Wagering on the President’s Cup, which is the poor cousin of the Ryder Cup,is an interesting venture for sports bettors. It is played every second year when the Ryder Cup isn’t played, and features the top golfers from the United States against the top golfers from the rest of the world except for the golfers from Great Britain who play in the Ryder Cup. While it doesn’t get nearly as much coverage or attention as the Ryder Cup the President’s Cup is still a great tournament with a strong history. It also can provide outstanding betting opportunities for bettors who are positioned to spot them. Here are six questions for PGA handicappers to ask to help you prepare to dominate the event and fatten your bankroll:
What is the format? – Bettors need to get familiar with the format and the implications of it because it can differ significantly from a normal tournament and can reward some players and punish others. There are several different formats played during the weekend – best ball, alternate shot, match play, and so on. There is more strategy involved in these formats than in stroke play, and players have to adapt to playing one or two other golfers head to head instead of playing a whole field in a less personal way like they do most weeks. If you don’t understand what the format of the games are then you can’t properly handicap which teams have an edge and how the strategy could give a team a boost or handicap another.
Who is playing? – The lineup obviously has a big impact on how things turn out for the teams and on how you bet. The large majority of players earn their way onto the team by their play, while the last two selections are chosen by the captain as wild cards. Sometimes, though, a player that earns a spot because of their play could be ice cold recently but earned enough points earlier in the season to get where they are. You need to get a sense, then, of how the player is playing at the time of the event, and how he has prepared for the event. You also need to look closely at how well the player suits the format. Some great players have not been nearly as effective as part of a team, while some more marginal players turn into superheroes in the team format. History of play in the President’s Cup or Ryder Cup, or in any of the major amateur tournaments that use a similar format, is a big factor in these tournaments.
Which players will the public overvalue? – There are some players that are going to get more attention and respect than they often deserve because of their reputations and past accomplishments. Tiger Woods, for example, will always be the focus of the tournament regardless of how he is playing or how the format suits him. When the public overvalues a player they are likely to bet more on them than they likely should. That means that the oddsmakers are likely to inflate the odds as a result, and value could be hard to find.
Which players will the public undervalue? – The public holds onto their opinions of older stars, and takes a while to recognize the strength and talent of younger golfers. If a player is playing on the team for the first time and hasn’t yet won a major or another high profile tournament then the average public bettor isn’t likely to give the player enough credit. Often times, though, these players are the ones who can sneak up on stars and make a big difference in this event – especially if the captain does a good job of picking their partners. These are the golfers that will often deliver real value for bettors.
Who are the captains? – Some captains are very well suited to the challenges of leading a team like this – they are strategic thinkers and natural leaders, so they can put their players in the right positions and then motivate them to succeed. Other captains make mistakes in picking their teams, and continue making mistakes throughout the tournament. No single factor can have a bigger impact on the outcome of the tournament than a mismatch in captains, so this is a very worthwhile place to spend some handicapping effort.
What kind of course is it? – The golf courses are often selected in an attempt to give the home team an advantage. A long American style course could favor the Americans, while a links style course could give the Europeans an edge. European players might also be more familiar with poor weather and how to play through it. The course is a massive factor that must be carefully considered by bettors.