2020 NFL Mock Draft (Round 1)

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Let’s stop overthinking this. Joe Burrow is not only coming off of one of the best seasons by a QB in college history, but his roots trace back to the state of Ohio. The Dolphins might possess the draft capital to get a deal done, but it’s nothing more than a pipe dream.

2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, Edge Rusher, Ohio State

Washington’s decision seems like a foregone conclusion. It is too early to move on from Dwayne Haskins after using your 15th pick on him last season, and it doesn’t hurt matters that Chase Young appears to be a generational talent off the edge. There really isn’t much to think about here; Young will be the selection.

3. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Conventional wisdom would typically point towards this being a prime spot for the Lions to be able to trade down in the draft and still acquire either CB Jeff Okudah or DT Derrick Brown. Unfortunately, a weak QB class significantly dampens the potential that Detroit can pull off a deal in a year that is going to have its fair share of issues with teams forced to select their picks virtually. I don’t think it is out of the question that Miami moves up a pick or two to prevent the Chargers from leapfrogging them at either three or four, but I think the cost ends up not being worth the price of admission for anyone involved. Detroit’s staff can’t afford another losing season, which makes it challenging to trade too far down the board, place the Lions in a position where they must grab the player who can help them win right away. I believe that to be Okudah over Brown.

4. New York Giants – Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle, Iowa

If we have learned anything from the New York Giants, it is to expect the unexpected. That narrative is going to drive many to believe that general manager Dave Gettleman is going to have a shocking pick in store for us on draft night, but it is essential to look at his previous two opening-round selections before jumping to that conclusion Yes, RB Saquon Barkley at the 1.02 in 2018 and QB Daniel Jones at the 1.06 in 2019 might not have been what fans wanted, but it does tell me that the Giants are placing a heavy emphasis on the offensive end of the football. While Isaiah Simmons is a do-it-all savant on the defensive side of the ball, the team needs someone that can not only keep Jones upright but also open up running lanes for Barkley. Tristan Wirfs might be the most athletic tackle in a class that is deep at the position, and I think that level of skill will catch the eye of the Giants.

5. Miami Dolphins – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

From a personal standpoint, I don’t think Miami has to select a quarterback here. Isaiah Simmons makes a lot of sense for a team that is loaded with draft capital over the course of the seven rounds, and there is always a chance that we see either Tua Tagovailoa or Jordan Love still available for Miami’s 18th pick, but the issue is that I am not sure that mentality will be seen the same way by fans. There will already be some scrutiny thrown the direction of the Dolphins if they pass on Tagovailoa at five and going anything other than quarterback might be enough to cause a complete meltdown of the fanbase.

*** Reports have come out that Miami does not have Justin Herbert in their plans and will instead decide between Tua Tagovailoa and Andrew Thomas. Those rumors may very well be accurate, but it feels like a drastic stance to take in the final few hours and could be nothing more than an attempt to bait Los Angeles into moving up in the draft to grab Tagovailoa themselves. While it doesn’t seem like it would accomplish much on the surface, it does give the team a built-in excuse for why they had to settle on Herbert and potentially could net them a trade partner if a team like the Chargers or Cleveland Browns want to move up to grab their man. I’m going to stick with Herbert at 5, but it is a situation worth monitoring.

6. Los Angeles Chargers – Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle, Georgia

Tom Telesco runs a tight ship as the general manager for the Chargers. You aren’t going to get much insight into what way the team is leaning, but I don’t think it is farfetched to believe the organization bypasses on quarterback if given the option. NFL teams haven’t been able to run a physical of their own on the former Bama quarterback, which leaves me to believe that he is going to experience a slide on draft night. Once again, Isaiah Simmons is an option on the defensive end, but is it too much of the same thing with what they already have on defense with Derwin James? I’m going to say yes, leading me to believe that they will attempt to bolster up the offensive line with Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills or Mekhi Becton.

7. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, Defensive Player, Clemson

It is difficult to label a position for Isaiah Simmons. He has played strong safety, cornerback, both inside and outside linebacker and it seems likely that he will transition to the NFL as a hybrid safety/linebacker/edge player. Position-less prospects sometimes can scare off teams because they aren’t sure how to use them in their system, but Simmons is as versatile and talented of a player as we have seen in years. The Panthers most likely have their eyes on DT Derrick Brown but would have to think twice about passing on Simmons if he slips to seven.

