Every other year, the world’s best golfers team up to compete in a unique golf tournament that captures the attention of golf fans from the US and Europe. While this event might feel like an exhibition, the players care about the outcome. This makes for a fun and competitive experience for both the players and of course, the… handicappers!
If you’ve bet on golf before, you’ll probably be interested in getting some action in on the Ryder Cup. And if you haven’t bet on golf before, maybe it’s time to give it a try.
In this article, I’ll go over a few bets you can try out the next time it’s played.
All the sights, sounds and stories.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 22, 2021
1 – Matchup Bets for Individual Rounds
One of the most popular types of golf bets out there is the ‘matchup’ bet. This bet is simple to understand, can provide some pretty nice value, and gives you the opportunity to follow along and root for your favorite golfers to win.
If you’ve never bet on golf before, a matchup bet is just like it sounds – you pick which player(s) is/are going to win the match, and bet accordingly. Now the reason I make “player” plural is because in the Ryder Cup, there are different formats than you might be used to in traditional PGA events.
You can make a matchup bet on each type of format, but you should know what you’re getting into beforehand. Here are the three different games you’ll see:
This type of game involves two teams with two players each. On every hole, players play their own ball (four total balls are played on every hole). The team that has the individual with the lowest score wins the hole. If the two teams have a tie in terms of their low-man score, the hole is halved and no points are awarded.
The foursome game format brings the team aspect into the picture. Each team has two players, but they only play one ball during the hole. They alternate shots (whoever hits the tee shot will then hit the third shot) and alternate who hits off the tee on each hole.
For example, one player will hit off the tee on odd-numbered holes, and one player will hit off the tee box on even-numbered holes. The team with the lowest score wins the hole, and if there’s a tie, the hole is halved.
This one is pretty easy to understand… a traditional match play golf! The player with the lowest score wins the hole. If neither has the lower score, the hole is halved.
When it comes to gambling, the real money golf sportsbooks will put a line out such as Koepka & Spieth (-115) vs. Poulter & Garcia (+120). It’s fairly straightforward to bet, but undeniably difficult to predict.
2 – Overall Winner
For all the individual matchups which are involved in the Ryder Cup, at the end of the day, all that matters is which country hoists the cup. I’ve explained the formats of the individual matches, but in order to understand how the winning country is determined, you have to understand how it all gets added up.
The Ryder Cup has a total of 28 matches throughout the weekend. For what it’s worth, there are no playoff holes, so it is possible to tie (insert soccer/Europe tie joke here), and it happens regularly. Each team is awarded a point for a match win, and a half-point for a tie.
Not only are you able to tie individual matches, which is unpopular amongst fans and players alike, you can also tie for the entire tournament! In the event that the tournament ends in a 14-14 tie, the team who began the tournament holding the cup will retain it for the next 2 years.
It should be noted that the tournament ending in a tie does not happen very frequently. You can bet on a tie as the outcome, but it’s a longshot that probably isn’t worth taking, at least if you’re planning on betting a significant amount of money.
For example, heading into the 2021 Ryder Cup, the odds for the two teams to finish in a tie is a whopping +1200.
When looking at the odds for each team to win, they’re almost always going to be between +200 for the underdog and -200 for the favorite. I can tell you that you should do a careful evaluation of each team’s chances to win, but if I’m being honest I don’t know how many Americans will bet on the Europeans and vice versa.
Assuming that you’re not going to be betting against your own country, the main takeaway should be that if you don’t feel confident in betting on the US or Europe, find another avenue to get some action in the tournament.
3 – Individual Player Points
Now that you know the game formats and the overall scoring format, use this information to identify which player will be the MVP! If you’re able to get this one right, you can enjoy some pretty significant value.
Sportsbooks will put odds on which player will score the most points for his team. Keep in mind that there are team events, so each player will be awarded a point (as it pertains to this bet) for a win. In order to capture the title of “biggest point-winner” a player is going to need to take care of their opponent in the singles event, so make sure they have a matchup that they can handle. Given the quality of the players involved in the tournament, chances are this should be no problem.
The only downside (and this is a downside that has a high chance of presenting itself) is that if your player is unable to win during their first competition, you’re probably not going to win your bet. It might not take a perfect record, but if the player you bet on loses at all, you’re going to need some help from the field.
If you’re a golf purist who believes golf should be played, and bet, as an individual sport, this is the play you should be making.
4 – Correct Score
Want to increase the value of your bets by adding a little extra risk in hopes of getting a bigger payoff? Try guessing the scores!
Golf betting sites will put out a number of how much a team will win by for one round. For example, in the foursome round, you might see an offering such as “Europe +2 (+210).” This would mean if you take this play, you’d be rooting for Europe to win by two strokes.
Once again, in traditional sports handicapping fashion, you’ll need to be able to stomach a little extra risk if you want to set yourself up for a bigger payday. As long as you aren’t putting your bankroll in serious jeopardy, I’d say it’s worth it to take a gamble every so often just to see what happens.
No, it’s not easy to predict how much a team will win or lose by in a golf round. In fact, I’d say it’s impossible to predict. This is strictly an example of “playing the odds” – a philosophy I believe is underutilized by the vast majority of the betting public.
Even if you aren’t the world’s biggest golf fan, if you like sports, you’ll like the Ryder Cup. When golf becomes a team sport, the entire energy around a tournament is unlike anything else. Throw in the patriotic aspect of a US vs. Europe matchup and you have a golf event that’s more entertaining than you ever thought possible.
If you still need convincing, how about the fact that you can grow your bankroll while you root on your countrymen? Now that sounds like a win-win.