2021 US Open: History and Betting Picks

Welcome to our full preview of the 2021 US Open. Read on for general information about the tournament, betting favorites, which bets might have the best value, and a free pick from the SAO Picks team that you won’t want to miss. All odds updated on 6/16.

The People’s Open

The fact that anyone can attempt to qualify for the US Open makes it a true original. A few dozen amateur players make it through the grueling qualification process and end up teeing it up with the pros each year. Of course, amateurs don’t end up winning the US Open (the last amateur to win was Johnny Goodman in 1933), and few even make the cut, but the qualifying process makes it a unique major, one that inspires golfers everywhere to dream about what it would be like to play against the best in the world. 

The Televised Open

Another great part of the US Open is the extensive television coverage. Extensive may be an understatement. This golf tournament is on TV from morning until night. Part of why The Masters is so prestigious is the golf course, but it’s also the lack of overexposure. There are only 16 hours of scheduled coverage each year. 

The US Open is pretty much the opposite of that. Nearly 100 hours of live US Open tournament action and studio shows will flood the airwaves during the week of the 2021 tournament. The US Open is omnipresent. With all that television coverage, when the US Open is played on the west coast, as it is this year, viewers on the east coast get to watch golf in prime time! Should every US Open be on the west coast? Yes! Watching golf from noon until 11 p.m. ET is the dream of all golf fans. This may need to happen. 

Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines is a beautiful golf course nestled in the hills above the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California. The course is actually owned by the City of San Diego and is open to the public. On the weekends, the greens fee for the South Course, where the US Open is taking place, is only $78 for San Diego residents. Talk about a great value! Even the $252 greens fee for non-residents is not a bad deal to be able to play a major championship golf course. 

One word to describe Torrey Pines aside from “beautiful” is “loooooong.” The course will play at over 7800 yards for the US Open. Factor in the ocean breezes, the cool marine air, and the pressure of a major championship, and you have an unrivaled challenge facing the world’s best golfers. Those who can hit it the furthest might have the best chance of winning.

Betting Favorites

Here are the top 10 betting favorites, according to DraftKings:

If you think this list looks familiar, you would be right. Four of the above top-five betting favorites for the US Open were also top-10 betting favorites before the PGA Championship. Dustin Johnson is still the No. 1 player in the world, but he hasn’t made the cut at a major so far in 2021. DraftKings isn’t fading him, though, because he and the other top players, most of whom are major champions, can break out at any point. 

Of course, Phil Mickelson came out of NOWHERE (+25000 or 250/1 pre-tournament odds) to win the 2021 PGA Championship, proving once again that the betting favorites aren’t necessarily the ones battling for victory on Sunday afternoon. The US Open is a tougher test than the PGA, so it stands to reason that the best players will have the physical and mental toughness necessary to withstand the pressure. All that said, the pre-tournament favorites are there for a reason. It would be hard to bet against one of them lifting the trophy on Father’s Day. 

Betting Strategies

Like every major, there will be many betting options for the US Open. You can pick your favorite golfer to win it all, or you can wait and take some tasty matchup bets when the pairings are announced. You can also bet on whether a golfer will make or miss the cut or even whether they will end up in the Top 40. Think Dustin Johnson will miss the cut again? You can bet on it. 

The best strategy might be to find some favorable odds among the dozens of matchups during the first two rounds while sprinkling a few Top-5 or Top-10 bets between favorites and underdogs. With the biggest field of any major at 156 players, there is sure to be plenty of value in the dozens of matchup bets and other prop bets. 

Here are a few more players with longer odds that could make some noise at Torrey Pines:

SAO Premium Picks

The experts at SAO, and all the premium subscribers who have used their picks as part of their handicapping strategy, have had a terrific 2021. Our golf betting experts are up nearly 200 units so far this year, having correctly picked five outright winners on the PGA Tour.

Derek ‘Notorious’ Farnsworth got the ball rolling by picking Si Woo Kim to win The American Express at 70-to-1 (+7000). He also picked Justin Thomas to win THE PLAYERS Championship.

TJ ‘tjl5124’ Laessig correctly hit the winners of the Farmers Insurance Open (Patrick Reed) and The Honda Classic (Matt Jones). The team also hit big on Brooks Kopeka winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

For a US Open free pick, we’ve got Justin ‘stlcardinals84’ Van Zuiden with a pick for an outright winner at greater than 60-to-1 odds. Van Zuiden is coming off correctly picking the winner of last weekend’s Palmetto Championship, hitting Garrick Higgo for a 45-to-1 score.

US Open Free Pick – Gary Woodland to win (+6600)

“I know Gary Woodland still isn’t in the best of form, but we’ve seen more potential from him over the last few months. As long as he stays healthy, I don’t think he’s too far away from the top of his game. Remember, he won the U.S. Open just two years ago. Woodland generally excels on tougher courses, and he has a history of success at Torrey Pines. Woodland has made the cut in 10 of the last 11 editions of the Farmers Insurance Open with a pair of top-10 finishes on his résumé. He’s a great long-shot play here.” – Van Zuiden

When it comes to golf matchups, SAO’s experts are picking winners at greater than 70%. Join in the winning by signing up for SAO Picks today!