We're off to Torrey Pines this week for the third major of the year so we need the best in the business to go in-depth on the tournament, players and betting angles. That's why we've got Steve Rawlings to tee you up with his comprehensive preview.
Steve says: "Last year's renewal was a good demonstration of how a US Open tends to pans out. As many as 22 players were under-par after the opening round but as the course firmed up and the conditions got harder the scoring rose and by the end of the week, the number of players under-par had fallen to one. DeChambeau was the only player to break par on Sunday and he was the only one to finish the week under-par.
"This major tends to be an almighty grind, making headway up the leaderboard as the week progresses is incredibly tough, and up with the pace is where you need to be in a US Open. DeChambeau sat second after rounds two and three last year and he was the seventh US Open winner in-a-row, and the 11th in 13 years, to sit first or second with a round to go. And the last 22 US Opens have been won by someone within four strokes of the lead..."
"My ante-post pick Justin Rose has been quite lightly raced this year but he's finished inside the top-eight in the year's first two majors and he's both a US Open winner and a Torrey Pines winner.
Rose won the US Open at Merion in 2013 and he won the Farmers in 2019. I'm somewhat concerned by his slight lack of length off the tee but at 70.069/1 that's more than factored into his price.
Steve's bet: Justin Rose @ 70.069/1
Dave Tindall assesses the last 10 years of the US Open and crunches the numbers to find out which player the stats point towards in 2021. It's a fascinating process so make sure you read Dave's piece.
Dave says: "To sum up the full list of requirements:
- Aged 35 or under
- Ranked in world's top 25
- Played in at least three US Opens
- Has had a top 25 in a US Open
- Posted a top 3 earlier this season
- Not the defending champion
- Made the top 12 in one of previous three starts
- Recorded a top 10 in one of their two previous majors
- Hasn't won a major
- Has won on American soil
"Xander Schauffele is this year's trends selection. The American is 27, world-ranked 6th, has played in four US Opens and made the top six in all of them, is a two-time runner-up this season, finished T11 at Memorial last time, hasn't won a major and is a multiple winner on American soil."
Dave's bet: Back Xander Schauffele at 24.023/1
Dave has enjoyed some big-price winners recently, as he explains below, so pay attention to his three each-way picks for TP.
Dave says: "While giving a respectful nod to Rory McIlroy's chances, my main selection is Patrick Cantlay at 22/1. I've always liked him for this tournament given his calm temperament and all-round excellence. And a US Open on his home Californian turf could prove the perfect storm.
"Let's address the course form form first: MC in 2013, tied 51st in 2018 and MC in 2019. Usually that would be a negative but, as stated, 2008 helps us dismiss it.
"Cantlay's own take: 'It will play much different than it does in January. It will be firm and I'm sure the fairways will be small and the rough will be longer. But I like California golf and I think it will be a good setup for me.'
"That liking for California golf isn't a throwaway line either as he has some tremendous form in the Golden State. Three of his last four starts there show a win, a second and a third.
"He heads to back to Torrey Pines on the back of a second win at Memorial where he was this column's 20/1 headline pick so he's obviously in my good books."
Dave's bet: Back Patrick Cantlay E/W @ 23.022/1
Sporting Life's resident golf expert Ben Coley scours the specials markets for the US Open to pick his best bets including a punt on a certain Englishman to finish in the top 20...
Ben says: "Jordan Smith can exceed expectations and threaten top Englishman honours at 25/1 and bigger, but a better bet is to support him for a top-20 finish at 14/1.
"Smith has been the best driver on the European Tour across his last two starts, a return to what we once expected of him, and the 28-year-old remains a short-game away from being one of the best players on the circuit.
"There have been encouraging signs there, too, and it's only taken decent putting for him to turn some mediocre results into a run of 17-3-11 over the last month. Four years ago, he won the European Open, then went over to the PGA Championship and finished ninth on a long, tough course which really suited him. This time he arrives having been 11th in a 54-hole renewal of the same event, and he could find Torrey Pines equally to his liking."
Ben's bet: Back Jordan Smith for top 20 finish @ 12.011/1
Who's got the game to make a fast start when the US Open gets underway on Thursday? Dave recommends three bets for first round leader.
Dave says: "Shane Lowry is in excellent form, with a fourth place in the US PGA at Kiawah Island and sixth at Memorial. He's also been starting well, ending round one in the top 11 in four of his last seven starts. That run includes a 68 in another huge event, The Players Championship, which put him third after 18 holes.
"When Lowry won the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush, the Irishman was second after round one while he's also started strongly in US Opens, shooting a 69 at Chambers Bay and a 68 at Oakmont (fourth after R1).
"He's enjoyed past trips to Torrey Pines and has a T7 and a T13 in his four appearances in the Farmers Insurance Open. Put it altogether and he's a fair price at 50/1."
Dave's bet: Back Shane Lowry E/W @ 51.050/1
Steve has picked out three outsiders he likes to challenge at Torrey Pines including a Venezuelan with a name that's perfect for a gamble.
Steve says: "I'm going to go for another big-hitter - Jhonattan Vegas - who gets it out there off the tee. As detailed in the preview, length has been far more important than accuracy in this major of late with only four winners in the last 17 years have ranked higher for accuracy off the tee than they have for length.
"As many as 13 of the last 17 winners have ranked inside the top-ten for Driving Distance and Vegas is almost guaranteed to be in the top-ten for DD.
"It's now 10 years since he impressed at Torrey Pines with a third place finish in the Farmers Insurance on his first visit to the track and he arrives in form after a fast finishing tied-second on Sunday in the Palmetto Championship."
Steve's bet: Back 1 u Jhonattan Vegas @ 330.0329/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
Dave assesses the mood of the players and arms you with the stats that matter for a punt on the Top 5 and Top 10 Finish markets ahead of the 2021 US Open.
