Ryder Cup betting trends: For Team USA, home course may mean more than talent

Dustin Johnson Ryder Cup
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon


Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
Read more about Ricky Dimon

Twelve months after it was supposed to happen, the 2020 Ryder Cup will take place this weekend at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin. The United States has to hope that home-field advantage makes the difference as it tries to avenge a blowout loss to Team Europe at the 2018 event in Paris.

Will Team USA take care of business as a considerable favorite? Let’s discuss some past Ryder Cup trends to help us forecast what might occur this time around.

Home cooking

If you aren’t convinced that fans are back in a big way in the world of sports despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, you haven’t watched the first few weeks of football season or the U.S. Open tennis tournament. But if you tune into the Ryder Cup, you will see for yourself. It’s without question the most raucous atmosphere in golf, and the crowd is a big reason why the home team generally wins. Course setup (which the hosts decide) contributes significantly, as well.

The home side has won each of the last 3 Ryder Cups and all 3 have been complete blowouts. Only once in the last 7 tournaments have the visitors prevailed (Europe in 2012, and even that required a miracle comeback on Sunday).

Make sure you check out our full Ryder Cup preview, including a three-star play!

Favorites rarely fumble

Similarly, the favored team takes care of business more often than not. Sure that is related to the fact that the hosts are often the favorites, but it’s not always the case. Prior to 2018, the favorites had won 4 Ryder Cups in a row and 5 of 6. That trend ended—or was at least halted temporarily—when a loaded American squad drew more of the money 2 years ago only to get clobbered by the Europeans 17.5-10.5 at Le Golf National in Paris.

Europe last won as a road underdog in 2004, when it went off at huge +288 odds and humiliated Team USA 18.5-9.5.

The United States is -190 to win this year’s Ryder Cup. Europe is +210 and a tie is +1200.

World rankings out the window

There is a reason why the Americans are overwhelming favorites, and it’s not just because they have home-field advantage. There is a massive gap between the two teams on paper—and by “on paper” I mean “in the world rankings.” Eight of the United States’ players are in the top 10 and no one on the roster is ranked lower than 21st (Scottie Scheffler). The Europeans, on the other hand, feature only one man in the top 10 (world No. 1 Jon Rahm). Just 4 of their guys are in the top 20. Team Europe’s bottom 4 players are between No. 42 and No. 63 on the list.

The good news for the visitors is that rankings have meant little in the Ryder Cup in recent years. Over the last 10 events, the team with the better average ranking has lost 7 times.

Garcia dominates foursomes

One of the lower-ranked Europeans is No. 43 Sergio Garcia. Based on his current form, some may find it laughable that the 41-year-old Spaniard is even on the roster. But Garcia is generally a whole different beast when he laces up the shoes for Europe. He is already the all-time leader in Ryder Cup points with 25.5 (22 wins and 7 halves to go along with 11 losses).

A lot of that has to do with foursomes (alternate shot) success. Garcia has 10 points in foursomes and can overtake Bernhard Langer (11) for the all-time Ryder Cup record in that discipline.

Garcia is +800 to lead the current European squad in points.

Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey Ryder Cup

Ride or die with Spieth and Thomas

The most common pairing between players on the 2021 rosters is Garcia and Lee Westwood, who have played in 7 matches together (tied for eighth all time). Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have paired up 7 times, but Reed isn’t part of this year’s festivities. That means Spieth can be expected to play with Justin Thomas (Tuesday’s practice rounds indicated as much, just as they did for Garcia and Westwood). Spieth and Thomas played together for all 4 team sessions in 2018.

Spieth played all 7 of his 2-on-2 matches in 2014 and 2016 with Reed. In other words, the 28-year-old American has never switched partners in the middle of any Ryder Cup. There is no reason to think that captain Steve Stricker will suddenly change anything up now.

Spieth is +900 to lead the Ryder Cup in individual points. Thomas is a +800 co-favorite along with Rahm.

Other Ryder Cup content

Ryder Cup betting guide
Best prop bets for the Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup preview and picks

Want even more great Ryder Cup insight? Check out the preview show below from our friends at the Racing Post, where even the Brits don’t expect their boys to win!

The Pickswise golf handicappers are on hand with expert Golf Picks and Golf Predictions as well as tournament previews and analysis throughout the PGA Tour season, including all of the majors. This weekend we will also provide daily Ryder Cup best bets.

By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy