After profitable sessions handicapping landmark golf events like the majors and Tony Romo’s PGA Tour debut, my editor has graciously doled out 1,500 imaginary internet euros for me to spread across this week’s Ryder Cup action. The odds are such that I don’t expect to win many of these, but even a few will pay for a celebratory bottle of bordeaux. The hour grows late: let’s dive in before the bookies close! (Odds courtesy of Bovada)
1. First player out for Europe in Singles:
Poulter +800 (€50 to win €400)
It’s Ian’s last stand! If Poulter has even a decent showing over the first couple days of play, I could see him heading out first to provide some European fire, and at a solid price. Plus, how good would it be to see him going up against…
2. First player out for U.S. in Singles:
Patrick Reed +350 (€50 to win €175)
I know, the odds on this aren’t great given a 12-man team. But consider that Reed led the squad out the gate in 2015 at the Presidents Cup and again in 2016 in that famous showdown with McIlroy. Ride with Captain America.
3. Last player out for Europe in singles:
Paul Casey +900 (€50 to win €450)
The last player out should be someone who’s solid and reliable, but isn’t being called on to lead the troops into Sunday battle. Enter Paul Casey.
4. Last player our for U.S. in singles:
Rickie Fowler +700 (€50 to win €350)
He was last out at the Presidents Cup last year and beat Emiliano Grillo 6 and 4. Why not run that back?
5. Top European points scorer:
Tommy Fleetwood +750. (€50 to win €375)
He could (should!) play five matches and has the hot putter and laserbeam irons to take it deep at Le Golf National (despite a bizarre combo of MCs and a victory in his time here for the French Open). His partners are a question mark, of course (could we see him with Molinari? Rose? Hatton?). Doesn’t matter. He’s got as good a chance as any to rise to the occasion here.
6. Top U.S. points scorer:
Tony Finau +2200 (€50 to win €1100)
This was Patrick Reed in 2014 and 2016, with 3.5 points each year. Dustin Johnson notched 4.5 points in the 2017 Presidents Cup, meanwhile…but we don’t expect that out of anyone this year. The bottom line is to make this list, you need to play at least four matches. I think Tony Finau just might do that. Not super likely, no. But he’s a likely pair for a fired-up Brooks Koepka, and at +2200 I think the price is right for a dark horse.
7. Top captain’s pick:
Tony Finau +900 (€50 to win €450)
The favorite is Tiger Woods at +275, but if he stalls out, I like Tony Finau at +900 for the same reasons as above. Value!
8. Top Scandinavian:
Alex Noren +200 (€100 to win €200)
Hammer Noren at +200! Thorbjorn isn’t likely to see the field more than three times and Henrik Stenson isn’t in his best form. This is a great price for Noren.
9. Top Spaniard:
Jon Rahm -140 (€100 to win €71.43)
Take Jon Rahm over Sergio Garcia. It’s a two-horse race, and I’m skeptical of Garcia’s form. I like the idea of a Rory-Rahm pairing, meanwhile, and could see him dialed in for the week.
10. Biggest match-winning margin:
7 and 5 at +900 (€50 to win €450)
8 and 6 at +2500 (€25 to win €625)
Gimme some blowouts on this wild course! If the wind gets up and one player/team starts going sideways, I think we could see a shellacking. Take 7 and 5 at +900 and, if you dare, peek at 8 and 6 at +2500.
Bubba Watson OVER 1.5 points +150 (€25 to win €37.50)
Carry him to victory, Webb!
Ian Poulter 2.5 points and under, UNDER -170 (€100 to win €58.82)
Poulter can’t come in and dominate again, right?!
Sergio Garcia 2.5 points and under, UNDER -170 (€100 to win €58.82)
This may be my favorite bet of all. Would be fun to be proven wrong, but this totally seems at least a half-point high. How many matches will Sergio even play? Certainly not five. That means high expectations for those he does play…
Tiger Woods OVER 2.5 points +135 (€50 to win €67.50)
Your best chance to invest in the G.O.A.T.
Tony Finau OVER 1.5 points +125 (€50 to win €65)
As we’ve established, I’m a fan of Finau this week.
Tommy Fleetwood (-115) over Jon Rahm (€100 to win €86.96)
I like his game better for this course, his temperament better for this event, and his form better entering the week.
Justin Thomas (-130) over Tiger Woods (€100 to win €86.96)
I just think he’ll play one more match than Woods. Numbers game, after all.
Brooks Koepka (+110) over Dustin Johnson (€100 to win €110)
This big-game hunter is locked in for the Ryder Cup, using words like “ego,” “pride,” “reputation,” and “legacy” in his presser.
13. To win the Cup:
Don’t overthink this. The U.S. has unquestionably the better team, and the price is quite reasonable. Book it!
USA -135 (€250 to win €185.19)