Underdogs rate Ryder Cup value
Dave Tindall looks back at past Ryder Cups and asks, has the betting market proved a reliable guide?
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1991 - ODDS-ON AMERICANS WIN WAR
The bookies install the USA as 4/5 favourites to win the "War on the Shore" at Kiawah Island with Europe 11/10 and the tie 12/1. The outcome remains in the balance all the way until Bernhard Langer agonisingly misses a four-footer on the last which gives the US a thrilling 14½-13½ victory. Langer's missed putt on the final green - which would have tied the match and kept the trophy in European hands - costs the bookies too as the 14-14 scoreline had virtually gone unbacked.
1993 - US OUTSIDERS FOIL EURO GAMBLE
Europe are made favourites for the first time in Ryder Cup history. After a flood of money for the home side the bookies, who had offered the Europeans at 6/4 before the previous week's Lancome Trophy, install Europe as 10/11 favourites to win at The Belfry. The United States, who had been 4/5 shots, are pushed out to evens at the off with the tie 10/1. The most popular winning margin is 15 points to 13 for either side, on offer at 8/1. Europe are 5/6 favourites after they take a 4½-3½ lead at the end of the first day's play, with the US quoted at 6/5 and the tie 8/1. Europe maintain their one-point advantage after sharing the eight points on offer on day two and go into the final day as 4/5 favourites, with the Americans at 6/5. Despite the closeness of the game, the tie remains an 8/1 chance. But it's the odds-against Americans who win the day and prove the bookies wrong as they win the singles 7½-4½ to win the match 15-13. There's a three-way tie in the top US points market with Corey Pavin (12/1), Ray Floyd (14/1) and Payne Stewart (14/1) all banking three points. Ian Woosnam racks up an almost perfect 4½ points to finish top Euro scorer at 9/2.
1995 - 15/8 OUTSIDERS EUROPE RECLAIM CUP
Hosts America go into the Ryder Cup at Oak Hill in New York as 1/2 favourites, with Europe 15/8 and the tie 10/1 as Sky win the TV rights for the first time. Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo are joint 3/1 favourites to top score for Europe with 7/2 Corey Pavin heading the US lists. With the Americans taking a 9-7 lead into the singles, those who took the 15/8 on Europe aren't hopeful but the visitors produce a stunning display to overturn the odds-on favourites. Pavin justifies favouritism by top scoring for the US with four points but on the European side three relatively unfancied players tie for top spot with three points apiece - David Gilford (25/1), Costantino Rocca (20/1) and Sam Torrance (8/1).
1997 - 3/1 EUROPE UPSET FORM BOOK
With Tiger Woods - a sensational 12-shot winner at The Masters earlier in the year - making his debut and the Europeans fielding five rookies, Seve Ballesteros' men are as big as 3/1 in the build-up to the battle at Valderrama. By the off, they have been cut to a top-priced 9/4 but still remain big outsiders with America quoted no better than 8/15. But inspired by Seve, the home side lead 10½-5½ after day two and go into the final day singles as 1/5 shots. The Americans are available at 7/1 and so nearly pull it back but Europe hold on to win by a point - the 14½-13½ winning scoreline a pre-tournament 10/1 shot. 4/1 Colin Montgomerie (3½pts) rewards favourite backers on the top Euro points scorer market and his decision to shake hands with Scott Hoch at the last when the Cup is already won decides the top US scorer market. Hoch, who faces a 20ft putt before Monty signals for him to pick his ball up, is gift-wrapped a half point that takes him to 2½pts and out of a seven-way tie on 2. His lucky backers land a 20/1 touch while backers of the 15-13 scoreline in favour of Europe are left cursing their misfortune.
