Europe and the United States of America have selected their teams for the Ryder Cup at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and now is the time to place some speculative bets at long odds before the rest of the world focuses on the event.
The market in which one is most interested at this point in time – the 40th edition of the Ryder Cup will get under way on Friday 26 September – is the one pertaining to the top Europe points scorer. There are a couple of golfers whom bookmakers appear to have underestimated with their odds.
First, there is Ryder Cup rookie Stephen Gallacher, the nephew of Ryder Cup-winning captain Bernard. Gallacher is one of three rookies on the 12-golfer Europe team but one thinks that he will handle the pressure, not least because the Gleneagles Hotel is one of his favourite courses.
Gallacher has been a regular participant in European Tour events at the Gleneagles Hotel, most recently finishing second behind Tommy Fleetwood and level with Ricardo Gonzalez in the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Gallacher, Fleetwood and Gonzalez shot 18 under par for their 72 holes before Fleetwood got the better of his Scottish and Argentinian opponents in their play-off.
It was not the first time that Gallacher had excelled in a European Tour event at the Gleneagles Hotel. One could say that Gallacher is a course specialist. In Gallacher’s last five Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles appearances he has finished second, sixth (twice), 10th and 14th, with his cumulative score being 48 under par. Little wonder then that Europe captain Paul McGinley picked Gallacher after the Scottish golfer had just missed out on automatic selection.
Gallacher, who has lots of team golf experience, both as an amateur and a professional dating back more than 20 years, is available at odds of +2500 with several bookmakers, including Bwin, Ladbrokes and Totesport, to be the top Europe points scorer in the Ryder Cup. It is worth noting that Gallacher is trading at odds of +2200 with Sky Bet but that bookmaker will refund all losing stakes on the market, up to a maximum of 150 British pounds, in the form of a free bet if the United States of America wins the Ryder Cup.
Second, there is Thomas Bjorn for whom this year’s Ryder Cup will be his third representing Europe. Bjorn is the oldest playing member of Europe’s team and the 43-year-old Dane is hoping to win the Ryder Cup for the third time having been part of his continent’s victories in 1997 and 2002. Like Gallacher, Bjorn is very fond of the Gleneagles Hotel.
Bjorn did not star in the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles – he missed the cut by three strokes – but one is willing to overlook that mishap and a couple of others because some of his course form is outstanding. Bjorn has taken part in six European Tour events at the Gleneagles Hotel for one first, one fourth, one 10th and three missed cuts. Bjorn won the 2011 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, winning a five-golfer play-off that featured George Coetzee, Mark Foster, Pablo Larrazabal and Bernd Wiesberger. It took five play-off holes to get a winner, with Bjorn making three birdies under intense pressure.
Sky Bet is quoting Bjorn at odds of just 15.00 to be the top Europe points scorer so, if one does not perceive value in that bookmaker’s Ryder Cup refund offer, one can get odds of +2000 with many bookmakers, including Betfred, Boylesports and Totesport. According to the Ryder Cup match market, the United States of America is about a 34 per cent chance to regain the trophy that it won most recently in 2008.
Of course, neither Gallacher nor Bjorn is guaranteed to play the maximum number of Ryder Cup matches and that is a factor in bookmakers offering such long odds about them. If one is worried about that then why not back Gallacher and/or Bjorn to be the top overall point scorer for less money and more lucrative odds. After all, most of the United States of America team are unaccomplished links golfers unfamiliar with the Gleneagles Hotel. Gallacher is listed at odds of +5000 with Sky Bet and Bjorn is quoted at odds of +3500 with Boylesports – Sky Bet has odds of 26.00 about the Dane.
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