U.S. Open 2021 picks: Our 8 favorite last-minute prop bets for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines
We’ve officially reached the lets-get-the-balls-in-the-air stage of U.S. Open week. Numbers have been crunched, picks have been made, lineups have been optimized. All you can do now is kick back and watch.
Not so fast, my friend!
If you’re like us, true degenerates, that is, there is still a ton of last-minute cramming to be done, and plenty of time to do it (West Coast life, baby!). We're here to help with our eight favorite, last-minute prop bets for Torrey Pines. As any good procrastinator knows, some of your best work gets done when you’re under the gun. Let’s cash some tickets, shall we?
Christiaan Bezuidenhout to be in the top 20 after Round 1 (+350, DraftKings)
Majors SZN = Top 20 After Round 1 SZN, also known as the most fun bet in golf. This is one you can feel really good about, as the South African is tied for 19th on the PGA Tour in first-round scoring average. You’ve probably noticed his name at the top of the leader board at the majors recently, only to see it disappear by Sunday afternoon. If that happens, who cares, we’re only betting him on Thursday here, and a Thursday even-par 71 will more than likely get the job done. In his last four major starts (‘20 U.S. Open, ‘20 Masters, ‘21 Masters, ‘21 PGA), Bez has gone 70, 69, 70 and 71 in the opening round. -- Christopher Powers
Sam Burns to be the first-round leader (80-1, William Hill)
Betting Sam Burns as a first-round leader was auto money earlier in the year. He’s cooled off lately but still ranks 20th in first-round scoring average this season. Burns was in the final group on Sunday at Torrey Pines earlier this year but struggled. The beauty of this bet: You don’t care about any weekend struggles—bank on another hot start from Burns. -- Stephen Hennessey
Cameron Smith to be the first-round leader (55-1, DraftKings)
Like Stevie's FRL pick Burns, Smith has also been an FRL cash cow in 2020-'21, ranking second on tour in first-round scoring average. He opened with 67 at Zozo, 67 at the November Masters, 66 at the Farmers in January, 69 at Riviera and 62 at Harbour Town. All hot starts, all at very difficult golf courses. The Aussies love the different grass types at Torrey, particularly the kikuyu and the poa. I'm willing to overlook his recent struggles and bank on him popping back up at the top of the leader board on Thursday. -- CP
Jason Kokrak to finish in the top 20, full tournament (+225, William Hill)
Kokrak is trending up in every part of the game. He’s eighth in this field in driving distance over the past 24 rounds, per Fantasy National, and he’s 18th in strokes gained/approach. Plus, he’s third in this field in bogey avoidance and he has a sneaky good record putting on West Coast Poa greens—and that’s before his huge improvements putting over the past year. Kokrak has the type of game to contend at this U.S. Open. -- SH
Lee Westwood to finish in the top 5, full tournament (33-1, DraftKings)
During his hot stretch in the spring, the Englishman became somewhat unbettable given the short prices. This week, we're getting him back where we want him, in triple-digits territory to win at some books and at a ridiculous 33-1 to top 5 at DraftKings. I saw this same bet at 18-1 at another book and immediately had to bet it based on the discrepancy alone. But I like it for other reasons, too, like the fact he has approximately one billion top 5s in majors, has had two weeks off, just got married, and, of course, finished third in heartbreaking fashion here in 2008. Simply put, he shows up on weeks like this. I will not quit on Westy's Last Stand until he hangs it up for good. -- CP
Wilco Nienaber to finish in the top 40, full tournament (+360, FanDuel)
The 21-year-old South African is coming off a T-14 at last week’s Palmetto Championship, and he possesses a skill that should come in handy at Torrey Pines—MASSIVE distance. Nienaber ranked first at Congaree on driving distance on all drives—337.4 yards, 14 yards longer than the second-longest competitor. The kid’s stock is trending up, and a T-14 at a course like Congaree that requires a ton of finesse around the greens is a good sign that he can handle the demands of Torrey Pines. -- SH
Robert MacIntyre to be the top left-handed finisher (+470, FanDuel)
Sean M. Haffey
Cashed this one at Augusta and feel pretty good about it again at Torrey, where Garrick Higgo is the favorite in this special prop bet. Love Higgo and think he's got a bright future, but this is just his second major start at what should be an impossibly difficult course. Bob Mac, meanwhile, already has a pair of top 12s in the majors, hits the ball a mile and is a plus-Poa putter. I'm not high on Phil this week and Bubba doesn't scare me in a U.S. Open. This could be Bob Mac vs. Harman like it was at the Masters. I'll take the longer hitter at Torrey. -- CP
Patrick Rodgers to finish in the top 40, full tournament (+320, FanDuel)
I love making fun of my co-host Chris Powers on our “Be Right” podcast about Rodgers. His man crush on the former Stanford stud is real. I’ll start crushing on Patty Rodg at Torrey Pines, where he possesses two top-10 finishes. He’s also first in this field in strokes gained/putting on Poa greens over the past 50 rounds, per Fantasy National. Rodgers made an appearance at the top of the leader board at Congaree before doing his typical weekend slide. He’s coming off earning medalist honors at his U.S. Open sectional qualifier, so the game should be in good form at a venue where he’s comfortable. -- SH
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