U.S. Open Betting Returns To Father’s Day Weekend Spotlight At NJ Sportsbooks

The U.S. Open presents another major opportunity for Garden State bettors looking to back Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, or other big names.

NJ online sports bettors are ready to tee off as the third major of the PGA season begins Thursday morning.  The 121st U.S. Open from Torrey Pines South in San Diego has a deep field with no clear-cut favorites.

Thus it creates a wealth of wagering options.

The $12.5 million U.S Open, running through Sunday, has a spread betting board chocked with big-name favorites, popular longshots, and well-priced contenders.

Jon Rahm, favored at all major sportsbooks, is not getting most of the betting money. And he has received less handle than San Diego native Phil Mickelson,  who was +7000 (as of Tuesday) at DraftKings Sportsbook after his May PGA Championship win.

Sentiment, recent history, and a deep field attract numerous wagering interests.

Closer Look at DraftKings US Open betting

Here are the top 10 money magnets of DraftKings gamblers. Odds and the amount bet on top players don’t always match. It means some gamblers will attain a hefty payout.

The below breakdown is based on some recent DraftKings betting action.

Golfer Odds Percentage of Handle
Brooks Koepka  + 1900   10%
Phil Mickelson +7000  9%
Jon Rahm                           +1050 7%
Dustin Johnson  +1500   7%
Colin Morikawa+2550  5%
Xander Schauffele+1500     4%
Jordan Spieth+19004%
Bryson DeChambeau+1500   4%
Will Zalatoris  +4650 3%
Tony Finau +2200    3%

Talk about a paradise betting board.

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, hails the U.S. Open depth.

“In many tournaments, the top guy will get 15-18% of the money,” Avello told NJ Gambling Sites, “but in a field like this, you’ve got the whole cast of characters. You can go way down the list and get great odds on a lot of top players.”

Avello said the betting public sentimentally backs Mickelson, who became the oldest player to win a major. He won the PGA Championship at age 50. Some passionate gamblers believe lightning can strike twice.

“He was 100-1 for this tournament while the PGA was still going on, the odds dropped as low as 50 and now they are going back up,” Avello said. “He is definitely a hazard for us now.

“The people have been betting Phil ever since he won the PGA and have continued to do so. He’s always played well at this course too.”

Avello believes Rahm has a consistent record at Torrey Pines. Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau are solid players who can also rise up at any moment.

“Morikawa is steady, I really like his game,” Avello asserted. “He is solid with his irons. From 120 yards away and in, he strikes the ball well.

How to watch U.S. Open

The 2021 U.S. Open TV coverage will be split between Golf Channel and NBC. Here is how and where to watch:

  • Thursday, June 17: 12:30-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 7-10 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Friday, June 18: 12:30-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 6-9 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Saturday, June 19: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Sunday, June 20: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 12-8 p.m. ET (NBC)

Ways to wager at NJ Online sportsbooks

The U.S. Open is a four-day golf betting fest for New Jersey gamblers.

Check some excellent new DraftKings additions.

They include the prices for Top 5, Top 10, and Top 20 after the opening round.

You took a bomb to be the first-round leader and he’s second?

This bet rewards that play. It will encourage more first-round betting on longshots and some hedge plays on favorites.

As the days roll on, betting menus expand.

“You can bet on the tournament winner the entire time,” Avello said. “We do write a fair amount of money on whether the next hole will be a birdie or the next shot will hit the fairway, but the bet to win it all is still a big percentage of[our] business.”

“Now take a guy like Dustin Johnson. Let’s say he’s 15-1 [+1500] and shoots -1 the first day with the leader coming in at -7. Now he goes from 15-1 to 22-1 or 25-1. Some bettors wait for that opportunity and then they plunge in.

“Some gamblers wait for two whole rounds to be completed, even three. The payoffs may be smaller, but they gain a betters sense of what could possibly happen in the final round.”

William Hill: Will Rahm regain hot stroke at U.S. Open?

Rahm is the +1000 favorite at William Hill NJ.

Brooks Koepka, Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau are next at +1800.

Rahm last played at the Memorial Tournament on June 5 before withdrawing due to testing positive for COVID-19. He had built a six-stroke lead before his exit and has been cleared for the U.S. Open following two negative COVID-19 tests.

“Rahm plays well there, he’s in good form and he’s gotten money, so he’s the lowest-priced golfer,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US. “He was so far ahead of everyone [at the Memorial Tournament before testing positive for COVID-19] and he’s been the guy with the shortest odds for the past month or so. People may think that he’s due a break and may end up betting him more.