8. Arizona Cardinals – Derrick Brown, Defensive Tackle, Auburn

Offensive line is going to be a popular position most will take when mocking out who the Cardinals will select with the eighth pick in the draft. While I do believe a player like Jedrick Wills is firmly an option in most scenarios, I find it difficult to imagine we would see Arizona bypass selecting Derrick Brown, who would step in and be the anchor for the defensive line on day one

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

Many believe CJ Henderson is the best CB in this year’s draft. That general belief should be all the Jaguars needed to hear to realize the Florida corner won’t be available for them at pick number 20. There are teams like the Atlanta Falcons that could take an aggressive stance to try and get themselves into the top 10 for either Okudah or Henderson, but it is challenging to see where that opening will come with the way the board has played itself out so far.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Cleveland Browns) – CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma

It seems likely that the Cleveland Browns are eyeing a left tackle in this year’s draft, and if the Chargers do decide to take LT Andrew Thomas at six, things open up for the cards to be shuffled for the first time on the night. There have been rumors circulating for the last week that the Eagles are “aggressively pursuing” trading up for Lamb, and this might be their last chance to jump the teams ahead of them to land their man.

11. New York Jets – Jedrick Wills, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

It would be considered a moderate surprise to see Jedrick Wills drop out of the top 10, but it does seem possible with the way the board is set up in front of the New York Jets. Wills allowed only one sack in his college career and would provide much-needed help if Sam Darnold wants to stop seeing ghosts.

12. Las Vegas Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Henry Ruggs is more than a burner and has the ability to transform into a Tyreek Hill sort of player for whatever team drafts him. Reports are that head coach Jon Gruden is enamored with the speedster out of Alabama and may try to mimic what the Chiefs have in Hill. It would be a bit of an upset to see Ruggs go ahead of Jeudy, but it is well within the range of possibilities.

13. Atlanta Falcons (Via San Francisco 49ers) – Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Tackle, South Carolina

The Niners are running a masterclass on how to manipulate a draft. It feels as if they have been linked to every player around this range, which should allow them to acquire a little extra value at the end of the day. If the Falcons whiff on getting themselves into the top 10, Javon Kinlaw should be their last go-to choice.

*** I do believe San Francisco might stay put if Henry Ruggs falls to them at 13. Ruggs would be a dynamic playmaker to pair next to Deebo Samuel.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle, Louisville

Mekhi Becton’s flagged drug test might cause a slight slippage to occur on draft night. If that does end up being the case, Tom Brady and company would land a mountain of a man at the 14th selection. Becton measured in at 6-foot-7 and 364 pounds while running a 5.1 40-yard dash. Tampa needs help in protecting their newly acquired asset, and Becton would be an ideal fit.

15. Denver Broncos – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Some believe the Broncos are prime candidates to move up in the first round to grab one of the big-three WRs, but if things play out in this manner, they will be able to stand pat and potentially land the best WR in the class at no extra cost.

16. New England Patriots (Via San Francisco 49ers) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Originally slated to be the selection of the Atlanta Falcons, the Niners move back for the second time in four picks – this time working out a deal with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Predicting trades can be difficult, but we do know that John Lynch and company will be doing everything in their power to add to their measly two selections in the first 155 picks. Belichick gave San Francisco Jimmy Garoppolo for what was considered to be pennies on the dollar in 2017, and don’t be surprised if the two sides are able to work out another deal that can help both organizations.

17. Dallas Cowboys – K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge Rusher, LSU

The loss of Byron Jones and Jeff Heath has thinned out Dallas’ secondary, but the Cowboys remain stubborn with their attitude of not selecting a safety in the first round, settling on edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson out of LSU. Chaisson might be viewed as a disappointment to some Cowboys fans, but he is the perfect fit for their defense.

18. Miami Dolphins – Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

I am not sure the options of Xavier McKinney or Joshua Jones will make Dolphins fans feel better after losing Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but both are options and firmly in play with the 18th pick. If Miami plays their cards right, they have a chance to walk away with both, and I believe selecting McKinney first gives them their best chance of doing that.