Dave says: "Ahead of the US Open Collin Morikawa said: 'Prep has been great. Obviously I had a three-week stretch of PGA (8th), Colonial (14th) and Muirfield (2nd), and the game feels good. I love coming into weeks, especially a major, where you're just kind of ready to play golf and try and figure out the course and how you're going to beat it.
"'But this course is tough. I've only played here once. I played the 2020 Farmers. I didn't play this year, and it's going to test every part of your game. I think everyone has said that, but it's just a course where it's demanding off the tee, it's demanding with your approach shots, and you've got to hit really good putts, especially with poa greens and a lot of slope to them.'
"As usual with Morikawa, the putter could be key. Encouragingly he gained 5.380 strokes on the greens at Memorial and when you put that with his SG: Tee To Green numbers (top five in each of his last four starts), he looks an obvious challenger."
Dave's bet: Back Collin Morikawa for Top 10 @ 3.55/2
Who wins the 2021 US Open? Who's the best bet? Who has the best championship and Torrey Pines form? Before striking your bets read Matt Cooper's guide to the leading players chasing major glory, starting with the favourite...
Matt says: "Cleared to play, following his dramatic Covid-withdrawal when leading the Memorial by six shots two weeks ago, and the Spaniard will absolutely relish his return to the course because he was not only a winner in his Torrey Pines debut at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open, he has also been bang in contention at all his four visits since (leading or within one blow of the lead at the end of a mid-tournament round).
"His five US Open efforts have, however, been a little stymied by a Scrambling average of just 46% and the fact he's three times failed to break 76 on Thursday. He was third at Pebble Beach in 2019, his only top 20 in the championship."
Steve's had a good look at all side markets for the US Open 2021 and he's picked out seven bets ranging from 10/11 to 175/1.
Steve says: "I usually like getting stuck into these small Top Nationality fields but it's not been easy to spot one I like this time around...
"Martin Laird to beat Robert MacIntyre in the Top Scot market or Matthias Schmid to get the better of fellow German, Martin Kaymer, are both plausible outsiders but the one I like is the Top French market where Paul Barjon, who wasn't even born in France, looks a very fair price with the Sportsbook at 7/4 to beat Victor Perez.
"A winner on the Korn Ferry Tour as recently as last month, Barjon, who was born in Dumbea, New Caledonia, hits the ball much further than the out-of-form favourite, Victor Perez, so on a course that should favour the big hitters, he's a fair bet.
"Perez is one if the shorter hitters in the field this week and since his fine performance at the WGC Match Play in March, where he reached the semi-finals, his form has taken a nosedive. He's played in only three tournaments since but he's missed all three cuts with a 72 in the second round of the USPGA Championship his best round."
Steve's bet: Back Paul Barjon Top French on Sportsbook @ 2.757/4
Our European Tour previewer Matt Cooper picks three of the continent's finest to flourish at Torrey Pines. in-form Irishman Shane Lowry makes Matt's team. Here's why: "He's made the weekend in nine of his last 10 majors, starting the run with T12th at the 2018 PGA Championship before adding three top 10s including that famous win at Royal Portrush."
Back Shane Lowry each-way @ 30/1
Of course, you don't have to wait until the end of the tournament to collect those winning bets, like the First Round Leader market, the opening round 3-balls are a very popular way of getting involved on day one of the US Open.
Paul Krishnamurty has gone through them all, and has five bets for you to consider including a popular Englishman.
Paul says: "Jimmy Walker produced his best performance in ages at the Memorial but it would be dangerous to read much into it. The former PGA champion misses more cuts than he makes these days, and is wildly inaccurate off the tee. That generally spells disaster on this course.
"Ian Poulter should set a solid standard and target. He's in good form, finishing third at the Memorial. Whilst not long enough to win at this or most US Open layouts, he's got a consistent record of making cuts, and has finished six of the last ten first rounds in 16th place or better.
"The third man here, Ryan Palmer, is hard to call. Though, twice a runner-up on this course, his US Open record is abysmal."
Paul's bet: Back Ian Poulter 3u @ 2.546/4
We're off to Torrey Pines for a second time this year, as the US Open tees-up at the South Course. Check out current form and course history, words and stats by Andy Swales.
Andy says: "As for those with a strong Torrey history, read Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Justin Rose and Marc Leishman.
"Rahm, the 2017 champion, has posted four top-seven finishes from his five visits, while McIlroy's three appearances in the Farmers' event have yielded: 5th-3rd-16th.
"World No 14 Finau has had four T-6s, with 2020 winner Leishman also registering a brace of runner-up finishes at this early-year tournament.
"Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson, currently the world No 61, is a former winner at Torrey, while those searching for an outsider who could sneak into an each-way berth, then Ryan Palmer could be your man. He has twice finished second in the Farmers' since 2018."
Ryan Palmer @ 230.00229/1 to win the US Open
US Open 2021: Your major championship form guide ahead of this week's tournament in San Diego
Next Andy assesses the form of the players at major tournaments to try to gauge who rises to the occasion and who falters on the biggest stages.
Andy says: "Despite being a leading golfer since 2014, Patrick Reed didn't register a major championship top-10 until the PGA Championship of 2017. Since then, and largely thanks to his Masters' victory the following April, his form in the 'Big Four' has improved dramatically. Winner at Torrey earlier this year.
"Xander Schauffele was born in San Diego and tied-second at Torrey Pines in January. Usually plays well in the majors, and his missed cut at last month's PGA Championship can simply be put down as being a hangover from Augusta National where his six strokes at the par-three 16th ruined his chances of overhauling eventual champion Matsuyama. Seven top-six finishes in the majors since the start of 2017."