Note: In US moneyline odds such as these, a negative number, such as -135 indicates that team is the favorite. The +145 is the underdog. From a financial perspective, the -135 indicates that a bettor would need to bet $135 to win $100. The +145 indicates that a bet of $100 would reap a reward of $145.
For those more comfortable with fractional odds, it looks like this:
Note: In Fractional, or UK Odds, the fraction indicates how much you will win on the bet. The first number is the payout. The second is the stake. Thus, betting $27 on the US team nets a return of $20.
The implied probability of a win for each are:
Any way you look at it, the Americans are favored, but not heavily. While Team USA is chock full of talent, it hasn’t won on European soil in 25 years. For perspective, Phil Mickelson is playing in his 12th Ryder Cup. He has never won on European soil. Worse for the Americans is they have won only three times in 23 years.
That the US Team is favored — against all history — thus seems to be a measure of the estimation of the strength of this US Team. Tiger is back, of course. His win at the Tour Championship (triumphing as he did over Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy) just might give the US a psychological edge.
Any glee over Tiger’s presence ignores the fact, however, that for all his other wins, Tiger is a bit of a Ryder Cup dud. He has losing record in Ryder Cup matches: 13-17-3.
The rest of the team is strong, but not overwhelmingly so, and thus the rather narrow odds. Phil Mickelson has not been playing well as of late. Nor has Jordan Spieth. The US Team has the Masters, US Open and PGA Champions. But the European Team has the Open Champion. The US team has the #1 player in the world (Dustin Johnson), but the Europeans have the world #2 (Justin Rose). Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas are #3 and #4, but Francesco Molinari and Rory McIlroy are #5 and #6. The US has six players in the top ten. Europe has four.
I think it is going to be close. A glance at the odds to win the Ryder Cup tells the tale.