1999 - LATE CHARGE RESCUES 1/3 US
The star-studded US team are as short as 2/7 to win back the Cup at Brookline in Massachusetts, with Europe available at 11/4. But Mark James, who two years earlier had been quoted at 3/1 to be the next skipper, almost guides his team to a brilliant victory. Europe carve out a 10-6 lead after day two but once again the US thrive in the singles and fight back superbly to win 14½-13½ - a 12/1 chance at the start the week. Tiger Woods is the 11/4 favourite to be top US scorer but it's 14/1 chance Hal Sutton who comes out on top with three wins and a half. 3½pts is also the magic number on the European side but four players share top spot - Colin Montgomerie (11/4 favourite), Sergio Garcia (6/1), Jesper Parnevik (7/1) and Paul Lawrie (22/1).
2002 - 15/8 EUROPE'S SUNDAY BEST
With the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York forcing the Ryder Cup to be put back a year, both teams stick with the original line-ups chosen 12 months earlier. The perception is that the European team contains more players that have lost form so the USA are sent off as red-hot 1/2 favourites to retain their trophy with Europe as big as 15/8 to delight the home fans at The Belfry. Yet again Europe make a good start and take the first day lead. It's the seventh time in the last eight they've led after day one so it's surprising that odds-against quotes were available for them to do so again. The US rally on day two and the scores are levelled at 8-8. Given their traditional superiority in the singles - the Americans had won the singles in six of the previous seven Ryder Cups - it's no surprise that the bookies make the US 2/5 to lift the trophy ahead of Sunday's play. Europe have other ideas though and with Sam Torrance putting his big guns out first they gain unstoppable momentum and win the singles convincingly to secure the match 15½-12½. Colin Montgomerie top scores for Europe with 4½ points out of five and rewards backers who took the massive 9/1 - a price inflated by rumours of Monty having a bad back. Rookie David Toms, with 3½ , is the top US points scorer and is also a 9/1 chance.
2004 - UNDERDOGS MAUL AMERICANS
After years of nail-biting finishes, 13/8 underdogs Europe turn the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Detroit into a one-sided rout. The tone is set on day one as Bernhard Langer's meticulously prepared side race into a 6½-1½ lead against a US team which had started as 4/7 favourites. The 'dream team' of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is turned over not once but twice and the bookies slash Europe to just 1/3 to win the trophy again. Europe edge further in front on day two and also win the singles 7½-4½ on Sunday to seal a staggering nine-shot winning margin. The correct score of Europe 18½ USA 9½ was a 175/1 shot pre-tournament! Sergio Garcia (11/4) and Lee Westwood (10/1) are Europe's top points scorers with 4½ while Chris DiMarco's 2½ points is enough to see him top the US market. DiMarco was a 16/1 shot to score most for Hal Sutton's hapless side. The bookies claim there was £10m riding on the event, the highest turnover on any Ryder Cup. Despite the one-sided nature of the contest, the bookies are still reluctant to make Europe favourites for the 2006 event at the K Club in Ireland and offer the two sides as Even money joint favourites with the tie 9/1.
2006 - EUROS BLAST RIVALS AGAIN
The bookies finally drop their repeated policy of making the Americans favourites - a strategy usually based on individual players' world rankings - and Europe are pencilled in as 4/6 by jollies by Sky Bet to win at The K Club in Ireland. With home soil advantage and wins in four of the last five Ryder Cups, Europe certainly deserve their favourites tag although punters are still keen to snap up the odds-against quotes for the Americans, who go off at 11/8. Yet again, Europe take the honours on day one with Tiger Woods, who hits his opening tee-shot into the River Liffey, losing both games. Europe are cut to 4/9 after taking a 5-3 lead and and those odds are slashed to 1/8 after they extend the lead to 10-6 going into singles. Europe complete another demolition job on Sunday and win by a massive 18½-9½ for the second Ryder Cup running. It's a disaster for one punter who stakes a massive £347,000 on a US win while the bookies reckon £25million is wagered on the event in total. 5/1 favourite Sergio Garcia and 8/1 Lee Westwood finish as joint top point scorers for Europe with 4pts while Tiger, who wins his final three matches, finishes as top US points scorer for the first time in his career, justifying Sky Bet's decision to make him 9/4 favourite in that market. Darren Clarke, who goes into the contest after the recent loss of his wife, produces a heroic performance to win all his three matches and is cut to even money to win Sports Personality of the Year (he eventually finishes second to Zara Phillips).
