US Open at Pebble Beach: Specials betting preview from Ben Coley

Get Ben Coley's take on the US Open below
Get Ben Coley's take on the US Open below

Rob Oppenheim can get competitive in the US Open according to Ben Coley, who also likes Matt Fitzpatrick to be the top Englishman.

Top-20 finish

2pts Chez Reavie at 9/1

1pt Rob Oppenheim at 33/1

For all the likelihood of a big-hitting golfer winning the US Open, expect to see a glut of steadier types on the fringes of the places having plotted a course to the weekend - including Chez Reavie.

This one-time PGA Tour winner is notoriously hard to get over the line but he's among the most reliable tee-to-green operators on the circuit, and that can carry him to another strong major showing.

Reavie's recent form in the US PGA reads 22-12-14 and while not quite so good in the US Open, 16th at Erin Hills showed what he can do in a renewal which was won by Brooks Koepka but saw Brian Harman bang in contention.

Something similar could unfold here and Reavie, who was runner-up to Ted Potter in last year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, looks a good bet at 9/1 to make the top 20 just as he did at Bethpage and before that in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Chez Reavie - leads after opening round
Chez Reavie can go well

In the same market, it's also worth taking a chance on 33/1 shot Rob Oppenheim.

A journeyman professional currently playing on the Web.com Tour, Oppenheim has rightly been dismissed in the outright betting but is precisely the type of player who could sneak inside the top 20 or 30 at a golf course he loves.

Granted, there are a hundred or more in this field who will happily wax lyrical over the setting, but Oppenheim's relationship with Pebble Beach runs deeper. He played the US Amateur here 20 years ago, finished second in last November's Pebble Beach Invitational, and his best PGA Tour effort was eighth in the 2017 AT&T here.

Last week he started slowly on the Web.com Tour, only to shoot 64 and then 65 over what proved to be the closing 36 holes. Only three players in the field bettered his second round and just five outscored him in the final round - bar a lacklustre opening spin he played like a contender.

That sets him up perfectly for a return to Pebble Beach, where he shot 67-71 in 2018 and 68-72 a year earlier, and while there's a good chance he's outclassed I'm happy to speculate that his course love counts for plenty.

First-round leader

0.5pt e.w. Rob Oppenheim at 350/1 (1/5 1-8)

0.5pt e.w. Roberto Castro at 300/1 (1/5 1-8)

0.5pt e.w. Sepp Straka at 250/1 (1/5 1-8)

It's also worth a very small bet on Oppenheim to lead after the first round at as big as 350/1 and with seven or even eight places on offer.

Those rounds of 64 and 65 might be at an altogether different level, but they're a continuation of the form which had seen him lie second and seventh after day one of his previous two starts.

Having also qualified for this a couple of weeks ago and with the lead here held by Brendon de Jonge, Shaun Micheel and Paul Casey in 2010, he's included to small stakes.

Ian Poulter has a fabulously consistent profile for this market and sat fourth after the first round in 2010, while Si Woo Kim and Rory Sabbatini both make some sort of appeal, but I'm rolling the dice here with two more at huge prices.

First is Roberto Castro, who qualified for this and then sat second after the first round of the Canadian Open last week, played on a course with quick, undulating, poa annua greens where accuracy from the tee was rewarded.

Castro will enjoy similar conditions at Pebble Beach, where he's got a top-10 finish and several good rounds to his name from the AT&T, and this habitual fast starter could again hit the frame having done so four times in his last eight starts on the PGA Tour.

Going further back, Castro first made a real name for himself with an opening 63 to lead at the PLAYERS, and among a host of other fast starts he's hit the frame in events like the TOUR Championship and the BMW - all against the best around.

Finally, Sepp Straka might be able to build on a good start in Canada, too.

The Austrian is a rookie who has struggled to put four rounds together so far, but starting fast hasn't been a problem - he's held two first-round leads, one in California and the other on a fairly penal course at the Valspar.

Like Castro, he's prominent in the round one scoring charts - Straka sits 20th, Castro 23rd - and that second-round 65 in Ontario shows that his game is where it needs to be.

Before that, Straka qualified for the US Open, sitting second after the first of two rounds, and while he's likely to be found out at some stage it's worth chancing him to click again on Thursday.

Alex Perry and Ben Coley chat US Open with guest Matthew Southgate
Alex Perry and Ben Coley chat US Open with guest Matthew Southgate

Top continental European

1pt e.w. Viktor Hovland at 28/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4)

We had some success in this market at the US PGA, with the feeling there that Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari weren't quite as strong as their prices suggested.

In the end, Thomas Pieters finished a shot behind Lucas Bjerregaard and Mike Lorenzo-Vera and while it's less straightforward to find the each-way value here, perhaps Viktor Hovland can put course experience to use and confirm his potential once more.

