Wednesday, June 19, 2024

U.S. Open betting guide: 6 picks our gambling expert loves this week

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Our expert is sold on Scottie Scheffler’s chances this week.

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Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from GOLF.com’s expert prognosticator Brady Kannon. A seasoned golf bettor and commentator, Kannon is a regular guest on SportsGrid, a syndicated audio network devoted to sports and sport betting. You can follow on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer, and you can read his picks below for the U.S. Open, which gets underway Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C. Along with Kannon’s recommended plays, you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that features a range of games with enticing prizes, giving fans all kinds of ways to engage in the action without risking any money.

For the 124th edition of the U.S. Open, we are going to back to a golf course that opened 117 years ago. Pinehurst No. 2, an American classic, for this season’s third major and our national championship.

Pinehurst No. 2 was designed by Donald Ross, a legendary figure in the industry who designed somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 properties around the world. Ross called No. 2, “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.”

Payne Stewart won the U.S. Open here in 1999, holding off Phil Mickelson. Michael Campbell was the champ in 2005, beating Tiger Woods by two shots, and Germany’s Martin Kaymer, lapped the field by eight shots when he hoisted the trophy a decade ago in 2014.

It is a very long test of golf at over 7,500 yards and a par-70. For reference, that is basically the same length we saw last week at the Memorial, the most difficult tournament we have seen this season, second to only the Masters, and yet last week, par was 72.

In 2011, the team of Coore & Crenshaw was brought in to clean up the storied No. 2 course and return it to its original Ross look and feel. The fairways are relatively wide and there is essentially no rough. Rather, most of the fairways are bordered by sandy waste areas, containing wiregrass and another native grasses. Pine straw and pine trees also reside off of the fairways. You will hear the greens referred to as “turtleback” in shape, meaning like the shell of a turtle or that they are dome-like surfaces. The greens are Bermudagrass, feature slope and undulation, and will repel errant shots into the classic Donald Ross closely-mown, run-off areas around and below the putting surface.

One of the beauties of the green surrounds at No. 2 is the plethora of options created for players trying to get up and down. It is likely you will see players this week chipping the ball, bumping and running the ball, using a short iron, wedges, and hybrids. Ranking as one of the worst scramblers on Tour in 2014, Kaymer’s method of choice was to mostly putt everything he faced when just off of the green.

I mentioned the fairways are wide and finding them ought to not be of tremendous difficulty. However, position in the fairways is key because if in the wrong spot, one will find uneven lies and challenging angles of approach into the greens.


Martin Kaymer

2024 U.S. Open expert picks to win, sleepers to watch at Pinehurst 

By:


Nick Piastowski



While I looked at many of the typical major championship statistics this week, like Bogey Avoidance, recent form, long Par 4 scoring, etc., it boiled down to three primary areas for me: Total Driving (Accuracy and Distance combined), Greens in Regulation/Strokes Gained: Approach, and Scrambling.

Be long enough and find the right spots in the fairways. Be excellent with the irons, and when you miss the greens, be a magician with the short game. Do that all week and one just might find themselves a winner come Sunday.

Ross has designed many of the golf courses we see regularly on Tour. Sedgefield Country Club (Wyndham Championship), East Lake (Tour Championship), and Detroit Golf Club (Rocket Mortgage Classic). Detroit Golf Club was the only one I used as a possible comp as the other two are really very different. Pinehurst No. 2 is challenging to find a great match but a handful of courses share some of the same characteristics. I believe the run-off areas, short-game challenges, and wide fairways with little to no rough is similar to Augusta National. Inspired in his work by Ross, Pete Dye’s TPC Sawgrass requires many of the same skill sets that are necessary this week. The Old Course at St. Andrews has connections. I also used TPC Scottsdale, Memorial Park in Houston, Silverado in Napa, PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, The Renaissance Club in Scotland, and Southern Hills, the site of the 2022 PGA Championship.

So, who will be the 2024 U.S. Open champion? Honestly, I don’t believe there is much question.

Scottie Scheffler (3-1)

So often a good handicapper is going to try to beat the favorite. It is hard to play such a short price when there is only one winner but that one player has been Scheffler more often than not as of late. In his last eight starts, he has gone 1st-1st-2nd-1st-1st-8th-2nd-1st. Basically, it took arresting him to keep him from winning. I played Scheffler at +450 and again at 4-1 prior to the odds being re-released this week. Not only is he clearly the best player in the world, but I feel this golf course is perfect for him. Drive it long and straight, hit greens in regulation, and have special creativity and ability around the green.

