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2018 United States Open: 3-Balls Odds And Predictions

Scotland(9 winners) @ USA(58 winners)

  • Where: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Suffolk County, NY
  • When: June 14, 2018 7:30 am EST
  • Moneyline: Dustin Johnson +1100 Rory McIlroy +1200 Jordan Spieth +1400 Jason Day +1400 Justin Thomas +1400 Justin Rose +1400 Rickie Fowler +1600 Tiger Woods +1600 Jon Rahm +2000 Brooks Koepka +2000 Hideki Matsuyama +2800 Phil Mickelson +2800 Henrik Stenson +3300 Patrick Reed +4000 Sergio Garcia +4000

From time to time, golf’s broadcast professionals have noted that crowds react more wildly to many-time champions surging on the leaderboard than almost any Cinderella winner. “Rabbits” and amateurs and club pros are great stories on Thursday and Friday but golf fans appear to want them out of the way by Sunday.

Doubtful that links fans are bloodthirsty underdog-haters. There are other explanations. So many great golfers compete in the modern era that viewers need something to hold on to, and there’s no substitute for winning a bunch of majors when it comes to establishing a name-brand.

Plus, people like to feel as though they’re taking part in golf’s rich history. There’s nothing mystical or historic about Lucas Glover winning the Houston Open with some record number of birdies, but if you’re on hand or tuning-in to see Tiger Woods win a Masters…well that’s different.

The USGA understands the value of its star attractions, and has put together a couple of doozy 3-somes among the U.S. Open’s tee time schedule at Shinnecock Hills. The result is a bonanza for 3-balls bettors and futures sharks alike. Stars are paired together who are evenly-matched on the futures board, allowing guesswork at what Bovada’s 3-balls odds will be before they’re released on Monday afternoon. We’ll keep you updated!

Who is playing in said groups? Hope you’re sitting down.

Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson

Our first marquee group involves a veteran at peace with the course and himself, alongside 2 young men who have been letting their frustrations show.

An annoyed Rory, who shot a disappointing 74 on Sunday at Augusta, has even griped about the pairings the PGA has been giving out as of earlier this spring. “People want to see (PGA superstars play together) on Sunday,” he said, adding that stars can miss the cut and bum everyone out.

That only makes sense coming from a poor, pessimistic attitude. Big-name pairings at High Noon have long been considered an honor to be invited into. Still worse for McIlroy, the USGA reacted to the distracted phenom’s yapping with a hilarious power move that is making fresh headlines.

Rory’s game is muscular and he likes to get to the greens quickly and stalk putts. He won the U.S. Open in 2011 and the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year, but has been missing almost 4 out of every 10 greens and is clearly anxious.

Jordan Spieth’s temper is flashing again. He’s coming off a Memorial in which he couldn’t make birdies in the 2nd round and was sent home for the weekend.

On the Friday in question, Spieth was overheard telling fans nearby not to take video of his shots with their cell phones. It got snarky in a hurry: “Sometimes it’s cool to actually watch,” he groused to the patrons.

It’s not the fans’ fault that he has struggled lately. Spieth has had no top 20 finishes in the month of May and was cut at 2 spring PGA tournaments. The former #1 player in the world holds 3 major titles under his belt, including the 2015 U.S. Open. But he’ll need to summon his better temperament to have a shot at Shinnecock.

Sleeper gamblers for outright winner could do worse than Phil Mickelson (+2800), who might turn back the clock thanks to a general vibe of happiness with the setting. The aging yet confident Mickelson has been the anti-Rory leading up to the Open, praising the layout as the fairest he’s seen in 25 years.

Winning his first United States Open at age 48 would be a truly historic feat and add to Lefty’s considerable legacy. It’s not likely to happen.

Probably so. That’s all it takes to give betting value to 28-to-1 odds.

Phil likes the wide fairways and shaved greenside areas, which he says benefit his short game. As if it’s a short game that needs any help. Lefty is also long enough with the whoopin’ stick to take advantage of those wide carpets and bomb it close enough for a finesse approach on Par 4s.

Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

Sportsbooks and bettors seem wary to give Tiger a good chance to win, with his futures line for the Open holding at (+1600) at Bovada Sportsbook. Everyone remembers the hype around Tiger leading up to The Masters. That bet was a buzz-kill from the beginning, because a spell of Tiger-mania had driven his odds too short in March.

Woods may be gaining strength as the year goes forward. He has missed only a lone cut in recent memory and has nothing but admiration for Shinnecock Hills. The course has been set up to play drier and windier than usual which will suit Tiger’s knack for hitting low-balls.

His grouping will be star studded too, with Dustin Johnson joining Tiger and Justin Thomas at 1:37 PM on Thursday. Woods could benefit from a setup with less trees looming to catch his sometimes-wayward bombs off the tee. He fell out of contention at The Memorial when the putter wouldn’t work, but bounced back to appear steady, confident, and accurate this week.

Tiger could become only the 5th linksman to win the U.S. Open at least 4 times.

D.J. is coming off a strong performance at Jack’s tournament with a top 10 finish at The Memorial. A very strong showing at the U.S. Open could possibly return the South Carolina native to the world’s #1 ranking. The Cheetah is holding the best stroke average on the PGA Tour this season, and it’s not because of piddling little shots that won’t fly at Shinnecock. D.J.’s shots tend to fly far.

The only thing keeping Johnson’s futures odds from shortening those of a clear favorite is his putting at major championships in the past. His yips have cost him at all but a single U.S. Open, the tournament at Oakmont in 2016 which Johnson won.

Johnson’s big, fat drives can help mitigate any putting problems at Shinnecock, where 500-yard Par 4s will be arduous for Jordan Spieth but drive-and-flick opportunities for the bombers of the Tour.

Justin Thomas heads into the U.S. Open as the #1 player in the world. The 25 year old is also the defending PGA champion. Thomas enjoyed a brilliant stretch of golf in February and March with 3 consecutive top 5 finishes and a title at The Honda Classic. 3 similar strong finishes have preceded his U.S. Open bid. Thomas currently is tied for the PGA lead in total eagles with 13.

What’s the downside? Like a few others topping the betting board for Shinnecock Hills, Thomas has only won a single major.

UPDATE: In a surprising move that is somewhat embarrassing for MSB, Bovada Sportsbook has – for the first time in recent memory – chosen not to offer 3-balls markets for the U.S. Open. What a bummer! From now on, NO blogging until those odds are on the board…even if it’s on the Super Bowl.

However, our analyses above still hold. Look to wager on Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods to win the tournament. The 2 popular old pros are enjoying relatively long futures odds compared to their usual standards. Mickelson is also a strong wager at (+330) in the tournament group proposition of Matsuyama vs Mickelson vs Stenson vs Grace vs DeChambeau.

Among the younger PGA stars, look for a futures, tournament group or match-up bet on Justin Thomas. Despite his lack of overwhelming success on USGA layouts to date, Thomas has the most complete game of anyone in the field and should be more calm and focused than either Rory or Jordan Spieth.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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