Mickelson, meanwhile, could give the book one Hill of a problem, having taken money from +2000 (200-1) down to +4500 before drifting up

“He just won the PGA Championship and he’s back home, so he knows the course better than anyone,” Bogdanovich said. “There will be seven-figure liability on him when this kicks off. He’s really close to leading in dollars, only Koepka has more.

“Tickets, it’s not even close, he’s got the most. I think the only bigger liability in a recent golf major was when Tiger [Woods] was coming back from all those injuries and won the [2019] Masters.”

BetMGM and across the board bets

There are several different ways to cash in via BetMGM.

Let’s take Finau for example.

He’s ++2500 to win, +400 for the Top 4, +175 to hit the Top 10, and -125 for the Top 20. That’s a good range of payouts, covering 20 golfers at reasonable to good betting odds.

Apply the principle to the golfer of your choice.  This rewards a player who performs well but may have a late putt not fall.

Mickelson, incidentally, creates a value play lower on the board.

He’s +100, even money, to finish in the Top 40. If he’s on his game, he’ll hit that standard going away. If not, he won’t crack the Top 40.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

 

NBA Playoffs: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets Looking To Take 3-0 Advantage Versus Bucks

The NBA Playoffs continue Thursday night with the Milwaukee Bucks hosting 2021 championship betting favorite Brooklyn Nets in Game 3.

Even a casual fan watching the NBA Playoffs has to be coming to the same conclusion as New Jersey sportsbooks.

The Brooklyn Nets (+110) are winning the 2021 NBA Championship.
The odds-on favorite Nets are toying with Eastern Conference opponents right now, similar to how a cat plays with a dead mouse.

Five of the team’s six playoff wins have been by double-digits.
Monday’s night dismantling of the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 at Barclays Center was clear and convincing evidence that this team is nearly unstoppable

The Nets led by as many as 49 points in the fourth quarter and won by 39.
And Brooklyn staged that performance with one of its Big Three in street clothes.

Yikes.

NBA Playoffs continue Thursday night in Milwaukee

The Nets have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 tips off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum.

Brooklyn will be without James Harden and Jeff Green on Thursday night.
The Bucks are a 3.5 point favorite at BetMGM and DraftKings Sportsbook,  at least as of mid-afternoon Thursday.

Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is set at over/under 32.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook. Milwaukee’s leading scorer averaged 28.1 points per game in the regular season. That number dips to 24.3 PPG in the playoffs.

For a Greek Freak combo points and rebounds, FanDuel set the over/under at 45.5.

Over/under for Game 3 ranges between 233.5 to 243.5 points at most NJ online sportsbooks.

BROOK-LYN, BROOK-LYN

Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both projected to have big games, too. Durant’s over/under is 32.5 points, while Irving’s posted line is 28.5 points at DraftKings. The over is -106 and the under is -121 for both players.

Durant, Harden, and Irving averaged 85.2 points in the first-round series against the Boston Celtics. It is the highest-scoring series for a trio in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

With or without Harden, Durant is playing like the guy who won 2017 NBA Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors.

Through the first seven games of the 2021 postseason, Durant is putting up otherworldly numbers. He is shooting 55% from the field and 50% from 3-point range, both career playoff bests. His 32 points per game are the third-highest of his postseason career.

And if Durant keeps putting up these numbers, the rest of the remaining NBA team will have a tough time stopping his Nets.

Dreamstime Photo 

Will 76ers Deliver A Winning Ticket For NJ Bettors Tuesday Night Versus Hawks?

Following the Philadelphia 76ers Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, it’s time to revaluate their NBA Playoff odds at NJ online sportsbooks.

Philadelphia 76ers backers must interpret a strange interruption to their NBA betting playoff party.

It continues Tuesday in round two, Game 2, with the Sixers hosting the Atlanta Hawks as medium-sized NJ online spots betting favorite.

But the post-season celebration, enlivened after the Sixers had dispatched the Washington Wizards in a five-games, has been threatened. It’s more subdued, and the music is softer.

With the Sixers losing Game 1 on Sunday, 128-124, they won’t have the luxury of breezing through the second round. That would have let them relax and watch the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks make the other conference semifinal a draining marathon.

Brooklyn leads that series 1-0 before tonight’s Game 2 and remains the DraftKings favorite at +160 to win the NBA championship.  That’s even without star James Harden, who suffered a hamstring injury 43 seconds into its 115-107 Game 1 win on Saturday.

