History says hosts often win by wide margins
Jon Rahm to be Top Overall Points Scorer at 10/111.00
Max Homa can be Top USA Points Scorer at 9/110.00
When the USA hammered Europe 19-9 at Whistling Straits in the 2021 Ryder Cup, the knee-jerk reaction was to predict a period of dominance for the Americans.
It was reflected in the odds. And yet, as we approach this week's renewal in Rome, the betting has flipped. From being the clear underdogs at 2/13.00 and above, Europe now head the market at 1/12.00, with the USA 11/102.11 and the Tie 11/112.00.
An overreaction? Are the Americans - average world ranking of 12.8 to Europe's 29.2 - now the value? Not for me and location is a huge reason.
Home advantage is massive
My core belief remains that the home side in any Ryder Cup have a serious advantage and after the USA trotted up 19-9 at Whistling Straits, seven of the last eight have been won by the host.
And let's not forget that but for the 'Miracle of Medinah' in 2012 it would be all eight.
We can speculate as to why: vociferous, partisan crowds, course set-up, familiarity with the venue are all good reasons. And all are certainly in play this week.
Six of Europe's 12 have strong records at Marco Simone. Two (Robert MacIntyre and Nicolai Hojgaard) have won there and two (Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood) have finished runner-up.
Rory McIlroy was fourth on his only appearance while Tyrrell Hatton made the top eight on debut.
Europe are the bet but Even Money doesn't seem a great way to try and cash in on such a strong trend - especially for punters who want some decent odds running for them. But there's an obvious solution.
Margin could be significant
While an epic Solheim Cup in Spain last week ended in a 14-14 tie, recent Ryder Cups have been anything but close.
Home teams have absolutely dominated, with winning margins huge. In fact, theyr'e actually getting bigger!
2021 - Whistling Straits - USA won by 10pts
2018 - Le Gof National - Europe won by 7pts
2016 - Hazeltine - USA won by 6pts
2014 - Gleneagles - Europe won by 5pts
True, 2012 and 2010 were decided by the minimum margin of a single point but before that?
2008 - Valhalla - USA won by 5pts
2006 - The K Club - Europe won by 9pts
To frame that in a single punchy stat: the hosts have won by a margin of five points or more in six of the last eight Ryder Cups.
On that evidence, Europe -4 on the Outright Handicap is worth a look at 7/24.50.
I'll temper that slightly but will have a five-point winning margin at the top end of a trio of correct score bets. Europe 16-12 at 12/113.00 is the sweet spot but I'll also go one either side: Europe 16-15-11.5 at 15/116.00 and Europe 15.5-12.5 at 11/112.00.
It may take some heroics from some of the so-called lesser lights in the singles but think Phil Price beating Phil Mickelson at The Belfry in 2002. These things can happen.
Rahm can dominate
Jon Rahm didn't have a Ryder Cup point to his name going into the Sunday singles at the 2018 showdown in Paris.
But a victory over Tiger Woods (who would go onto win the Masters less than six months later) was a turning point and he now looks like turning into a Ryder Cup beast.
The Spaniard was Europe's top points scorer in the thrashing at Whistling Straits in 2021 and he has to have a chance of playing in all five matches this week.
Rahm's ability to get up a head of steam and produce devastating bursts of scoring will stand him in good stead in this format and, as I'm tipping Europe, I'll back him at 10/111.00 to be the event's top scorer.
Homa can continue US rookie trend
Opting for the tried and tested American Ryder Cup performers appears tempting, especially as there are some familiar partnerships that look pencilled in.
But history says backing a rookie to be the top USA points scorer is the way to go.
In the last two Ryder Cups on European soil, Justin Thomas (Le Golf National 2018) and Patrick Reed (Gleneagles 2014) won this market when making their debuts.
Go further back and David Toms (The Belfry 2002), Chris DiMarco (Oakland Hills 2004) and Hunter Mahan (Valhalla 2008) also emerged as top scorer in their first appearance. So much for nerves!
Of the US rookies this year, Max Homa at 9/110.00 is the one that jumps off the page.
He won four out of four on his Presidents Cup bow last year, captured two points out of three on his Walker Cup debut and, unlike many of the Americans, is tournament sharp after a seventh at the Fortinet Championship a couple of weeks ago.
Specials offer another way in
The Sportsbook's 'Will History Repeat Itself' markets are another way to lean on past heroics and they include Europe to be leading 10-6 after Day 2.
That happened in the last two Ryder Cups in Europe (2014 and 2018) and is obviously work a look at 10/111.00 if you fancy a big home win again.
Justin Thomas beat Rory McIlroy in the 2018 singles in Paris and it's 16/117.00 for a repeat.
Obviously, a big chunk of that is hoping they're drawn together but there has to be a chance if Thomas is having a good week.
Rory has been sent out first in each of the last three Ryder Cups while JT led his team out in 2018 and then again at the 2022 Presidents Cup.
I have a feeling that Thomas will prove some of the doubters wrong this week so what better way to do that than beating McIlroy in a head-to-head showdown.
And, of course, if they're paired, that 16/1 ticket you're holding allows a hedge on McIlroy or the tie.
Talking of the latter, in the #OddsOnThat section, it's 11/102.11 for 2+ Tied Matches in the Singles.
There were three tied matches at Gleneagles in 2014 and two at Celtic Manor in 2010 so it's landed in two of the last three matches on European soil.