(Editor's Note: Looking for more U.S. Open picks? Check out our Round 3 picks and predictions.)
Intrigue abounds at the third major of the 2021 PGA Tour season — the U.S. Open —and thanks to the exploits of a fast-rising 22-year-old, there will be one more hot storyline than there was a week ago.
Garrick Higgo stunned the golf world with a win at last week's Palmetto Championship in just his second career PGA Tour event. And with U.S. Open odds of +6,600 this week at fabled Torrey Pines, he'll be on more than a few betting tickets after building off the momentum of a sensational showing on the European Tour this year.
As for the elite end of the U.S. Open field, it's Jon Rahm in a tier by himself — and a who's-who of American golf stars are looking to knock off the Spanish sensation.
With Round 1 right around the corner, we preview the field, break down the course and give our golf picks, predictions, and best bets for the 2021 U.S. Open.
US Open outright picks
Rahm leads the way from an odds perspective at +1,000 as he seeks his first-ever major championship following seven Top-10 finishes. Dustin Johnson is alone in second place at +1,600, with fellow Americans Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele next at +1,800.
Another U.S. player, Jordan Spieth, is level with Rory McIlroy at +2,000 with Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas rounding out that tier at +2,200.
Who will win the US Open? Here are our picks:
Jon Rahm (+1,000)
Not just a favorite — Rahm is our favorite. He's a menace with the driver (ranked third in SG: Off-the-Tee) and ranks 12th in SG: Approach, so you know he'll be among the leaders in birdie opportunities.
And while he has yet to win this year (how crazy is that?), his 10 Top-10 finishes lead the PGA Tour. Oh, and his finishes in five appearances at Torrey Pines? 1, 29, 5, 2, and 7. Lock in that outright bet: the odds might not get any better than this.
Tony Finau (+3,000)
Some players are able to elevate their games for major championships — and Finau certainly fits in that bucket. He has nine Top-10 finishes over his previous 13 major appearances, including a T10 at this year's Masters and a T8 at the PGA Championship.
And while he's still seeking that elusive first major title, his runner-up showing at this year's PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines (his fourth Top-6 finish here in the past five years) makes him a favorite to end his drought.
US Open matchup picks
Shane Lowry Over Tyrrell Hatton (-120)
Lowry has a really strong all-around game, and that suits him well to a course that will chew up and spit out more than its share of golfers this week.
Lowry ranks inside the Top 20 in SG: Tee-to-Green and has fared admirably at Torrey Pines, with finishes of 7-13-33 in three events. Hatton ranks inside the Top 25 in SG: Total (1.236) but has just one Top-10 result on the PGA Tour since mid-November. He's also a newcomer to Torrey Pines, and the benefit of course experience should help Lowry here.
Webb Simpson Over Justin Rose (-125)
Simpson has shown MacGyver tendencies, ranked as the top scrambler on tour this season while sitting fifth in sand save success rate and third in proximity from the sand to the hole. It's one of the main reasons he ranks third in scoring average (69.9), and a major factor to consider when handicapping players this week.
Rose put together a 4-8-1 stretch at Torrey Pines from 2017-19, but his season-long form (ranking outside the Top 125 in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach and SG: Around-the-Green) is a red flag.
More US Open bets
Xander Schauffele Top-5 finish (+350)
This guy has been a fixture atop the U.S. Open leaderboard in recent years with Top-6 finishes in four straight appearances. And that's not the only thing to like about Schauffele: he's the top bunker player on tour, ranks 11th in GIR percentage and is fourth in SG: Total — even with that ugly missed cut at the PGA Championship.
He also finished second in his previous appearance at Torrey Pines last January, in case you needed one more reason to put Schauffle's name on a Top-5 ticket.
Jason Kokrak Top-5 finish (+1,200)
Any player with multiple wins during the current PGA Tour season has to be on your betting radar — and even though Kokrak's U.S. Open resume isn't all that impressive, he's still worth a look this week.
Kokrak has combined booming drives with respectable fairway accuracy — and while his No. 5 SG: Putting ranking won't matter as much on those Poa greens, it's still a great skill to have in his back pocket. He's one of the top live underdog plays at Torrey Pines, and a great Top-5 pick at these odds.
US Open betting stats that matter
If you wagered on the Farmers Insurance Open back in January, you'll probably remember our breakdown of Torrey Pines. It's a long, lean course that features plenty of bunkers and speedy Poa greens that are among the bumpiest on Tour. And players will be treated to even less forgiving rough conditions than they did last winter, with the Kukuya grass posing a serious challenge.
Iron play will decide who makes this week's tournament leaderboard. Players who can hit their long irons effectively — and mitigate the damage when hitting out of that brutal rough — are going to score much better than players who struggle at either facet. Long hitters have an edge here, too, though the guys who spray their tee shots are going to wish they hadn't.
US Open 2021 betting card
- Jon Rahm outright (+1,000)
- Tony Finau outright (+3,000)
- Shane Lowry Over Tyrrell Hatton (-120)
- Webb Simpson Over Justin Rose (-125)
- Xander Schauffele Top-5 finish (+350)
- Jason Kokrak Top-5 finish (+1,200)
Where can I bet on the US Open?
Golf betting is booming, with the popularity of the sport spawning fun and unique ways to wagers and the PGA Tour schedule providing year-round action. Where you bet on golf is just as important as what you bet, and we review the best golf betting sites available to you.