19. Las Vegas Raiders – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

The Raiders would prefer to trade back to gain extra selections in this year’s draft, but assuming they are unable to do so, Mike Mayock has never been afraid to reach for a guy he likes. Terrell is shooting up draft boards, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Las Vegas grab a corner that could bolster their secondary for years to come.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

With the way the board is currently set, the Jaguars would have a few ways to go about this selection. A.J. Epenesa of Iowa and Yetur Gross-Matos of Penn State are both in play as replacement options with the Yannick Ngakoue situation in mind, as is Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson, who could be an intriguing addition to a squad that needs help for Gardner Minshew. Frankly, the Jaguars need pieces across the table, making what they will do a complete shot in the dark. I lean towards Jefferson after the team just released Marqise Lee, but all options are in play.

21. Cleveland Browns (Via Philadelphia Eagles) – Ezra Cleveland, Offensive Tackle, Boise State

Ezra Cleveland to the Cleveland Browns?! It sounds like a match made in heaven. As noted for Philadelphia’s selection at number 10, the Browns are in the market for a left tackle, and Cleveland is the player they will have in mind if they trade out of the 10th pick.

22. Minnesota Vikings – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Enter one of the disaster situations for the Minnesota Vikings. Justin Jefferson looks like a surefire choice for the Vikings if he falls to 22, but their man won’t be on the board for the selection this time around. Jeff Gladney, Jaylon Johnson and Kristian Fulton are all options that can help fill a void at cornerback, but Gladney seems like the best stylastic fit.

23. San Francisco 49ers (Via Patriots)  – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The 49ers have been left with an intriguing board after moving down multiple times to the 23rd pick. Is CB the biggest need for San Francisco this season? Probably not. But with Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and Ahkello Witherspoon all dealing with expiring contracts in 2021, either Kristian Fulton or Trevon Diggs would make sense as potential replacements. There have been some reports that the Niners have Fulton in play if they stay pat with the 13th pick, but Diggs feels like a more natural selection for Robert Saleh’s defense because of his size. In reality, I could keep trading these picks back for the Niners, but it becomes redundant after a certain point.

24. New Orleans Saints – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

I really did want to mock Jordan Love to the New Orleans Saints, but I think it is going to take head coach Sean Payton falling in love with the Utah State QB to pass on a pressing need. I find it hard to believe Payton would use a valuable selection on a quarterback when 1. Taysom Hill is a fascinating-but-unproven backup and 2. With no second-round pick, it feels like a waste of a resource when you are trying to win a Super Bowl in what could be Drew Brees’ final season. Both Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray fit the system and would give the team athletic linebackers who can not only drop back in coverage but also blitz or roam the sidelines. Murray seems like more of the prototypical selection the Saints would make, but the intrigue of selecting an LSU Tiger in the first round has to be something worth considering for a team that has never been able to call one of their own on opening day.

25. Minnesota Vikings – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

I think it is important for the Vikings to leave the first round with a WR to help replace Stefon Diggs. Assuming they don’t get that at 22 with Justin Jefferson, they should have a handful of options that include but aren’t limited to the likes of in Denzel Mims, Brandon Aiyuk or Jalen Reagor. Perhaps no wideout has helped himself more since the end of the season than Mims, who several teams grade as a top-25 caliber prospect.

26. Miami Dolphins – Joshua Jones, Offensive Tackle, Houston

The situation plays itself out perfectly for the Dolphins, who are able to land Xavier McKinney at 18 and still get Josh Jones at 26. Jones logged four seasons as the starting left tackle at Houston and has an ideal frame at 6’7″ and 320 pounds.

27. Seattle Seahawks – Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State

I can’t imagine we see Yetur Gross-Matos slip out of the first round, and Seattle may do something they typically don’t – which is stay put on opening day. At 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, Gross-Matos is an athletic specimen that will add needed help off the edge, even if the team does ultimately re-sign Jadeveon Clowney.

28. Baltimore Ravens – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The slide of Kenneth Murray ends with the Baltimore Ravens, and they get themselves arguably the best pure linebacker in the draft. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale would acquire a chess piece that can create havoc from sideline-to-sideline, making him one of the best value picks in round one.

29. Tennessee Titans – A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa

A.J. Epenesa’s 5.04 40-yard dash will cause him to slide in this draft, but he still has the power, size, and skill set needed to succeed at the NFL level. It doesn’t hurt that he is a great fit for the Titans next to Jeffery Simmons on passing downs.

30. Green Bay Packers – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

There is a definite buzz forming around Brandon Aiyuk, and you can sense it from multiple GMs. Aiyuk has quickly started to propel up draft boards and makes for the perfect fit in a Packers offense that can use a playmaker.

