Sobel’s Ryder Cup Bets: Where to Find Value with Poulter, Fleetwood, More

Sobel’s Ryder Cup Bets: Where to Find Value with Poulter, Fleetwood, More article feature image

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood.

  • The European Team is a +150 underdog in the 2018 Ryder Cup, which will be hosted at Le Golf National in Paris, France.
  • Which European player's point total over/under has the most value?
  • Who will be the top scorer on the European team? Justin Rose (+500), Rory McIlroy (+500), Jon Rahm (+700) and Tommy Fleetwood (+800) have the best odds.

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Each day during Ryder Cup week, I’ll pick three bets that I like. Today’s bets are focused on the European team, which is an underdog despite not losing on home soil in a quarter-century.

Ian Poulter: Under 2.5 points

First things first: You’d be leaking oil if you’d spent the past decade betting against Poulter at the Ryder Cup.

The man is a match-play ninja, and nobody gets more fired up for this event.

But there’s some definite value in taking the under on this bet.

That’s because everything we know about Poulter’s resume at this event might have already reached an expiration date.

Two years ago, he was an assistant captain on the European team, his game too poor to warrant a captain’s pick. Four years ago, he compiled just an 0-1-2 record, which is hardly too exciting.

All of which means Poulter’s entire Ryder Cup reputation is born on what we learned about him a half-dozen years ago and beyond.

Coupled with the fact that Poulter didn’t finish inside the top 30 in any of his last four starts entering this week and you’ll find that a bet on him to hit the over might be a bet solely on his reputation from many years ago.

Top points scorer: Tommy Fleetwood (+800)

In yesterday’s piece recommending bets from a U.S. perspective, I touted Tiger Woods in this same category – and at this same price.

Just as with Woods, this feels like nice value for Fleetwood, who is a rookie in name only.

The long-locked Englishman is a big-game hunter, playing some of his best golf in some of the biggest weeks, in some of the most high-pressure environments.

Playing with either Poulter or Francesco Molinari should help Fleetwood in team matches, in which he’ll play at least three of the four sessions — if not all of them — and he’ll be a tough out in Sunday singles.

Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are the chalk plays here, but Fleetwood has a nice price without being too much of a flier.

Europe wins singles session, 12-0 (+50000)

OK, let’s end with a fun one.

In the history of the Ryder Cup, neither team has ever swept the entire singles session. Even back when guys such as Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were taking on a half-dozen blokes named Clive, it never happened.

And so, there’s no reason to expect it to happen this week, either – especially in favor of the underdog European side.


Let’s say some epic flu sweeps through the U.S. team room. Or, in effort to mimic Woods, 11 other guys undergo emergency spinal fusions on Saturday night. Or, hell, the Americans claim the requisite 14 points over the first two days, party all night, then play like a bunch of frat boys waking up on Daytona Beach after spring break.

None of which is going to happen, but it’s (sort of) fun to think about.

Or maybe I just can’t resist a 500-1 bet. Any 500-1 bet. That might be my problem, not yours.

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