2021 Solheim Cup Betting Preview: Analysis, Picks, Predictions for United States vs. Europe
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: United States standouts Jessica Korda, left, and sister Nelly Korda.
Betting on women’s golf can be challenging due to the lack of available information. Unlike the men’s game, every single shot on tour isn’t tracked and analyzed. Simple statistics are based on smaller sample sizes, plus we don’t have the benefit of deeper details like data when it comes to strokes gained.
Oddly enough, some of the largest available sample sizes come from one of the game’s most exciting events — the Solheim Cup.
This week at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, a team of 12 Americans will face 12 of Europe’s best golfers with the 17th Solheim Cup on the line.
With 28 matches, 24 players and an entire weekend of excitement to sort out, there’s plenty of value to be found for bettors in the market.
Solheim Cup Top Scorer — Jessica Korda (+1100)
Nelly Korda, the world’s No. 1-ranked player, is expected to lead Team USA, but it’s her sister, Jessica Korda, is a better value bet here. In 2019, the Korda sisters tied as the top American players with 3.5 points each. That was due in large part to their work as partners in the foursomes (alternate shot) sessions.
The Korda duo played together both sessions and smoked their opponents on both occasions, winning matches by massive 6&5 and 6&4 margins. They then played four-ball (better ball) separately, each halving a match and went on to win their individual singles matches.
It would be shocking if captain Pat Hearst didn’t pair the Kordas up for foursomes again, and only slightly less surprising if that strategy wasn’t effective. Those two matches aren’t a guaranteed two points for the Americans, though they’re certainly the two slots where either captain would feel most confident.
Nelly is certainly more likely to win her other matches, but she’s also the heavy favorite to be the top scorer. Those odds likely outweigh the chance Jessica outscores her sister, making her the better bet.
Solheim Cup Top Scorer — Celine Boutier (+1800)
If you want to back the European side, but don’t love the short odds on it claiming the Cup, this is a good alternative bet.
Boutier led the 2019 Solheim Cup in scoring, going undefeated in four matches. She also finished in solo second place at the Drive On Championship at Inverness during the 2020 season.
The Frenchwoman is coming off a missed cut at the AIG Women’s Open, but she nabbed top-10 finishes in four of the seven events she played prior to that week. With her past success at this course and her track record in match play, it’s hard to envision a European win that doesn’t include several victories from the 27-year-old standout.
Europe Top Scorer — Madelene Sagstrom (+1600)
We don’t need Strokes Gained or any other fancy statistic to see Sagstrom is one of the hottest golfers on the LPGA Tour right now. She has made eight cuts in a row, with top-15 finishes at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the AIG Women’s Open, where she was tied for second. That led to her Rolex World Ranking to jump by nearly 30 spots.
Sagstrom’s long odds in this market could be based on her performance at the 2017 edition of this event, where she posted a losing 1-2 record. That effort looks worse than the real story, where she lost two hard-fought four-ball matches, each reaching the 17th green, and won a critical singles match.
She also finished T20 when the LPGA visited Inverness last season. With the way Sagstrom is playing of late, there’s just no reason for her to have the longest odds of any European here.
First To 10 Points — Europe (+145)
Supporters of women’s golf do their best to not compare everything on the women’s side to its counterpart on the men’s side. Simply thinking of the Solheim Cup as the “female Ryder Cup” does a disservice to the event.
And yet, there are some clear similarities, down to the trends in how each team succeeds. Ever since the inclusion of continental Europe in 1979, the European team has not just won more Ryder Cups, but it has done so by controlling the team portions of the event on its first two days.
The same has been true of the Solheim Cup. The U.S. has won 10 of the 16 playings of the Solheim Cup, despite being heavily outplayed in the team portions. The teams have evenly split the four-ball matches, with each winning 47 times and 21 matches being halved. However, Europe is 55-46-16 in foursomes play.
The U.S., to its credit, has responded by soundly winning the singles matches, 92-66-26. That means the typical Solheim Cup includes an early European lead, followed by a final day comeback by the ladies in stars and stripes.
Europe’s odds to win the Cup are higher than these odds to reach 10 points first, which is for good reason. That protection against a Labor Day landslide by the Americans makes this a safer bet.
Solheim Cup Winner — United States (-250)
Even if Europe’s odds are undervalued by the sportsbooks, the Americans are the smarter pick. You don’t win anything for finding a value bet if it doesn’t actually pay out.
Europe has only captured the Solheim Cup on American soil once in eight tries. Team USA has the world’s best player in Nelly Korda, a perfect team-format partner for her (her sister) and an overall stronger team. Six American players rank in the top 25 in the world.
Just one member of Team Europe can say the same and that’s Anna Nordqvist, who only recently jumped in the world rankings thanks to her win at the AIG Women’s Open. When the LPGA played at Inverness last season, it was Team USA member Danielle Kang who won the tournament, with four of her teammates right behind in the top 20 on the leaderboard.
It should be a closely contested series of matches, yet it would be a surprise if the Americans didn’t bring home the prize.