President's Cup 2019 Betting: Back Thomas As Top American
For so long, the captaincy of Tiger Woods in this year’s Presidents Cup proceeded with military-like precision. He demonstrated clear thinking with his preparation, united the likely combatants and even had the good fortune every successful leader requires when his best version of himself began to show. Then Patrick Reed made one of the more remarkable decisions in recent golfing times (two if you count that he repeated himself).
Not only did he move sand in a bunker ahead of his shot at last week’s Hero World Challenge, but he did so in a 16-man field, in the final group of the day, in Woods’ event, with TV cameras everywhere. Anyone expecting this week’s Australian crowds to do anything other than sledge and barrack Reed might also still believe in Santa Claus. If you’re of the opinion that the Presidents Cup lacks bite, Reed has achieved one thing — there will be bite every time he tees it up.
President's Cup Best Bets
|Justin Thomas Top American||+500 |
|Louis Oosthuizen Top International Scorer||+600 |
All odds are current as of publication and subject to change.
PICK 1: Justin Thomas Top American Scorer
Reed’s misdemeanors have no doubt made life difficult for his team. His teammates will do their best to overlook the issue, but the questions will be frequent, the atmosphere tense and the crowds loud. Reed has dealt with such problems all his life and it doesn’t seem to faze him (he continued to contend after the two-shot penalty he received).
How the other 11 deal with it is anyone’s guess. At the least, they ought to be frustrated with a teammate who makes like difficult. However, expecting the International team to use the controversy to fuel a win is asking for history to be overturned.
The Americans have won 10 of these matches, the underdogs just once. That victory might have been claimed at this week’s venue Royal Melbourne, but the odds don’t look tasty enough for a huge overhaul of past results.
Instead let’s focus on the 'Top Scorer' and first up is the American team where Justin Thomas looks to be a deserving and backed favorite. He hasn’t finished outside of the top 20 in his last 10 starts, has two wins in that stretch and has plenty of potential strong partnerships to join — with Woods or with his friend Rickie Fowler.
In his debut two years ago he won three, halved one and lost one match. Then he left Paris as the "Top American Scorer" at last year’s Ryder Cup. Take the +500 at 888sport.
PICK 2: Louis Oosthuizen Top International Scorer
As already discussed, history is against Ernie Els’ team this week, even if Reed has given them a helping hand. Another problem is that the International team falls short of the Americans in terms of average world rankings, wins and major wins, too. Moreover, seven of the Internationals are rookies and while a majority of players without experience hasn’t stopped teams from claiming success, more often than not it does.
Furthermore, those players with experience don’t have great records. Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Adam Hadwin have all lost more points than they have won.
Which leaves one man — South Africa’s Oosthuizen, who has won seven, lost five and halved three of his contests. He’s a strong foursomes operator (3-2-1), a solid fourball option (3-3-0) and is unbeaten in singles (1-0-2).
Els may favor his compatriot and Oosthuizen might want to put on a show for his legendary fellow countryman. The clincher? He warmed up by finishing second in last week’s Australian Open. He’s +600 with William Hill to lead the home team charge.
About the Author
Matt Cooper has been a golf journalist for more than a decade, covering every aspect of the sport for a wide range of publications, including Sky Sports, NBC, Golf365 and ESPN.