Ryder Cup 2018: Defending Champions Look Even Stronger

It’s the greatest team golf tournament in the world and for 2018, the Ryder Cup heads to Le Golf National in France with America taking on Europe in this bi-annual event. This is only the second time that the competition has been held in mainland Europe and the first since Spain’s Valderrama course had the honour back in 1997.

The US are the defending champions and as they arrive in France for the 2018 renewal, they have a strong team that starts the Ryder Cup as favourites.

History and Format

The 2018 Tournament will be the 42nd edition of the Ryder Cup after the event was first held back in 1927. Contests between golfers from the US and Great Britain had been taking place since 1921 but the Ryder Cup didn’t become official until that 1927 meeting at Worcester Golf Club in Massachusetts.

Against a British team, America won that inaugural event by a 9.5 to 2.5 margin and from 1933 onwards, they began to dominate. After seven straight US wins from 1959 to 1971, the GB team expanded to allow Irish players in but that failed to address the rot. It wasn’t until 1979 when the Ryder Cup became a battle between America and Europe, that the tournament really became competitive.

Team Europe won their first Ryder Cup at the Belfry in 1985 and since then, they have held the upper hand, winning ten of the 15 subsequent editions.

The 2018 renewal will follow a format that has been in place for some time: The tournament takes place over three days and on day one, there are four foursome matches and four fourballs. The format is repeated on day two and then, on the final day, all 24 players from both sides compete in 12 singles matches.

28 points are available in total and at the end of the three days, the team with the highest points total is declared the winner.

Outright Bets

Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup

America are odds on with all sportsbooks to win the 2018 Ryder Cup and captain Jim Furyk’s squad can be picked up at a best of 10/11 with 188Bet. That figure makes Team Europe the outside bet at a top price of 11/8 with Coral and Betway.

With 28 points up for grabs across three days of competition, there is the potential for the tournament to finish all square at 14-14. It has happened in the past so there could be some interest in the tie at best odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes and 10Bet.

If we do get a draw at the end of the 2018 Ryder Cup, the United States would retain the trophy as defending champions. Because of the potential for that tie, there is a separate To Lift the Trophy market where the US are favourites at 4/6 with Boylesports. You can take Europe but because a tie is no good for the home team, they remain at that 11/8 price with Coral and Betway.

Other Betting Options

Rory McIlroy

In any team golf event we get a wide range of markets, many of which are not usually available for standard tournament play. When the Ryder Cup comes along, interest in these side bets will intensify so what do we have available for the 2018 edition?

Like most team competitions, Correct Score betting is a popular market for this event. As we mentioned, there are 28 points available in total and lots of permutations so this could be a tough bet but there are some high prices for those who call it correctly.

The task is made even tougher because half points are available, increasing the list of possibilities but this Correct Score market is led by 15-13 in favour of the USA which is quoted at best odds of 9/1 with 188Bet.

Next up is 14.5-13.5, again for the USA, which is available at a top price of 188Bet once again. The bookies therefore feel that while the US are favourites, it’s going to be a tight three days and for anyone looking to back Europe, their shortest price in this market is on a 15-13 scoreline which is listed at a best of 11//1 with Unibet and SportingBet.

Elsewhere, another popular bet focuses on who will be the leading individual points scorer in each side. For the United States, the favourite is Dustin Johnson who has been the World Number One for much of this year, and you can back DJ at odds of 5/1 with most bookmakers including William Hill and Black Type.

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson

Brooks Koepka, who won two majors in 2018, is next on the list at 6/1 with BetFred and SportingBet while Justin Thomas is at 7/1 and Tiger Woods at 8/1 – both with Ladbrokes and Coral.

An interesting name here is that of Patrick Reed who seems to get fired up more than most when the Ryder Cup comes to town. This year’s US Masters Champion is on offer at a tempting top price of 12/1 with Royal Panda to win the most American points.

In Europe’s version of this market and the new World Number One Justin Rose is the favourite at 5/1 with Ladbrokes and BetBright, just ahead of Rory McIlroy at best odds of 11/2 with SportPesa. We then have a gap to Tommy Fleetwood at a top price of 9/1 with Unibet and 888Sport, while you can also pick up the talented Spaniard Jon Rahm at that same best of 9/1 with 10Bet and SportPesa.

The competitive Ian Poulter will attract some interest at best odds of 12/1 with SportingBet while Paul Casey, who spends his time on the PGA Tour, competing against the Americans, looks good value at a top price of 14/1 with BetFred and Boylesports.

Those are the most popular side bets but there are many others including top Englishman, top continental European, top rookie, top wildcard and others. We’re getting more obscure now and into markets where not all bookies will declare so let’s look at some trends and see if we can pick some winners from those main betting options.

Verdict

In recent years, Europe have dominated this event but this current United States squad seems to be stronger than ever. The trends do point to a home win however so should we ignore them completely?

The US come into this event as reigning champions but their last Ryder Cup victory on European soil came back in 1993. They have lost their last five tournaments away from home and, when we look at overall stats, Europe has won eight of the last eleven Ryder Cups at all venues.

It’s often been said that while the United States frequently come into this event with the best individual players, they don’t always gel together as a team. That may have been the case in recent years but the theory didn’t hold up at Hazeltine two years ago and we don’t think it will hold any weight this time either.

Europe may have the world’s best golfer in Justin Rose but American players dominate the top ten through the likes of Johnson, Thomas, Koepka and others. Then we have Tiger Woods back in form while Bubba Watson has won three tournaments on the PGA Tour this season.

Europe have plenty of talent and experience but when we consider that American line up it just looks too strong and the reigning champions are our tip for back-to-back Ryder Cup victories.

Best Bets for Ryder Cup 2018:

  • America to win outright at 10/11 with 188Bet
  • Patrick Reed to score most American points at 12/1 with Royal Panda
  • Paul Casey to score most European points at 14/1 with BetFred
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