31. Los Angeles Chargers (Via San Francisco 49ers) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

The 49ers have made it clear that they are open to trade on Thursday and will move back for the third time on the night at pick 31. This is an ideal spot for any team that wants to trade up and secure that fifth-year option on a first-round pick, and organizations such as the Los Angeles Chargers or Indianapolis Colts feel like the prime candidates to be the ones to make that move if they want Jordan Love.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

Kansas City is capable of going in any direction. They are returning 20 of 22 starters next year and should have a handful of credible choices when they do round out the opening day. Kristian Fulton is in play, as is a dynamic playmaker such as Georgia RB D’Andre Swift. With no real need in place, I expect the Chiefs to take the best man available and adding an intelligent player that can protect Patrick Mahomes is never a bad idea if they do believe Cesar Ruiz is that guy.



Week 4 NFL Betting Card

Season Results: (8-2-1) +5.63 Units

The card will be updated throughout the week. Stay tuned for new additions as numbers change.

Week 4

Denver Broncos -3 over Jacksonville Jaguars
1.25 Units to win 1.14 Units


Past Results:

Week 3

Jacksonville Jaguars +110 over Tennessee Titans
0.90 Units to win 1.00 Units

Pittsburgh Steelers +7 -115 over San Francisco 49ers
1.15 Units to win 1.00 Units

Washington Redskins & Chicago Bears Over 40.5 -110
1.10 Units to win 1.00 Units

Week 2

Cincinnati Bengals 0 (+100) over San Franciso 49ers (-120)
1.50 Units to win 1.50 Units

Green Bay Packers -2.5 (-110) over Minnesota Vikings (-110)
1.10 Units to win 1.00 Units

Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 (-110) over Seattle Seahawks (-110)
1.37 Units to win 1.25 Units

In-Game Wagers (Halftime)

Detroit Lions +3.5 over Los Angeles Chargers
0.82 Units to win 0.75

Washington Redskins +10 over Dallas Cowboys
0.82 Units to win 0.75

Week 1

Green Bay Packers +3.5 (-110) over Chicago Bears (-110)
1.65 Units to win 1.50 Units

Buffalo Bills +3.5 (-110) over New York Jets (-110)
1.37 Units to win 1.25 Units

Houston Texans +7 (-110) over New Orleans Saints (-110)
1.10 Units to win 1.00 Units

Travelers Championship One and Done Pick and Sleeper Bets

After last weekend’s stellar U.S. Open, we now head to Cromwell, Connecticut, for the Travelers Championship. Unlike most weeks after a Major Championship, we will have a very star-studded field competing at TPC River Highlands. Nine of the top 20 players in the world are set to participate this weekend, including Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and last week’s winner Brooks Koepka.

TPC River Highlands is a super short 6,841-yard Par 70 but don’t let the yardage confuse you. The course is a Pete Dye designed-course, and when you see Dye’s name as the course constructor, you know it isn’t going to be easy. The greens are Poa with a mix of Bentgrass and up until last year had been known to be extremely slow before the renovation. All of that changed last season, though. In the second year post-renovation, the greens at TPC River Highlands ran fast and made putting much more critical. No longer were inferior putters able to negate the disadvantage they had on the greens. And that isn’t to say that you have to be a historically great putter to win, but you do need to have a hot putting week to contend now. Eight of the 12 par-fours measure between 400 to 450 yards, which means players can pick their distance off the tee and decide what yardage they want for their second shot. There are only two par-fives on the course, but they are holes that need to be taken advantage of when you get to them.

Key Stats For The Week:

Ball Striking-30%
Birdies Gained-20%
Par 4 400-450 Yards- 20%
Strokes Gained Par 5-15%
Strokes Gained Off the Tee-15%

