Ryder Cup 2014 betting tips
Europe are strong favourites to retain the Ryder Cup, having won in such dramatic fashion on American soil two years ago. The 'Miracle at Medinah' saw Jose Maria Olazabal's side fight back from 10-6 down to win by a point, taking eight-and-a-half of the 12 points available from the Sunday singles.
It was Europe's seventh win in nine matches and the second time in a row that they had won by 14.5 - 13.5 - the same scoreline that has settled six of the last 11 meetings in favour of either side. New captain Paul McGinley, who sank the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002, is tasked with maintaining Europe's grip on the trophy and they are priced generally at 8/13 to do so - although Paddy Power and Coral offer best odds of 4/6.
Playing at home has been a great advantage to the Europeans in recent years, with victories at Valderrama, the K Club and most recently at Celtic Manor taking their run of successive home wins to four. Not since 1993 at The Belfry have the United States won an away tie. The visitors are a best price of 7/4 with Betfred, Ladbrokes and Coral this time around, while the draw (as in 1989 at The Belfry) can be backed at 11/1 with Paddy Power.
The venue is the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, which hosts the Johnnie Walker Championship on the European Tour, an event which doesn't attract the leading names from the PGA Tour. Thomas Bjorn won here in 2011 and captain's pick Stephen Gallacher was beaten in a play-off at last year's edition, so there are at least two Europeans who will be pleased with the choice of venue.
It's also a major boost for the hosts to have world number one Rory McIlroy back to his best. The Northern Irishman has been magnificent all summer, winning both the Open and the PGA Championship to take his tally of major titles to four. Three of his team-mates at Gleneagles are also in the top six in the world rankings - Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose - compared to just one for the US team - the in-form Jim Furyk.
Aside from the three debutants in the European ranks, namely Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and Gallacher, every player has featured in at least two Ryder Cup matches. In Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, McGinley has gone for experience with his picks, with those two men playing in 12 matches between them. Poulter's win percentage in Ryder Cup golf is the best of any man on either side. He looked unbeatable at Medinah and can be backed at best odds of 12/1 to finish as top overall points scorer again, or 8/1 to be the top European points scorer - both with Bet365.
The Americans, skippered by Tom Watson, also have three debutants in Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, playing alongside three men who have played only once. The experience is provided by Furyk and Phil Mickelson, veterans of eight and nine matches respectively, but neither man boasts a great record. Furyk has won just nine of his 30 Ryder Cup matches, with Mickelson winning 14 of 38.
The visitors are without their most in-form player in Billy Horschel, who has won two of the last three tournaments of the 2013/14 season and finished second in the other. His outstanding run of results came too late to win him a place on the team and it is the form of those who made the cut that will be of most concern. Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Furyk and Hunter Mahan have had consistently good seasons, but Walker, Reed and Spieth played their best golf at the back end of 2013. Mickelson has been nowhere near his best and Zach Johnson, the third most experienced member of the team, has also failed to shine, although he can rise to the occasion.
Also missing for the Americans of course is Tiger Woods, but that is probably no bad thing for Watson's men. The former world number one does not have a great Ryder Cup record and finding the right partner for him is usually a thorny issue. His presence is often a huge distraction and they may well be better off without him.
Europe can be said to have the upper hand in terms of experience, form, world ranking and knowledge of the course, plus they have the world's best player on their side and that makes them a good bet to win the match. They are 9/1 to win by that same 14.5 - 13.5 scoreline which has featured so prominently down the years. There's a standout top price of 16/1 available from BetVictor about a 16.5 - 11.5 win for McGinley's men (10/1 with Stan James), with the same firm offering 28/1 about a thumping 17.5 - 10.5 home success.
McIlroy is the 4/1 favourite to be top European, but Bjorn, who enjoyed a fine season away from the headlines on the European Tour and has won here before, looks a great each way bet at 28/1 with Bet365 (as short as 16/1 elsewhere). The Dane, playing in his third match, has a point to prove after missing out on a captain's pick on two previous occasions when he felt he had done enough to win a place.
For the Americans, Johnson is a gritty and determined competitor with all the attributes to be their leading scorer. With a record of 6 wins from 11 matches he has shown before that he is suited to this format and is a tempting best price of 16/1 with Coral and William Hill.
|Europe||To Win||4/6||Coral & Paddy Power|
|Europe 16.5 - 11.5||Correct Score||16/1||BetVictor|
|Europe 17.5 - 10.5||Correct Score||28/1||BetVictor|
|Thomas Bjorn||Top European||28/1||Bet365|
|Zach Johnson||Top American||16/1||Coral & William Hill|
|Bet365||BetVictor||Coral||Paddy Power||William Hill|
|£200 free bet||£25 free bet||£20 free bet||£50 free bet||£25 free bet|
PREVIOUS RYDER CUP WINNERS & SCORES
|2012||Europe||14.5 - 13.5||Medinah Country Club, Chigago, Illinois, USA
|2010||Europe||14.5 - 13.5||The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales|
|2008||USA||16.5 - 11.5||Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
|2006||Europe||18.5 - 9.5||The K Club, Co. Kildare, Ireland|
|2004||Europe||18.5 - 9.5
||Oakland Hills Country Club, Michigan, USA
|2002||Europe||15.5 - 12.5||The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England|
|1999||USA||14.5 - 13.5||The Country Club, Brookline, Michigan, USA|
|1997||Europe||14.5 - 13.5||Valderrama Golf Club, Sotogrande, Spain|
|1995||Europe||14.5 - 13.5||Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York, USA|
|1993||USA||15 - 13
||The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England|
|1991||USA||14.5 - 13.5
||The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA|
|1989||Europe||14 - 14*
||The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England|
|1987||Europe||15 - 13
||Muirfield Village Golf Course, Ohio, USA
|1985||Europe||16.5 - 11.5||The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England|
|1983||USA||14.5 - 13.5||PGA National GC, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA|
|1981||USA||18.5 - 9.5||Walton Heath Golf Club, Surrey, England
|1979||USA||17 - 11||The Greenbrier, White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, USA|
* Europe retained the cup