The Nets are slight favorites for the second game and will be without Harden.

The books forecast the Sixers at least making temporary amends after the stunning loss to the Hawks.  Stunning is a fitting term being that the Sixers had NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid back in the starting lineup. He scored 39 points.

The gamblers who had taken the Sixers at betting odds of -2.5 on Friday when it looked like Embiid would be sidelined got a great deal.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t cash in.

Assessing the 76ers odds after Game 1

Bettors have two assessments on the Sixers, based on how the game ended.

What happened?

Embiid played Sunday through a small right tear in his meniscus. Besides the 39 points, he collected nine rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes. The Sixers lost with him after blowing out the Hawks by 66 points in two April contests essentially without him.

New Jersey bettors were practically all in on the Sixers. DraftKings reported that 64% of the moneyline handle backed them at -205.

And 78% of the gamblers took the Sixers -4.5. A high number of players undoubtedly took both bets.

Sixers backers were rewarded in one category at least and that would be total points. DraftKings reported 58% of the customers took over 220.5.

They likely profited in another area too.

Plus, you can’t ignore Atlanta’s Trae Young’s value on the prop board.  He rang the bell twice for bettors on Sunday. His line of over 2.5 for three-pointers was the most popular prop bet at DraftKings. He produced four and rewarded bettors at +125.

Young also had 35 points, far above the 27 needed to bring home an over-under bet on his point total, at -117. That was the second most highly-bet prop.

Look for him to be a big prop target Tuesday as well.

William Hill offered a boosted odds special on Sunday. Take the Sixers and the Los Angeles Clippers on the Moneyline and get +140. The Clippers, who eliminated the Dallas Mavericks with a  126-111 victory, came through. The Sixers did not.

The other viewpoint on Joel Embiid and company

It never happened. The Sixers trailed by 26 before nearly stealing the game late. They found themselves. Momentum will carry over into Game 2. Take a mulligan. The Hawks hit 20 of 47 three-pointers and the 76ers must make sure it doesn’t happen again.

DraftKings underscored that sentiment, installing the Sixers at a decided -4.5 and a -180 on the moneyline for Game 2. Within an hour, it moved up to -5 and -195 on the moneyline.

And as of Monday morning, it moved to -210.

More along that vein, the Sixers showed they can stand up around Embiid too. Tobias Harris had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Seth Curry had 21 points and Ben Simmons delivered 17 points and 10 assists in Game 1. However, Simmons only made three of 10 free-throw attempts.

Harris and Simmons produced winning prop-bet double-double tickets for bettors.

The over-under of 222.5 for Game 2 projects 30 fewer points than the opener and below the teams’ combined 227-point average. It reflects the expectation that the Sixers, who were slow defensively in the opener, will snap back to form.

How will James Harden’s absence impact the Nets’ odds?

Bettors handicap a reduced Harden influence.  This is the same hamstring that saw him miss over a month before returning for the final week of the regular season.

Harden then returned to play in two games before the postseason began, and he had no issues in Brooklyn’s five-game destruction of the Boston Celtics in the opening round.

In his Game 1 absence, Brooklyn got a balanced scoring attack with 29 points from Kevin Durant, 25 from Kyrie Irving, 19 from Joe Harris and 18 from Blake Griffin.

Betting confidence remains high on the Nets in Game 2.

They were listed as -2 at BetMGM with a moneyline of -125.

But do you feel lucky?

Think they can win by five points or more, as they did in Game 1? Take that prop and get +135.

Handicapping 76ers odds for NBA Eastern Conference finals

So what happens if the Sixers right this ship?

They will play the Nets, against whom they were 2-1, or the Bucks, who swept them 3-0.

The 76ers never faced a full Nets team, but did beat then twice at home.  They were blown out of the water against the Bucks, going 0-3 and suffering their worst blowout of the season, 132-94, on April 24.

Four days later, they crushed the Hawks by 44 points. Two nights later, it was by 22.

But here they are in a different place against the fifth-seeded team.  Suddenly the Hawks have won four straight, including the three clinching victories against the New York Knicks.

Suddenly, the 76ers face their first must-win of the season Tuesday and then must seize a road victory. They play Friday and Monday in Atlanta.

The optimistic bettor thinks the Nets and Bucks will have a long draining series and the Sixers will play the winner.

The pessimist believes they won’t beat the Hawks.

The realist is in between.

