Michael Madrid, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Brooks Koepka
- The 2019 U.S. Open takes place from June 13 to June 16 at Pebble Beach in California.
- Darren Rovell spoke with a Vegas bookmaker about how they are not letting Brooks Koepka beat them this week and why Phil Mickelson winning would be a disaster for the sportsbook.
Earlier this week, John Murray, director of the race and sportsbook at the Westgate in Las Vegas entered the area known as the control room, the nerve center of the sportsbook, and made sure the message was loud and clear.
“We are not losing on Brooks Koepka,” Murray told them.
After winning back-to-back U.S. Opens and PGA Championships, Murray and his team came back losers on Koepka. It was not happening again.
“We have him low enough at 8-to-1, that he’s not really worth betting on,” Murray said. “And our bettors agree!”
In fact, there’s so little exposure on Koepka that the Westgate comes out a winner if the 29-year-old Florida native wins his fifth major.
The biggest pain point for the book? Phil Mickelson.
“People love Phil as much as Tiger,” Murray said. “And the narrative is, he just needs the US Open to finish out the career grand slam.”
Mickelson dropped from 30-1 to 25-1 due to the volume of money coming in on him, but the Westgate seems willing to take the risk. The book is not alone, FanDuel’s sportsbook also has its biggest liability in Mickelson, but at 46-1.
Mickelson’s stats are telling. He is currently ranked 208th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and 196th in total putting.
Public betting is not surprisingly loaded on Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Koepka (at most books, he’s 10-1) and bets are rolling in on Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, beneficiaries of recency bias from their wins at The Memorial and the RBC Canadian Open, respectively.
And there are, as is typical, some more oddball plays. FanDuel says they’ve received some small bets on Collin Morikawa, who was just featured in an article by Golfweek. Morikawa, who the book has at 650-1, made his pro debut at the Canadian Open last week, finishing 14th.
The Westgate has taken enough sharp action on Brandt Snedeker to drop him from 80-1 to 40-1. Snedeker has had three straight top-20 finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the Canadian Open.