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June 13th, 2022
Market Moves: Who to Buy and Who to Sell at the 2022 U.S. Open
By Greg Rappaport
The U.S. Open golf tournament is shipping up to Boston (Brookline, to be specific), for the first Major Golf Tournament to be held at The Country Club since 1988. Both of the first two Majors this season were won by heavy favorites—Scottie Scheffler at The Masters and Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship—so should we expect that trend to continue in Massachusetts? Here’s my take on this year’s field and which trades I’m eyeing for the 2022 U.S. Open.
On Sporttrade, where price equals probability, the odds are displayed as a contract price. If Jon Rahm has a 6% chance of winning, his contract would cost $6 (American Odds would display it as +1566). Were he to win, it would close at $100, netting you a $94 profit. But trading golf isn’t all buying and holding. I’ll be breaking down some tournament trends to showcase a few possible moves to lock in profit without having to sweat things out on Sunday.
With not a ton of golf course history to lean on, a closer look at the contours of the course offers some clues as to who the top performers might be. Playing at 7,264 yards, the Par-70 course is short in comparison to some of the stops on the tour. Reflexively you might think that would favor the tour’s longer hitters, but distance without accuracy could lead to some disastrous holes at The Country Club where the rough is thick and the terrain is filled with twists, mounds, and water hazards.
Three Golfers I’m Buying To Finish Top 10
Max Homa: At 31 years old, Homa is putting together one of the finest golf seasons of his career. His surehanded win at the Wells Fargo Championship showcased his ability to battle his competition and the elements. The win came at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms, which shares some similarities with The Country Club. I’m still not sold that Homa is ready to win a Major but his current form is one of the best on tour and he seems like a strong bet to be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Rory McIlroy: At the top of his game, Rory might be the most talented golfer on the planet. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t been able to string four of those days together during a major golf tournament in recent years. He either starts fast and fades or stumbles out of the gate only to roar back on Sunday. Either way, I’m not counting on him to win, but I do suspect he’ll be in position to make noise on Sunday. If he dominates on Thursday and Friday, this might be a contract to sell and collect the gains.
Cameron Young: So many good Camerons on tour, so little time. Cameron Young’s name has been ubiquitous on leaderboards this season, including a T3 at the PGA Championship. Young absolutely crushes the golf ball off the tee and does so accurately, a combo that few on the tour can boast. There’s a chance that Young’s towering drives could end up dominating the field. I’m taking a flier on a Top-10 finish for Young, whose game continues to impress.
Five Golfers I’m Picking to Win Outright
Matthew Fitzpatrick: While there hasn’t been a major here since ‘88, Fitzpatrick is one of the few golfers in the field who can boast that he’s won a tournament at The Country Club, capturing the 2013 US Amateur Golf Championship. So he’s won at the tournament location, he came in second place at the Wells Fargo Championship which is a similar course fit, and he was in contention on Sunday at the PGA Championship. All of this points to a golfer poised to break through in a big way. He’s yet to notch a win this season but has been a regular fixture at the top of the leaderboard in 2022. I’m a heavy buyer on Fitzpatrick to win outright.
Scottie Scheffler: Can we be real here? If a golf course architect set out to make a course specifically targeted at stopping Scheffler, would he or she be able to do so? Scheffler is simply one of the hottest golfers in the world right now, even with his disappointing showing in the PGA Championship, where wind and weather played a large factor. I don’t even need to pull out the stats, Scheffler’s game is strong in all areas right now and I can’t think of any reason why he wouldn’t be in contention come Sunday.
Patrick Cantlay: Frankly, I’m not too impressed with Cantlay’s form entering this tournament. Last year’s Fedex Cup Champ has been all over the map in his performances, but his second-place finish at RBC Heritage certainly caught my eye. Harbor Town Golf Links was another course I looked at as a comp for The Country Club. Cantlay’s ability to catch fire putting and gain strokes around the green will certainly be an asset in navigating the complex layout at the US Open.
Jordan Spieth: On every comparison course I looked at, there was one name who kept showing up with wins and top finishes at nearly all of them, Jordan Spieth. Frankly I was surprised too, since Jordan isn’t typically one of the most accurate drivers on tour, but his elite scrambling skills could end up building towards Spieth’s first Major win since 2017.
Cam Smith: You can’t help but feel like Cam Smith’s first Major is right in his crosshairs. The Australian’s approach shots and around-the-green wizardry make him a contender in pretty much every tournament he enters. Already with two victories on tour this season and a strong enough performance at The Masters to be in the final group with eventual winner Scottie Scheffler, Smith has all the tools needed to finish this week at the top of the leaderboard.
One Pick to Buy and Sell Before Sunday:
Shane Lowry: I’ve been on Shane Lowry for a few months now but have yet to reap much reward from it. The 35 year old has been playing solid golf all season and hasn’t missed a cut since November, but he still hasn’t been able to notch an outright win. I’m buying Lowry to win outright but then seeing where he stands after Round 2. If he’s within the top five, I’ll likely sell some or all of my position and perhaps buy into someone who’s game I’m more confident in.
Mid-Tier and Longshot Plays:
Sungjae Im: One of the most well-rounded games on tour. Im is above average at just about everything on the golf course. In his five starts dating back to The Masters, his worst finish is a T21. He’s still flying a bit under the radar, even after a Top-10 finish at Augusta. So I’m buying and holding a contract for Im to finish Top 20.
Luke List: U.S. Open winners in recent years have almost all been long off the tee, which certainly describes Luke List this season. The 37-year-old is one of the biggest hitters on tour, blasting it 315.1 yards per drive. He will need to scramble and putt above his usual abilities to pull off an upset at The Country Club, but as he showed in his January victory at The Farmers Insurance Open, he’s capable of finding his putting stroke at the right time. His short game is also in a good place lately—he’s gained strokes putting in his last two tournaments after being negative in that statistic in his previous eight tournaments. I’m not expecting List to be a true contender here, but at $0.5/Contract to win outright, I’ll drop two quarters on him here and see where things stand on Saturday night.
Tommy Fleetwood: Fleetwood has finished in the Top 5 at the U.S. Open twice in his career and has been playing solid golf of late. I like the Englishman’s chances to make some noise at this year’s tournament. I’m buying one contract of Fleetwood to finish Top 20.
Final Betting Portfolio for the 2022 U.S. Open:
To Win Outright:
3 contracts of Matt Fitzpatrick at $3 per contract ($9)
2 contracts of Scottie Scheffler at $6 per contract ($12)
1 contract of Patrick Cantlay at $3 per contract ($3)
1 contract of Cameron Smith at $4 per contract ($4)
1 contract of Spieth at $3 per contract ($3)
3 contracts of Shane Lowry at $2.5 per contract (Selling after Round 2 or 3) ($7.5)
1 contract of Luke List at $0.50 per contract ($0.50)
To Finish Top 10:
1 contract of Max Homa at $19 per contract ($19)
1 contract of Rory McIlroy at $37 per contract ($37)
1 contract of Cameron Young at $21 per contract ($21)
To Finish Top 20:
.5 contracts of Sunjae Im at $38 per contract ($19)
1 contract of Tommy Fleetwood at $30 per contract ($30)
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Greg Rappaport is an employee at Sporttrade and recreational sports bettor. While Greg may place some of the discussed wagers with licensed sports betting operators, his advice is purely for entertainment purposes only. His opinion are not gambling advice and do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of Sporttrade. He does not have access to any non-public information. Trades described above are similar to options trading and are illustrative (i.e. not real) and absent any commission Sporttrade will charge on winning trades.
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