The opening day of the Presidents Cup went pretty much as expected.

The United States opened up a 3.5-1.5 lead after the five foursome matches and moved to a -1000 favorite to retain the cup.

Thursday’s plays worked to perfection for once with the pairings of Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler-Justin Thomas easily winning their matches to cash the parlay. The US also led after day one as expected, cashing at -165 for a 2.1 unit return.

The Americans are sending their top two pairs out again in the first two matches on Friday, and a strong start could really put this thing away early.

The opening fourball match will pit Spieth and Reed against Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin. Spieth and Reed will go into the match at -200. The duo had no trouble with Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim, winning 5 and 4. Meanwhile, Matsuyama did nothing with Charl Schwartzel. I’d be surprised if a new partner in Hadwin provides any sort of spark here.

The marquee matchup goes off in Match 2 as Thomas and Fowler take on Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace. Thomas and Fowler blasted Matsuyama and Schwartzel 6 and 4, while Oosthuizen and Grace picked up the lone International win, dispatching of Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger. The Americans are -145 to take this match over the South African pair that still hasn’t lost in the last two cups. As good as Fowler and Thomas looked in alternate shot, I think fourball is even better for them. They both make birdies in bunches, while the occasional blow up hole can be negated by their partner.

Match 3 will be a replay of Thursday’s anchor match. Jason Day and Marc Leishman halved with Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner, and the Internationals will go in as a -140 favorite. Both teams will feel like they let Thursday’s match get away. It’s also looking like a must-win spot for the Internationals.

Three players get their first action in Match 4. Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman will be up against Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri. The Americans are -130, but I could see this one as a draw, and +600 on tie has some interest here for me.

The anchor match pits the bombing duo of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka against Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas. Johnson beat Scott and Vegas 1 up with Matt Kuchar as his partner in what was probably the best played match of the day. Johnson and Kuchar didn’t card a bogey in foursomes, but were still pushed to the last hole by Scott and Vegas. The US is a -200 favorite here.

I’ll have one parlay Friday with Reed and Speith together with Johnson and Koepka at +125. I don’t see Hadwin turning things around for Hideki, while Johnson and Koepka in a fourball format could be a demolition. Overall, I expect the USA to have another successful day, being favorites in four matches. If the Internationals can’t bring home the second and third matches, the event will be about over.

Joshua has spent the last five years writing about sports and the last 10 years betting them, mostly on golf. He’s one of approximately five people who will watch the PGA over the NFL in November. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaPerry22

Photo: © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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