Sobel’s 3 Favorite U.S. Ryder Cup Picks: Is There Value in Betting Tiger?

Sobel’s 3 Favorite U.S. Ryder Cup Picks: Is There Value in Betting Tiger? article feature image
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Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods

  • The U.S. is favored across the board to beat Europe in the 2018 Ryder Cup, which will be hosted at Le Golf National in Paris, France.
  • Where can you find betting value if you like the U.S. team to lift the trophy?
  • Who will be the top scorer on the U.S. Ryder Cup team? Jason Sobel weighs in with his pick. The players with the best betting odds include: Dustin Johnson (+500), Brooks Koepka (+600), Justin Thomas (+600), Jordan Spieth (+700), Patrick Reed (+700) and Tiger Woods (+800)

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 favored U.S. team, which we’ll have to analyze to find some value.

U.S. to win by -1.5 (EVEN)

So, you like Furyk’s boys to finally pull off that elusive victory on European soil, but you don’t want to pay the juice and take ‘em straight up to win at -170? Betting the team at -1.5 might be the way to go.

From 1989-99, that spread would’ve elicited exactly zero winners in six ultra-close competitions.

Since the turn of the century, though, the winning team has won by an average margin of 4.9 points — and just two of those eight editions of the event have failed to hit that 1.5-point spread.

So if you like the U.S. this week, take a look at the bigger number.

And for those who are really confident, you can get the team at -2.5 for +150 and -3.5 for +200, although neither of those is recommended for the faint of heart.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports; Pictured: U.S. Team captain Jim Furyk

U.S. to take the lead first (-130)

Four years ago, when the Tom Watson-led U.S. team got trounced in Europe, the team still held the advantage in both morning fourball sessions, which underscores the point that even when Americans are outclassed, this format suits them well.

Guess what? This week’s event will similarly start with a best-ball session.

Going back a decade, the U.S. owns a 6-2-2 advantage in these sessions, which should spell good news for Friday morning.

Throw in the fact that this team includes nine — yes, nine! — of the top-17 players in the PGA Tour’s birdie average statistic this season, and this should be a recipe for another early lead.

tiger woods 2018 tour championship
Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Top points scorer: Tiger Woods (+800)

Quite frankly, I was shocked when I checked this bet and found Tiger languishing with the sixth-lowest odds on the board, behind Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

No, not because he’s been some sort of Ryder Cup force all these years; we all know that isn’t the case.

Tiger lines are always slanted toward public sentiment — or in other words, they’re often sucker bets.

On the heels of his Tour Championship win, Woods is already a favorite to claim a 15th career major title, and the odds on him winning multiple majors next year are uncommonly low.

And yet, here at the Ryder Cup, the books aren’t showing any of that usual lean.

I fully expect him to play five matches this week — he’s previously insisted that won’t be an issue — and Le Golf National should take driver out of his hands, playing to his advantage as an elite ball-striker.