Dreamstime Photo 

 

BetMGM Adds NYRA Bets As First Horse Racing Partner

A new BetMGM-NYRA partnership will give app users more access to live races and replays along with more betting markets

New Jerseyans who can’t get enough of horse betting will soon have a chance to satiate their interests. A new BetMGM-NYRA partnership will expand the horse racing content and wagering options in NJ.

BetMGM Sportsbook could become the app of choice for racing fans in NJ due to the integration of the New York Racing Association’s assets. At the very least, the additions will represent a serious upgrade.

What’s up with the BetMGM-NYRA deal?

Perhaps the most impressive part of NYRA Bets is the sheer volume of action and content on the platform. Over 200 tracks worldwide comprise the NYRA’s options.

The NYRA’s library of video content includes both live streaming and race replays. Betting on harness, quarter horse, and thoroughbred racing will span thousands of events around the globe.

BetMGM is set to bring all of that to a new standalone racing app to as many jurisdictions as possible.

“We’ve found a great partner in NYRA Bets and look forward to working with them to create a thrilling, interactive experience for horse racing fans on BetMGM,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt

While this is a first for BetMGM, it represents another expansion of the NYRA’s collaborations with gambling companies. This might be the most impactful association yet, though.

NYRA branching out with BetMGM

The NYRA also recently inked a deal with Jackpocket, the US’ first licensed third-party lottery courier service. It’s a pretty standard cross-promotional deal for both parties.

At its core, the BetMGM-NYRA deal is the same thing. Both BetMGM and NYRA could benefit from some new traffic from established customers of the other brand.

It makes sense because there’s likely to be some crossover in the two crowds.

“This is the type of partnership that reflects the importance of horse racing within the rapidly evolving sports betting marketplace. BetMGM has consistently led the charge to expand wagering opportunities for their customers, and we are thrilled that our horse racing content will soon be available on their platform,” said NYRA Bets President Tony Allevato.

NYRA Bets is hoping that BetMGM customers will stake some horses while BetMGM is trying to lure horse-racing fans into trying out online casino and online sports wagering. If any crossover does occur, neither company will look that gift horse in the mouth.

Dreamstime Photo

Injured Millville Mike Trout’s American League MVP Odds Take A Big Dive

A calf injury has knocked Mike Trout off of the American League MVP leaderboard at NJ sportsbooks as teammate Shohei Ohtani is now the consensus chalk

Pass the NJ sports betting baton. The calf injury forcing Millville Mike Trout off of the American League MVP leaderboard makes Los Angeles Angels teammate Shohei Ohtani consensus chalk at all major NJ online sportsbooks.

It’s a shame for Trout and New Jersey bettors who had backed the three-time AL MVP. He’d notched a fine start with eight homers, 18 RBI, .333 batting average, and a Major-league-Leading 1.090 OPS.

But now he’s been replaced and sits in the +1000 to +1500 range at many books.

One week after Trout’s injury, which could sideline him six to eight weeks, Ohtani is the clear leader with odds of roughly +125 at DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM sportsbooks.

William Hill, which took a cascade of preseason Ohtani money at high prices, has him at -120.

Why is Ohtani getting all the betting love?

The West Coast gamblers look prophetic for authoring the Ohtani Tsunami. It’s been an unprecedented betting wave since March for a player who had never produced big numbers.

What had they known, besides him being a batter and pitcher?

Ohtani hit .190 last season. In a 60-game season, he had seven home runs. He drove in 24, 16 less than Phillies leader Didi Gregorious.

Bettors crushed Ohtani numbers as if they knew a secret, which is now out.

Either way, baseball and the books enjoy the fresh-air perspective brought by Trout and Ohtani.

The story of Millville Mike Trout

The small-town boy makes a great story, in triplicate. The Cumberland County native, who grew up as a diehard Phillies fan and attended their 2008 World Series parade, has been the MLB poster child.

Trout pleases the purists, who observe his three MVPs in six years and know that legends like Joe DiMaggio, Micky Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Ted Williams never did that.

Trout also pleases many younger fans, big bettors, who view his prop production like a cash register.

Ohtani hails from Japan and, in the mold of fellow countryman Ichiro Suzuki, captured the imagination and support of West Coast fans. Picture him as Ichiro with bulk. Ohtani is 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, five inches taller than Ichiro, and entered the last week of May with 14 homers. As well as 45 strikeouts in 30 innings from the mound.

Ohtani also pleases the purists, who appreciate Ichiro’s mastery of fundamentals.

