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Golf: Presidents Cup preview

As the PGA Tour takes a brief pause, Ben Everill previews the much-anticpated Presidents Cup as the mighty U.S. Team takes on heavy underdogs in the International Team at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.

Trevor Immelman’s squad is made up of players from countries not eligible for Europe in the Ryder Cup and this time boasts representation from Australia, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Chile and Colombia.

Led by veteran Adam Scott, the team includes: Hideki Matsuyama, Tom Kim, Si Woo Kim, K.H. Lee, Sungjae Im, Mito Pereira, Taylor Pendrith, Corey Conners, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cam Davis and Sebastián Muñoz.

Davis Love III and his U.S. Team still have six first- timers in this competition although only four of those play for the U.S. for the first time in Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Sam Burns and Cameron Young. They are joined by world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Kevin Kisner.

With team events come some unique and fun betting markets and at bet365 there are countless ways for you to get involved. The teams play for 30 points with 15.5 needed to clinch the Cup. A tie sees both teams share the Cup.

With that in mind, let’s go through a bunch of the offerings and see if we can help educate your choices. This is not the definitive list as bet365 offers boatloads of markets both across the tournament but also inside each session, each format and of course in individual matches.

Click here for Presidents Cup odds

To Win Outright

The U.S. Team sits 1/7 to win the Presidents Cup for good reason. They hold an 11-1-1 record all-time in the contest and haven’t lost since 1998. They are also perfect on home soil. All but Young on the U.S. Team have won on the PGA Tour with a total of 76 Tour wins to their names.

The International squad has 33 Tour wins on their record, 22 of which come from Scott and Matsuyama. If you fancy an upset the Internationals sit at 7/1 and the tie is 16/1. It would be brave to bet against the U.S.

“We’re used to being called the favourite. That's on paper, and a lot of great coaches will tell you the game is not played on paper. They're played out there on the golf course,” Love III says.

“Statistically, yes, we have a higher ranked team, but I know a bunch of those young guys on their team, and they're going to come in with a chip on their shoulder and together.”

Correct Score

If you are of the belief the U.S. is are unbeatable you can find some value punting on the exact score. With 30 total points on offer since the 2015 edition the scores have read 15.5-14.5, 19-11 and 16-14 in favor of the U.S. with just the 2017 demolition played on their home soil. The U.S. is also coming off a record 19-9 (they play for 28 points) win in last year’s Ryder Cup.

The favorite in the market is a U.S. rout by either 18-12, 18.5-11.5, 19-11 or 19.5-10.5 all at 11/1. The outliers for a U.S. win include 22.5-7.5 at 30/1, 22-8 at 22/1 and 21.5-8.5 at 20/1, while a close 15.5-14.5 win would pay 18/1.  A tie at 15-15 is also on offer at 18/1.

But what of an upset? The lowest of margins, 15.5-14.5 in favor of the Internationals nets you a juicy 22/1. Perhaps a small unit here is where you can spend a lottery ticket. 16-14 is at 28/1 with the odds rising sharply each half point from there.

Perhaps the “value” here is giving the International Team a fighting chance. You can get 12/1 on U.S. winning either 17-13 or 17.5-12.5.

Player Total Points

In this market we are looking to pick between the Over or Exactly and Under on each individual player when it comes to points earned. Keep in mind all 12 players must play at least once in the four sessions before Sunday Singles so at the very least each player will have a chance to notch up two points.

The key here is figuring out who will have a chance at five points. Who will play every session for their team AND have a solid chance to score points in those matchups.

Thursday’s round sees five Foursomes matches, Friday brings five Four-ball matches while Saturday Morning has four foursomes matches and Saturday Afternoon four Four-ball matches until the 12 Singles battles on Sunday.

Guessing early on who will play Thursday could bring you the best odds if you are correct. With that in mind you need to look at established partnerships like Zurich Classic of New Orleans winning duo Schauffele and Cantlay. The two combined in Foursomes at the most recent Ryder Cup to go 2-0 after having done the same in the 2019 Presidents Cup.

But they were surprisingly left out as a Four-ball pairing last year against Europe after losing both matches in the format in Melbourne. Despite that, chances are this time around they’ll stick together like glue for at least a shot at four points each, most likely five.

Others to consider as heavy lifters for the U.S. might be Scheffler and Burns and of course Thomas and Spieth. The pair went 1-1 together as a duo last year at Whistling Straits in Foursomes and make sense as a duo again.

All but Spieth have their line set at 2.5 points, with Spieth at 2. Consider the Over on all six players. Over odds currently sit at 4/6 for Cantlay, 8/13 for Schauffele and Scheffler, 5/6 for Thomas and 4/5 for Spieth.

On the International side,  will veteran Scott play five times or will that fall to the youth? Im is a candidate for five starts for sure. And what of the Canadian duo Conners and Pendrith… they’re best mates and might be a good guess for Thursday play at least.

The line for Scott is 1.5 with 8/11 for the Over and 1/1 for Exact/Under. If the Internationals are to prevail, he will need to contribute significantly. Im is also 1.5 with the Over at 4/6 and Exact/Under at 11/10. There is no path to victory without Im playing a huge role.

As for Pendrith and Conners the line is 1 and 1.5 respectively. Pendrith becomes an Over option considering just one team win gets him level and then anything can happen on Sunday in Singles. You can get 11/10 on this.

In my mind, those players with the line at 1 is where to focus on possible Over bets. One we love is Bezuidenhout who sits 11/10. In Tuesday practice he holed out an albatross from 230 yards and putts beautifully. He matches up as a good teammate to many in the squad and has been a fighter his whole life after almost losing his life to following an accidental poisoning as a toddler.

Top Combined Points Scorer

Who will garner the most points of any player in the Cup? Much like the last market the key here is figuring out who will play in the most sessions and can likely rack them up. It is no surprise to see Scheffler 7/1, Schauffele 7/1 and Cantlay 15/2 lead this market but there is significant value in Thomas at 10/1. Remember this guy won a PGA Championship on this venue and will no doubt be one of the big guns going out plenty of times. He has proven a capable team player with multiple partners.

“My number one goal in these team events is just to do whatever we have to do to go get a point,” Thomas said Tuesday. “If it means shoot 10 under or shoot 2 over, I don't care. As long as we get a point for Team USA and put one on the board, then our goal is accomplished.”

Thomas led the points for the U.S. Team in 2019, tying with Im and Abraham Ancer for the tournament with 3.5 each. He also notched up 3.5 points on debut in 2017 (second overall).

Im might be the most likely to threaten in this market as an International. He sits 20/1.

Top Team Points Scorer

If ranking all 24 players seems outside your purview then you can jump into top point scorer for each individual team. Thomas sits 8/1 here with Scheffler, Schauffele and Cantlay all 6/1. Want to take a chance on better odds? What about last start winner Max Homa who has also won at Quail Hollow before? Coming off defending his Fortinet Championship title Homa is the hot hand. He’s 9/1 to lead the U.S. Team in points. Perhaps wait to see if he gets a start on Thursday or if Love III rests him early.

“This is all crazy. I feel good. I'm still a little tired. I got a little more sleep last night, but I am looking forward to it. I think, by tomorrow morning, I'll feel great,” Homa said Tuesday.

“It's west coast to east coast so I still felt kind of odd today. It usually takes me two days going west to east. Tomorrow, I'll feel great. I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow morning.”

For the Internationals Matsuyama is favorite to be top of the list at 5/1. He had a great chance to win the PGA Championship here before Thomas took it from him. Our pick Im isn 11/2 but value bets here include Pendrith 11/1 and Bezuidenhout at 12/1, especially if they play Thursday.

“To win here would be up there as one of the biggest things I’ll ever do in my career,” former Masters champion Matsuyama said. “Hopefully I can play well and we can make it happen.”

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