Wednesday is always a slow day at the Ryder Cup.
The novelty of the week is beginning to wear off. The start of the competition in earnest is still two days away. Captains shake up practice pairings, either in the name of experimentation or head fakes. Players are chomping at the bit, ready to start keeping score on the massive jumbotrons that line Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.
Instead, they practice – and we wait. In a tournament where the action comes in a flurry once the opening session begins, Wednesday is a day of inaction.
So it is in that spirit that we take a look at the massive prop bet card on offer for the 44th Ryder Cup. After all, not every market is tied to how a certain player will perform – or any player performance at all. Instead, some of them are about reading the tea leaves and parsing useful analysis from mounds of speculation. After all, winners are winners.
So here’s a look at four prop options this week – each having nothing to do with, you know, how an actual golfer will perform.
How many matches will reach the 18th hole? (O/U 10.5 via DraftKings)
This seems like a hefty number, given there are only 28 matches played this week. Two years ago at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, there were nine matches that reached No. 18. In 2018 at Le Golf National, that number was only six, while it was 10 in 2016 at Hazeltine.
Everyone expects a competitive outcome this week, but that does not necessarily mean that the outcome of each individual match will be competitive. Especially with some early risk-reward holes at Marco Simone allowing one team to get a quick leg up on the competition, I’ll take Under 10.5 (-110).
How many matches will end in a tie? (O/U 3.5 via BetMGM)
There were four tied matches at Whistling Straits, but only three across Hazeltine (2016) and Le Golf National (2018) combined. The scoreboard certainly looks cleaner without them. This is a bit more of a toss-up in my mind rather than predicting how many matches will go the distance, but the choices are likely correlated: It’s hard to predict that 10 or fewer matches will reach No. 18 but also that four or more will end in a tie. A lot can happen on the home hole, a reachable par 5 with water guarding the left side of the green.
But I’m not looking to thread the needle, so given my read on how many matches will reach No. 18, I’ll go Under 3.5 (+100) on total number of ties.
Who will hit opening tee shot for each team? (odds via DraftKings)
Now we’re getting into the soft science. These markets not only ask you to sort through who will bear the burden of a nerve-wracking opening tee shot, but also they require an additional step given the Foursomes format.
Take, for instance, Jon Rahm. He has been in the opening match for Europe in each of the last two Ryder Cups. But there’s a strong sense that he will pair with Tyrrell Hatton, perhaps the only player on Team Europe who’s more fiery than the Spaniard. So let’s assume you think Rahm will kick things off again – who gets the opening tee shot? I think it probably goes to Hatton (+400) so that Rahm can tee off on the even-numbered holes, with Nos. 16 and 18 particularly pivotal off the tee should the match get that far.
On the American side, we have some actual concrete info to go off: Patrick Cantlay revealed Tuesday that he will tee off on the odd-numbered holes.
“As far as what holes we (tee off) on, we really trust the stats guys, so I just asked them when we showed up,” Cantlay said. “He told me I was on the odds, so I’m on the odds.”
Under the (strong) assumption that he will pair with Xander Schauffele, this info takes Schauffele out of the equation for hitting the opening shot and adds some value to Cantlay (+450) to make the first swing for the visitors.
Who will start first in Sunday Singles for each team? (odds via BetMGM)
While Rahm has been in the opening pairing on Friday each of the last two Ryder Cups for Europe, it’s been Rory McIlroy who has led out on Sunday in each of the last three editions. He’s an understandable favorite (+160) to do so again this week, with only Rahm and Viktor Hovland priced below +1000. It seems likely Luke Donald will lead with strength from one of his top three talents, but it’s hard to move away from McIlroy (+160) – even at such a short price.
The U.S. side is a bit more murky. Scheffler is a favorite to tee off first, but his outlook this week is more in question given his struggles on the greens. For the Americans, I’m more willing to look at speculative options – specifically McIlroy’s Singles opponent in 2018, Justin Thomas (+900). Listed as a mid-range pick, Thomas is a player who like McIlroy wears his heart on his sleeve, can deliver a ton of emotion and likely won’t want to wait around long to tee off on Sunday. This angle hinges on “Good JT” showing up across the first two days, but if he does then I expect his true odds to lead the batting order will be much shorter.
Source : PGA Tour