Kick-starting our Ryder Cup in-play coverage, Paul Krishnamurty runs through the opening fourball matches, where he is backing Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas to prevail...
For me this is the weakest of the European pairs and the strongest American duo. Good friends with the highest pedigree and liable to run up a plethora of birdies anywhere.
Following the Opening Ceremony, the draw for Friday morning's fourballs session has been made, with the first match starting at 07:20. Click each match for live betting.
Justin Rose & Jon Rahm vs Brooks Koepka & Tony Finau (Starts 07.20)
Rory McIlroy & Thorbjorn Olesen vs Dustin Johnson & Rickie Fowler (Starts 07.30)
Paul Casey & Tyrrell Hatton vs Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas (Starts 07.40)
Tommy Fleetwood & Francesco Molinari vs Patrick Reed & Tiger Woods (Starts 07.50)
An interesting stat that somehow escaped my attention is that Europe haven't won an opening Ryder Cup session since 2006. Four years ago at Hazeltine, they lost 4-0 at foursomes, a hammer blow from which they were never able to fully recover. I don't think we should read anything into that, besides the importance of a fast start.
Europe fancied for their best start in over a decade
If either side is better placed to start well, it must be Europe. They have vast amounts of experience of Le Golf National compared to their US rivals, who've rarely if ever played here and most of whom only saw the course for the first time on Wednesday. Europe are [2.36] to be Day 1 Winner and [2.82] to win the Day 1 Fourballs.
I prefer the longer target, because it also involves foursomes. There's a lot of bombers in this US side as their morning line-up illustrates and they could be devastating in better ball. Foursomes is another matter and this layout doesn't especially reward power.
As the event develops, I'll be previewing and betting on a lot of individual matches here as soon as the draw is made. These opening matches, though, are pretty closely matched, with only one standing out as a strong pre-match bet. Otherwise, I will be playing in-running, looking to back front-runners, because catch-up golf is extremely difficult in fourballs.
All-star Spieth/Thomas pairing is the opening nap
The opening fourball is simply too good, and too close to call. If anything, Koepka/Finau are attractively priced outsiders at [2.76]. Similar comments apply to the second match, with Euro pair McIlroy/Olesen this time making some appeal at [2.76]. The final fourball feels correctly rated even at around [2.34] the pair and [6.4] about the tie.
The nap is Spieth/Thomas to beat Casey/Hatton at [1.9]. For me this is the weakest of the European pairs and the strongest American duo. Good friends with the highest pedigree and liable to run up a plethora of birdies anywhere. Despite his disappointing season, I'm expecting a lot from Spieth this week, given his history of turning up on the biggest stages. While I can see either Casey or Hatton enjoying a good weekend, they're not quite in the same class.
I'll be back with more tips and analysis once the draw for Friday's afternoon foursomes has been announced.
Back Europe to win Day 1 @ [2.36]
Back Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas 6u @ [1.9] (vs Casey, Hatton)