PGA Tour Picks: The Ryder Cup Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
The 2017-18 PGA Tour season concludes this Sunday at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. We projected Rory McIlroy to win the tournament for a second time and Justin Rose to win the FedExCup for the first time. Overall this season, we picked four correct winners entering the finale. We've said it before and will again: Your best golf bets really shouldn't be the winner market (such a crapshoot) but instead the Top 10 prop or head-to-head.
The Ryder Cup most likely will be our last preview for 2018 because the fall events on the Tour simply don't register much with watered-down fields. If some big names commit to a tournament (the PGA Tour is trying its best to mandate as such in the fall) then we will address. And, we may look at the Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods Match Play winner-take-all event on Thanksgiving Weekend. That should draw quite a bit of betting action.
The golf season truly ends Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National in Paris with the biennial Ryder Cup. I'll be honest in that I don't get as excited as other golf fans for this team event (probably simply for when it is on the schedule: smack-dab in football season with the NHL and NBA on the horizon). It definitely brings out emotions in the golfers and fans, and that I do like. It's sort of like tennis' Davis Cup on steroids (depending on the country). Most casual golf fans likely wouldn't have been able to tell you what the Ryder Cup was until the USA's charged win at Brookline in 1999. That really rocketed this event into arguably the fifth-most important in golf behind the four majors.
A quick primer on the Ryder Cup if you are unaware: It began in 1927 with the United States taking on golfers from Great Britain & Ireland. The Americans were thoroughly dominating so all of continental Europe was added in 1979, and it's now Team Europe. There are 12 players to a side, eight on each by points earned and four captain's picks for each.
It's a Friday-Sunday event, all match play. Friday and Saturday feature both foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (better ball). There are four such matches of each, so obviously not all 12 players will be competing - although usually every player is involved in at least one competition per day. Sunday, it's head-to-head singles between all 12 on each side. The captains pick all the matchups. This year, those are Jim Furyk of the USA and Thomas Bjorn of Sweden.
With eight total matches on both Friday and Saturday and 12 on Sunday, that means a maximum of 28 points can be earned, but matches can (and will) be halved. First side to 14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup. Should it end in a tie, and it has a couple of times, the reigning Ryder Cup winner keeps it. That would be Team USA, which routed Team Europe 17-11 two years ago at Hazeltine in Minnesota; in two years, it will be held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, a course that has held three PGA Championships (last in 2015).
Since the Americans' win in Brookline, Team Europe has dominated in winning all but two Ryder Cups: last year and 2008 at Valhalla in Louisville. The USA hasn't won the Cup on European soil since 1993.
Golf Odds: Ryder Cup Odds
Bovada will offer odds on every single match, but we won't know those first Friday pairings. The Americans are -135 to win the Ryder Cup with Europe at +135 and a draw at +1100. You can also bet on the winning side in every session and the first two days overall. Ditto for things like Day 1 correct score, Day 1 foursomes correct score and fourballs correct score. In some ways, this is the Super Bowl of golf betting with all the options.
For overall correct score, the favorite at +900 is both Europe and the USA winning 15-13. Hasn't finished that way since 1993. You can also wager on biggest match winning margin; 6&5 is the favorite at +275. That means a golfer is up by six with five holes left. Golfers don't play the remaining holes if a match is clinched.
Team USA looks stronger on paper as every member of the side was ranked in the Top 25 in the world entering the Tour Championship. Furyk's captain's picks were Woods, Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau. Strong. We get to see Jordan Spieth after he didn't qualify for the Tour Championship. The favorites to be top American points scorer (max 5) are Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson at +550 each. Tiger is +700. DJ and Koepka are also the co-favorites to be leading scorers overall at +800.
Europe might not have the star power of the USA and is led by British Open champion Francesco Molinari, new world No. 1 Rose, McIlroy and Ryder Cup legends Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter. The latter two finished way down in points but were deserved captain's picks for their track record in this event. Rose and McIlroy are +500 favorites to lead Team Europe in scoring.
Golf Odds: Ryder Cup Picks
I'll stick with recent trends and take Europe to win the Ryder Cup as those fans go bananas over there and guys like Sergio and Poulter raise their games. Europeans seem to thrive better in match play than Americans. We'll go with Garcia at +1200 to lead Europe in scoring and a rested Spieth (+800) to do the same for the USA and salvage a down year.
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