But they were waiting for a breakout, too.

And they have one.

William Hill sportsbook detailed his meteoric climb.

Before the injury, Trout sat atop the board at +175 with Ohtani second at +600.

One night afterward, Ohtani was quickly adjusted to +350.  His price shifted to -240 on May 19 and has snapped back to -110 as of early Wednesday afternoon.

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Going deeper with the Ohtani odds

William Hill now has Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. second at +375.

Since May 18, Ohtani has generated 49% of the total number of tickets and 80% of the total dollars wagered among all AL MVP bets at William Hill. Since this market was first up on Feb. 17, he still leads the way in both total number of tickets (26%) and total dollars wagered (53%).

Ohtani is also at +700 to be the MLB regular season home run leader, where he is the co-favorite with Ronald Acuna Jr. The Atlanta Braves outfielder entered the week with 15 homers, while Ohtani and Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia were one behind at 14 apiece. Garcia is tied for the sixth-lowest odds at +1800 with Nick Castellanos, Pete Alonso, J.D. Martinez, and Yordan Alvarez

Can a player on a weak team win the MVP award?

Yes. Trout did it three times.

And as good as Ohtani has been, the Angels are not a good team. They entered the last week of May 2-5 without Trout, 20-27 overall and plopped in the AL West basement. Without Trout, teams will soon start expanding Ohtani’s strike zone.

Ohtani rolls at all the books

While the Trout injury helped Ohtani become the favorite, DraftKings bettors were already pushing his number down close to the favorite position.

Ohtani went from +3300 to +2000 by Opening Day and surged to +1000 within a month. He steadily moved down and surged again when Trout got hurt.

FanDuel lists Ohtani as a +135 frontrunner. Guerrero Jr. is +450 and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is +2000.

BetMGM puts Ohtani in the lead at +115 while Vladamir Guerrero Jr is +500.

Third belongs to J.D. Martinez at +1400. Trout is tied with him.

Trout’s vulnerability is the long absence.

The Jacob deGrom injury scare

In a related tale of MVP woe, Jacob deGrom suffered an injury scare with right-side pain forcing him to miss two starts. But he scheduled a late May return.

He is +800 to win NL MVP at Bet MGM. As of Wednesday, only Acuna Jr. (+300) and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres (+600) had better odds.

Yet his record is what insanity looks like.

Then there is the NL Cy Young race. It’s logical that the Mets phenom (-125) is well above Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers (+450) and reigning titleholder Trevor Bauer of the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1600) on the prop.

But here’s where logic disappears:  what he’s done and what he shows.

deGrom has pitched 45 innings and struck out 74 batters. He’s given up four earned runs. That’s right, four.

As of Wednesday, he has an unbelievable 0.80 ERA. And that’s not even his lowest number. The WHIP, baserunners allowed per nine innings, was 0.60.

This is historic. It’s unlikely that a pitcher’s earned-run average AND whip have ever been 1.28 during the second quarter of the season.

This is vintage dominance from a two-time Cy Young award winner the Mets are wasting.

Look at the win-loss record. He’s 3-2. How do you give up three total runs in six starts and lose two games?

And that’s been his career. In 2018, deGrom won the Cy Young with a 1.70 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Hall-of-fame numbers. And he went 10-9.

deGrom may file a police report for abandonment. But bettors have been cashing in by taking the Mets’ runs under whenever he pitches.

That should change soon enough.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

 

 

PGA Championship Weekend Sets Stage For Another Round Of Major NJ Golf Betting

The PGA Championship begins today at the Kiawah Island Resort Ocean Course, and NJ golf bettors can choose from an extensive props menu.

Rory McIlroy’s first start off a recent win and Jordan Spieth’s quest for a fourth major highlight the NJ golf betting angles for Garden State online sports gamblers with the PGA Championship.

The circuit’s second major unfolds Thursday-Sunday from the Kiawah Island Resort Ocean Course in South Carolina.

How to Watch:

Thursday and Friday: 1-7 p.m., ESPN
Saturday and Sunday:10 a.m.-1p.m., ESPN, 1-7 p.m. (CBS)

McIlroy, Spieth well-represented at major NJ online sportsbooks

Heading into Thursday first-round action, DraftKings Sportsbook  has McIlroy as the favorite at +1150

Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, both at+1450, are next.

Spieth, +1500, and Bryson DeChambeau, +1650, round out the top five.

McIlroy also tops the William Hill NJ board at +1100.

