2021 Ryder Cup Odds & Picks: Why Xander Schauffele & Viktor Hovland Have Betting Value
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele
- The U.S. is a favorite to win the Ryder Cup, but that's not necessarily where the betting value lies.
- The props markets are full of wagers for bettors to find value in this week.
- Joshua Perry dives in and breaks down his best bets below.
The Ryder Cup is here. Usually, I’d be fired up for this. Growing up, this and the U.S. Open were my two favorite events.
I don’t know if it’s some players on Team USA, who seem like they’d rather not be bothered with the event, or Team Europe, who may not have enough guys firing on all cylinders to take advantage, but this year just doesn’t have me as excited as years past.
Whistling Straits is a fairly well-known commodity. It’s long, measuring at around 7,800 yards, and was designed by Pete Dye. It played host to the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships won by Vijay Singh, Martin Kaymer and Jason Day.
Overall, length appears to be a big edge, but guys like Justin Leonard and Jordan Spieth have come in second here, so it’s not a requirement to hit bombs to be successful.
It’s supposed to play like a coastal links course with little to block the wind coming off the lake, but if weather doesn’t play a factor, the course can be fairly easy. We saw Day shoot 20-under par in his win.
It’s a place where many of the guys have played a major or two, so there won’t be too much extra work needed to get ready for the setup.
The USA, I guess, but I’m not playing -200 to find out.
I think the US does best when the course is a known commodity and they can just show up without putting a lot of extra work in. It’s clear that Europe values this competition much more than the American players do. We only need to look at 2018 to realize these guys aren’t going to put in extra work.
Justin Thomas was the only one to fly over to Europe and play Le Golf National during the European Tour season, and he cruised all week to a 4-1 record. The rest of the guys couldn’t bother and got destroyed by a team of Europeans who knew that course inside and out.
That isn’t the case at Whistling Straits. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau all finished inside the top 10 in 2015 during the PGA Championship here. It’s not going to take much work to get the rest of the guys up to speed.
Normally, I’d be loving the thought of Europe in the +200 range, but the fact is, many of these guys really haven’t played well this year in the US.
Jon Rahm has been great. Viktor Hovland has been solid, but outside of those two, it’s been a down year for many of the other guys on this team.
Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton have regressed from their form in past season. Bernd Wiesberger is a complete unknown in this spot. So the older crew like Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter may have to carry that weight, and it could be a lot to get four or five solid matches from three guys north of 40.
Viktor Hovland Top European +700
With these bets, we’re looking for guys we think will play all five sessions. Not a shocker, but the older guys resting a session or two can’t get it done without being perfect, and some of the newer crew may not have the captain’s confidence to get the matches necessary to win.
Europe doesn’t have a lot of guys beyond Rahm and McIlroy who you’d count on for five straight matches. Rahm is recovering from illness, so he may get a session fewer than we’d expect. McIlroy will probably play the whole time, but his form has been pretty inconsistent this year, so who knows what we’ll get.
That leads me to Hovland. He had a great season, finishing top 10 in nine of 22 worldwide starts. He’s young enough that five matches won’t be too much to ask if gets on a roll.
He’s fifth on tour off the tee and 15th in approach which makes him a viable candidate in all formats because you know that tee-to-green game will hold up in alternate shot and give him plenty of birdie looks in fourball. When I look past Rahm and Rory, I just don’t see anyone else as like to get five cracks at a point, so I’ll take my chances here.
Xander Schauffele Top American +850
I think Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay play all the sessions together just like they did in 2019 at the Presidents Cup. Xander has the bigger odds, so I’ll go with him here.
I can see this group and Spieth/Thomas as pairings they ride all of day 1. If either struggles they may break them up, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see this quartet making up half of the US matches for all of Friday.
I think Xander and Cantlay are more consistent right now than Spieth or Thomas, so I think their partnership has less of a chance of getting broken up and resulting in one of them sitting out a session.
Again, it just comes down to opportunity. Of the four guys I think have the most likely shot of playing five times, Xander has the biggest price, so that’s the way we’ll go.
The Ryder Cup Card
- Viktor Hovland Top European +700 (1 unit)
- Xander Schauffele Top American +850 (1 unit)
Total Stake: 2 units