Rob Schumacher, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jon Rahm
- The 2019 U.S. Open takes place from June 13 to June 16 at Pebble Beach in California.
- Here are our staff's favorite bets for the third major of the golf season.
The 2019 U.S. Open begins on Thursday morning (9:45 a.m. ET) at one of golf’s most iconic courses, Pebble Beach.
Dustin Johnson is the current betting favorite at 7-1 with Brooks Koepka (8-1), Tiger Woods (10-1) and Rory McIlroy (10-1) right behind him.
Given the size of these events, the elite fields that participate and the attention that they garner, bookmakers light up the board, giving bettors a gigantic menu of betting options.
Here are our staff’s favorite bets for the 2019 U.S. Open.
The Bet: Ian Poulter over Bubba Watson (-110)
There are a handful of juicy matchup bets for this week’s event. I’m talking about below the most elite level. Sure, you might be able to choose between Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, or Tommy Fleetwood and Patrick Cantlay, but these players are among the favorites because any of ‘em have a chance of playing superior golf.
I like delving a little bit below the upper surface for some value-driven head-to-heads.
Among my favorites: Matt Wallace (+130) over Patrick Reed, Sam Horsfield (+110) over Shugo Imahira and Rob Oppenheim (-125) over Billy Hurley III.
But the best of the bunch is Poulter over Bubba.
Make no mistake: This is not so much support for the Englishman as it is a fade for the two-time Masters champion. In a dozen career U.S. Open starts, Watson owns a T-5 in 2007, a T-18 in 2009 and nothing else inside the top-30. In fact, in his past five appearances, he’s gone MC-MC-51-MC-MC.
There are some tournaments — the Masters, the Travelers Championship, the Genesis Open — which suit his eye and yield solid results every year. Others decidedly don’t. This one is firmly in that latter category.
If you can find any other matchups against Bubba (I’ve seen Kevin Na at -130, too), fire away. He’s an easy fade this week.
Dr. Lou Riccio*
The Bet: Justin Rose Top 10 (+275)
You’re getting a ton of value here on Justin Rose, a past U.S. Open champion on one of the most comparable venues (Merion East). As stated above, my model gives Justin Rose the second most likely chance to win this week given the strength of his approaches from these expected distances and improved putting over the past two seasons.
So you’re getting value in all sorts of bets on Rose, as oddsmakers barely have him in their top 10 of players with the lowest odds. Rose was in position to finish top-10 at the PGA Championship before struggling on Sunday, but I’d expect him to cash this ticket at Pebble.
*Dr. Lou Riccio, a PhD senior lecturer, teaches rational decision making at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and has served on the USGA’s handicap research team for three decades. More of his predictive analysis can be found over at Golf Digest.