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Sentiment, money in Mickelson’s corner

Always a popular player with the betting public, Phil Mickelson is more than a sentimental favorite going into today’s final round of the U.S. Open. A lot of money is behind him, and so is every player in the field.

Mickelson, the outright leader through 54 holes, is the 2-1 favorite on the adjusted odds board at the LVH sports book. He’s 1 under par and one shot ahead of Charl Schwartzel (9-2), Steve Stricker (6-1) and Hunter Mahan (7-1).

“Mickelson always gets supported in majors, and he’ll probably be the most supported player overnight,” LVH golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said after Saturday’s third round.

Sherman said the LVH would “basically break even” on futures wagering for the tournament if Mickelson, a five-time runner-up in the U.S. Open, wins it for the first time.

Mickelson, posted at 20-1 odds before the first round, was an 11-2 co-favorite with Adam Scott after play was suspended Thursday, and Mickelson was the 4-1 favorite after Friday’s second round.

The tough layout at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., chewed up and spit out the superstar grouping of Scott, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Those three players are a combined 27 over par.

The odds on Woods, who went in as the 9-2 favorite, were adjusted to 12-1 after Thursday’s play and 13-2 after the second round. Bettors backed him the whole way and regretted it. Woods imploded Saturday by shooting a 6-over 76.

“The support for Tiger is unbelievable,” Sherman said.

Woods, 10 strokes behind Mickelson, is included in a field bet at 20-1 odds going into the final round. Sherman said wagering will close around 11 a.m.

Individual odds are posted on Justin Rose (9-1), Luke Donald (10-1), Jason Day (12-1), Billy Horschel (15-1) and Rickie Fowler (30-1). Donald, Horschel and Rose are two shots behind Mickelson, and Day is three back.

“All of these guys who are right up there are very capable,” Sherman said. “Mahan is no slouch of a golfer. I would probably go with Day, considering the odds. He’s been around these majors long enough, and he’s not going to have any pressure on him in that position.”

Mickelson is a minus-120 favorite over Schwartzel in one of 10 matchups posted for the final round.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.

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