Ryder Cup Primer Guide: Format, How to Watch, Who To Bet On
After a one-year delay, the Ryder Cup returns this weekend for its 43rd iteration. From a betting perspective, this year’s edition is unique since it’ll be the first time that bettors across the country will be able to place online wagers on the event.
In 2018, the online sports betting market was still being developed with states working towards legalization. Just a month before the last Ryder Cup, Delaware and New Jersey joined Nevada as the first states to offer online sports betting. Now, there are 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, eligible to take mobile bets on the Ryder Cup.
Here’s a rundown on the Ryder Cup format and the types of bets you can make on this year’s event, and a couple of picks for who you should take this weekend.
Ryder Cup Format
The Ryder Cup consists of three days of different match formats. The team that is the first to reach 14.5 points is the winner. Since Europe is the defending champion, it would retain the trophy in the event of a 14-14 tie.
There will be 28 matches played, each worth one point. The action begins on Friday with four foursome matches and four fourball contests. Saturday’s schedule is similar to Friday before the format switches to Sunday's 12 singles matches.
Foursome matches consist of two-man teams playing one ball per hole with the players alternating shots until the hole is completed. Tee shots alternate, with one player teeing off on even-numbered holes and the other on the odd-numbered holes. The team with the lowest score on each hole wins the hole. Tied scores mean the hole is halved.
Fourball is the traditional best ball format. Two players on each team play their own balls in the group. The teams will take the lowest of the two scores on each hole. The player with the best score will earn a point for his team, and if both teams post the same score, the hole is halved.
Singles is the familiar one-on-one match play format. All 12 players from each team take part in the Sunday singles match, and since there are 12 points available on Sunday, it’s usually the marquee day of the event and a favorite for golf betting aficionados.
How To Bet the Ryder Cup
The United States’ roster features eight players who are currently ranked in the top 10. This, plus Whistling Straits’ history as a course that favors longer hitters, has Team USA as a -210 favorite at FanDuel, with Europe currently a +240 underdog. Betting on a tie is currently at +1100.
In addition to the standard moneyline wager on either team, sportsbooks are featuring a wide range of props for this year’s Ryder Cup betting.
There are outright point spread bets, ranging from either team at -4 or +4 and predicting which team will lead after each day. The daily bets go deeper with sportsbooks taking action on the foursome and fourball winners of each day.
Individual props are also prevalent. The top combined points scorer is a popular prop, giving bettors the ability to wager on who they believe will score the most points in the event. Europe’s Jon Rahm is currently the favorite at +700, followed by Team USA’s Justin Thomas (+750), Jordan Spieth (+950), Patrick Cantlay (+1000) and Xander Schauffele (+1200).
The prop market doesn’t end there. There’s also a market for who will be the top USA and Europe points scorers. FanDuel also has over-unders for individual point totals. For example, Bryson DeChambeau’s over-under for points scored is 2.5, with the over at +180 and the under at -230.
There are also wildcard and rookie props, on the top first-year player on each team and the highest finishing wild card selection on either the USA or Europe. So plan your golf betting strategy accordingly.
How to Watch the Ryder Cup
Golf Channel will carry the coverage on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Saturday’s coverage starts from 8-9 a.m. before switching to NBC at 9 a.m.-6 p.m. NBC will broadcast live from noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Top USA Scorer
Bryson DeChambeau (+750)
Look, there’s a lot of baggage here. His past record in team events isn’t great. In the last Ryder Cup DeChambeau went 0-3-0. He wasn’t much better in the 2019 Presidents Cup, going 0-1-1.
There are also his comments that his hands are “wrecked” from training for the long drive competition he’s taking part in following the Ryder Cup. He has been taunted by some galleries and folks have piled on him for things he has said. Who knows where his head is? Plus, some believe his volatile style makes him difficult as a partner to play with in foursomes.
That’s a lot of things going against someone who I’d be willing to back as the top American points scorer for this Ryder Cup. But with the way the course is set up this week and his power, DeChambeau has the potential to put forth a memorable performance.
He’s not new to success in a match-play format, having won the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship. The comment about his hands being wrecked came before the FedEx Playoffs where he flirted with a 59 at the BMW Championship and finished second after losing a playoff to Patrick Cantlay. This will be the first time in a while he’ll have the full backing American crowd, which should be a positive for someone who appears keen on being liked.
And the whole pairing thing? We’re probably overthinking it. If DeChambeau is piping drives with over 315 yards of carry, who wouldn’t want to be in his foursome pairing and have a wedge into the green? Plus, there are multiple par 4s that might be drivable for him depending on the direction of the wind. The worst parts of his volatile game are negated a bit by match play, where a single bad hole doesn’t hurt as much as it does in stroke play.
The key will be whether DeChambeau plays in five sessions, which could be predicated on how he starts the event. If he gets hot, captain Steve Stricker might continue to send him out there since length is a legitimate weapon on this course.
It won’t take long to find out what role DeChambeau will play this week. The first hole at Whistling Straits is a drivable par 4 that DeChambeau drove the length of during a practice round this week.
Top European Scorer
Viktor Hovland (+700)
When looking at the top scorer props, you want someone who is likely to play in all five sessions. Europe’s roster features older guys whom you wouldn’t expect to have a busy schedule. Besides Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, there really aren’t many options for players who could go out in all the sessions.
Viktor Hovland, 24, is one of those candidates. He qualified for the Ryder Cup by ranking third in the world points on the European side and has the game that makes him an ideal partner for all formats at Whistling Straits.
He ranks fifth on the PGA Tour off the tee and is 15th in approach. Given his age, he could have the stamina to perform effectively for five sessions.
Plus, with Rahm’s recent stomach issues and missed cut at the Fortinet Championship last week in California, and the inconsistent season from McIlroy, Hovland could lead Team Europe this weekend.
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