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U.S. Open action report: Surprise outright action and popular props

The 113th U.S. Open tees up at the East Course at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania this Thursday, marking the second major tournament on the 2013 PGA Tour schedule.

The majors always bring the most action to the sportsbooks, who go all out for these big events. Not only are most shops offering outright winner odds but a long list of props for the U.S. Open. We talk to sportsbooks online and in Las Vegas about the action on the outright futures as well as which props are the most popular heading into the tournament.

Check out Covers Expert Matt Fargo's preview and picks for the 2013 U.S. Open and find the best handicapping info on the web with our U.S. Open RebelMouse page.

Outright winner odds

Like most events featuring Tiger Woods on the marquee, the betting public has bet the No. 1 player in the world with both fists in the months heading into the U.S. Open.

Woods has fluctuated between +450 and his current price of +550 (Bet365.com) but can be had between +462 and +600 at most markets. According to Greg Sindall of SportsInteraction, “the public piles on Tiger as much or more than any team or competitor in any sport”. Most sportsbooks will come out in the red if Woods wins the 2013 U.S. Open.

“(Woods is) always a popular play when he’s playing well, and obviously so far this season he has been in good form,” Aron Black of Bet365.com told Covers. “He deserves place as the firm favorite. It’s not a terrible result if he wins, but action on him has been steady for last two to three months.”

Other golfers getting the majority of the outright money are Phil Mickelson (+2,000), Graeme McDowell (+2,200), Brandt Snedeker (+3,300), Dustin Johnson (+4,500), and Matt Kuchar, who has moved from +2,500 to +2,000 tying him with Mickelson for the second overall favorite on the board. Those players are also attracting a lot of action on "Each Way" odds, with bettors just needing them to finish among the Top 6 on the leaderboard.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for books is the action coming in on Justin Rose, who is currently priced at +2,500 to win the U.S. Open, and the lack of love for defending champion Webb Simpson (+5,500). The U.S. Open has had only one repeat winner in the past 51 year, with Curtis Strange winning in 1988 and 1989.

“No real major surprises for any betting on the outright, bar the faith that has been shown by a certain few heavy plays on Justin Rose to win outright,” says Black. “He’s basically our worst result. There are the usual steady plays on the bigger prices, but overall most of the action is on the Top 8 or 12 favorites in the betting.”

Popular props

The list of props for major tournaments gets longer and longer every year.

According to Jeff Sherman, assistant manager at the LVH Superbook and renowned golf oddsmaker, sharp matchup money is siding with Luke Donald (-125) in his head-to-head battle with Keegan Bradley (+105) and is going against McDowell (-110) in his matchup with Lee Westwood (-110).

First-round three-ball betting is also getting a lot attention, specifically the group of Woods (+138), Rory McIlroy (+200) and Adam Scott (+200). Bettors can wager on who they think will have the best opening round of those three individual players.

“Given the most high profile grouping of Woods, McIlroy and Scott, it’s no surprise that we are seeing a lot of action on this one,” says Black. “Action is pretty balanced on it, but given the sometimes slow starting Woods, we are seeing a bit more on Rory and Scott combined.”

Another notable prop drawing one-sided action is the Hole-in-One prop, with the majority of wagers predicting an ace at some point in the four-day event. “Yes” there will be a Hole-in-One is seeing steady support at +150 while “No” is currently priced at -200. Merion is a short course compared to most major venues, with four Par 3s and two less Par 5s. The rain this past week could also help tee shots stick and not roll past the greens.

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