Ryder Cup best bets: Backing a trio of players to shine in Rome
There are a number of ways to attack this historic golf event from a betting perspective with the vast number of markets available.
Let's get to it!
Odds to win the Ryder Cup
All odds via theScore Bet.
First off, it looks as though the betting market believes the 2023 Ryder Cup is close to a coin flip with Europe as a very slight favorite. If you projected this back in June, you are likely holding a Team Europe +195 ticket and feeling quite pleased with yourself.
However, given the drastic shift in odds, it's tough to pick which team will hoist the trophy. Betting Europe at even money doesn't feel sharp since an opportunity to bet on the team was available for months at a much better number.
With no strong lean towards either side, betting the outright winner will be a pass. However, if forced to pick a side, Team USA at plus money would be the wager given all the hype around Team Europe and the fact that the Americans have a much deeper roster.
Viktor Hovland - Top Overall Points Scorer (+1000)
Betting the top overall points scorer comes down to determining who will play the most matches. In the previous Ryder Cup, only Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm played all five sessions for the Europeans. You'd have to think they roll Hovland out again for every session, especially considering he's the hottest player in the world at the moment.
McIlroy and Rahm will likely also play all five sessions since the Europeans need them - along with Hovland - to earn as many points as possible. McIlroy is +800 in this market, whereas Rahm and Hovland are +1000.
It appears as though McIlroy will be paired with Shane Lowry early in the event and Rahm will be with Tyrrell Hatton. Hovland, meanwhile, could draw one of the best rookies in the competition in Ludvig Aberg. This can all change depending on how Day 1 unfolds.
With that said, if Hovland and Aberg do get paired together and win their opening match, captain Luke Donald will be hard-pressed to split them up as both players can flourish in the better-ball format (fourball) and alternate shot (foursomes). The two Scandinavians are also young enough to withstand the gruelling test of five sessions over three days.
As for the Americans, they don't have those two or three players who are clearly head and shoulders above the rest. Team USA will likely take a balanced approach, rest its players, and rely on its impressive depth to succeed. It's unlikely any American plays all five sessions.
Therefore, Hovland is the pick at +1000. He's playing the best out of anyone in the tournament and isn't likely to sit. Add in the fact his partner could also be extremely impressive despite being a rookie, and it's easy to envision Hovland winning five points and leading the Europeans to a victory.
Note: Backing Hovland to score 2.5 or more points at -115 is another way to back the Norwegian this week.
Ludvig Aberg Top European Rookies (+160)
If Hovland leads the team in points, Aberg leading the European rookies in points is an easy connection to make under the assumption the two play together.
Aberg is also linked to McIlroy if there's a partner switch that occurs midway through the event. The two played together in a practice round when Team Europe visited the Ryder Cup site in early September. They were also grouped together - along with Hovland - in the first two rounds of the BMW PGA Championship.
The other three Aberg is up against in this market do not appear to have a direct line to a top-tier partner. Sepp Straka played his first practice round in a group that links him with Tommy Fleetwood, but it's hard to imagine Straka plays alternate shot given his wild style of play, which limits the number of sessions he can play at three.
Nicolai Hojgaard and Robert MacIntyre are the other two rookies on Team Europe. Hojgaard has a similar upside to Aberg, but the downside is far greater. MacIntyre is playing the worst of anyone in the Ryder Cup, so don't expect his name to get called too often. It's hard to imagine either of these players suiting up for more than two sessions before Sunday singles.
If Aberg spends his group sessions playing beside Hovland or McIlroy, and the other three rookies struggle to find playing time, he's in a perfect position to lead the European rookies.
Collin Morikawa Top USA Points Scorer (+850)
He finished last season in great form, and his game should suit Marco Simone to a tee. Morikawa's game is so simple and adaptable that he can play with anyone on Team USA's roster.
In 2021, Morikawa teamed up with Dustin Johnson three times, and the duo went 3-0. There's a possibility he's partnered with more power players in Rome and would fit nicely alongside Brooks Koepka or Sam Burns.
But if captain Zach Johnson decides to go a different way - perhaps the course emphasizes accuracy over distance - Morikawa could slot in beside someone like Max Homa or even Brian Harman. These players keep the ball in play and rely on their elite iron play to give themselves birdie opportunities, much like Morikawa.
However you shake it, Morikawa should play a lot with partners that complement his game. Sure, you could back either Patrick Cantlay or Xander Schauffele to lead USA in points, but those two have shorter odds than Morikawa and only played together twice in 2021. They are not as big of a sure-fire lock to play all four team sessions.