USA 1.564/7 are favourites to win the Ryder Cup this weekend but Steve Rawlings is backing Europe 3.412/5 and he explains why here. Read his column to get two more bets.
Steve says: "World number one, Jon Rahm, represents Europe but the next six in the Official World Rankings are all on the US Team. As many as nine of the 12 Americans are inside the top-11 in the world rankings and Scottie Scheffler, who ranks 21st, is the only player on Steve Stricker's side not inside the world's top-20!
"In stark contrast, Rahm, Ryder Cup rookie, Viktor Hovland (14th), Rory McIlroy (15th) and Tyrrell Hatton (19th) are the only four players on the European Ryder Cup team that are inside the world's top-20.
"On paper, the Americans have by far the stronger side but year after year, the Americans have the stronger team but time after time they find it impossible to make that advantage count. I really do get the impression the event means far more to the Europeans and anyone wading it on the US Team at odds-on may need to ready themselves for a huge dose of disappointment."
Steve's bet: Back Europe to win the Ryder Cup @ 3.412/5
Paul Krishnamurty explains the golden rules for finding top team scorers in the Ryder Cup and runs the rule over the Europeans.
Paul says: "I expect Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy to play all five. The latter has never missed a Ryder Cup round, while the former is the best player on the planet. That leaves Shane Lowry. Again, he has the perfect skills-set for Whistling Straits and the Irishman is strongly tipped to partner McIlroy.
"Next, consider the odds. Combined, backing all four for Top European Points Scorer pays around 1.9310/11. I reckon that is a solid bet and wouldn't deter anyone from that strategy. However to build up the odds, I will exclude Rahm who, at 4.47/2, offers prohibitive value. The Spaniard is carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders and it rarely pans out that the best performer across the season in strokeplay reproduces in this team format.
"Instead, back Rory at 7.26/1. That's simply too big about someone set to play all five and preferable to 11/1 in the combined scorer market, given that Europe start as clear underdogs. McIlroy was superb in the last away Ryder Cup and has finished second in three of the last four top European lists."
Paul's bet: Back Rory McIlroy for Top European Scorer 6 units @ 7.26/1
Armed with further clues about pairings, Paul recommends three bets in the top scorer markets from Team USA.
Paul says: "The Open champion's accurate game is absolutely perfect for foursomes and having adapted so well immediately to majors, is entitled to play a major role. That media roster implies Johnson could be his partner, which strikes me as a slight negative but, at 18/1 for Top Combined Points Scorer, he makes each-way appeal.
"Choosing between the team or combined scorer markets is a dilemma. Generally in the USA case, I'm inclined to prefer the latter. They do look considerably superior, on paper, and the likelier winners.
"Granted, the same is said ahead of most renewals. However Stricker looks a better captain than usual. Well-liked and therefore capable of bringing a team of egotistic individuals together. From Wisconsin, sure to know Whistling Straits inside out, and have the course set up to favour his team."
Paul's bet: Back Collin Morikawa to be Top Overall Scorer 1u e/w @ 19.018/1
Dave Tindall picks out his best bets at Whistling Straits this week and argues that the USA can lead from start to finish. Here's the first but read the article to get four more bets...
Dave says: "My core belief remains that the home side in any Ryder Cup has a serious advantage and, as stated in the podcast (see below), six of the last seven have been won by the host. And but for the miracle of Medinah it would be all seven.
"It's a massive ask for Europe and 9/4 just doesn't seem big enough for what would be an incredible achievement. I'm not backing the USA at 4/9 either but there are ways to get around it.
"First, I'll take a stab at the final score and go USA 16-12 and USA 16.5-11.5. The last two home American triumphs were by six (2016) and five (2008) so it's reasonable to think the win could be a large one.
"Europe won by seven last time so both sides don't let up when over the line."
Dave's bet: 1pt USA to win 16-12 @ 11.010/1
Is this week's American team the greatest in Ryder Cup history? The data suggests it may be, as Andy Swales explains.
Andy says: "Certainly on paper, it appears to be the best Ryder Cup dozen since the World Ranking was introduced in 1986. The average World Ranking of the 2021 Americans is a remarkable 8.92 - the lowest of the past 35 years.
They can also boast to having more current top-10 players than any side since the birth of the Ranking system. This year's figure is eight, as they head to Wisconsin to take on the Europeans who only have one member of the top-10 in their team.
Lowest 12 Ranking Team Averages (1986-2018):
8.92: USA (`21)
11.17: USA (`18)
11.83: USA (`99)
12.17: USA (`12)
14.33: USA (`89)
14.58: USA (`97)
16.33: USA (`16)
16.33: USA (`14)
17.33: USA (`10)
18.00: USA (`87)
18.25: Eur (`10)
18.67: USA (`04)
Most Top-10 Ranked Players (1986-2018):
8: USA (`21)
6: USA (`18)
5: USA (`12)
5: USA (`02)
5: USA (`99)
5: USA (`97)
5: Eur (`91)
5: USA (`89)
However, there does seem to be some good news for the visitors, in that the American team they beat so convincingly in Paris three years ago was also packed with top-10 golfers and had a low overall ranking average.
One key stat, regarding the past 25 years of Ryder Cup action, is that nine of the last 11 matches have been won by the home team.
The exceptions to this trend were Europe's 'Miracle at Medinah' in 2012, as well as their victory under the captaincy of Bernhard Langer eight years earlier.
Back USA @ 1.564/7
Dave Tindall examines patterns in previous Ryder Cups to try and work out whether Europe or the USA are the best bet for victory in 2021.
Dave says: "Europe have scored some memorable victories on American soil and perhaps none more so than at Medinah in 2012.
"But away wins are starting to become a rarity in Ryder Cups as captains continue to get more savvy about squeezing out every bit of home advantage they can.
"In fact, had Europe not produced their miraculous comeback at Medinah, you'd have to go back to 2004 to find the last away win. Here's the list of hosts and who won:
2018 Europe (Le Golf National) - WON
2016 USA (Hazeltine) - WON
2014 Europe (Gleneagles) - WON
2012 USA (Medinah) - LOST
2010 Europe (Celtic Manor) - WON
2008 USA (Valhalla) - WON
2006 Europe (K Club) - WON
2004 USA (Oakland Hills) - LOST
2002 Europe (The Belfry) - WON
1999 USA (Medinah) - WON
"This has been an excellent predictor of the final outcome. With eight home wins in the last 10, it's strongest guide there is."
Listen to this special Ryder Cup podcast as Sky Sports presenter Sarah Stirk is joined by Ben Coley of Sporting Life and Dave Tindall to look ahead to the action at Whistling Straits.