Vegas report: Action building in Top Points Scorer markets ahead of Ryder Cup
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Written by Brady Kannon @lasvegasgolfer
When the Ryder Cup returned to action in 2021 at Whistling Straits after a one-year delay, it felt in part like it lacked some of its usual luster. The United States won in Wisconsin in blowout fashion, 19-9, adding to the lack of drama.
This time, two years later in Italy, it feels completely different – bursting with energy, anticipation and of course betting implications. The storylines have been building for months. From the captain's picks, both those that made the team and those that people felt were snubbed, to the venue that sees the Ryder Cup in Italy for the first time in the event's history. And then there is the price. Just a couple of months ago the European side was a +200 underdog. I can't remember being this fired up for a Ryder Cup since Medinah in 2012.
As a Las Vegas resident, I have spoken with some local oddsmakers in Vegas this week and have received mixed reviews. Some report an increase in action – in line with golf becoming a more popular betting sport in general – while others say that because the matches are being held on European soil, so far the U.S. betting interest is down from years past. It was, however, a consensus opinion that most of the play will come in on Thursday before the competition begins on Friday. According to BetMGM golf oddsmaker Seamus McGee, "Probably not even half of the action has come in so far and we've had it up on the board for nearly three months."
So what kind of action have the books seen to this point?
“We've had decent two-way action in both the three-way market (including a tie) and to simply Lift the Trophy," McGee explained. “The sharp play is on Europe and the public is on the U.S."
Over at the Mirage, fellow BetMGM golf oddsmaker Scott Shelton says at his shop, "We have about 1.5-to-1 tickets on Europe in the three-way market - with very little play on the tie, and about 2-to-1 tickets on Europe to Lift the Trophy."
Both Shelton and McGee have seen one-way traffic on Europe's Viktor Hovland to be the Top Points Scorer Overall. Hovland captured the FedExCup last month with wins at the BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship. Shelton said action in the Most Points Scored market has been “all on Hovland." The Norwegian is currently listed at +900 to lead the 24-man competition in points.
McGee took an interest in the Top Rookie - Overall market, saying Ludvig Aberg (+350) is intriguing.
"He's a great player," McGee said. "I think it says a lot that he is the second choice in that market,” McGee said. “I am really looking forward to seeing how he does."
Further south on the Las Vegas Strip, Mike Piranio, the Director of Race and Sports at Mandalay Bay – another BetMGM property – says he hasn't taken any big money yet but, "the sharp play that we have seen is on Europe." Piranio continued, noting the home-field advantage for Europe.
"It's like the WM Phoenix Open. I expect it to be a hostile crowd,” he said. “You don't think of home-field advantage in golf because of the fans, but rather how the course might suit the home team. In this case, I think the crowd will be a factor."
As far as the Top Points Overall market, Piranio has his eye on Scottie Scheffler (+800): "I find it interesting that he is working with a putting coach before the Ryder Cup but didn't necessarily do so before a major championship,” he said. “It tells you how much this means to these guys. If he gets his putting figured out, I believe he can be the next Tiger Woods. I'm leaning toward Scheffler to be the top scorer."
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