GOLF

Ryder Cup Betting Guide

We have a lot of ways to wager on the Ryder Cup this year beyond just who will lift the trophy. These are our favorite markets and broader strategies for betting this week.

It's Ryder Cup Week! The top golfers from the United States take on Europe's best in a three-day event that includes fourballs, foursomes, and singles. Fourballs are two versus two matches where each golfer plays their own ball and the best score on the hole counts as the team's score, while foursomes are alternate shot format where teammates alternate tee shots on each hole. Each team is composed of 12 golfers, with four fourballs and foursomes in both morning and afternoon on Friday and Saturday before the head-to-head matchups on Sunday.

The U.S. has won just twice in the last 20 years, both on American soil. In 2018 they were soundly trounced by the Europeans 17 1/2 - 10 1/2 at Le Golf National, and if that venue leant an advantage to the home team the same can be said this time around -- the U.S. team is heavily favored at Pete Dye's Whistling Straits.

The U.S. is loaded with elite ballstrikers and has just one golfer ranked outside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking (Scottie Scheffler is 21st), while the European side's average world ranking is 30. But the Europeans have far more experience with just three rookies compared to six for the U.S.

All in all, the smart money is on the U.S.A. (-190) To Lift the Trophy. Fortunately, FanDuel Sportsbook has plenty of other markets with more juicy odds and lots of live-action to attract us this week. Here are our favorite other bets for the Ryder Cup.

Daily Winners and Three-Day Outcomes

The pairings and matchups will not be available until late Thursday, but we can expect European Captain Padraig Harrington to put an emphasis on drawing first blood and taking advantage of the experience gap between his team and the U.S. Once the Americans shake off the nerves and Captain Steve Stricker sees who of his fringier team members are dialed in, the U.S. can claw its way back before the Sunday singles.

This all sets up well for the Americans to storm back from behind, and with this in mind, we could forego the straight outright bet and pick the U.S.A. live after they fall behind. But we are not going to get nearly as juicy odds as we will calling our shot from the outset, and that's why this market is so intriguing. Threading the needle with a tie after day two would be pretty epic, but at +2700 we are not getting the right value. We'll take Europe to start ahead and the U.S. to storm back and seal the deal in singles.

Picks: Europe as Day 1 Winner (+180) and Europe-USA-USA three-day outcome (+1200)

Points, Rookies, and Wildcards

One of the truly bizarre Ryder Cup trends is that no American has been the outright top scorer since Corey Pavin in 1995, with Thomas Pieters the high man in 2016 and Ian Poulter in 2008 despite losses for Europe in both installments. The Top Combined Points Scorer market obviously overlaps with the Top USA Points Scorer and Top Europe Points Scorer markets, but to our eye, the value is more in slightly shorter odds to beat 11 guys than what is offered for beating 23. Dead heat rules apply so we could potentially split our winnings, and given the trend mentioned above, we don't have to strictly stick to Americans even if we think they are the winning side.

Justin Thomas is the top American in the market just ahead of good buddy Jordan Spieth, and there is some merit to backing both as there is a good chance they'll be teamed up in fourballs and foursomes as they were in 2018. If it comes down to who wins their Sunday matchup Thomas gets the edge, and if Stricker decides to break them up, Thomas is a better complement to many of the other golfers given Spieth's occasional erratic driving.

We are all in on Xander Schauffele given his all around excellence and ability to mesh seamlessly with just about any partner in either fourballs and foursomes. We want golfers to play in all five sessions if possible, and Schauffele stands every chance to do just that but is the longer than four other Americans in the Combined Top Points Scorer market and five others in the Top USA Scorer market.

On the European side, World No. 1 Jon Rahm will be favored against anyone head to head and is compatible with just about anybody. He'll play in all five sessions for sure along with Rory McIlroy. Rahm has the better form leading in, and with no European fans traveling to Whistling Straits due to international travel restrictions, McIlroy loses some of the juice he'd have had with a cheering section.

But who else can we even count on to tee it up five times? Will Harrington really roll out aging Ryder Cup legends Poulter or Sergio Garcia, or rookie Viktor Hovland for that matter? Our best bet and an ideal fit for Whistling Straits is Paul Casey, a ball-striker who is long and straight off the tee and consistently among the best iron players in the world.

As for the individual points, each of our favored selections warrants consideration for their listed over. Here is also where we can get a bite of Poulter at even odds. If you are willing to lay some bigger numbers there is some under action also available on a few big names that warrant consideration given overall fitness and relative talent.

Picks for Top Combined Points Scorer: Jon Rahm (+700), Justin Thomas (+750), Xander Schauffele (+1200), and Paul Casey (+2200)

Picks for Top USA Points Scorer: Justin Thomas (+550) and Xander Schauffele +800

Picks for Top European Points Scorer: Paul Casey (+1000)

Picks for Total Player Points: Brooks Koepka Under 2.5 Points (-210), Ian Poulter Over 1.5 Points (+100), Tommy Fleetwood Under 2.5 Points (-240), and Xander Schauffele Over 2.5 Points (+120)

Pick for Top Rookie: Xander Schauffele (+470)

Pick for Top Wildcard: Xander Schauffele (+450)

Live Bet Strategy

We'll also have plenty of opportunities to bet on lines that aren't available until teams and matchups are announced as the event progresses. How golfers play in each session and how the team is doing will influence lines some, but it helps to go in with a plan.

If Thomas and Spieth are paired together as expected, they'll be favorites worth backing in almost any matchup.

We have enough evidence now that Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland are among not just the best young players in the world, but the best players full stop. Both are likable and easy to root for, but both are inconsistent enough with their short game and so inexperienced in this format that they are not ideal foursome partners. Teammates and opponents are major factors to consider, but Morikawa and Hovland are two we'd be looking to fade in foursome matches.

Daniel Berger is an interesting name to watch this week, especially when he tees it up in his singles match. He could be an underdog if matched up against Rahm or McIlroy, but he is worth monitoring whoever he's against if he falls behind early. He led the Tour in back nine scoring average last season and was second in that stat in the 2020 season. Whether he's ahead, tied, or behind going into the back nine, we can confidently back him to either storm back or keep his distance.

We've seen some Sunday meltdowns from Bryson DeChambeau this year, and if he's matched up against Poulter or Garcia on Sunday he'll be in consideration for betting against.