2018 Ryder Cup: Day 1 Predictions for All 4 Morning Matches

2018 Ryder Cup: Day 1 Predictions for All 4 Morning Matches article feature image

Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth

  • Day 1 of the 2018 Ryder Cup will get underway at 2 a.m. ET with four matches between the U.S. and Europe Teams.
  • Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas -140 betting favorites to beat the European duo of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.
  • Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed are slight favorites (+115 odds) against Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood (+130 odds).

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — This year’s Ryder Cup will (finally!) get started on Friday morning at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET).

As a reminder, the session will feature the fourball format, where teammates will play their own ball through the entire hole. The lowest score among those two players is counted for their team.

The matchups were announced by U.S. captain Jim Furyk and European captain Thomas Bjorn at the end of the opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

Let’s break ‘em down and offer some predictions.

A quick explanation on some of the odds you’ll see below: A $100 bet on +190 odds would return $190, a $250 bet on -250 odds would return $100, etc.

Match 1: Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau (USA) vs. Justin Rose/Jon Rahm (EUR)

  • Koepka/Finau Odds: +190
  • Rose/Rahm Odds: -125
  • Halve Odds: +500

Well, it won’t take long for Furyk to be second-guessed in his first major decision of the week. Instead of pairing two wily veterans to kick things off, he put Koepka with Finau, a rookie who was the last player to make this team.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the Utah native looked nervous just in his Thursday afternoon press conference; that first-tee experience will certainly produce some jitters.

I really like the stone-cold Koepka this week, though, and I think he’s the key in this match. While I like opposite-minded players paired in the fourball format, the personalities of Rose and Rahm might be too disparate.

Despite that, give me the U.S. duo in an upset here, as Koepka leads the team on the front nine, until Finau loosens up and starts making some birdies.

Prediction: Koepka/Finau (+190)

Match 2: Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy/Thorbjorn Olesen

  • Johnson/Fowler Odds: Even
  • McIlroy/Olesen Odds: +150
  • Halve Odds: +500

There were rumors that McIlroy was getting Rahm as his opening partner. There were also rumors that he preferred to be playing with Olesen. You can see who won this debate.

I’m banking on Rory paying back Bjorn for letting him make the decision by pouring in a bunch of birdies.

As for the U.S. duo, there’s obviously nothing wrong with either DJ or Fowler, both terrific players, but this pairing does lack an alpha dog between the two laid-back dudes.

I feel like both would prosper by having a fierier teammate alongside for the ride, especially in a format in which momentum is so important.

Prediction: McIlroy/Olesen (+150)

Match 3: Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas vs. Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton

  • Spieth/Thomas Odds: -140
  • Casey/Hatton Odds: +200
  • Halve Odds: +550

Hey, did you guys know Spieth and JT are good buddies? I just found this out.

The truth is, there was talk that they wanted to play together at last year’s Presidents Cup, but Spieth’s pairing with Patrick Reed was simply too strong to break ‘em up.

Now that they’re together, though, expect this tandem to have a little more staying power — and expect them to thrive.

The tandem of Casey and Hatton feels a bit too big brother/little brother, with the veteran instilled to “baby-sit” the hot-tempered rookie.

It’s the chalky pick, but I don’t see the U.S. side losing this one — and it could end by the 14th or 15th hole.

Prediction: Spieth/Thomas (-140)

Match 4: Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed vs. Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood

  • Woods/Reed Odds: +115
  • Molinari/Fleetwood Odds: +130
  • Halve Odds: +500

Sooo… anyone up for an absolutely brilliant anchor match?

Reed, aka Captain America, finally gets the partner he’s wanted for the past, oh, 20 years, as he’ll be shushing the local crowds alongside his idol.

Speaking of that “other guy,” this course should set up perfectly for Tiger, who can keep driver in the bag for most of the day and rely on his ball-striking prowess.

Against any other European duo, I’d give ‘em the straight-up W. But against this one? I think it’s going the distance.

Molinari and Fleetwood should be called the Chill Bros or something, because nothing fazes either one of these guys.

In what should be an epic match, I’m calling it a draw — and as the last match of the morning, all four guys might have about 30 minutes to hammer down a few PB&Js before going right back out as the anchor match in foursomes, too.

Prediction: Halved (+500)

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