My Pick to Win

Patrick Reed

Full disclosure on this pick, I don’t think Patrick Reed is bettable at 16/1, and this isn’t some recommendation to bet Reed at his shallow price. What it is, though, is a strong lean that Reed is going to have a good showing and should be around with a chance to capture the title on Sunday. Win equity and outright price don’t always coincide with one another. Reed’s real win equity is probably closer to three percent, which should put him in the vicinity of 33/1. His current outright price of 16/1 puts him more in the territory of having to win this tournament 6.25 percent of the time to be profitable, and that just isn’t correct value. Aside from the mathematical logistics of why Reed isn’t a good outright bet, lets instead look at why he is an excellent play for DraftKings, head to head wagers and One and Done contests. In Reed’s last 24 rounds compared to the field, he ranks fourth in strokes gained on par-fives, fifth in strokes gained tee to green, eighth in birdies or better gained, 14th in par-four scoring between 400 to 450 yards and 17th in ball striking. Familiarity with TPC River Highlands should also suit Reed this week. Reed posted a T5 here last year and a T11 in 2016. Last but not least, I looked at Reed’s statistics on only Pete Dye courses. Once again he is stellar across the board. Looking at his previous 24 rounds on Pete Dye-designed courses and using the same statistics as before, he ranked second in strokes gained on par-fives, second in par-four scoring between 400 to 450 yards, 13th in strokes gained tee to green, 14th in ball striking, and 18th in birdies or better gained. For me, Reed is going to be my One and Done play for the week. He provides the consistency I am hoping for and still presents upside for victory, even if it isn’t at the right odds from an outright perspective.


Si Woo Kim (100/1)

Si Woo Kim is a Pete Dye specialist. In Kim’s career, he has played seven tournaments where all four of the rounds were held on a Pete Dye course. In those seven tournaments, Kim has never missed a cut and has provided six top-25 finishes, including a win at The Players Championship and a second-place at this year’s RBC Heritage. Kim has the sort of game that can win at any venue, and I refuse to miss the boat on him at a place that catches his eye.

Emiliano Grillo (70/1)

Emiliano Grillo, just like Si Woo Kim, is another player who is ideally suited for a Pete Dye course. In Grillo’s 17 rounds played previously on Pete Dye-designed courses, he ranks second in ball striking and third in strokes gained tee to green. If you take away Grillo’s missed cut at last week’s U.S. Open, he has provided 19 consecutive made cuts and nine top-25 finishes. 70/1 is a ridiculous price on the young Argentinian golfer. He has been bet down from that number at most places, but if you shop around at different markets, you can find some better prices still available on him.

Brendan Steele (80/1)

Brendan Steele comes into the week struggling as of late, but this is the perfect venue to get him back on track. Steele has made six of his seven cuts at TPC River Highlands and owns a 68.08 scoring average on Pete Dye-designed layouts. The 35-year-old ranks ninth in his last 24 rounds compared to the field in ball striking and 17th in strokes gained tee to green. His off the tee game is what really separates him from the pack, though. Steele ranks eighth on tour in strokes gained off the tee, and even though this isn’t a distance course, he ranks 14th in driving distance. Steele’s price is completely inflated based on his current spotty form, but theoretically, he should be closer to the 40/1 range in this field.

Chesson Hadley (125/1)

What in the world has happened to Chesson Hadley’s price? Weren’t we seeing him in the 40/1 range a couple of months ago? Maybe even less at some tournaments? The weirdest part is that Hadley’s decrease in odds doesn’t have a particularly good reason behind it. If you exclude his missed cut at the U.S. Open last week, Hadley had provided eight consecutive made cuts and six top-20 finishes. In Hadley’s most recent Pete Dye events, he had a T11 at The Players Championship and a T7 at the RBC Heritage. At his outrageous 125/1 price, count me in.

Ryan Moore (33/1)

It is hard to label a 33/1 bet as a sleeper, but I think that is precisely what Ryan Moore turns into when he is priced as low as he is on his outright number. Don’t get me wrong; I like Ryan Moore. Moore attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas, (UNLV), seven years before I started attending there, and because of that reason, I have always been well aware of him. He was a standout collegiate golfer and even won the NCAA individual title, but when you see Moore as low as 33/1 in a field, you know there must be a particular reason as to why. In Moore’s last three appearances at TPC River Highlands, he has produced a 17th, a fifth, and a seventh. Those are some gaudy finishes, but that alone wouldn’t put Moore at 33/1. I dug deeper and looked at Moore’s past 24 rounds compared to the field in my key stats for the week, and that is where the UNLV grad stuck out. Moore was ranked first in strokes gained tee to green, first in ball striking and second in par-four scoring between 400 to 450 yards. I expect him to be extremely popular on DraftKings and Fanduel, but I don’t think nearly as many people will be betting the 64th-ranked golfer in the world as an outright bet at such a low number. I haven’t locked a wager in on him yet, but I assume he is where I will be starting most of my betting cards.