Having played well at the Arnold Palmer on an invite, Hovland was the leading amateur at the Masters where he led the field in accuracy and ranked fourth in greens hit, a remarkable effort for one so inexperienced in an event where experience is among the key requirements.

Since then he's continued to perform brilliantly at college, part of a ridiculously strong Oklahoma team, and he'll be full of confidence having performed so well at Pebble Beach when winning last year's US Amateur Championship.

Hovland was among the most dominant winners of a prestigious event, trailing only briefly during the match play and playing fewer holes than anyone in almost 40 years. His 6&5 demolition job over Devon Bling was the icing on the cake - he'd already won a couple of matches 7&6 and comfortably held off the promising Cole Hammer in the semi-final.

It's rare for a US Amateur winner to get to play the same course in the US Open they've qualified for - the last was David Gossett back here in 2000 - and Hovland is good enough to take advantage. At 28/1 and with doubts around everyone at the front of the market, even Rahm, this Norwegian stud is worth chancing on his final start as an amateur.

Top Englishman

1pt Matthew Fitzpatrick at 12/1

1pt Tyrrell Hatton at 12/1

It would be wrong to say that the top Englishman market looks ripe for an upset, with two reliable, world-class ball-strikers at the front of it, but neither Justin Rose nor Tommy Fleetwood looks unbeatable.

Rose has played well enough here in a couple of AT&T spins but he's been disappointing in both majors so far this year, a change of clubs and caddie seemingly affecting his trademark consistency.

It's possible that he bounces back now returned to California, where he did win the Farmers in February, but at 5/2 he's plenty short enough and the same goes for Fleetwood at a point bigger.

Matt Wallace looks too short in all markets, Ian Poulter has gone off the boil just a tad and Paul Casey is on record stating that he's actually not as fond of Pebble Beach as we might assume, and it's those at double-figure prices who appeal.

Pick of them might be Matt Fitzpatrick, whose accuracy off the tee and love of this sort of challenge will serve him well.

He's been putting very poorly of late but it's not expected to be a long-term malaise and if he does begin to fire, it's quite possible he's able to build on a progressive US Open record which includes 12th place at Shinnecock last year.

I've no doubt Pebble Beach will suit better still and I like how Fitzpatrick has fought back from slow starts at both majors this season, playing some stunning Friday golf which can be extended to cover the weekend here.

Instead of relying solely on the Sheffield man, throw in Tyrrell Hatton for a combined 11/2 chance.

Hatton has been playing well, notably when inside the top 10 a couple of starts ago, and this two-time Dunhill Links winner is comfortable by the coast.

He finished just ahead of Fitzpatrick at Shinnecock last year and while both were behind Fleetwood, combined they look a strong proposition against him here.

Others to consider

Again, the big two in the top Australian market look solid - Adam Scott is right back to his best and Jason Day has an enviable course record - but Aaron Baddeley appeals as an each-way player against them.

Baddeley has won at Riviera and loves poa annua greens, while he currently ranks ninth in bogey avoidance during what's been a solid season.

With the putter back firing again there's nobody more capable of coping with what will be treacherous greens, and he has plenty of strong Pebble Beach form include a couple of top-10 finishes in the AT&T.

He's 20/1 with bet365, who offer three places to a fifth of the odds each-way, but as the next best with those terms is 12/1 I'll have to leave him out of the staking plan.

The top Asian market will probably go to Hideki Matsuyama, but he's an awfully short price for one whose confidence still isn't quite there and who lacks course form.

With that in mind, I considered Si Woo Kim and C.T. Pan.

Kim was placed here in the spring and is clearly a big-time talent capable of building on a decent effort at the Memorial, while Pan is in-form, played college golf on the west coast and should be suited by a test of accuracy.

Ben Coley provides a complete guide to the field ahead of the US Open
Ben Coley provides a complete guide to the field ahead of the US Open

Finally, bet365's 11/8 about Bubba Watson missing the cut looks extremely generous.

He's missed the cut in seven of his 12 US Open starts, including four of the last five, and has form figures of MC-44-MC-35 in the AT&T here at Pebble Beach.

Quite simply he throws his toys out of the pram quickly if things don't go his way and narrow fairways, thick rough, small, fast greens plus the threat of a breeze make for conditions he simply does not like.

Look at his Open Championship record - ten starts, zero top-20 finishes, five cuts missed - for further evidence that this kind of coastal challenge undermines what he's good at, and he didn't play well last week, either.

Regrettably there aren't many firms who've priced up the entire field or even produced a make/miss the cut market, so again he can't be included in the staking plan. If you can get anything bigger than evens, though, it looks good.

Request-A-Bet

Sky Bet have priced up two #RequestABet specials relating to this week's selections.

40/1 - Bubba Watson to miss the cut, Chez Reavie top-20 and ties, Rob Oppenheim to make the cut

Posted at 1000 BST on 11/06/19.

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