturing the BMW Championship, but he has been in the top 10 three times in a row at the Tour Championship.

The layout and length of par-70 East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta places an emphasis on accuracy, but also requires being long off the tee. East Lake’s nines have been flipped, so the 18th hole is now a 600-yard par-5.

Rory McIlroy, who is sixth in the playoff standings, is the second favorite at +600 on the golf betting lines. McIlroy is  a past runner-up (in 2014) at the Tour Championship.

Jason Day (+800), Adam Scott (+1000), Paul Casey (+1400) and Patrick Reed (+1600) are the other four who would automatically win the FedExCup if they win the tournament, although the PGA Tour’s point system gives all 30 players a mathematical chance of winning.

Day should be clear of the back pain that caused him to withdraw from the BMW Championship midway through the final round. The Australian has three top 10 finishes in his last five starts at East Lake. Jordan Spieth, who is also listed at +800, is the defending champion, but his showings of late have been consistency decent, rather than spectacular.

Scott leads the PGA in shots gained from tee to green, and has been fourth in the last three FedExCup events. The Australian is the epitome of consistency.

Casey is 2-for-2 at placing in the top five of this event, and was second at the BMW and Deutsche Bank tournaments. The Englishman is ineligible for the Ryder Cup, so this is a chance to finish his season on a high note.

Reed has finished 19th and 27th in two career Tour championships. A player of his caliber will likely figure out the course eventually, but presently that makes him a longshot.

A sidebar to the tournament, of course, is that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will make his final pick on Sunday. Whether that provides motivation or a stifling pressure for the likes of Bubba Watson (+3300) or Ryan Moore (+4000) will be interesting.