U.S. Open picks 2022: We're going back to the Jordan Spieth well
You never want to be the guy dunking over cashing an 8-1 outright bet in golf, but … that’s exactly what we’re going to do here! Two of our experts, Pat Mayo and Lee Alldrick, called Rory McIlroy’s RBC Canadian Open win last week, giving our panel two outright hits in the last four events (Brandon Gdula picked Justin Thomas to win the PGA). Don’t let us get hot.
Now, it’s time to make that three out of the last five. Enter the U.S. Open at The Country Club at Brookline, where the world’s best (including the LIV defectors) will face arguably the most stern test of the season to date. The winner will need every club in his bag to be working in Boston, meaning one of the elites is more than likely to get it done. Our expert panel is mostly torn on who that man will be, though there is one name that did show up multiple times in our outright section. We’ll let you figure out who it is below.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the U.S. Open.
U.S. Open picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Rory McIlroy (11-1, BetMGM) — This feels inevitable. Rory’s on a mission. He figured out the early-round major woes at the PGA. It feels like the window is open once again for the Northern Irishman to add another major.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Shane Lowry (35-1, DraftKings) — It’s been an incredible year for the Irishman to date, despite not hoisting a novelty check … yet. Yes, he won the Open Championship, but the U.S. Open has always seemed like the best fit for his game. He’s only one of five players in the field to rank inside the top 35 in both distance and accuracy on difficult, deep rough courses, and no player has performed better on holes playing over par this season than Lowry.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Will Zalatoris (30-1, FanDuel) — We all know Zalatoris’ success in majors, and I don’t see why we need to go away from it this week. The season leader in SG/approach should have an upperhand at hitting these small greens. His around-the-green play is a plus, too.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Jordan Spieth (28-1, DraftKings) — I’m infatuated with Spieth, who gained over five strokes putting at the Memorial, his second-best putting week in the last year. Over the last two months, he’s been one of the best tee-to-green players in the world, gaining over two strokes per round, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. The Country Club has tiny greens, rivaled by only Pebble Beach in terms of size, and every lie around-the-green will be different than the last. The winner will need to tap into his full creativity and ability to capture this major championship. That’s good news for Jordan.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Jordan Spieth (28-1, DraftKings) — The total-driving season numbers are worse for Spieth, but if you isolate the past 12 rounds, Spieth is first in this field in SG/tee-to-green, per Fantasy National. I usually need zero excuse to bet Spieth in a major, and guys like Rick Gehman and Lee Alldrick being on him mean I’m all in.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Viktor Hovland (35-1, DraftKings) — Some bettors might be more inclined to #BuyTheDip on Collin Morikawa, but given how untrustworthy his putter is, I’m pivoting to BTD-ing on fellow rising star Viktor Hovland. As the great Pat Mayo pointed out on Twitter Tuesday, Hovland had the best putting week of his career in his last start at the Memorial, and the last time he came close to matching that putting output he won the very next week. Of course, his around-the-green play has been even worse than usual recently, which is very concerning given the premium Brookline is expected to put on solid short-game play. But if he can play his typically great brand of tee-to-green game and putt the lights out, he’s got plenty of value at 35-1.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (28-1, DraftKings) — Spieth’s ability to play well on difficult, par 70s means he comes into this event ranked second in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking this week. He also comes into this event ranked fourth in the field this week for SG/total over the last two months and seventh for Opportunities Gained. The World No. 10 has a win and a second-place finish in his last five events so he’s clearly playing some “go get that” golf right now.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. The 2021-’22 season has been kind to us so far, too. Just last week, two of our experts (Pat Mayo and Lee Alldrick) selected Rory McIlroy at 8-1 to win the RBC Canadian Open. A few weeks earlier, Brandon Gdula cashed a Justin Thomas 16-1 ticket at the PGA Championship, giving him two wins on the year (Viktor Hovland, 19-1 at Mayakoba). Previously this season, Christopher Powers nailed Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at 29-1 and then backed it up with Joaquin Niemann at 60-1 to win at Riviera. Mayo also correctly predicted Luke List’s victory at Torrey Pines at 70-1 back in February, while Rick Gehman hit Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall and Viktor Hovland (19-1) at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. And Stephen Hennessey cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship. We’re just getting started.
