PGA Betting Guide for the Presidents Cup
In our final chance to wager on golf in 2019, we are served up the delicious dish of match play action at the Presidents Cup. The Cup features 24 of the best golfers in the world, pitting the United States against an International team featuring the best the rest of the world (besides Europe) has to offer.
The U.S. are big favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook and rightfully so. The American side has historically dominated the Presidents Cup and boasts a 10-1-1 record. However, the course this week, Royal Melbourne Golf Club, was the site of the lone International victory back in 1998.
In addition to the outright team championship, we can bet on the total points scorer, day-by-day results, and, when the matchups are revealed tonight at midnight, individual match contests. Even without the matchups available yet, we can identify which golfers we'll want to key in on and which ones we'll want to fade or take on head-to-head.
You can find details about the Presidents Cup format and Royal Melbourne Golf Club in our course primer.
It is hard to see much argument here to eating the chalk and backing the United States. The U.S. team is loaded with top-tier talent -- the entire roster is ranked inside the top 25 in the world even with the injured Brooks Koepka missing the event.
Captain Tiger Woods has put together an elite squad that has the International side outpaced in talent by leaps and bounds. The case for the underdog hinges on the U.S. being tired both mentally and physically, as 11 of the 12 team members took part in the Hero World Challenge last week and have had to hear about the Patrick Reed's cheating "scandal" on a nonstop loop.
The Internationals also had a few extra days of practice and preparation. But let's be real -- if we are worried about a team captained by Woods to suffer from a lapse of focus or preparation, we are not on the right side of history.
The Pick: United States -240
Total Points Scorer
If we are backing the American side, the total points scorer will need to come from that team to remain consistent with our predictions.
Justin Thomas (+600) is the short man this week, and his relationship with Woods, match-play bona fides, and recent form make him a viable starting point. He is the best tee-to-green player in the Cup, and some of his putting woes are mitigated by the team format. If he's paired with a solid putter, he could rack up wins in short order. Thomas was 4-1-0 at the Ryder Cup last year.
Another tee-to-green god who found some consistency with the short stick this year is Patrick Cantlay (+1400). Cantlay got his breakout win at the Memorial last season in stroke play, and he finished T7 with Reed (+1800) at the Zurich Classic team event in the spring. Reed himself is a good play at triple the price of Thomas and has well-documented match-play credentials despite a lackluster Ryder Cup in 2018.
If you are keen on bucking the trend and backing the International side, consider Louis Oosthuizen (+1600), a near auto-bet in this category. The South African was the leading points scorer for the International team in the 2017 Presidents Cup, and he arrives in immaculate form. Following a 3rd place finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions, Oosthuizen banked two top-20s on the European Tour before finishing runner-up at the Emirates Australian Open last week.
Matchup Preferences and Golfers to Oppose
Much of what we covered in our DraftKings Helper applies here, with a tight turnaround between announcement of the teams and the start of the event preventing a full deep dive into each matchup.
The teammate and opponent may impact this, but given current form, we should be looking to find matchups with Thomas, Cantlay, and Reed on the American side, and Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, and Cameron Smith on the International side. Scott is a known commodity, and Smith found solid form on Australian soil last year, finishing T10 at the Emirates Australian Open before winning the Australian PGA Championship.
The teams have some golfers who are simply not their best selves right now or not best suited for match-play conditions. We should look for team or individual matchups against Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, and Matt Kuchar on the American side. DeChambeau's prickly personality and pace of play make him hard to back in a team event, while Finau and Kuchar had solid stretches last year but lacked consistency.
On the International team, Cheng-Tsung Pan has just three finishes inside the top 30 since winning the RBC Heritage and is simply outclassed by anyone on the U.S. side. Adam Hadwin earned his spot on the team with a strong stretch in the swing season, but he's cooled considerably since then with finishes of T41, T46, and T68 leading in.