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The best bets and resources to make you more profitable
OddsJam’s golf experts take you through the best bets and picks for the third major tournament of 2022, the U.S. Open taking place at The Country Club at Brookline from June 16-19.
After a Billy Horschel Sunday run away two weeks ago, we were treated to yet another drama filled Sunday afternoon last week at the RBC Canadian Open.
Matt Fitzpatrick was the 36 hole leader, but then fell apart over the weekend — much to the chagrin of myself and the readers who were also holding a Fitzpatrick outright ticket.
Our other outright contender in Justin Thomas was tied for first with two holes remaining but he also choked, finishing with two bogies which allowed Rory McIlroy to ultimately prevail by two strokes and defend his title – winning his second consecutive RBC Canadian Open.
We just missed on the outright win with Thomas but the derivatives continued to deliver. Justin Thomas and Matt Fitzpatrick finished in the Top 10, while Shane Lowry, Chris Kirk, Harold Varner III and Brandon Todd finished in the Top 20, resulting in a profit of 3.9 units for the week.
This week we look to carry the winning momentum into the U.S. Open and attempt to find the outright winner in the second straight major after cashing in with Justin Thomas a month ago at the PGA Championship.
This week’s track is at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
It is a par-70 that measures in at 7,264 yards. This will be the first time the majority of the field has ever played at this course with the exception of a few who played here in the Ryder Cup in 1999 or in their U.S. Amateur in college.
Similar to last week, it is a tight track that is lined with treacherous rough and has the second smallest greens among championship venues, only Pebble Beach has smaller.
Due to this, players will need to be very accurate off the tee, be efficient at gaining greens in regulation, and have great around-the-green play as many players will inevitably be missing these small greens and be forced to scramble.
As is typical with U.S. Open venues, this is going to be a very challenging course — the antithesis of the birdie fests we have seen over the past few weeks.
We can expect to see a lot more bogeys than birdies this week. Every U.S. Open winner dating back to 2014 was ranked either first or second in bogeys avoided so bogey avoidance will be one of the most key metrics for our model this weekend.
It is going to take a combination of accurate driving, solid approach shots, great around-the-green play, bogey avoidance, and bentgrass putting to contend this week.
For those reasons, the key metrics that our model is using to compile our portfolio this week are: Good Drives Gained, Fairways Gained, Strokes-Gained: Approach, Bogey Avoidance, Strokes-Gained: Around the Green, Strokes-Gained: Par 4’s 400-450, Three-Putt Avoidance and Greens in Regulation.
Justin Thomas has been a staple in our outright and derivatives portfolio this season and he has been nothing short of fantastic at cashing derivative tickets, a true Top-10 machine. He has placed Top-10 or better in seven of his last eight starts including a T-3 at Valspar, T-8 at the Masters, T-5 at the Bryon Nelson, his outright win at the PGA Championship, and his runner up last week at the RBC Canadian Open.
Thomas’s game translates to everything we are looking for as far as key metrics this week and he is the model’s top rated player. He is no. 1 in bogey avoidance, no. 1 in par-4 scoring average, and sixth in strokes gained approach.
Justin Thomas is playing some of the best golf of his life and will be playing with plenty of confidence after his PGA Championship win and near-miss last week at the Canadian Open.
JT’s only weakness in his game is his erratic driver, but as long as he can keep that in check, it’s extremely difficult to see him not in one of the final pairings come Sunday.
Jon Rahm has been the favorite or co-favorite in just about every tournament over the past calendar year, so even though he is at the top of the odds board again this week, at +1500 there is definite “value” on him at these odds despite his short price range.
This feels like a great ‘buy low’ spot on Rahm who let’s not forget — is the defending U.S. Open champion. One of the most vital aspects this week is having success off the tee — both accuracy and length — and Rahm is the best in the world in that regard. He has gained strokes off the tee in 42 consecutive starts and is also no. 1 in this field in greens in regulation.
If he is going to contend this week, he is going to have to continue to be excellent at gaining greens in regulation because the only flaw in his game as of late has been his struggles around the green — where he ranks in the bottom ten in this field.
The Country Club features many blind tee shots, and my concern is does Rahm, who is known for his hot temper, have the mental composure to be patient and not lose his cool when things inevitably go south. The good news is he does have a track record of success at a similar course — having placed T3 last year at the British Open at Royal St. George’s which is a very similar course comparison — so there is reason to believe he can have similar success at The Country Club.
As long as Rahm can continue to be elite at gaining greens in regulation and avoid losing his cool when mistakes do happen, he will have an excellent chance to defend his U.S. Champion title.
Sam Burns has three wins on Tour this season, but has yet to place in the top 10 in any major yet in his career. He has a great chance to buck that trend this week at The Country Club with a course that is very favorable to his game.
He is fourth in strokes gained on the approach, fifth in greens in regulation and bogey avoidance, and sixth in par-4 scoring average.
He has yet to make the cut at a U.S. Open, but his game has improved by leaps and bounds this year, with three wins this season, with the last two coming on two other similarly difficult courses at Innisbrook and Colonial. He has shown the ability to be clutch as well with two playoff wins over Scottie Scheffler at the Charles Schwab Challenge and Davis Riley at the Valspar Championship.
It has been an amazing year for Burns and all that is missing from his resume is a high finish at a major, and he has a great chance to do just that this week.
Will Zalatoris was our value pick in our U.S. Open futures article and while his odds have dropped at most books, you can still find him at +2800 at Unibet.
Zalatoris has been the epitome of a big-game hunter, with four top-10 finishes in his six career major starts including two runner-ups at both the Masters and the PGA Championship over the past two years. It is just a matter of when, not if, he is going to get that elusive first major, and we love his chances for that to be this week.
He is an excellent course fit for The Country Club — an elite ball striker both off the tee and with his irons. He is no. 1 in this field in strokes gained approach and no. 2 in strokes gained tee-to-green. All it will take is for his putter to cooperate, and he has an excellent chance to finally get over the hump and celebrate the first major win of his career.
Shane Lowry has been a staple in our betting portfolio almost every week on these pages and for good reason — he has been the most consistent player on Tour without a win this season.
After disappointing us the previous two weeks with a 23rd and 32nd place finish, Shane Lowry lived up to our expectations last week at the Canadian Open. He had a very solid T-10 finish and that is now eleven top-25 finishes over his last 13 stroke-play events for the Irishman — including a third place finish at the Masters and a T-23 at the PGA Championship in the first two majors this season.
We alluded to it last week in our writeup for the Canadian Open, but we love Lowry’s fit for The Country Club.
To contend this week, players will need to hit fairways and greens with regularity and avoid mistakes around the green. Lowry is one of only three players in the field who rank in the top 20 in both distance and accuracy off the tee and he is no. 7 in strokes gained approach and no. 3 in bogey avoidance.
Lowry’s game is at his best at challenging courses — no player has performed better on holes playing over par this season than he — and if he can keep his flatstick hot he can come away with his second major of his career.
There are 16 golfers with shorter odds than Sungjae Im but he is our model’s second-ranked golfer in this field this week — only behind Justin Thomas which makes him this week’s best value play.
Im has been extremely consistent since returning from his COVID absence, earning five straight top-25 finishes. This season, he has made 16 of 18 cuts, with a win and 12 top-2o finishes, including a T8 at the Masters back in April.
His form has been excellent and he is a tremendous course fit as well. He is second in the field in three of the seven main metrics: par-4 scoring average, bogey avoidance, and strokes gained around the green. He is tied for sixth in two others: good drives gained and greens in regulation.
His only weakness is strokes gained on the approach, but his around the green play is so good that even if he is a bit off on his approach, he can recover from it like few others can.
Im has played in seven major championships in his career and has earned two top-eight finishes and two more top 25s and don’t be shocked if he adds another top 10 finish to that resume by the end of the weekend.
Rory McIlroy Outright Winner | +1000 at Caesars
Rory is playing about as well as you can heading into the 3rd major. If he can continue to putt and drive the ball with the same accuracy we saw last week, he may be taking home his first major since 2014.
Sam Burns Top 5 Finish | +550 at Caesars
Sam Burns’ game sets up nicely at The Country Club, he is top 20 on the Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Putting, and birdie-or-better conversion percentage — all of which will be needed this weekend.
Will Zalatoris Top 5 Finish | +500 at Caesars
Will Zalatoris is first on the tour Strokes Gained: Approach the Green and second on the tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, both of which will play a major factor this week. The only thing Will seems to be missing is Strokes Gained: Putting. Even an average week putting will see Will Zalatoris near the top of the leaderboard.