Bettors love Scheffler at U.S. Open despite odds

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The central betting story going into the U.S. Open is the same as it was before the Masters and the PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler is an overwhelming favorite and is seeing some of the shortest odds for a major since prime Tiger Woods.

The 27-year-old opened the week at +300 at ESPN BET and has been bet down to +290; across the marketplace, he’s as short as +250. It’s the shortest odds for any golfer to win the U.S. Open since Woods in 2007 (+250).

Despite the extremely short odds, Scheffler is still attracting a very healthy number of tickets and even more handle.

Sportsbooks across the American betting landscape report that Scheffler is their bets and money leader, with ESPN BET saying he has 13.1% of the tickets and 31.7% of the handle. BetMGM reports an astounding 44.7% of handle on the Texas native, while Fanatics Sportsbook says he has drawn three times more money to win at Pinehurst No. 2 than any other golfer in the field.

“That’s kind of astonishing to me because it’s such a short price. In golf, you try to look for somebody who has got a decent price, but the bettors just feel like he’s unstoppable,” DraftKings director of race and sportsbook operations Johnny Avello told ESPN. He adds that the “true odds” for Scheffler are closer to +500, but even with the juice built in to get the price below +300, bettors continue to wager on him.

“The pricing is a factor of both his recent form and overwhelming popularity with bettors, which is still evident in the number of bets we’ve taken on him thus far,” ESPN BET head of sportsbook Patrick Jay told ESPN via email. “He’s been the most bet-on player for every major this year, and the U.S. Open is shaping up no different.”

From a betting perspective, the only possible comparison for Scheffler’s incredible form is Woods. From 2000 to 2009, Woods was priced +300 or shorter seven times at the U.S. Open, peaking at a mind-blowing +120 in 2001 — a tournament where he finished T-12, although he did end up winning the major three times during that decade.

But the longer Scheffler’s dominance goes on, the more impressive it gets and the more apt the comparisons to Woods become.

“I just never thought we’d ever get to this point again where there’s one guy who’s got short odds with this type of a field of golfers, but Scottie is the guy right now,” Avello says.

Scheffler’s popularity makes his sportsbook liability somewhat complicated. Although his short odds dictate that he won’t be as much of an issue for the books as, say, Bryson DeChambeau or Collin Morikawa (both 14-1 at ESPN BET), the sheer volume and fervency surrounding Scheffler still makes him a hazard.

“He’s a sizable liability because we had a market that was open for a whole year, which probably opened between 10 and 12-1 odds. So as he was winning so consistently, guess what? They’re betting any and everything that they can for stuff that’s available for him,” Caesars golf trader Anthony Salleroli told ESPN. “So that yearlong exposure created some liability for us and just a tidal wave of tickets.”

Still, Scheffler isn’t the biggest worry for sportsbooks. That honor belongs to, who else, Woods, who at 200-1 or longer has still attracted significant action to win the tournament, with FanDuel reporting that he has the fourth-most tickets to win the tournament at 4%. He’s also the most popular pick for the “Make/Miss the Cut” market at ESPN BET, with 80% backing him to make the cut at +220.

“Tiger in his prime was unlike anything else we have seen in the sport,” Jay says. “Scottie has had a good run of form and is rightfully the world No. 1 right now, but he’s got a long ways to go before he enters that territory of sustained dominance and short odds event after event.”

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