Rahm is second at +1400 followed by Spieth and Thomas, both at +1600

Dustin Johnson and  DeChambeau sit at +1800.

PGA Championship prop betting

NJ golf bettors can find good value in the Top 5 and Top 10 spots at William Hill.

McIlroy pays +250 for Top 5 and +130 for Top 10.

Spieth returns +300 and +163, respectively, for the same two categories.

FanDuel Sportsbook has McIlroy the favorite at +1100 and provides a little more value for Spieth at +1800.

It also fashions an excellent prop-wagering menu.

There are matchups for two, three, and four individual players.

Can players obtain a bogey-free first round on this difficult golf course? Spieth is +1400 to do that, and he’s the favorite.

Spieth is also +470 to obtain a bogey-free round in the tournament.

This prop offers strong betting value for any player you choose.

BetMGM offers a prop for Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, and Tony Finau all to make the cut at+140.

And here is a little wagering nugget: Several attractive props involve Dustin Johnson. But beware that he withdrew from last week’s Byron Nelson with a sore knee and could be nursing it here.

There is a wealth of betting opportunities before and throughout the tournament. The PGA has become one of the highest revenue-producing sports for the books because of its ability to generate both props and daily wagering.

Betting options before the tournament include:

  • Win, Top 5, Top 10 finishes
  • Golfers to make or miss the cut
  • Nationality props
  • First-round leader
  • Individual matchups

Also, bets can be made throughout the weekend. They include:

  • New individual head-to-head matchups
  • Odds to win adjusted on a daily basis.
  • Scores on an upcoming hole

Golfers in PGA Championship spotlight

McIlroy tries to parlay his Wells Fargo tour victory two weeks ago into a PGA Championship.

He snapped an 18-month winless drought by turning in an excellent performance and landed atop the leaderboards of major sportsbooks this week.

Spieth, meanwhile, seeks a personal grand slam.

He tries to become only the sixth player to win all four PGA majors, The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and Open Championship, in his career.

He would join Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Gary Player.

Ocean Course is a PGA Tour beast

There are some PGA Tour courses players dominate and win tournaments with scores greater than 20 under par.

This is the opposite. Players are on the defense here and victory may be determined by pars saved rather than birdies made.

McIlroy won the PGA Championship when it was last held at this course in 2012. He notched a final total of -13, but most of the field barely broke par.

Nineteen players finished between -5 and -1. The majority of the field was even or over par.

Credit that to the course, which fashions imposing length and a myriad of wind changes.

It is spectacular and scenic, and the longest on the tour at 7,876 yards. On several occasions, Golf Digest has ranked it the toughest course in America.

“When the wind is blowing, par on many of the holes is an excellent score,” one Golf Digest panelist wrote. “If your idea of a good time is a fistfight, this is the place for you.”

Finding value beneath the big names

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites that victory could be a matter of survival.

“The winds come one way one moment and they are different the next moment,” he said. “This week is not about the long hitter. It’s about the guy who can control the swing, stay on the fairway, and hit good, accurate shots.

“The winner might be 3 or 4 under. It’s a whole different type of strategy this week.”

Avello believes some exceptional value lies just beneath the big names. He cited Patrick Cantlay at +4500 and Matsuyama at +3500. Matsuyama won The Masters, the PGA’s first major, in April.

Although McIlroy is a popular player, golf still lacks a personality with the charisma of Woods. Tiger Mania rippled across the gallery, television screens, and, in the earliest legalized sports wagering era, the books.

“People flocked to Tiger because he was on the leaderboard every week,” Avello said. “There’s just been nobody like him. These days you might have a guy who puts some great holes together and you see people cheering, but he’s not there the next week.”

Momentum bettors will like the recent performance of McIlroy’s tour victory and Spieth’s solid ninth-place finish last week at the Byron Nelson.

“We lose pretty good with Rory, so I lowered him again on Monday,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US. “People just think he’s back in stroke. Right now, we lose with him, Spieth, and Justin Thomas among the top guys. Once we get more money in the pot, which will pick up fast this week, I still don’t think we’ll get out with Spieth—we’ll lose with Spieth regardless.”

Set your PGA betting calendars

The PGA Majors schedule links April-July for sports bettors. They also act as a hub for tour players, impacting the size of fields directly before and after they unfold.

The next major is the U.S. Open, June 17-20 from Torrey Pines in California.

Then comes The Open July 15-18 from Royal St. George’s in England.

AP Photo/Matt York