2021 U.S. Open Betting Picks: The Bets to Make Based on Torrey Pines Narratives
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR. Pictured: Tony Finau.
SAN DIEGO — It’s been 13 years since the first — and until this week, the only — U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Big congratulations to those still living off the payout after hammering Tiger Woods pre-tourney at (gulp) 2/1.
What did we learn that week which can help us gain an edge for this one?
Well, maybe it’s the fact that success on this course at the Farmers Insurance Open correlates to success in this event. Or maybe it’s that length off the tee, not precision, is the key here. Or perhaps current form is the biggest factor.
After all, Tiger often dominated the Farmers, was among the biggest hitters and despite leg fractures and a torn ACL, he’d been in tremendous form over the first half of that year.
Or maybe he was just the ultimate outlier, a guy who broke the scale when it came to drawing such conclusions.
Whatever the case, let’s examine which players in this week’s field — of varied prices — fit each of these potential narratives.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings.
THE FARMERS PLAYS
Jon Rahm (+1050)
Tony Finau (+2200)
Marc Leishman (+8000)
Ryan Palmer (+16000)
Two of these players have won at Torrey Pines in recent years; the other two keep coming close.
Rahm triumphed in his debut at the January-based event in 2017. Since then, he’s made four more starts and owns three more top-seven finishes. That’s at least part of the reason he’s the pre-tournament favorite this week.
Finau has played the Farmers seven times, finishing top-six on four occasions and never outside the top-25. Leishman won here last year, but he previously had a pair of runner-up results and owns a total of five top-10s. Palmer, who was 50/1 before claiming his second career second-place finish earlier this year, has been 21st or better in his last four Torrey starts.
THE DISTANCE PLAYS
Bryson DeChambeau (+1500)
Rory McIlroy (+2100)
Cameron Champ (+30000)
Wilco Nienaber (+30000)
In the past half-decade, a pattern has formed at the U.S. Open which is a stark contrast to how this event used to play.
Each of the last five winners — Brooks Koepka (twice), Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland and DeChambeau — aren’t just above-average with their length off the tee; they’re amongst the longest in the game.
It should come as little surprise that, once again, Bryson leads the PGA TOUR’s driving distance category, averaging 322.7 yards per drive, more than four yards ahead of McIlroy and Champ, who rank second and third.
Then there’s Nienaber, who’s averaging a cool 323 yards on the European Tour and was absolutely mashing the ball at last week’s Palmetto Championship.
THE FORM PLAYS
Jordan Spieth (+1900)
Collin Morikawa (+2550)
Jason Kokrak (+5500)
Garrick Higgo (+7500)
Prior to winning the U.S. Open in 2008, Woods’ record for the year read as follows: 1st-1st-1st-1st-5th-2nd. So, uh, yeah … even though he hadn’t played in two months, he was in pretty decent form.
Surprise, surprise, but there’s nobody in this week’s field who’s even close to riding a similar heater as Tiger back then.
Spieth has triumphantly turned his game around this year, to date earning more world ranking points than any other player in the world. Morikawa, who lost a playoff at the Memorial Tournament in his most recent start two weeks ago, ranks second on that list.
Then there’s Kokrak and Higgo, winners of two of the last three PGA TOUR events and guys who have won multiple titles over the past year.