The second major of the season in professional golf gets underway this Thursday with the opening round of the US Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh. The US Open is often considered the toughest test the top golfers in the world face each year. This year's venue could be especially difficult considering that five strokes over par was good enough to claim the title the last time this tournament was contested at Oakmont in 2007.
TopBet has released a number of different props in conjunction with this week's event. And after going through all the betting odds, the following are my top picks for the 2016 US Open.
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The prop bet odds that an American player wins this year's US Open have been set at -110. The odds that a European player wins are +220, and they move to +275 for a player winning from the rest of the world.
Using TopBet's futures odds to win, the top American foursome would be Jordan Spieth (+700), Dustin Johnson (+900), Rickie Fowler (+2000) and Bubba Watson (+2500). You could also throw Phil Mickelson in the mix at +2500 odds to win.
The top four Europeans on the list include Rory McIlroy (+800), Justin Rose (+2500), Sergio Garcia (+2500) and 2016 Masters' winner Danny Willett (+2500). You could also add Henrik Stenson (+3000) to that list as a top contender.
Australian's Jason Day (+600) and Adam Scott (+2500) are at the top of the list for the rest of the world along with Hideki Matsuyama (+3000) and Branden Grace (+4000).
Going back to 2008, an American player has won the US Open four times, with a player from Europe winning this event the other four years. Day is the overall favorite to win, but I do not see the rest of the players at the top of the list for the rest of the world adding all that much value to this bet. McIlroy is always a threat to win in a major, but I like my chances going with an American to win with Spieth and Johnson as two of the top four favorites this week. Fowler adds some value to the mix as the No. 5-ranked player in the world, and even Mickelson at age 45 adds some value after finishing second in the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week.
The prop bet odds that the winning margin in this week's US Open is just one stroke are the best on the board at +250. The odds that it will be two strokes are set at +375. They go up to +475 for three strokes. But when you move to four strokes or more, the prop bet odds are set at +300. You can also bet that this tournament ends in 18-hole playoff on Monday at +260.
When you look back at some of the recent margins of victory in a US Open, it has been a mixed bag. In 12 tournaments since 2004, it has been decided by one stroke five times, including Spieth's win at Chambers Bay in last year's event. The margin of victory has been two strokes in four of last 12 years, and it has been four strokes or more twice during this same span. The 2008 US Open was the only one in the last 12 years to be decided in a playoff.
Given the overall strength of this year's field, especially at the top of the futures list, there is no reason to believe that any one player is going to coast to victory this week. When Angel Cabrera won the 2007 US Open at Oakmont at five-over par, his margin of victory over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk was just one stroke. I am going to say that history repeats itself with a one-stroke victory this time around as well.
Jordan Spieth Top-5 Finish
In what I see as one of the top value plays on TopBet's prop bet board, I am jumping all over Spieth's +160 betting odds that he finishes in the Top 5 this week. Much has been made about his one-hole meltdown on the back nine of Sunday's final round at Augusta that cost him a second straight Masters' title, but he still finished tied for second.
Current form remains strong with a recent victory in the Dean & Deluca Invitational in late May, but the simple fact that Spieth has not finished outside the top five in his last five majors adds all the value in the world to some very favorable odds.
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