Paul Krishnamurty lays out his main US Open trading plan, along with a couple of head-to-head recommendations...
"Last year, nine different players were matched below 10.09/1 and five below 5.04/1. Most were well-known stars, rated amongst the leading 20 pre-tournament. Under those circumstances, you won't go wrong employing the simple if cliched maxim 'Back High, Lay Low'"
Outright - Back to lays
With many experts predicting the most wide-open renewal in living memory, I doubt anyone is going to run away with this US Open. Whenever that's been the case in recent years, a wide array of players have traded in single-figures at some stage, offering countless in-running betting opportunities. Last year, for instance, nine different players were matched below 10.09/1 and five below 5.04/1. Most were well-known stars, rated amongst the leading 20 pre-tournament. Under those circumstances, you won't go far wrong employing the simple if cliched maxim 'Back High, Lay Low'.
That's the plan with the following trio. The US Open leaderboard is usually dominated by those with the most reliable long-games and with narrow fairways, brutal rough and deep bunkers, Merion could accentuate the difference between the accurate and inaccurate. On that basis, I'll be surprised if any of these three are outside the top-25 and expect at least one of them to contend.
Charl Schwartzel's long game has shone recently, even if the putter has been cold. Softened greens will help. Simpson has finished 14th and first in two US Opens and looks every inch a tournament specialist. New Wentworth champ Manassero looks made for this major. He's supremely reliable off the tee, scrambles well and is nerveless from close range on the greens.
Combined, their odds equate to around 19.018/1, so the plan is to stake a total of 11 units, then place lay orders on each to yield a minimum of 19 units profit should any of them shorten to 6.05/1.
These two former US Open champions are at the same age, almost identical odds and have both turned the clock back in recent majors. For my money, though, there is quite a gulf between them and Els should be a much stronger favourite than odds of 1.8810/11 imply. First we need to remember that Cabrera's 2007 victory is one of only two top-ten finishes in the US Opens. Normally these set-ups are too narrow for him, whereas Ernie's pair of victories and nine top-tens are the hallmarks of a tournament specialist.
Furthermore, without detracting from Cabrera's superb show at the Masters, wide-open Augusta is probably his favourite track and that was his first top-ten on a main tour since 2011. It would be a much bigger shock were he to contend again. In contrast, we at betting.betfair are excited about Ernie's prospects. Steve Rawlings, Mike Norman and myself have all backed the Big Easy for a third title and, while that may be an ambitious target, there's every reason to expect one of the most consistent majors performers will at least record yet another respectable finish.
As explained above, Simpson is fancied to put up a stout defence of his title and on that basis, he warrants backing against a player who invariably strikes me as over-rated. There is much to like about Keegan Bradley's short career, not least how he's risen to the big occasions when winning the USPGA, WGC-Bridgestone and in the Ryder Cup. He is hardly consistent, though, as seen over the past two months. Bradley played well when finishing second in the Byron Nelson, but his best result in four other events is just 50th. There is nothing much in his pedigree that points towards a US Open at this early point in his career and, for my money, there are players at double his outright odds with at least equal chances.