Golf

Ryder Cup betting guide: 3 prop bets we love this week in Rome

Justin Thomas, left, and Jordan Spieth will be representing the U.S. in Rome this week.
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Welcome to our weekly gambling-tips column, where we share our favorite bets for the upcoming action. Have you heard? This week’s action is the Ryder Cup, which gets underway Friday, just outside Rome.
Not all roads lead to Rome. Some spill through the outskirts of the Eternal City toward Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, host of the 2023 Ryder Cup. This marks the first time the biennial event has come to Italy, and the Europeans are hoping it will bring more of the same; they haven’t lost on home soil in 30 years. Can Team USA turn the tables? The oddsmakers think so. They listed the Americans as sizable favorites when the lines first opened. But the markets have since shifted, with more money falling on the other side, and as of this typing, the Europeans now are only slight underdogs.
Matchups for Friday’s opening day of play have not yet been announced, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to wager. Here are 3 plays we like this week.
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Conventional wisdom around this year’s Ryder Cup is the same as ever: the Americans have the deeper team on paper. That may be true across the entire roster. But our thinking is that with the Big Three of Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy leading the way, backed by the likes of Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Ryder Cup veteran Justin Rose, Team Europe has the edge over the first 7 to 8 spots. Throw in a home crowd advantage, and we’re banking on captain Luke Donald’s squad building enough of a lead heading into Sunday singles to hold on for a narrow win.
Time was when Hovland was the Oslo Achilles, a Norwegian ball-striking machine with a fatal weakness around the greens. No more. With a vastly improved chipping and putting, Hovland wrapped up a stellar 2023 (a win at the Memorial, three top 10s in majors) by blowing past Scottie Scheffler to win the Fed Ex Cup crown. In match play, of course, anything can happen. But Hovland appears as bullet-proof as any player on either roster. If we’re reading the tea leaves (and practice-round pairings) right, it seems likely that Hovland will be paired in foursomes and or fourballs with Swedish rookie Ludvig Aberg, a big hitter who makes birdies in bunches. Whatever the pairings, though, count on Hovland playing in all 5 matches and being a very tough man to beat.
Along with death and taxes, this much is certain. Cantlay will be paired with SoCal pal Xander Schauffele, reuniting a formidable partnership that went undefeated at Whistling Straits in 2021. Cantlay also won his singles match, combining his usual touch and power with a grinding pre-shot routine that is sure to drive any opponent batty.

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.
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