U.S. Open Betting: Why This Could Be a Boring Week

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Fans pose near the main leaderboard during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C.
(AP Photo/Matt York)
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelGolf Jun 12, 2024, 10:50 AM

PINEHURST, N.C. – Get ready for what could be the most exciting, entertaining, boring golf tournament of this entire year.

Wait a minute … boring?!

Yes, this week’s 124th U.S. Open Championship is going to have a massive element of boring to it, but (hopefully) not in a Martin Kaymer-wins-by-eight-strokes kind of way, like the last time this event was held here at Pinehurst No. 2 a decade ago.

This is a course which has more twists and turns than a roller coaster, with the ability to yield birdie or double-bogey at a moment’s notice, offering up the type of variance we love to see as innocent bystanders.

That alone isn’t boring whatsoever, but it’s the way players will strategically play this course which might sound a little mundane.

“Pinehurst is no joke,” said Bryson DeChambeau, who won this tournament four years ago. “This is a ball-striker’s paradise. You have to hit it in the middle of the greens. And this is a Boo Weekley quote, but the center of the green never moves, so I’ll try to focus on that this week.

“The goal for me this week is try to play as boring a golf as possible.”

DeChambeau isn’t alone in his assessment of this venue. Aiming for the middle of these greens should be a popular trend this week.

In general, I think the best players play aggressively off the tee and conservatively into the greens,” Viktor Hovland explained. “I think this course is basically that strategy, just on steroids.”

Added Tiger Woods: “This golf course is going to test every single aspect of your game, especially mentally, and just the mental discipline that it takes to play this particular golf course, it’s going to take a lot.”

It’s similarly going to take a lot of discipline in golf betting, too, as the problem it presents is figuring out which type of golfer should be favored here.

Perhaps it’s the sublime iron players, those who are most proficient at finding the center of the green every time, even if the rest of their games leave a little something to be desired. Think guys like Corey Conners or Tom Hoge, elite-level ball-strikers who tend to make fewer putts than many of their peers.

Or maybe, under the assumption that every player is going to miss his share of greens, we should chase those with the best short games, meaning Jordan Spieth and Cameron Smith are worth a look.

The truth – like so many truths – probably rests somewhere in between.

Those who rank inside the PGA Tour’s top-20 in SG: Around the Greens and are also considered great ball-strikers include Hideki Matsuyama, Alex Noren, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood.

And of course, there’s Scottie Scheffler, who ranks first in ball-striking and 14th in wedge play around the greens. Often criticized for being “too boring,” his specific skillset should be a perfect match for what’s needed on this golf course, while his recent form doesn’t hurt, either.

“I think a lot of it is patience,” Scheffler said. “There’s certain areas of the golf course where you can’t really fake it. You just have to step up there and hit great golf shots. … A lot of that is just being committed to what you’re doing. I can’t really worry about where the ball is going to go, because I am going to hit a lot of really good shots this week that just don’t work out, and you’re going to make bogeys hitting good shots. That’s just the nature of how difficult the golf course is.”

With temperatures in the high-80s to low-90s throughout the week and little to no rain in the forecast, there’s an expectation that the host course will only continue to play tougher as the week progresses.

This notion should offer plenty of live betting opportunities, as that aforementioned variance will have the leaderboard in constant flux.

As Woods surmised, “It has that look and feel that this could be one of the Opens where whatever the leading score is, that’s probably as low as we’ll ever go after the first day.”

Clearly, this U.S. Open won’t be boring – even if that’s how most of the contenders will be trying to play.

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About the Author

Jason Sobel

Read More @JasonSobelGolf

Jason Sobel is a Brand Ambassador for BetMGM. He joins after six years with Action Network. Prior to Action, Jason spent a total of 17 years in two stints at ESPN (1997-2011; 2015-18) and four years at Golf Channel (2011-15). He also currently works as a host for "Hitting the Green" on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and contributes to the channel's on-site coverage during major championships. He's won four Sports Emmy awards, more than a dozen Golf Writers Association of America accolades and has earned an honorable mention in the Best of American Sportswriting series.

Jason Sobel is a Brand Ambassador for BetMGM. He joins after six years with Action Network. Prior to Action, Jason spent a total of 17 years in two stints at ESPN (1997-2011; 2015-18) and four years at Golf Channel (2011-15). He also currently works as a host for "Hitting the Green" on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and contributes to the channel's on-site coverage during major championships. He's won four Sports Emmy awards, more than a dozen Golf Writers Association of America accolades and has earned an honorable mention in the Best of American Sportswriting series.