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U.S. Open picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Tommy Fleetwood (70-1, Bet365) — Fleetwood’s game is really rounding into form, with a bunch of high finishes at the top events … the Players, the PGA. His short game should give him an edge over others—and Tommy Lad should be back to contending to win another major.
Mayo: Keegan Bradley (80-1, DraftKings) — The stars need to align with his putter, but of his four career victories, three of them have come at tough tracks against the world’s best PGA Championship, WGC Bridgestone, and the BMW Championship. While he may not possess an abundance of local knowledge of the course, he should be plenty familiar with the Northeast rough and putting surfaces. He’s one of a select few who rates out in the top 20 percent of the field in distance and accuracy off the tee. If he can manage to not putt himself out of the tournament, he’s got a shot.
Gdula: Brooks Koepka (55-1, FanDuel) — Maybe I’m a sucker, but I’ve made worse plays at 50-1 than Koepka at a U.S. Open. He should still gain strokes off the tee and with the irons. His putter has been ice cold, and the underlying data says positive regression is coming his way.
Gehman: Sungjae Im (40-1, DraftKings) — Im has been firing on all cylinders – earning five straight top-25 finishes. He gained over six strokes in the ball-striking categories (off-the-tee plus approach) at the Memorial which was the fourth straight measured event that he gained at least 3.5 strokes in those columns. He’s played seven major championships since 2020 and has earned two top-eight finishes and two more top 25s.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Billy Horschel (55-1, DraftKings) — If a more elite or young, talented “name” was coming off a dominant performance at the toughest setup of the year (Memorial), would you be betting them at 55-1? Yes. Horschel has proven he can play shorter, ultra difficult setups where hitting the green is paramount—like he did at the U.S. Open at Merion, hitting all 18 greens in regulation on Day 3. The number is down from what it was a few weeks ago, but Billy has the complete game to seriously contend.
Powers, Golf Digest: Patrick Reed (120-1, FanDuel) — Prior to a poor performance at Muirfield Village, Reed had finally turned a corner with his game at Southern Hills and at Colonial. I expect to see that version of him this week at The Country Club, which Reed will no doubt be up for. He’s made five straight cuts in this event and finished inside the top 20 in four of those five, including a solo fourth at Shinnecock. This style of grind-it-out golf and get up-and-down-from-everywhere for par suits him perfectly. If he can avoid all the LIV-related distractions (Reed is great at avoiding self-imposed distractions), I like his chances.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Justin Rose (70-1, FanDuel) — Rose put in a monster final round last week at the Canadian Open. One of the reasons for this was a superb putting display. This is no blip. Over the last two months Rose seems to have found something with the putter and ranks fourth in the field this week for SG/putting over the last two months. He also comes into this event ranked 16th in the field for SG/total over the last two months and 15th in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking.
U.S. Open picks 2022: Players We're Fading
Caddie: Cameron Smith (22-1, DraftKings) — The wayward drives off the tee have been his bugaboo, and that is likely to really cost him on this setup.
Mayo: Cameron Smith (22-1, DraftKings) — Always terrifying when you go against the man with the short-game magic, but this is an awful venue for his skill set. While he’s improved his distance this year, he’s still 80th in the field in driving distance gained over his past 50 rounds, which would be fine if he wasn’t 126th in accuracy. He’s able to recover very nicely at courses where the rough is down, but that driving puts him in too much a hole against the top-end bombers. Now watch him make every putt.
Gdula: Patrick Cantlay (24-1, FanDuel) — Statistically, I always love Cantlay even more than the betting odds, but with his underwhelming major history, I’m not that interested this week. He also has some of the biggest negative splits on difficult tracks versus easy- and average-scoring ones among the studs.