2008 - US UNDERDOGS BITE BACK
There was a time when the bookies making Europe odds-on to win a Ryder Cup on US soil would have been unthinkable. But with Europe having won five of the last six matches and Tiger Woods out injured, Nick Faldo's men are made 8/11 favourites by Sky Bet for the showdown at Valhalla, with the USA 6/4 underdogs. Punters are also keen to wade into Sergio Garcia to be top Euro points scorers, the Spaniard being cut to 10/3 from 5s and Westwood shortened to 5/1 from 6s. But the writing is on the wall on the first morning. Europe fail to win a single match and end day one trailing 5½-2½. Faldo's men cut the deficit to 9-7 going into Sunday's singles and are 12/5 to turn it around on the final day. But first man out Garcia gets hammered 5&4 by Anthony Kim and he and Westwood manage just two points between them as the canny Paul Azinger inspires his team to a convincing 16½-11½ triumph. The one shining light for Europe is Ian Poulter who justifies his wildcard pick by top scoring with 4pts and landing a 16/1 payout for those who backed him to bank most Euro points. There's also a surprise result in the top US market with 16/1 Hunter Mahan scoring 3½pts to finish a full point in front of five players on 2½. Jose Maria Olazabal is installed as 5/4 favourite to be Europe's captain in 2010 while Colin Montgomerie, who eventually gets the job, is listed as an 8/1 outsider.
2010 - EUROPE HOLD ON
With so many in-form players who had thrived at a venue the US had never previously seen, Europe are hot 4/7 favourites with Sky Bet to lift the trophy at Celtic Manor. The US, who had been pencilled in at 11/10 after their win at Valhalla, drift to 2/1 at the off as Colin Montgomerie's men appear to hold all the aces. But it's the Americans who make a fast start and Corey Pavin's men touch 5/6 in-running (Europe 11/8). However, Europe fight back and justify their pre-tournament favouritism, though only just, as they close out a narrow 14½-13½ win. In the top scorer markets, Rory McIlroy, making his debut, and Lee Westwood are the 6/1 favourites while Tiger Woods, despite his lack of competitive play after his personal troubles and injuries, is the 5/1 favourite ahead of 11/2 Stricker. Those odds are justified as the two playing partners win two out of three together and also win their singles to finish as joint top US scorers. For Europe, it's a dead heat between Ian Poulter and Luke Donald, who both win 3 points out of 4. Four is the maximum on offer as a format change caused by the bad weather means only three sessions are played before the singles which are delayed until Monday.
Oppose the favourites is the message for punters hoping to land a coup on the Ryder Cup.
In the past 10 matches, the odds-on favourites have been turned over six times. And on the four occasions when the favourites did prevail, there was only a point in it.
Simply backing the underdogs blindly at the prices quoted on the first morning would have produced winners of evens (1993), 15/8 (1995), 9/4 (1997), 15/8 (2002),13/8 (2004) and 6/4 (2008).
So a £100 investment on the underdogs in the last 10 Ryder Cups would have netted a profit of £612.50.
If you fancy backing the underdog Europeans at Medinah, betting history suggests it could prove a wise choice.
As for the top scorer markets, there appears to be a definite split in results - the winner in this market on the European side has to score more points to land the cash than his US equivalent.
Reading back the top points scorer's tally from 2010:
Europe: 3, 4, 4, 4½, 4½, 3½, 3½, 3, 4½
USA: 3, 3½, 3, 2½, 3½, 3½, 2½, 4, 3
To sum up, no American player has got to 4pts in a Ryder Cup since current US skipper Corey Pavin in 1995. By contrast, the European market is won with at least 4 points more often than not.
Therefore picking a player likely to play all five matches seems imperative when betting on a European. It may not be the case with the Americans and hence there is scope for a more suprise result.
That's shown by five of the last seven winners in the top US market going off at 16/1, 16/1, 9/1, 14/1 and 20/1.