Presidents Cup best bets: Here’s where we’re putting our money on Day 1

December 11, 2019

The Presidents Cup is already upon us! It may be Wednesday in the U.S., but it’s already gameday Down Under, which means there’s no time to waste on extra words. Simply put, golf’s team events are hands-down the most fun wagering opportunities on the calendar. Match play! Team play! Let’s start with $1 million in internet cash and get straight to the big board!

DAY 1 MATCHUPS (odds via Bovada)

Thomas/Woods (-225) vs. Leishman/Niemann (+170)
Schauffele/Cantlay (-185) vs. Hadwin/Im (+145)
DeChambeau/Finau (-130) vs. Scott/An (EVEN)
Simpson/Reed (-165) vs. Matsuyama/Pan (+125)
Johnson/Woodland (-165) vs. Ancer/Oosthuizen (+125)

That’s right — the U.S. is currently favored in ALL FIVE first-day matches. So where’s the value? I see question marks on Team Bryson/Finau; they’re going to smash the hell out of the ball, but the setup at Royal Melbourne seems like it will favor precision and deft touch, which Bryson didn’t show as much of last week at the Hero. Finau’s been out of sorts, too. They could ham-and-egg it, but nobody wants this more than Scott and I like that number.

The pick: SCOTT/AN (EVEN), $100,000 to win $100,000

More question marks surround Team DJ/Woodland on the U.S. side, and Louis Oosthuizen has always been an International team stalwart. Slip in some investment on them at +125.

The pick: OOSTHUIZEN/ANCER (+125), $100,000 to win $125,000

I don’t love the number next to Team Tiger/JT nor Webb/Reed, but I do think they’ll both win — let’s tack on a two-team parlay to get that number to +130.

The pick: TIGER/THOMAS (-225) parlayed with WEBB/REED (-165), $100,000 to win $130,000


TEAM U.S.A. -165
TIE +500

If you like the Americans on Day 1, this may be the best way to go. -165 when they’re favored to win each of the five matches? Not bad.

The pick: TEAM USA (-165) $200,000 to win $121,121

Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have put together their Day 1 matchups.
Getty Images


This is a bit of a numbers game; who’s going to play all five sessions? I like the idea of taking a couple fliers, but I also think there’s one name who’s the favorite with good reason: Justin Thomas. He and Tiger should get off to a hot start Wednesday, and I’d be shocked if Thomas sits at all the rest of the week. His airtight short game should be especially well-suited to these surfaces; 8-1 isn’t great but it could be much worse. It’s an obvious pick for a reason.

The pick: JUSTIN THOMAS (8-1) $100,000 to win $800,000

Looking down the board, I like the number on Adam Scott (16-1). The Americans seem slightly overvalued, and Scotty should serve as a bit of a figurehead for this young squad. He’ll be in five sessions and I like his chances in the first one — why not?

The pick: ADAM SCOTT (16-1) $50,000 to win $800,000

Okay, one number is way too low here. C.T. Pan is playing the first session — he shouldn’t be this far down, right? This is just a play out of principle.

The pick: C.T. PAN (80-1) $25,000 to win $2,000,000

If you’re confident the Americans will win going away, stay away from these and stick to the overall points-scorers.

At risk of getting spread too thin, I’d like some investment on Louis Oosthuizen. Seeing him here at 5-1 is the best spot to grab him.

The pick: LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (5-1) $50,000 to win $250,000


Patrick Cantlay (+400) seems like a smart play, but if you’re looking down the board check out Ben An (+1400). If he and Scott get hot, look out. The International side is lucky to have him in action.

The pick: BEN AN (14-1) $50,000 to win $700,000


It’s obvious by now that I like Scott this week; even odds for him to out-score Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith seems like a solid bet.

The pick: ADAM SCOTT (EVEN) $100,000 to win $100,000


Ben An, 6-1?! That’s great value compared to the likes of Hideki (+150) and Sungjae Im (+250). Book it.

The pick: BEN AN (6-1) $100,000 to win $600,000

Okay, we’re not just going to let that extra $25k sit around, are we? This is literally closing your eyes and throwing at a dartboard, but let’s go with Team USA by four points exactly.

The pick: USA 17-13 (+900) $25,000 to win $225,000

Happy hunting! Let’s see how much is left tomorrow…

To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.