The Ryder Cup was first contested in 1921 at Gleneagles in Scotland. Back then, ten amateur golfers from the USA played against ten golfers from Great Britain as a warm up for the British Open which was scheduled for the following week. Britain triumphed, but an American golfer went on to win the Open the following week.
It wasn’t until 1979 that the Ryder Cup as we know it today was implemented with the formation of a European team. In it’s current format the U.S has won the competition 7 times with Europe winning 8 times and a solitary tie back in 1989. It is an event which is watched the world over and is a great betting opportunity. Before putting your money down there are a few things you may wish to consider. The two main factors are where it’s being played and who is participating.
To get a handle on who will triumph in 2014, it is useful to look at how much of a part the venue plays. Only 2 of the U.S.A’s 7 victories have come on European soil while 5 of Europe’s 9 wins have occurred at European courses. Incidentally, the tie was also on European soil. When you consider that the USA team has not won in Europe since 1993, it makes the size of the task they face at Gleneagles seem a little larger. Home advantage is a definite bonus for Europe’s chances, but the other argument is that the U.S.A. are due a result.
As you would expect at a Ryder Cup, the players are of the highest calibre who have enjoyed successful seasons. However, the Ryder Cup is a tournament like no other and players can wilt under the pressure of playing as part of a team in such a high expectation event. In this instance, previous experience of the tournament is a huge advantage and experience of winning the tournament is even better. Both U.S.A and Europe have 3 players who are making their Ryder Cup debut. Team Europe’s players have played in a combined 31 tournaments while the U.S.A’s players have played in a combined 29 tournaments. However, while this is a fairly even match-up, Europe’s players have won 21 Ryder Cups between them while only Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson have experienced Ryder Cup glory with 1 win each. The winning trend seems to be with Europe.
With this in mind, we must first look at the outright betting. Unsurprisingly given their record in recent years Europe are odds on favourites to lift the Ryder Cup. They are a best priced 1/2 with Coral and Paddy Power. The best price for the U.S.A. to win is a rather short 24/13 with 888.Sport. If you are looking for a better value bet the following markets may be more suitable.
Betting for Top American point scoring is an interesting market. Rickie Fowler is favourite at a best priced 6/1 with Ladbrokes. Next is Phil Mickelson at 13/2 with Coral while Matt Kuchar is third favourite at 8/1 with William Hill. A more appealing bet is Bubba Watson at 10/1 with Stan James. Watson’s form has picked up recently and with two previous appearances in the Ryder Cup allied with his laid back manner you would expect him to handle the pressure of the singles.
Rather unsurprisingly, Rory McIlroy is the hot favourite to be Europe’s leading point scorer. He is a best priced 4/1 with Bet365. This is a very decent bet providing Rory doesn’t sleep in again! Sergio Garcia is second favourite at an appealing 7/1 with Paddy Power. He has won the Ryder Cup with Europe on four occasions and must be considered.
If you are looking for a good outside bet look no further than Thomas Bjorn. He is a great price at 22/1 with Bet365 and has great experience both as a player and as Vice-Captain. He is definitely worth at least an each way bet.
With Europe being hot favourites this is obviously reflected in the odds for correct score. The shortest price correct score are joint favourite 14.5 to 13.5 at 9/1 with Coral and William Hill and Europe to win 15-13 at 9/1 with Paddy Power. Next most popular score for Europe is 15.5 to 12.5 at 11/1 with BetVictor. Two of Europe’s last three wins have been by a scoreline of 18.5 to 9.5 at a stunning 66/1 with BetVictor.
Given Europe are odds on to win outright this is great value.If you fancy a U.S.A. win then 14.5 to 13.5 is 12/1 with Ladbrokes while 15 to 13 is 12/1 with Paddy Power. The tie is 11/1 with Boyle Sports.
There has been a lot of comment on the respective Captain’s Wildcard picks. Tom Watson attracted some criticism for making his picks too early given the recent form of players such as Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel. However, Watson has chosen experience over form in Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley. On the opposing side, Paul McGinley’s Wildcard picks have been met with almost universal approval. Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and rookie Stephen Gallacher have proven popular choices.
Westwood appears to be the best bet at 5/1 with Coral to lead the Wildcards. He has vast Ryder Cup experience and definitely is the man to turn to when the chips are down. Gallacher is the rank outsider at 10/1 with Coral, but he has been in great form this season and is worth an interest.
There are some fun side bets to be had on the Ryder Cup. Something which is often seen as a freak occurrence in golf and overlooked accordingly is the ‘hole in one’ bet. This should never be dismissed when you have 12 of the World’s top golfers playing in an event. This is 7/2 with Skybet and I wouldn’t discount this from happening.
If you find the 1/2 on offer for an outright Europe win to be restrictive then you may wish to look at who will be leading after the first day. Europe are 21/20 with StanJames to lead after day one while U.S.A. are 11/8 with BetVictor. The Tie is 11/2 with Bet365.