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Top 5 Sleeper Picks, DFS Value Plays

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Happy senior week! The US Open is my favorite event of the year and this time we have another treat as we head to The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. As is to be expected in a major championship, players will need to be in control of their golf ball off the tee and complement their approach strengths with the ability to get out of thick rough if they plan to stay put. Below, we’ll look at the US Open odds and delve into the sleeper picks.

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INTRODUCTORY COURSE

Preview of The Country Club cliff notes would suggest that this course emulates many of the US Open setups we’ve seen at the USGA over the last decade. However, it relies on the peculiar natural topography at a great distance to challenge the field.

With tiny greens, thick, rough and angled fairways that will encourage players to rack up blades over 175 yards off the tee, golfers will need to time their bag full to score well this week. Since distance is not a prerequisite, it opens the door for some of the shortest and most accurate players on the course more than a regular US Open can. This week, distance is nice to have, and the ability to hit fairways, keep greens tight, and regularly battle for pars in thick rough will be the script for victory.

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For a deeper dive into the course, please read my full preview. Let’s move on to our US Open picks, with a look at unlikely shots and sleepers for your DFS lineups. Click the odds below to bet now while earning exclusive signup bonuses for new users.

US OPEN ODDS: TOP 5 SLEEPING PICKS

When it comes to Majors, it’s generally wise to concentrate exposure to the big names at the top of the board rather than the long-range bombs. Majors are designed to test a player’s overall skills, expose and exaggerate any shortcomings in a given player’s games.

That has effectively narrowed the pool of potential winners to a more concentrated list. Though it appears The Country Club will offer the same overall test, the scorecard’s shorter distance of just over 7,200 yards will open up that contending pool of players a bit more.

We can’t just strike out players who sacrifice distance to the pitch, like we normally do in Winged Foot and Torrey Pines. So even though these golfers are unlikely shots, there are plenty of upsides to support some players beyond triple-digit absolute odds.

As far as DFS goes, there isn’t much value below the $7K mark in Draft Kings. So, it’s shaping up to be a slightly more balanced build for my lineup build this week. Notably, the cutoff rules at a US Open are only top 60 and ties, so in a full field of 156 players, you’ll have a huge advantage if you can get all six players to make the cut. With plenty of viable options in the $7K range, we should have the flexibility to include multiple viable $9K+ players in our rosters. Landing on the right value players will be crucial once again.

Below is a look at my favorite value leverage plays and long shots for US Open 2022 odds! Statistics drawn from the last 36 rounds unless otherwise noted.

Keegan Bradley ($7,500)

I’m a sucker for pain, which makes it much easier for me to endure Keegan’s recent struggles by closing out the Wells Fargo Championship and THE PLAYERS before that. But the point remains that he has gotten into contention regularly this season. Even though I’m delusional enough to have fully returned in his pursuit of his second Major championship in his home territory of New England, it also makes for a strong DFS and placement play.

Keegan is a quintessential ball striker and thrives on courses that reward a combination of driving distance and driving precision. He has shown it consistently over the last three months with four top-10 finishes in his last seven starts.

He joins Jon Rahm, Cameron Young and Max Homa as the only four players in this week’s field to rank in the top 30 in both driving distance and driving accuracy. It’s no coincidence that the group looks back to the top of the standings at last month’s Wells Fargo Championship at one of the best competition courses in TPC Potomac.

Keegan is my favorite US Open probability and will be a staple in my DFS lineups, for better or worse.

Russell Henley ($7,300)

Like Bradley, I’ll hold my nose to Henley despite his recent struggles closing out the Sony Open and Wyndham Championship. I drew the line to bet directly on Henley in this pressure-filled atmosphere, but he is elite in the areas that matter most to finding repeat success at The Country Club: fairways and greens.

Henley ranks #5 in the field in terms of SG:APP, complemented by a top 25 spot in driving accuracy. He is average for the TOUR in terms of driving distance, which won’t kill you at The Country Club. What’s most encouraging about Henley’s prospects at a Major is the improvement in his short game.

Ranking No. 12 in SG:ARG, Henley joins Xander Schauffele as the only two players on the field to rank in the top 25 in driving accuracy, SG:APP and SG:ARG.

Given the recent meltdowns we’ve seen from Henley in the big moments, we wouldn’t think of him as someone who thrives in the spotlight of a major championship. However, he has actually had a steady record at the US Open, finishing inside the top 30 in each of his last three appearances.

That’s highlighted by a T13 at Torrey Pines last year, where in true Henley fashion, he rocketed out of contention on Sunday with a final-round score of 76. That said, Henley is a must-have in the US odds market. Open for the leader of the first round. this week, especially since the court is perfectly suited to his game.

Brian Harmann ($7,000)

I’ve been less emotionally invested in Brian Harman, who sits at the top of the leaderboard regularly but hasn’t been inserted into the mix on Sundays.

The top 3 golf courses for The Country Club in the last three months are Muirfield Village, TPC Potomac and Innisbrook. Harman has been at his best at all three courses this year, finishing in the top 20 at each (including the top 10 at the Valspar Championship and Wells Fargo).

Harman’s strong performance isn’t limited to regular TOUR stops either, as his record at the US Open is as good as anyone in this price range. He has finished inside the top 40 in each of his last four US Open appearances, including a T2 at Erin Hills in 2017.

The US Open event history is encouraging for Harman, considering it may be a long time before he sees another 7,200-yard venue that rewards accuracy over distance, the strength of his game. I’ll be looking his way into the top 20 market this week, and I think he’s a viable unlikely prospect for the US Open with his hefty outright price tag.

kevin na ($7,000)

There’s a lot to like in DraftKings Sportsbook’s low $7K range this week. Kevin Na has the most wins of them all with four wins in the last four years.

He now enters the 2022 US Open with a bit of a chip on his shoulder as he sets out to refute the reputation that LIV is simply a home for players who can no longer compete in the weekly grind with the PGA TOUR’s elite.

Before his LIV debut, Na’s form was shooting from the fairway to the green. He won 7.8 strokes in Approach in his last PGA TOUR start at the Charles Schwab Challenge, where he finished T7, which was the 10th-best Approach performance of his entire career. From a short game perspective, Na has always held an elite spot among his teammates, as he is ranked #1 in SG:ARG for the last 100 rounds.

Na’s lack of distance is the biggest concern when supporting him in a USGA field setup. Still, The Country Club will mitigate that handicap, allowing you to lean on your driving precision strength to position yourself for scoring opportunities. If the weather improves as the scoreboard turns into a wrestling match, Na has a very clear path to cracking the top 20 for her US Open odds.

Keita Nakajima ($6,000)

The world’s top-ranked amateur left a sour taste in our mouths at The Masters earlier this year, when he shot a 79 on Friday to miss the cut by two shots and cut low amateur honors. But he was in the top 20 after a par 72 in the first round of his Major career, which is an encouraging sign that the 21-year-old’s game can be compared to the greats.

Augusta wasn’t a better fit for Nakajima, as he sacrifices distance for accuracy with both his driver and irons. In a limited sample size, his preference for shorter courses has manifested itself with top 40 finishes at the ZOZO Championship and Sony Open. Those were the first two starts of his career on the PGA TOUR.

Since we last saw Nakajima at the Masters, he has been keeping busy on the Japan Tour, with T7, T32 and T11 finishes in his upcoming starts. Nakajima’s roof may be in the top 30 this week, but he has amassed plenty of pedigree and potential to pay top dollar at DraftKings.

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