Over the last 36 rounds, Scheffler is No. 1 in this field for SG: Off the Tee, SG: Ball Striking, SG: Approach, Bogey Avoidance, and on the Par 4’s measuring between 450-500 yards. Over the last 12-rounds, he is No. 2 for SG: Tee to Green. On Tour, Scheffler ranks sixth in Total Driving and fourth in Scrambling. As evidenced last week, you can throw the most difficult test at him and even reduce him to not having his best stuff, and he is still better than the rest. I believe he wins again this week, for the sixth time in nine starts, and I don’t mind adding a top-5 finish at around -150 or better.

Collin Morikawa (20-1)

Earlier in the season, Wyndham Clark was arguably the biggest threat to Scheffler, but since the Masters, it has really been Morikawa. Accuracy off the tee and iron play have always been Morikawa’s bread and butter but his short game has come around incredibly in the last couple of months. He seems more determined than anyone to bring his game up to Scheffler’s level. Beginning with the Masters, in stroke-play events, Morikawa’s results have been 3rd-9th-16th-4th-4th-2nd. I played a top-20 finish here as well and don’t mind a bet on a top-10 finish either.

Ludvig Aberg of Sweden hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 19, 2024 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ludvig Aberg of Sweden hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the 2024 RBC Heritage.

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Ludvig Aberg (20-1)

In my areas of emphasis, the young phenom is third on Tour in Total Driving, 15th in SG: Approach, and seventh in Scrambling. At one of the toughest tests of the season last week, Aberg was one of only 11 players to finish under par. Over the last 36 rounds, he is basically top-10 in this field for just about every category this week, and he ranks 61st on Tour in SG: Putting. One other note here is Aberg’s experience at this golf course. It was in 2019 that he participated in the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2. Out of 312 players, he made it to the round of 32 before being eliminated. I also played Aberg for a top-20 finish.

Tommy Fleetwood (40-1)

Fleetwood’s best major championships have been the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. Pinehurst No. 2 is a bit of a mix of the two with its linksy style and the necessity to be especially good playing from the ground as links golf requires. Add into the mix that he took third at the Masters this year, his best-ever finish at Augusta. I really like his game for this course and his current form. On Tour, Fleetwood ranks eighth in Par 4 Scoring, 10th in Scrambling, and 15th in Total Driving. It is possible that Fleetwood’s first win in the United States could also be his first major championship. I also played him for a top-20 finish.

Alex Noren (150-1)

I have since seen this number come down to 125 or 100-1, which is fine. These are some long bombs, in my opinion, that could cash but should not be invested in too heavily. My main investment is with Scheffler and for everyone else, we are counting on a nice top-10 or top-20 finish — or the outside chance that they pull off an outlier victory. Noren has all of those capabilities. He has nine top-25 finishes in his last 10 starts. He is very accurate off the tee, ranks 26th on Tour in SG: Approach and is No. 1 in Scrambling. Over the last 36 rounds, he ranks eighth in this field for Bogey Avoidance and is 20th on the Par 4s ranging from 450-500 yards. Having won all over Europe, he also has links-style chops.

Billy Horschel (225-1)

No, I could not believe this number either when I saw it and sure enough it is down now closer to 150-1. Again, not a problem as these are some triple-digit flyers who ought to do well but I don’t necessarily expect them to win the U.S. Open. Like our other long shot in Noren, Horschel too has had an excellent 2024 season. He has top-10 finishes at the Cognizant Classic (PGA National), the Houston Open (Memorial Park), and the PGA Championship. He has top-15 finishes at the Valspar Championship and last week at the Memorial, and he won two months ago at Corales. Over the last 36 rounds, Horschel is fifth in this field for Scrambling, 10th on the 450-500 yard Par 4s, and is third in SG: Putting (Bermudagrass). I played both Noren and Horschel for top-20 finishes.

My card this week boils down to the man who I believe will win, three players I like to contend, and another couple of long shots who I believe will have really good weeks. Let’s sweep the U.S. Open and cash a ticket with each one of them.

Who Chirp users like this week

Chirp user picks for the U.S. Open
Chirp user picks for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

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To make your own Chirp picks and win amazing prizes, download the app here.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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