2014 Ryder Cup Picks with Golf Betting Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 9/24/2014
The 2013-14 golf calendar comes to a close this weekend at Gleneagles in Scotland with the 40th Ryder Cup, the biennial team event between the Americans and Europeans that some believe is the biggest event in golf -- yes, bigger than any of the majors. It just might be.
I was unable to nail an individual winner on Tour this season, so maybe the team event will be my salvation. I will sort of cut to the lead and say it sure looks on paper as if the Americans are overmatched. Tiger Woods was generally a good Ryder Cup player, at least in singles (although his overall record is under .500), and he's not on Team USA. Frankly, he didn't deserve to be. To be fair, the only time the U.S. team has won since 2000 was in 2008 when Tiger didn't play. Also not on Team USA is Billy Horschel, who is playing better than any golfer on earth right now. He finished the PGA Tour season with a runner-up at the Deutsche Bank and wins at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup. The highest-ranked American is world No. 4 Jim Furyk. He had a great year but didn't win a tournament. Furyk is also terrible in this event with a 9-17-4 mark. Nine of the 12 U.S. players have teed it up in two or fewer Ryder Cups.
Team Europe, meanwhile, has world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup stalwarts such as Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. Europe has won five of the past six Ryder Cups and seven of the past nine. The USA hasn't won in Europe since the miracle at The Belfry in 1993. The Americans blew a seemingly sure win two years ago at Medinah outside Chicago, collapsing in Sunday singles. European players have 12 worldwide wins this season (three majors) to nine for Americans. Hunter Mahan is the only Team USA player with a win in the past five months. This is the first time since 1999 that all four reigning major champions (Bubba Watson, Germany's Martin Kaymer and McIlroy) will appear in the same year's Ryder Cup.
In case you aren't familiar with the format, the first day (Friday) features morning fourballs and afternoon foursomes. Ditto on Saturday. Thus, some players on each 12-man side won't play every event. However, all 12 will tee it up in Sunday singles. It's all match play, and each winning group or player earns a point. Matches can be halved. Because Europe is the current Cup holder, it needs only to tie at 14-14 to retain the Cup. The Americans would need 14.5 points, which is what Europe finished with two years ago.
We likely won't know official Friday opening pairings until Thursday when captains Tom Watson and Paul McGinley make their picks. However, it already has been unveiled that Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley (a Watson wild-card pick) will be a Friday pairing. It was presumed that McIlroy and Graeme McDowell would be partners throughout the Ryder Cup for Europe, but McIlroy currently has a lawsuit pending against the Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management, which involves allegations against McDowell. So that might be awkward even though the two Northern Irishmen are longtime friends. They have been Ryder Cup partners for all but one session dating to 2010 at Wales. McGinley says he may split them up not because of the lawsuit but because they haven't played very well together.
Golf Odds: Ryder Cup Favorites
At Bovada , Europe is -155, the biggest favorite in the Ryder Cup in more than a decade. The Americans are +160 and a tie at +1100. There have been two ties in history, last in 1989. The favored biggest margin in any match is 6 & 5 at 11/4. The favored correct exact scores at 8/1 are Europe winning 14.5-13.5 and Europe 15-13. Mickelson and Rickie Fowler are the 6/1 favorites as the top American point scorers and McIlroy is the 7/2 leader as Top European. Jordan Spieth is the +125 favorite as the top American rookie with Jamie Donaldson the +160 choice for Europe. Bradley leads at +130 as the top U.S. wild card with Poulter atop Europe at -110.
There are many, many props. For example, you can get USA's first drive of the Ryder Cup on Friday reaching the fairway at -175 and "no" at +135 (same for Europe). There are also "yes"-only options for a few big names to win the maximum five points, which is very hard to do.
Golf Odds: 2014 Ryder Cup Picks
I'm stunned that Mickelson is the co-favorite as the leading American scorer. Lefty has had a terrible year and is 14-18-6 in his Ryder Cup career. Of course, it does depend on your partner as well (except for Sunday). I do like Fowler there. He was 0-1-2 in his only Ryder Cup in 2010 but is much better player now and had a great year despite not winning.
Take Spieth as the top American rookie. He was 6-0-0 in two Junior Ryder Cups and 2-0-1 in the 2011 Walker Cup. Sergio is my guy at 6/1 to be the top European scorer. I have no doubt he will compete in every match and Garcia is 16-8-4 in this event all time. Go with Hunter Mahan at +185 as the top American wild card and Poulter for Europe. Poulter is a stunning 12-3-0 in this event.
Head-to-head, take Garcia at -120 over Fowler (-110), Lee Westwood at -115 over Bubba Watson (-115), Poulter at -120 over Mickelson (-110) and Henrik Stenson (-120) over Furyk (-110). I recommend yes on the two fairway bets. Finally, I like Europe to win by a score of 15-13, which was the result of the Americans' last European win 21 years ago.
Doc's Sports has a great offer for new clients. You can get $60 worth of picks from any Advisory Board handicapper for any sport he handicaps. All with no obligation and no credit card needed. Claim your free picks today .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews