Americans favored against Europe as they look to reclaim Ryder Cup

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The tried-and-true narrative with the Ryder Cup is that Europe somehow manages to outfox the United States, which once again is the betting favorite for the biennial competition.

Europe has won eight of the past 10 competitions, including six of the last seven. With the Ryder Cup slated to begin Friday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chasta, Minnesota, captain Davis Love III’s American squad is a -185 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Captain Darren Clarke’s Europe team is a +145 underdog to win.

Along with home soil, the Americans have the 7-5 edge in world Top 20 players and a 10-7 edge in players with experience in the tournament. The Americans have not won more than 7½ of a possible 12 points from the Sunday singles matches since their memorable comeback in 1999, but having the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed could make a difference on the final day.

Johnson headlines the top U.S. player board at +350. Spieth is listed at +450 and Reed is at +600. Jimmy Walker, the PGA championship winner and one of the better American putters, is listed at +1600.

Rory McIlroy, fresh off capturing the FedEx Cup, is a +450 favorite to be Europe’s top player. It is worth nothing that McIlroy is playing for a fellow Northern Ireland native, Clarke. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, who respectively won the Olympic gold medal and British Open this summer, are listed at +550.

Rickie Fowler, who has never won a Ryder Cup match, is a +225 favorite to be the top U.S. wild card (also known as a captain’s pick). Matt Kuchar has a +240 payout, with J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore each listed at +300.

Martin Kaymer, at +150, and Lee Westwood, at +160, are neck-on-neck in the top Europe wild card prop. Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters (+225) is a big hitter whose burgeoning rapport with Stenson could carry over to the course.

For top U.S. rookie, Brooks Koepka is -120 and Moore is -110 on those golf betting lines.

Danny Willett is +300 to be the top performer among the half-dozen rookies on the Europe team. Pieters, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick are each listed at +400.

The competition begins with fourballs and foursomes matches on Friday and Saturday, before the all-important 12 singles matches on Sunday. Each of the 28 matches is worth one point (with a half-point for a tie), and the first team to accumulate 14½ points wins.

Europe is 10-7-1 since the current Ryder Cup format was introduced in 1979.

Jordan Spieth Has Top Odds, Tiger Woods Making Charge on Masters Betting Lines

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Jordan Spieth has top odds and Tiger Woods is charging up the futures board, but recent history at Augusta National dictates fading those who have already won the green jacket.

Spieth is the +900 favorite on the 2018 Masters betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s first major due to commence on Thursday. All told, nine men in the field have odds of lower than +2000 (or 20/1), including Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+1100), Woods (+1400), Justin Rose (+1400), Bubba Watson (+1600), Jason Day (+1800) and Phil Mickelson (+1800).

However, only two recent champions – Mickelson in 2010 and Spieth in 2015 – have gone off at lower than +2000 odds. Woods is drawing a lot of action at many sportsbooks and it’s all well and good to indulge the thought of an all-time great writing a comeback story, but it will be his first major since 2015. Also, no one over age 40 has won the Masters since 1998.

Eight of the last nine major winners have been first-timers, with Spieth (2017 British Open) being the only exception in that span. Those trends don’t mean automatically having to rule out a favorite. Rose, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Masters, has had five top-10 finishes in the event and is also playing well so far this season, with three top-5 placings.

With a 7,435-yard course that is free of flat hole layouts, Augusta rewards golfers who are efficient with their approach. While there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Woods in 2001-02, defending champion Sergio Garcia (+2800) leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach, while Thomas and Mickelson are also among the leaders.

Two-time winner Bubba Watson missed the cut in in three of the 2017 majors, including the Masters, but his recent win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a reason to consider investing in him.

If one is bent on backing someone who is on the Yet To Win A Major Shortlist, there’s Paul Casey (+2200), who has finished sixth or better in his last three majors. A wrist ailment has affected Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) at times this season, but the Japanese star has finished 11th or higher in his last three starts at the Masters. Matsuyama’s odds are right in the range of several recent Masters champions.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Tony Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

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While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he’s apparently been hard at work ever since.

“I’ll be treating it very serious,” Romo told reporters Tuesday. “My wife will tell you she hasn’t seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you’ll get the best I’ve got this week.”

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf “you’re trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag.”

“I’m not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball,” Romo said. “It’s at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that’s difficult, and sometimes that’s easier depending on the situation.”

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which “was not up to any Tour standard.” The first-tee jitters can’t be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

“I think they’re waiting to either tell me ‘Congrats’ or ‘I knew it, terrible,'” Romo said. “Something along those lines. They’re probably going to wait to see which way the wind’s blowing before they send them.”

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.