2021 Ryder Cup Betting Odds & Picks: Who’s Set To Thrive at Whistling Straits?

2021 Ryder Cup Betting Odds & Picks: Who’s Set To Thrive at Whistling Straits? article feature image
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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Rory McIlroy of Team Europe.

  • Whistling Straits in Wisconsin presents a unique test for the 24 golfers at the Ryder Cup.
  • A Pete Dye design, length off the tee will be rewarded this week.
  • Matt Vincenzi lays out the key stats for bettors to follow this week at Whistling Straits.

After a long, three-year wait, the 2021 Ryder Cup has finally arrived. 

It’s the United States’ turn to host the event ,as the Europeans welcomed the American side to Le Golf National in France back in 2018. The Europeans capitalized on the home-soil advantage, convincingly defeating their foes by a  17.5-10.5 margin.

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That victory was Europe’s seventh in the last nine editions of the premier golfing showcase. However, the U.S. has won two of the past three competitions and entire this latest affair as the heavy favorite. 

Whistling Straits is a par-72 course, measuring at 7,790 yards and features Bentgrass greens. The course is a Pete Dye design. The last time Whistling Straits hosted a professional event was the 2015 PGA Championship, where  Jason Day went home the winner.

Let’s take a look at several key metrics for Whistling Straits to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

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Strokes Gained: Off The Tee

It’s no secret that Whistling Straits in a brutishly long golf course. Lengthy hitters tend to thrive at the layout, with much of the same expected at the Ryder Cup.

Jason Day won the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits by gaining 7.4 strokes off the tee, plus he ranked third on TOUR for driving distance during the 2015 season. That said, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee is the most important and predictive statistic at Whistling Straits. 

Strokes Gained: Off The Tee Past 24 Rounds

  • Bryson DeChambeau (+28.3) 
  • Brooks Koepka (+20.5)
  • Jon Rahm (+19.6)
  • Rory McIlroy (+15.1)
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick (+15.0)

Strokes Gained: Approach

In a Ryder Cup, it’s important to make plenty of birdies during the four-ball portion of the event. With four golfers playing their own ball for the hole and the low scorer winning the hole for their team, it will be difficult to get a victory by making pars.

Golfers who are dialed in with their approach shots for the week will give themselves the most birdie opportunities.

Strokes Gained: Approach Past 24 Rounds

  • Daniel Berger  (+30.1) 
  • Paul Casey (+27.9)
  • Xander Schauffele (+21.3)
  • Shane Lowry (+20.5)
  • Viktor Hovland (+19.8)

Strokes Gained Total: Courses More Than 7,400 Yards

I am sure you will hear this ad nauseam this week, but it needs to be said that Whistling Straits is a very long golf course. I am looking to target golfers who excel at these kinds of golf courses in TOUR play. 

Strokes Gained Total: Courses More Than 7,400 yards in Past 24 Rounds

  • Justin Thomas (+52.6) 
  • Rory McIlroy (+46.4)
  • Brooks Koepka (+46.1)
  • Jon Rahm (+45.7)
  • Xander Schauffele (+45.7)
Photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau of Team USA.

Strokes Gained Total: Pete Dye Designs

With Whistling Straits being a Pete Dye design, I will be targeting golfers who have a successful track record at playing similar courses.

Strokes Gained Total: Pete Dye Designs in Past 24 Rounds:

  • Bryson DeChambeau (+50.9) 
  • Paul Casey (+45.3)
  • Patrick Cantlay (+43.5)
  • Dustin Johnson (+41.0)
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick (+35.4)

Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass

In the 2015 PGA Championship, the top nine golfers on the leaderboard gained more than five strokes putting. That said, Whistling Straits is a course where golfers can certainly catch a hot putter.

We have seen time and time again that clutch putting is crucial in match play, which will most certainly be the case at this week’s event.

Strokes Gained: Putting Bentgrass in Past 24 Rounds:

  • Patrick Cantlay (+24.2)
  • Ian Poulter (+20.8)
  • Rory McIlroy (+16.8)
  • Dustin Johnson (+16.2)
  • Xander Schauffele (+14.5)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: OTT (27%), SG: APP (25%), SG; Total 7,400+ (16%), SG: Pete Dye (16%), SG: Putting (bentgrass) (18%).

  1. Jon Rahm 
  2. Rory McIlroy 
  3. Patrick Cantlay
  4. Justin Thomas
  5. Bryson DeChambeau
  6. Brooks Koepka
  7. Paul Casey
  8. Xander Schauffele
  9. Viktor Hovland
  10. Sergio Garcia

Ryder Cup Best Bets

Top European Point Scorer: Paul Casey (+1000 via Bet365)

If the European team has any chance at Whistling Straits, it needs certain players to step up. Paul Casey is definitely one of those players. The U.S. has the clear talent edge in this matchup, but Casey is one of the few golfers who can go toe to toe with anyone U.S. captain Steve Stricker throws at him.

Statistically, Casey rates out extremely well at Whistling Straits. The Englishman has played long courses solidly throughout his career, including as the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, where he finished in fourth place.

At 44 years old, Casey is slowly approaching the twilight of his career. However, his game hasn’t been declining much, as he still ranks second in the field in approach over his past 24 rounds. Dye designs have also been kind to Casey, where he trails only DeChambeau in total strokes gained on his tracks.

The only concern I have is whether or not Casey plays enough of the matches to have a chance to be Europe’s top scorer. With the lack of team depth and overall talent, it stands to reason the veteran will be heavily relied upon. I believe he will play in at least four of the five matches, in which case he will have a shot to be the top scorer.

Photo credit: Warren Little. Pictured: Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia of Team Europe.

Top European Point Scorer: Sergio Garcia (+1100 via Bet365)

Garcia is the all-time points leader in European Ryder Cup team history with 25.5 total points. Considering he’s 45 years old, in most years we would expect the veteran to play a few matches and be more of a mentor to the young players. However, the European team simply doesn’t have that luxury.

Garcia comes into the week in the midst of one of his best seasons in recent memory. In a super season with 50 events played, the Spaniard outpaced the majority of TOUR players and punched a ticket to East Lake, finishing 28th for the season in the FedEx Cup standings. Earlier in the season, we saw Garcia’s match-play prowess on full display as he made it all the way to the final eight. 

In addition to strong solid results, Garcia is also an excellent course fit. He has has always played Dye designs exceptionally well and thrives on long-course setups. Sergio ranks third in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in his past 50 rounds, which is wildly impressive considering how stacked the American team is entering the competition.

Like Casey, my only concern with the older player in Sergio is his ability to keep up with the young players when he has to play up to 36 holes for two days and another 18 in Sunday’s singles matches. The reality for the European team is that Garcia is a top-five player on a 12-man team and riding him throughout the three days is its only choice to compete.

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