Dustin Johnson has best odds due to atypical 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Mills

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Dustin Johnson has top odds on the 2017 U.S. Open champion board for many reasons, not the least of which is that Erin Mills is an atypical setting for the second major on the golf calendar.

Johnson is listed at +750 to win the tournament according to a consensus of sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Johnson is the defending champion and, of course, leads the PGA Tour in average driving distance (312.1 yards). Normally that’s a lesser factor in the U.S. Open, but the course in Wisconsin offers one of the longest layouts (7,693 yards) ever used in the event, as well as some very wide fairways. It will be the first par-72 test at the Open since 1992.

The top of the board also includes past champions Rory McIlroy (+1200) and Jordan Spieth (+1200), along with Jason Day (+1400), Jon Rahm (+2000), Rickie Fowler (+2000), Masters champion Sergio Garcia (+2200) and Justin Rose (+2200).

Johnson took last week to get ready for the Open and missed the cut in his previous outing, but he was 13th or better three tournaments in a row since returning from the infamous back injury that kept him from playing in the Masters. If he’s 100 per cent, Johnson certainly is capable of winning. For what it might be worth, no champion has repeated since 1989.

Day, McIlroy, Spieth, Fowler and Rahm all have the requisite length to make a run this weekend. Fowler has had some promising outings lately and may be ready to contend at a major. He took a run at it two months ago at the Masters, where he collapsed in the final round.

Rahm has also had three top-10 finishes in his last six starts. Spieth, unlike most of the field, has experience with Erin Mills from his amateur days. That might be an X-factor for the 2015 champion.

It’s not for nothing Garcia and Rose have the same price, since they were involved in a playoff at the Masters. While Garcia has never missed a cut at the U.S. Open, he has nothing on the big-event consistency of Rose, who has five consecutive top-10 finishes in majors (plus his 2016 Olympics gold medal for Great Britain). Rose should also be mentally toughened by the Masters disappointment.

Overall, the final placings might come down to who attacks a course that much of field had no experience with until they showed up in rural Wisconsin at the start of this week. That could narrow the gap between the big names and lesser-known players. Brooks Koepka (+4000 on the golf odds) is one of the longest hitters but has challenges staying consistent.

Another darkhorse who could emerge is Russell Henley (+10000), who is in the top quarter of the Tour in strokes gained off the tee and from tee to green.

Jordan Spieth Has Top Odds, Tiger Woods Making Charge on Masters Betting Lines

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Jordan Spieth has top odds and Tiger Woods is charging up the futures board, but recent history at Augusta National dictates fading those who have already won the green jacket.

Spieth is the +900 favorite on the 2018 Masters betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s first major due to commence on Thursday. All told, nine men in the field have odds of lower than +2000 (or 20/1), including Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+1100), Woods (+1400), Justin Rose (+1400), Bubba Watson (+1600), Jason Day (+1800) and Phil Mickelson (+1800).

However, only two recent champions – Mickelson in 2010 and Spieth in 2015 – have gone off at lower than +2000 odds. Woods is drawing a lot of action at many sportsbooks and it’s all well and good to indulge the thought of an all-time great writing a comeback story, but it will be his first major since 2015. Also, no one over age 40 has won the Masters since 1998.

Eight of the last nine major winners have been first-timers, with Spieth (2017 British Open) being the only exception in that span. Those trends don’t mean automatically having to rule out a favorite. Rose, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Masters, has had five top-10 finishes in the event and is also playing well so far this season, with three top-5 placings.

With a 7,435-yard course that is free of flat hole layouts, Augusta rewards golfers who are efficient with their approach. While there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Woods in 2001-02, defending champion Sergio Garcia (+2800) leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach, while Thomas and Mickelson are also among the leaders.

Two-time winner Bubba Watson missed the cut in in three of the 2017 majors, including the Masters, but his recent win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a reason to consider investing in him.

If one is bent on backing someone who is on the Yet To Win A Major Shortlist, there’s Paul Casey (+2200), who has finished sixth or better in his last three majors. A wrist ailment has affected Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) at times this season, but the Japanese star has finished 11th or higher in his last three starts at the Masters. Matsuyama’s odds are right in the range of several recent Masters champions.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Tony Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

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While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he’s apparently been hard at work ever since.

“I’ll be treating it very serious,” Romo told reporters Tuesday. “My wife will tell you she hasn’t seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you’ll get the best I’ve got this week.”

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf “you’re trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag.”

“I’m not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball,” Romo said. “It’s at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that’s difficult, and sometimes that’s easier depending on the situation.”

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which “was not up to any Tour standard.” The first-tee jitters can’t be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

“I think they’re waiting to either tell me ‘Congrats’ or ‘I knew it, terrible,'” Romo said. “Something along those lines. They’re probably going to wait to see which way the wind’s blowing before they send them.”

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.