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Quick Thoughts on the Phil Mickelson U.S. Open Controversy

The U.S. Open has come and gone, but it didn’t leave us without major story-lines, major controversy and a back-to-back Major winner. From a storyline perspective, the U.S. Open gave us a daunting course. A 7,450-yard Par 70 behemoth, which played even more difficult because of the wind. It was probably justly criticized for the lack of equality throughout Saturday, based on the course appearing to get away from the USGA late in the day, but all in all, Shinnecock Hills gave us the demand we would have hoped to see.

Now let’s get into the major controversy. Like, love or hate Phil Mickelson, you have to admit that what happened on Saturday was something we have never seen before. I have talked to a couple of friends about this situation, and I surprisingly have gotten mixed reviews. Some loved what happened. They were happy that Mickelson “stuck it” to the USGA and used poorly written rules to his advantage. And if the USGA was going to make the course unfairly played on Saturday, Mickelson did a service to all golfers. Personally, I don’t see it as anything like that. Golf is a game of etiquette. Actions have consequences, and NOBODY is bigger than the game of golf. Assessing Mickelson with a two-stroke penalty is essentially the equivalent of giving somebody a slap on the wrist for insider trading. He should have been disqualified and made an example of. Instead, golf has now opened up a can of worms here. What do they do if a player tries this exact act again? If you disqualify the player, it looks like you are giving out rulings based on popularity, and if you don’t, well, then you are just letting players rewrite the rules and play the course at their discretion. With all that being said, since the U.S. Open allowed this act of criminality, I think as a writer for the sport of golf I deserve to be able to make up my own rules as I go along also. If you read my U.S. Open Contenders and Sleepers article last week, link here, you will see I picked Dustin Johnson Brooks Koepka to win the U.S. Open, because I knew Dustin Johnson Brooks Koepka would win back-to-back weeks years.

Rules are in place for a reason:

A lack of rules would lead to confusion.
A lack of enforcing the rules leads to chaos. 


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2018 U.S. Open Contenders and Sleepers

The U.S. Open has been my favorite Major Championship since I have gotten into the game of golf. It isn’t based on the fact that it is labeled as the United States Open, because in reality, the Masters is probably more renowned and more appreciated in both the United States and the world. What has always drawn me to the U.S. Open though, is the style of courses that get thrown at the players yearly. They are fair venues but require the utmost skill to win. They reward advanced skillsets and are as challenging as can be and not because they are artificially made to be tough.

The last couple of years, specifically last year at Erin Hills, the U.S. Open has left a very sour taste in my mouth. Erin Hills should have been one of the better tests we have seen, but the players were instead protected. Fairways made as wide as could be so that the weather would not cause a potential bloodbath at the course, and because of that fact, Brooks Koepka overpowered and bludgeoned his way to 16-under par without any real fear of potential disaster. Fast forward to 2018 and Shinnecock Hills should finally get us back on track of what a U.S. Open course is meant to be. Some length off the tee will give players an advantage, but an all-around game mixed with precision, focus, and shot making skills will be needed to hoist the trophy. All luck “should” be taken out of this year’s finish, and for me, that is always what is most important.

Top Contenders

#1 Dustin Johnson (9/1)

What would a U.S. Open list be without DJ near or at the top of a contenders list? The 2016 champion at Oakmont and the 2015 runner-up at Chambers Bay is an ideal fit for any authentic U.S. Open setup. And the reason for that is because he has a complete game and no weaknesses. Johnson not only drives the ball longer, straighter and better than anyone else on tour but he also has his irons dialed in and is a better putter than he gets credit for being. If you haven’t already used Johnson in One and Done contests, he should be at the very top of your selection list. I will be using him this week and will be attaching my league’s wild card feature onto him to double his earnings.

#2 Jon Rahm (22/1)

Jon Rahm had a mental breakdown last year at Erin Hills. His fiery temperament got the best of him, and he not only lost his cool but also missed the cut in the process. Rahm, who is now a year older and hopefully a year more mature mentally, will get a chance to bounce back at Shinnecock Hills this year. The 23-year-old Spanish golfer is about as close to Dustin Johnson’s skillset as maybe anyone on tour. Rahm hasn’t had the best Major success early in his career, and he can still be as red-hot at times as ever, but the fourth-ranked golfer in the world is bound to turn his Major woes around. A fourth-place finish at this year’s Masters was his first top-25 finish in a Major ever. Look for Rahm to build off of that result and potentially post another top-five in New York, with the potential of capturing his first Major title.

