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Phil Mickelson to win US Open is popular bet at Westgate

Updated June 11, 2019 - 4:09 pm

Phil Mickelson has finished second in the U.S. Open a record six times.

But bettors at the Westgate sportsbook seem to think that he will win the golf major for the first time this year and complete the career grand slam.

“We got a pretty heavy amount of betting on Phil Mickelson, which makes a lot of sense,” said Eric Osterman, Westgate executive manager of race and sports. “He won the Pebble Beach tournament in February and has a really good history there. I just don’t think this particular setup is very good for him. He tends to be pretty inaccurate with the driver and plays out of a lot of rough.”

Mickelson was 30-1 at the Westgate as of Tuesday afternoon for the tournament, which begins Thursday at Pebble Beach. Dustin Johnson is the favorite at 7-1, with two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka next at 8-1.

When the numbers opened at the Westgate a month ago, Koepka was the 5-1 favorite, with Johnson at 8-1.

“We’ve had some more Johnson support than Koepka both in money and tickets,” Osterman said. “It’s a combination of everything with Johnson. How he played at the end of the PGA Championship last month, then when they played Pebble in 2010, he had the lead going into the last round. He’s warranted as the favorite. We still are a small winner on him and Koepka as well, so we’re positioned pretty nicely on the two favorites.”

Golf handicapper Wes Reynolds (@WesReynolds1), a co-host on the “Long Shots” golf show on VSiN, scrolled further down the odds board in assessing the field.

“I like a lot of the guys around 25-1,” he said. “I think you’ve got some decent-priced guys there like Jason Day, who is historically very good here but hasn’t really been in the mix this year. Justin Thomas is starting to play a little bit better after his wrist injury. Rickie Fowler is a guy that is getting close, but he just hasn’t been able to kick in the door.

“Of the short odds guys, the one that really stands out is Dustin Johnson. He has wins at Pebble Beach, finished second and a third. This is a guy that has won on the course and is a much better player in California. Rory (McIlroy) is the buzz guy after his performance last week, but he’s never won in California.”

Tiger Woods certainly has, including a record-shattering 15-stroke win at the 2000 U.S. Open on this same course.

As always, bettors are lining up to get their money down on the game’s brightest star.

“We’re seeing the Tiger support,” Osterman said. “He’s No. 1 in money and ticket count, and he’s our second liability behind Mickelson. I can understand why people are playing Tiger. He’s a good iron player. I just don’t think with the rough being as high as it is and the greens being as firm as they are that a guy in his mid-40s with back problems will have a big advantage here like he may have had in the past.”

Woods also is the focus of several prop bets at the Westgate. The most popular one is on whether he will finish in the top 20, with the yes price bet up to minus 220 from minus 200.

Osterman said he likes Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, both at 16-1. He also mentioned Henrik Stenson at 60-1.

Reynolds also talked up Stenson’s chances.

“He is No. 1 on the tour in driving accuracy,” Reynolds said. “His problem has been his putting, but I think on a shorter course like this, ball striking and accuracy is really going to be at a premium.”

And for bettors looking for even longer shots, Reynolds mentioned Graeme McDowell at 100-1 and Branden Grace at 150-1.

“(McDowell) won the last U.S. Open here in 2010 at even par,” Reynolds said. “Really good ball striker. (Grace) is a good, historical wind player that I think will take a liking to this course.”

More betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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