Gehman: Bryson DeChambeau (80-1, DraftKings) — When you think U.S. Open you think Bryson DeChambeau, but I’m concerned. Let’s forget the fact that he lost over seven strokes to the field at the Memorial en route to a missed cut. That was his first start back from wrist surgery and he needs more reps. As far as U.S. Open venues go, this is a pretty bad setup for DeChambeau. He dominated that Winged Foot with thick rough everywhere, no matter how wayward he was off the tee. At The Country Club, he’ll be penalized with high fescue and increasingly worse lies the further off line he is. Combine that with very tricky short-game areas that require a ton of creativity and I think this setup could be troublesome for the 2020 champion.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Cameron Smith (22-1, DraftKings) — The Thursday performance in Canada has scared me off what would otherwise be an enticing number on one of the most talented players in the world.
Powers, Golf Digest: Xander Schauffele (16-1, DraftKings) — Let’s be clear about this: I’m “fading” X at this number. I get that it’s a his-time-is-coming situation that the books may be afraid of, but I’d rather bet on that at 25- or 30-1 down the line rather than in the teens this week. He should do us all a solid and miss the cut this week and maybe we'll get a nice number on him at St. Andrews next month.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Cameron Smith (22-1, DraftKings) — I didn’t think I would be writing about fading Cam Smith this week. However, after compiling my model, Smith ranks out badly. He’s just 76th in the FanShareSports CSR and is putting badly at the minute, actually losing shots to this field with the putter over the last two months.
U.S. Open picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Xander Schauffele (+100) over Cameron Smith (Bet365) — Xander’s game has been sharp, and though I feel like one of the other elites have a better chance to win, he has proven his game is so well-suited for majors with his eight top-10 finishes. This is a nice way to bet on X and fade Cam.
Mayo: Scottie Scheffler (+100) over Jon Rahm (DraftKings) — Two of the best options in the field, I have Scheffler rated slightly higher than Rahm this week, and I’m getting even money for something I have weighted better than a coin flip.
Gdula: Viktor Hovland (-106) over Collin Morikawa (FanDuel) — We know that both of these guys are some of the best ball-strikers on the planet. However, the real differentiator is actually the putter. Hovland’s an elite putter from within 15 feet (which is indicative of long-term success). Morikawa? Terrible.
Gehman: Tommy Fleetwood (-110) over Justin Rose (DraftKings) — It’s easy to overreact to Rose’s 60 on Sunday at the Canadian Open which vaulted him up the leaderboard to a T-4 finish. Outside of a few rounds here and there, Rose has generally been a tour-average golfer from tee-to-green this year. On the other hand, Tommy Fleetwood has gained strokes on the field in 19 of his last 21 events worldwide – per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He’s displaying a stout short game that will be required at The Country Club this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Jordan Spieth (+100) over Patrick Cantlay (Bet365) — Cantlay doesn’t have the major pedigree, and though I feel like this is the type of setup that could suit him, his total driving stats are really down this season … so I give the edge to Spieth especially at plus-money.
Powers, Golf Digest: Daniel Berger (+105) over Dustin Johnson (DraftKings) — Daniel Berger has been the far better golfer over the last 20-plus events and isn’t dealing with any of the distractions DJ will be dealing with this week. It feels like the wrong guy is favored here.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Xander Schauffele (+100) over Cameron Smith (Bet365) — As I wrote in “fades,” I don’t fancy Smith’s chances this week. Schauffele on the other hand comes into this event ranked ninth for SG/total over the last two months and 11th in the FanShareSports CSR.
Matchup Results from the RBC Canadian Open: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Long (-110) over Hubbard); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Conners (-120) over Varner III); Alldrick: PUSH (Fitzpatrick (-110) over Lowry); Gdula: VOID (C.T. Pan WD); Gehman: VOID (Patrick Reed WD); Caddie: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 22-6-4 (up 15.1 units); Powers: 18-12-3 (up 5.76 units); Caddie: 18-13-2 (up 3.82 units); Alldrick: 17-14-2 (up 0.61 units); Gehman: 14-14-4 (down 1.17 units); Gdula: 15-16-1 (down 1.96 units); Hennessey: 15-17-1 (down 5.9 units)
U.S. Open picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Will Zalatoris (+260, Bet365) — This guy is a major machine, and over 2 ½ to 1 on your money feels like a great bet.
