Hello friends! No Tournament Preview from me this week so we are skipping ahead straight to the only content that really matters from a betting perspective at the Ryder Cup: Props! This is not to downplay the Ryder Cup at all, it’s the biggest spectacle of the year in golf from a viewership standpoint, the format just makes it so difficult to confidently research and bet as we normally would. I actually went to my keyboard on three separate occasions this week to piece a Preview Article together for this event, and although I got pretty far along, it just felt forced and unnecessary to preview an event like this with any empirical research, so I scrapped it.
I’m very optimistic that Team USA wins this week. They have a severe talent & form advantage to go along with the home crowd and course hand-picked to play into their strengths. What they have stacked against them however, is inexperience compared to the Euros, which history has proven is just as important as form to find success at the Ryder Cup. The Euros also have a stark advantage in the Team Chemistry/Camaraderie department, which is important, albeit a bit overblown. There are two X factors I think will ultimately decide the 2021 Ryder Cup: (1) How injured Brooks & Collin really are, and (2) whether bad European putters continue to magically hole everything under the Ryder Cup spotlight (I’m looking at you, Sergio & Westy).
In the end, I think this all nets out to a tight Team USA victory, but there’s no fun in sweating a -190 bet over the course of 3 days. Enter: Props. These are a few low unit bets (courtesy of Draft Kings Sportsbook) I’ll be placing to make things just a little more interesting to follow along, regardless if Team USA brings it home or not.
Top USA Point Scorer: Patrick Cantlay (+750)
All of the bets I place this week will be game theory value bets, ignoring any SG data or recent form/course fit metrics. For the Top Point Scorer Prop, you need to select a player who is going to play in 4 or 5 matches at the Ryder Cup. As I look at the USA roster, I think there are only 4 safe bets we can assume will definitely play in 4 (if not 5) matches: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, and Patrick Cantlay. Of that list, Cantlay has the longest odds, despite coming in with the hottest form, fresh off back to back wins at the BMW and TOUR Championship en route to being named PGA TOUR Player of the Year. Patty Ice is not a boisterous presence, however his silent but deadly demeanor and lip-licking escapades are enough to drive any opponent mad in Match Play. On top of that, I don’t expect Captain Stricker to send Patrick Cantlay out first to set the tone and get the American crowd jumping, which may help him avoid going toe-to-toe with Jon Rahm all week. Even if he does, we know who’s gotten the better of that battle in recent weeks.
Top European Point Scorer: Sergio Garcia (+800)
As a man rooting feverishly for Team USA, Sergio Garcia scares the shit out of me, more than any other player on Team Europe not named Jon Rahm. Sergio has consistently been one of the best ball strikers on Tour this season, his driving distance will set him up perfectly to score at Whistling Straits, and perhaps his biggest advantage of all is his Ryder Cup experience, coming in to this week with as many Ryder Cup points scored as the entire USA team combined. What’s most frightening out of all of this is that Sergio trnscends into a higher being on the greens in Match Play events and cannot miss putts. I’m already pre-tilting this, so the best course of action is to find a path to profit if Sergio’s flat stick gets inexplicably hot one more time. I think the combination of Sergio’s experience + ball striking form will get him 4 cracks this week, where he’ll likely square up in winnable matches versus the bottom half of Team USA’s roster. If he can sweep those and go 4-0, this prop is on its way to at least chop.
Any Player To Win 5 Points: Jon Rahm (+4000)
This is a bomb as far as Ryder Cup props go, but if you’re going to bet on anyone to play in all 5 matches and sweep them all, it has to be the world #1 POTY snub who is several days removed from posting +350 odds to win a 156-man tournament outright. This is inherently a hedge with the Sergio prop, they can’t both hit, but again, it’s a value bomb. At 40/1, Rahm’s odds are longer than Justin Thomas’ (35/1) and equal to Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, and Dustin Johnson. These odds presume that Rahm will face stiffer competition over the course of these 3 days than his American adversaries, but as far as I see it, Jon Rahm should be favored in each of his matchups, as long as he’s given a reasonable top partner (I’m assuming it’ll be Viktor Hovland or fellow Sun Devil, Paul Casey). At this point after seeing Rahm open at single digit odds every week for the past month and a half, I’ll basically jump on any Rahm prop at 40/1 and take my chances.
Tournament Correct Score: USA to Win 14.5-13.5 (+1000)
I am still seeking redemption from missing the US Open exact winning score by one stroke, so we are running it back again to my favorite prop in the market. As I said at the top, I really want Team USA to win, and I think they will, but I think it will be excruciatingly close, and I don’t really see a scenario where it doesn’t come down to a one or two stroke swing for singles play on Sunday. With the -190 line effectively un-bettable, this seems like the most sensible compromise.
Hole In One: Sergio Garcia (+10000)
Hey, he already delivered an Ace in Match Play at the WGC earlier this year, so we know he’s capable! The ball striking has been dialed in, I believe he’ll get his fair share of at least 4 matches, and I need somebody to roll the dice on at 100/1, so El Nino is once again my guy.