U.S. Open Betting Favorite Dustin Johnson Would, Ironically, Defy Odds by Winning at Torrey Pines

US Open betting odds
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

If you sit atop golf odds for any tournament, it means you’re good at golf. That’s great.

If you sit atop U.S. Open odds, however, and your name isn’t Tiger Woods, it means you’re not going to win the U.S. Open. That’s not great.

Since Curtis Strange went from pre-tournament favorite (+400) to champion in the 1988 U.S. Open with an 18-hole playoff win over Nick Faldo at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., only Tiger Woods has won after starting the first round as the betting favorite. And he’s done it three times: 2000 at Pebble Beach, 2002 at Bethpage Black, and 2008 at Torrey Pines.

As of Wednesday, June 2, 15 days before the 2021 U.S. Open begins at Torrey Pines, Dustin Johnson is the favorite in U.S. Open betting odds. Dustin Johnson’s name isn’t Tiger Woods. That’s subpar news – pun entirely intended because he could use sub-par scores after missing the cut at the PGA Championship to join Greg Norman as the only No. 1-ranked player to miss cuts in consecutive majors – for Johnson.

In the 32 U.S. Opens since Strange’s win in 1988, only 15 times was the winner in the top 10 of pre-tournament odds. And while Bryson DeChambeau’s six-shot win at Winged Foot last year – after +2200 odds (seventh) entering the first round – wasn’t another Lucas Glover or Hale Irwin underdog story, it extended the drought for pre-tournament favorites to 12 years.

BetMGM bettors predict the drought will hit 13 years.

Also as of June 2, Johnson is buried at eighth in U.S. Open betting ticket share (4.53 percent) and ninth in handle share (3.81 percent):

GolferTicketsHandle
Phil Mickelson7.07%13.56%
Jordan Spieth6.53%5.98%
Brooks Koepka6.42%7.75%
Will Zalatoris5.45%3.89%
Xander Schauffele5.23%9.45%
Bryson DeChambeau5.02%6.93%
Jon Rahm4.75%5.76%
Dustin Johnson4.53%3.81%
Collin Morikawa4.37%5.47%
Rory McIlroy3.89%3.49%

Johnson also opened the 2020 U.S. Open as the favorite (+800), narrowly ahead of Jon Rahm (+900), followed by Justin Thomas (+1400), Xander Schauffele (+1400), Collin Morikawa (+1600), Rory McIlroy (+1600), and DeChambeau. Johnson was one of only eight golfers to post multiple rounds of 70 or better but was never truly in contention after an opening-round 73 and finished tied for sixth with Will Zalatoris.

Zalatoris, meanwhile, hasn’t missed the cut in consecutive majors. The 24-year-old former ACC Player of the Year has skyrocketed up golf odds since finishing second at The Masters. He opened at +6600 in U.S. Open odds and is now tied with five golfers at +4000. At 14th on the board, Zalatoris is in the historical sweet spot for a victory.

Since Geoff Ogilvy defied +8000 odds (24th) in 2006, the average pre-tournament odds rank of winners is 14.5. Over those 15 tournaments, more golfers outside the top 10 have won (eight) than inside the top 10 (seven), a group that includes Martin Kaymer at 14th (+4000) in 2014.

Will Zalatoris Masters odds
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Zalatoris, if he remains at 14th, is attempting to join Kaymer, Corey Pavin (1995), and Tom Kite (1992) as U.S. Open winners in the last 30 years who started the championship at 14th in betting odds. He’s also attempting to join Brooks Koepka as the second champion in the last three years to hoist the U.S. Open Championship Trophy after consecutive top-10 finishes at The Masters and PGA Championship. 

If Zalatoris was “stupid enough” to believe he had a shot at Augusta in April, maybe he’ll be stupid enough to win at Torrey Pines this month. Or maybe history will be stupid enough to end the drought for favorites as Dustin Johnson joins Strange, Woods, Koepka, and 19 other multi-time U.S. Open winners.

Whether you like Johnson to, ironically, defy odds as a favorite champion, Hideki Matsuyama to become the first back-to-back major champion since Jordan Spieth in 2015, or any other golfer to win, BetMGM is your ticket for U.S. Open golf odds. With updated odds, live sports betting, and more to bet on U.S. Open golf, it’s the best online sports betting experience.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM 

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