Mayo: Sungjae Im (+350, DraftKings) — One of the few players who possesses above-average distance while being elite in the accuracy department, the past few months have been a tee-to-green masterclass from the South Korean. It’s just sometimes that his putter doesn’t cooperate. Even so, he’s finished no worse than T-21 in any event since The Players, while gaining over 8.3 strokes tee-to-green over his past four events.
Gdula: Sungjae Im (+280, FanDuel) — Im’s accuracy off the tee will be a big help this week in avoiding the heavy rough, and accuracy has mattered more than distance in recent U.S. Open setups. Im is also due for some positive putting regression and putts well on poa as it is.
Gehman: Shane Lowry (+330, DraftKings) — Lowry is in the midst of the best stretch of his career, earning 11 top-25 finishes over his last 13 stroke-play events. His first two major championships have resulted in a third-place finish at the Masters and a T-23 at the PGA Championship. One of the big challenges that the field will face this week are these diabolical and random chipping areas. They will require supreme confidence and creativity, which Lowry can certainly handle.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tony Finau (+330, DraftKings) — I would love to live in a world where Tony Finau is a major champion. I think it can happen, but I’m more than happy to take top-10 Tony here at these odds off a great performance in Canada.
Powers, Golf Digest: Shane Lowry (+330, DraftKings) — Lowry actually hasn’t been great in this event since his T-2 at Oakmont but I think we all fully expect that to change this week. He’s playing too well and this course is giving off serious Oakmont vibes, from the squirrel logo to the long juicy rough to the old-school architecture and to the rich history. He's good enough to win, but I'll play it safe.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Tony Finau (+330, DraftKings) — Finau is playing some great golf right now and there is no reason to believe that that won’t continue this week. He comes into this event ranked 16th in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking this week so should relish playing here at the Country Club. He also comes into this event ranked second in the field this week for SG/total over the last two months and 21st for SG/putting over the same period.
Top-10 results from the RBC Canadian Open: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Chris Kirk +400); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Tony Finau +250); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Corey Conners +200); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Alldrick: 11 for 33 (up 34.8 units); Powers: 11 for 33 (up 31.05 units); Hennessey: 8 for 33 (up 2.62 units); Mayo: 6 for 32 (up 1.8 units) Gehman: 7 for 33 (up 0.7 units); Caddie: 8 for 33 (down 5.1 units); Gdula: 3 for 33 (down 18.1 units)
U.S. Open picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Collin Morikawa — I’ll admit, I’m worried. Morikawa hasn’t cracked the top 25 in any of his last five starts and he’s been losing a ton of strokes on the putting surfaces. The good news is that he’s still an elite iron player who can lean on that aspect of his game to avoid the challenge lurking greenside. His strengths will be magnified at The Country Club and he still retains a large chunk of win equity.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Xander Schauffele. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy. Players Championship: Jon Rahm. Valspar Championship: Dustin Johnson. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Patrick Cantlay. Mexico Open: Aaron Wise. Wells Fargo: Matt Fitzpatrick. AT&T Byron Nelson: Justin Thomas. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Max Homa. The Memorial Tournament: Will Zalatoris. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith.
Hennessey: Rory McIlroy — If you have him left, I could see saving him for The Open or East Lake, but otherwise, it’s a perfect spot to deploy the Northern Irishman.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Will Zalatoris. Honda Classic: Russell Knox. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Keith Mitchell. Players Championship: Cameron Smith. Valspar Championship: Shane Lowry. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Justin Thomas. RBC Heritage: Russell Henley. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Troy Merritt. AT&T Byron Nelson: Jhonattan Vegas. PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler. Charles Schwab Challenge: Jordan Spieth. The Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm. RBC Canadian Open: Cameron Smith.
Powers: Shane Lowry — The Irishman is on a stretch of eight straight made cuts and has finished 13th or better in six of those. He’s among the best players on the planet right now and has already proven to be a force in the majors. He’ll be there on Sunday.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson. Genesis Invitational: Adam Scott. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Chris Kirk. Players Championship: Xander Schauffele. Valspar Championship: Sam Burns. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Matt Fitzpatrick. Mexico Open: Abraham Ancer. Wells Fargo: Keegan Bradley. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sahith Theegala. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. The Memorial Tournament: Patrick Reed. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.