#3 Justin Rose (14/1)

Justin Rose has been all or nothing throughout his career at U.S. Open venues. 12 career U.S. Open appearances, with six top-30 finishes and six missed cuts, which includes a victory in 2013 and two additional top-10s in 2003 and 2007. However, Rose comes into Shinnecock Hills this year as dialed in as any golfer in the world. In Rose’s last 15 tournaments, he has produced 11 top-10 results, including wins at the Fort Worth Invitational and the WGC-HSBC. Rose’s price of 14/1 makes him the second favorite in some betting markets. Unfortunately, his price makes him un-bettable given the value that can be had around him, but Justin Rose will not be a surprise champion if he is able to capture his second career U.S. Open title this weekend.

#4 Justin Thomas (14/1)

The gambling market and DFS community refuse to give Justin Thomas the credit he deserves. For whatever reason, Thomas cannot get himself to the top of the DFS or gambling betting market regardless of what he does. For the last 10 months, Thomas has been the best player in the game of golf. He captured his first Major Championship at the PGA Championship in August and since then has produced three additional wins and two more runner-up performances. Thomas’ only real concern this weekend is his lack of consistency off the tee. He is as explosive as anyone on tour but has been known to get a bit sloppy at times with his driver. If he can stay steady this weekend, he has as good of a shot as anyone to capture his second career Major title.

Top Sleepers (Players over 50/1)

#1 All the European Tour Type Grinders- Tommy Fleetwood (50/1), Alex Noren (60/1), Branden Grace (35/1), etc.

Branden Grace has been bet down, so he no longer applies to the players at or over 50/1 rule, but I am going to include him because of him opening at 50/1. Each one of these guys may need the tournament to finish at around eight-under par or less to capture the title, but if it does, they should be right near the top of the leaderboard with a chance to seize their first Major Championship. I am not so sure any of them could win in a birdie shootout, but that isn’t what Shinnecock Hills should turn into this year. The closer to even-par the score can get, the better off it will be for them. Other European players fit the same mold, but these three are the three most likely champions at odds of 50/1 or more.

#2 Tony Finau (80/1)

The 6’4″ American golfer, Tony Finau, is still looking for his first breakthrough win on the PGA Tour. Yes, I know that Finau won the 2016 Puerto Rico Open in a playoff over Steve Marino but that victory doesn’t scream,” I have arrived.” Finau is as big and strong as anyone on tour, and if he gets hot with his putter, everyone better watch out. It may be too tall of a task to ask of Finau, given the fact that he hasn’t even been able to close out small PGA events, but Finau is going to win something big eventually, and Shinnecock Hills should suit his game. At 80/1 he is worth a look.

#3 Gary Woodland (175/1)

Big-hitting Gary Woodland is one of my favorite values on the board at this year’s U.S. Open. He comes into the event having missed four of his last five cuts, but he did produce a T23 finish in his previous outing at the Memorial Tournament. Woodland has the type of game that can win at any venue, especially one that requires length. His lack of form coming into Shinnecock Hills is completely baked into that 175/1 price. Three months ago it wouldn’t have been inconceivable that Woodland would have been 50/1 for a venue like this. My favorite way to bet him is at 8/1 to come top-20, but there is definitely upside for even a better showing than that.

#4 Si Woo Kim (150/1)

Si Woo Kim still provides tons of boom but maybe not as much bust as he has in the past. Kim enters this week having made his last seven cuts, including 84 percent of his cuts on the year. The surprise winner of the 2017 Players Championship, Kim has shown he is able to win star-studded events in the past and seems to go for the win when he has a chance to do so. Statistically, Kim doesn’t have any stats that are extremely eye-popping. However, he does rank 21st in his last 24 rounds compared to the field in strokes gained off the tee, which should be a plus at a course that is so long. There is just something about the young 22-year-old South Korean golfer that makes him show up for significant events. At 150/1, he is worth a hard look.

#5 Brendan Steele (200/1)

Brendan Steele is another player who comes into the week overinflated in price. He very well may turn into a better top 20 bet since he has trouble closing out events, but he provides everything you would hope to see from a player at a U.S. Open venue. After back-to-back top-15 showings in 2017 and 2016 at U.S. Open courses, his 200/1 price, quite frankly, is incredibly disrespectful. He ranks eighth in strokes gained off the tee and 11th in driving distance in his last 24 rounds compared to the field. As mentioned above, Steele will be another player I will be targeting in the top 20 market, but at his bloated 200/1 number, I will be taking a shot on his world-class off the tee skillset.

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