2022 Presidents Cup Picks, Expert Predictions: Our 3 Best Bets for Day 1 at Quail Hollow (September 22)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Homa.
It’s David vs. Goliath in the golf world: the 2022 Presidents Cup.
The Americans feature juggernaut players who have won countless majors and plenty of tournaments in 2022, some of the best in the world. They even have one of team golf’s best duos in Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
The International team, led by captain Trevor Immelman, is not going to go down easily, though. This group of players might be better than the Europeans who lost the Ryder Cup by a record margin last year at Whistling Straits.
The matchups for Day 1 of the Presidents Cup were determined in a snake draft. One team threw one of its duos out there, and the other team responded. Our experts were completely sold on the strategy implemented by Immelman.
But that doesn’t mean the International team isn’t going to periodically provide some value in the betting market.
Below, four of our golf betting analysts lay out their favorite picks for Thursday at Quail Hollow.
2022 Presidents Cup Picks
Finau/Homa (-165) over Pendrith/Pereira
Jason Sobel: I was hoping we’d get to see Finau and Homa together, as they seem the most likely to become new BFFs, posting birdies all over the place and punctuating ‘em with maybe a secret handshake. Tough draw here for Pendrith, as his game should suit this course, but Pereira hasn’t been the same player recently, with four missed cuts and nothing inside the top-40 in his last six starts.
It could get late early, to use a Yogi-ism, if the Americans get rolling here. I do believe that will happen – to the extent that I think this match, even though it’ll be the last one out of the box, could finish before two or three others.
Finau/Homa (-165) over Pendrith/Pereira
Matt Vincenzi: I found this to be a bit of an odd pairing for the International side. Most people, including myself, expected the big-hitting Canadian Pendrith to be paired with his good friend Corey Conners, and I thought Pereira may be the odd man out on day one.
Pereira really struggled towards the end of the 2022-23 PGA TOUR season, missing the cut in four of his last six starts with his best finish being 42nd at the FedEx St. Jude. Pendrith played in last week’s Fortinet Championship and failed to impress, finishing 67th despite being among the pre-tournament favorites.
On the other hand, Finau and Homa may be a buzzsaw in this format. Homa is fresh off of a win last week in Napa and has already conquered Quail Hollow once, having won the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship there.
Facing Finau won’t be an easy task for the internationals either. In his past 24 rounds, Finau ranks second amongst players in the President Cup in Strokes Gained: Approach. He also ended the season hot, winning back-to-back starts at the end of July.
Anything can happen in this format, but this one seems to be a mismatch on paper.
Conners/Im (+140) over Thomas/Spieth
Chris Murphy: I wanted to try to find a potential upset for tomorrow, and it looks like we have some value available on the International side for this matchup between four of the top end players from both teams.
Corey Conners and Sungjae Im will provide a stout test for the more seasoned team of Spieth and Thomas. The Canadian’s consistent and strong ball striking is likely to put these guys in position to score throughout the match.
Justin Thomas obviously has some great history around Quail Hollow and with the rough not being especially penalizing, this American pair’s weakness off the tee will be mitigated to some extent. I do think that setup is also big for Sungjae Im, who can spray it a bit at times off the tee. He will certainly expect his Canadian teammate to be dialed in with his usual sharp game, as well.
As two of the stronger players on the International side, this is a big early matchup for that team as they need some sort of production here to keep the mindset positive heading into Friday.
If Sungjae has his best game, he and Conners will be a tough duo to beat. With DraftKings giving us a number like +140, where ties are a push, we have some value in a spot that is more of a toss up as confirmed by DataGolf, which gives the Internationals a 42.8% win probability.
USA To Lead After Day 1 (-195)
Spencer Aguiar: I honestly couldn't think of a worse start for Trevor Immelman and his International side. Not only did their collection of brains at the table somehow believe it was a good idea to forfeit all their leverage by selecting their top tandem of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama first, but I also questioned some of the pairings that they decided on for the day.
Four of the five lowest-rated duos on my model are coming from Immelman's squad. While that isn't to be unexpected with the talent gap they naturally will have to overcome, it didn't have to be this one-sided from the get-go.
As long as the Internationals don't steal both the Matsuyama/Scott and Conners/Im groups, I will do something you rarely see from me, which is laying an extended amount of juice on a wager that feels like it should be closer to -300.
The best number on this bet can be found at FanDuel.