The 122nd running of the U.S. Open is upon us this week, and it will again take us out East to The Country Club, a venue that last hosted the event in 1988. The Country Club will be a unique test of golf in many regards. It’s a 27-hole layout set in the high-class neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts but has undergone extensive rerouting in its setup for this year’s U.S. Open. The scorecard will see it play as a relatively average 7,254 yard par 70, which is somewhat short for U.S. Open standards.
For a full course preview, key statistics breakdown and additional players to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook, refer to the DraftKings Preview on DraftKings Playbook. Here are the bets we should be considering this week.
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The flip side to this is precision and penalty areas at The Country Club will be ramped up. Rough has already been grown out to well over four inches in spots, and the venue’s best features (its natural environment) should be in play on every hole, as tight fairways and small greens (which will be mowed down firm every day) will test players’ accuracy.
Power off the tee is always a help at the U.S. Open, as is higher ball flights to help hold the greens, but precision and around the green play should be amplified this week given the smaller greens and Open Championship-like nature of this venue. The U.S. Open has also seen some very obvious trends we can rely on for betting, as well.
Recent mid-to-short term form matters every week, but it should be emphasized even more at this event. Ten of the last 12 winners of the U.S. Open had already recorded four or more top-10 finishes on the season. In addition, four of the last five U.S. Open winners had finished T11 or better in their previous major championship start (which was the PGA Championship in May for most).
Age and experience also matter. The last five winners of this event had all played the U.S. Open at least four times prior and made the cut three times or more in those previous starts.
As far as price goes, it’s best not to stray too far from the top of the board. Jon Rahm went off pre-event at a short +1000 (and as the betting favorite) in 2021, but Bryson DeChambeau (+2800 in 2020) and Gary Woodland (+5000 in 2019) gave us bigger-priced winners. Whatever the case, we shouldn't be looking for a needle in a haystack this week or simply be looking to take players with gigantic outright odds attached. Recent-form metrics, experience and players who have shown (with actual results) they are ready to breakthrough in a big event should be our targets at The Country Club.
Cantlay’s missed cut at the PGA Championship will undoubtedly hurt his sentiment this week, but it was his bounce back at the Memorial, where he stormed to a T3 finish on Sunday, which I would rather focus on. With two playoff wins and four wins total over the last 20 months, he has proven he has the kind of game and mettle to beat the best in the world when he’s in form.
While he’s yet to break through at the majors, he’s coming off his best ever U.S. Open finish from 2021 (T15), and the slightly shorter setup and smaller greens in play this week definitely lend him an advantage. Multiple top finishes at Memorial, Hilton Head and Pebble Beach are all good indicators The Country Club has a design that should suit him fine, and his putter showed a lot of confidence his last time out on insanely tricky greens at Muirfield. It all suggests that this week is a good one to back the 30-year-old and give him one more shot to pay off for us in a major event.
Homa’s biggest fault this week is in the experience basket. He’ll be playing the U.S. Open for the fourth time (which is solid), but he’s yet to actually make the weekend at the event. I debated leaving him out for this reason, but the form and mental fortitude he’s displayed over the last couple of seasons is just too good to ignore.
Wins at Riviera and Quail Hollow against elite fields show he’s got the right sort of all-around game for what The Country Club and USGA will ultimately require from its winner. Homa’s T13 finish at the PGA Championship last month (his best finish in a major) is also a great indicator that this is simply a different player than we’ve seen compete at this event in past seasons. Ranked top 15 in SG: putting, ball-striking and approach stats over the last 24 rounds, Homa is worth taking on as both an outright and top-five placing bet this week.
Much like Cantlay, Berger bounced back quickly after a disappointing PGA Championship and showed the kind of form we want in a U.S. Open target. His T5 at Muirfield Village two weeks ago was his career best at that venue, and he showcased a precise iron game that should flourish this week around the smaller greens at The Country Club.
Berger’s putting was the biggest issue in his mid-season dry spell, but he seems to have corrected that issue, gaining 6.6 strokes putting on notoriously tough greens at Muirfield. Bolstering his chances this week is the fact the U.S. Open has also been his best major. He’s produced six made cuts in seven career appearances at this event, two top-10 finishes (2018 and 2021), and he even went off in the final group on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills in 2018. With an underrated track record and some fast improvement since the PGA Championship, he makes sense as another mid-tier target to add to our outright selections.
Rather than add another big name at the top, I’ll target one more great U.S. Open player lower down the board in Fleetwood. He has looked much like the old Fleetwood in 2022 — the one that people felt comfortable betting at +2800 or lower in this event just a few years ago. His driver has stopped bleeding strokes every event, and his approach game has gained over 1.5 strokes in each of his last four starts.
With The Country Club being just a touch shorter in length, it should open up more for a player of his skill set, whose proximity stats from 200 yards and in have been on the rise of late, as well. A T5 at the PGA Championship is a great indicator Fleetwood is ready for this week’s test, and overall, he’s now finished T22 or better in six of his last eight PGA TOUR starts. At this range, his win equity seems like the best in class, and the +500 for a top 10 is nice hedge if he gets in contention on Sunday, as well.
Grace hasn’t done much on the PGA TOUR this year, but it’s worth remembering that he did up a win the Puerto Rico Open last season and was T7 at the U.S. Open last year. Grace has been a great U.S. Open player throughout his career, getting himself in serious contention at both Oakmont and Chambers Bay in 2015 and 2016. His finish at last week’s LIV Golf event shouldn't go unnoticed, as he looked very confident with the putter down the stretch and shot the round of the day on Saturday to move into a T3 placing for the week. Considering his history at this event (four top-25 finishes in his last seven appearances), I like riding the momentum with him this week in the top 20 and 40 markets.
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