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U.S. Open 2021: Who provides the best value bets for the win?

Dustin Johnson watches his drive while holding his gold club.
Dustin Johnson watches his drive off the third tee during the final round of the Palmetto Championship on Sunday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
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In 2020, the U.S. Open was pushed back to September due to COVID-19. This year it returns to its customary date over Father’s Day weekend and takes place on the West Coast at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Though the U.S. Open has not been held at Torrey Pines since 2008, the course is the annual host of the Farmers Insurance Open near the end of January. For the year’s third major, Torrey Pines’ South Course will host all four rounds and the setup will be the typically difficult USGA layout in lieu of what players ordinarily see earlier in the calendar year.

Here’s a look at the golfers poised to provide the best betting value at the U.S. Open this week (along with their odds for winning).

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Jon Rahm 11-1

Jon Rahm plays his shot
Jon Rahm plays his shot from the 12th tee during a practice round for the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The world’s third-ranked player has now come out of quarantine and tweeted over the weekend that he is good to go for the U.S. Open.

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This has been a busy year for Rahm as he became a father this spring. On the course, he has not met his usual high standards; nevertheless, he has posted three top-5s and seven top-10s. He also appears to be peaking at the right time. A Saturday 64 two weekends ago gave him a six-stroke lead over a field that had 11 of the top 15 players in the world participating at the Memorial tournament. Then, the news of the positive coronavirus test came alongside the 18th green in front of a nationally televised audience, and he was forced to withdraw.

While it bears reiterating that Torrey Pines will play differently than it typically does for the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, previous performances on the course still matter. Rahm has that, considering it was the site of his first worldwide victory as a professional in 2017 when he holed a 60-foot eagle on the 72nd hole. Rahm also has finishes of seventh or better on this course each of the last three years.

Rahm currently ranks second on the PGA Tour for both Total Driving and SG: Off-The-Tee, third for SG: Tee-To-Green and 12th on the season for SG: Approach.

“Rahmbo” has backdoored into both of his top-10 major finishes in 2021, but he just might be able to walk in through the front door this time.

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Dustin Johnson 18-1

Dustin Johnson crouches while holding his club
Dustin Johnson lines up a putt on the sixth green during the final round of the Valspar Championship on May 2.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

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The reigning Masters champion certainly does not leap off the page considering last week’s tie for 10th at the Palmetto Championship was his first top-10 finish since Riviera in early February. Last week, he ended up right in the hunt for a win before a triple bogey on 16 took him out of it.

DJ’s Torrey Pines form is also not much to write home about, but we must consider that he is usually returning from the Middle East having played in either Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia, so the travel catches up with him.

The recent form (last 24-36 rounds) has not been much, but if you extend back to the last 50 rounds, he is second in the field for SG: Tee-to-Green.

Furthermore, he returns to the Poa Annua greens, and no player in the world comes close to having more victories on this putting surface than Johnson.

4

Xander Schauffele 20-1

Xander Schauffele smiles on the 12th green.
Xander Schauffele smiles on the 12th green during a practice round for the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

It is rare for a player to have the chance to win his first career major in his hometown, but that opportunity now sits before San Diego native Xander Schauffele.

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Schauffele has played four U.S. Opens during his career and has finished fifth, sixth, third and fifth in them. He also pressed Hideki Matsuyama at the Masters in April before putting one in the drink on 16 and settling for third. He now has five top fives and seven top 10s in majors over the last 4 1/2 seasons.

The historical form at Torrey Pines is poor, but he did finish tied for second earlier this season and ranked first in Scrambling that week.

In his last start, Schauffele was 11th at the Memorial Tournament but led the field for Greens in Regulation.

5

Tony Finau 25-1

Tony Finau swings his club
Tony Finau hits off the third tee during the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club on May 30.
(Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press)

Finau continues to knock on the door but never is quite able to go through it.

He has already added two more top 10s in majors this season with a T-10 at the Masters and a T-8 at the PGA Championship. That is now nine major top 10s in his last 13 appearances.

Finau has a form line at Torrey Pines from 2021 to his rookie PGA Tour season in 2015 of 2-6-13-6-4-18-24. Although he lacks a victory here, or anywhere but Puerto Rico for that matter, he is a horse for this course. He also had two runner-up finishes at Riviera, including earlier this year, on Poa Annua greens, which are his preferred putting surfaces.

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Viktor Hovland 28-1

Viktor Hovland swings his club
Viktor Hovland hits to the 13th green during the second round of the Memorial on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

The Norwegian ended up T-2 with several others at Torrey Pines this year but was the only one to really emerge as a challenger on Sunday to the eventual winner, Patrick Reed.

Hovland also finished fifth in his debut this year at Riviera, which has a strong correlation to Torrey Pines. In addition, his U.S. Open record is excellent as he finished 12th on debut at Pebble Beach in 2019 and followed that with a 13th-place finish at Winged Foot last year.

He is one of only four players in this field who rank in the top 15 over the course of the last 24 rounds for both Off-the-Tee and Approach.

7

Scottie Scheffler 54-1

Scottie Scheffler swings his club
Scottie Scheffler plays his shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament May 14.
(Ray Carlin / Associated Press)

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Scheffler could be a bit of a wild card considering he has yet to earn his first PGA Tour win and the maiden is rarely broken at a major championship.

Nevertheless, he is in excellent form, finishing eighth in the PGA Championship three starts ago. He followed that with a missed cut at Colonial the week after but bounced back with a third-place finish in the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago in his latest start, which could be a tell for a big showing this week.

A terrific ball striker, Scheffler is an excellent, long driver — ranking first in Total Driving and 12th Off-the-Tee — with a great short game.

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Jason Kokrak 66-1

Jason Kokrak plays his shot.
Jason Kokrak plays his shot from the 12th tee during the third round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at Colonial Country Club on May 29.
(Ron Jenkins / Associated Press)

Kokrak won the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial three weeks ago.

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He ranks third on the PGA Tour for Total Driving and comes into the U.S. Open as a two-time PGA Tour winner.

9

Max Homa 110-1

Max Homa watches his tee shot with his club over his shoulder.
Max Homa watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship on May 20.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Homa bested Finau in the playoff to win at Riviera earlier this year.

The California native was also fifth at Riviera in 2020 and has 18th- and ninth-place finishes in the Farmers over the past couple of seasons in addition to strong performances at the American Express and at Pebble Beach. He always seems to come to life in his home state.

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