For fans of match play, this is one of the best days on the golf calendar every year. Mano e mano to determine the outcome of a hotly contested, overly emotional Presidents Cup, one of the most memorable of these biennial matches. Prime-time Saturday golf at one of the world's best venues—with the outcome up for grabs—makes tonight's singles matches a proper send-off to a terrific year of golf.
Oddsmakers are giving just a slight edge to the Internationals, +110 (bet $10 to win $11) currently at MGM Sportsbook, compared to +125 (bet $10 to win $12.50) for the Americans. Interestingly, however, the sportsbook has marked the American player the favorite in eight of the 12 matches, with just four International players with better odds in their match (Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott. Ben An and Louis Oosthuizen). How could that be? The books know that public bettors are more likely to take the more popular American sides, and thus most U.S. sides have some inflated odds. That means we can take advantage of some more favorable odds in the Internationals' favor. That is, unless you think the singles matches will bring a blowout. Scroll down to see what our experts think:
Presidents Cup 2019 odds, Sunday singles, according to MGM:
6:02 p.m. (eastern): Tiger Woods (U.S.) (-150) vs. Abraham Ancer (International) (+185)
6:13 p.m. (eastern): Tony Finau (U.S.) (+120) vs. Hideki Matsuyama (International) (+110)
6:24 p.m. (eastern): Patrick Reed (U.S.) (-125) vs. C.T. Pan (International) (+163)
6:35 p.m. (eastern): Dustin Johnson (U.S.) (-176) vs. Haotong Li (International) (+225)
6:46 p.m. (eastern): Bryson DeChambeau (U.S.) (+110) vs. Adam Hadwin (International) (+120)
6:57 p.m. (eastern): Gary Woodland (U.S.) (+110) vs. Sungjae Im (International) (+120)
7:08 p.m. (eastern): Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) (-143) vs. Joaquin Niemann (International) (+188)
7:19 p.m. (eastern): Xander Schauffele (U.S.) (+120) vs. Adam Scott (International) (+110)
7:30 p.m. (eastern): Webb Simpson (U.S.) (+120) vs. Byeong-Hun An (International) (+110)
7:41 p.m. (eastern): Justin Thomas (U.S.) (-176) vs. Cameron Smith (International) (+225)
7:52 p.m. (eastern): Matt Kuchar (U.S.) (+163) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (International) (-125)
8:03 p.m. (eastern): Rickie Fowler (U.S.) (-106) vs. Marc Leishman (International) (+138)
(We are up 5.92 units throughout the three days of the Presidents Cup, highlighted by a +3.15 unit day by Stephen Hennessey in Saturday's fourballs picks.)
Match 6: Sungjae Im (+120) over Gary Woodland — Oddsmakers have clearly not adjusted to Sungjae Im playing like one of the best players at Royal Melbourne. Take advantage of the plus-odds. And you can take advantage of Gary Woodland's short game, one of the worst out of all players here: Per FantasyNational.com, Woodland is dead-last out of all 24 players in strokes gained/short game; third-to-last in strokes gained/around the green and fifth-to-last in strokes gained/putting over the past 36 rounds. Sungjae ranks first among all 24 players in strokes gained/putting—obviously so crucial in match play, and a distinction that the odds clearly are not accounting for. --Stephen Hennessey, associate editor
Match 1: Tiger Woods (-150) over Abraham Ancer — As is tradition, you’re paying a Tiger premium here, and with the way Abraham Ancer has looked with the flatstick, it takes some guts to play against him. But if you think Woods sat out two sessions to put himself out first in Sunday singles and lose, you are sorely mistaken. And don’t think Woods forgot about Ancer saying he would “like to play Tiger” in singles last month. You wanted him, you got him. --Christopher Powers, assistant editor
Match 8: Xander Schauffele (+120) over Adam Scott — This match likely won’t be the deciding point, but it will be an absolutely crucial one. Schauffele, who has developed a reputation of being a silent assassin, will relish that moment. There might not be a more evenly matched match on Sunday, and because of that I expect it to go the distance. All you can ask for here is a chance to win on the 17th or 18th holes, and I think Xander will give himself that opportunity. --CP
Match 7: Patrick Cantlay (-143) over Joaquin Niemann — Quietly, Patrick Cantlay has come up big over the past three sessions for the Americans. He and Xander Schauffele secured two points over the past three sessions, trailing only Justin Thomas' 2.5 points for the most by an American. You're paying a premium for Cantlay here, but I'm willing to lay the odds. Cantlay's putter really came alive in Day 3 at Royal Melbourne, and I'd expect that to continue into singles. Sure, Niemann is talented, but he's looked shaky at times (except his approach on 18 last night). Cantlay, a former U.S. Amateur champion, has a ton of elite match play experience, more reason for us to be willing to lay this number. --SH
Match 2: Hideki Matsuyama (+110) over Tony Finau — We'll continue with the putting theme here and fade Tony Finau, who ranks second-worst out of all players here in strokes gained/putting over the past 36 rounds, according to FantasyNational.com. Hideki isn't exactly known as one of the best putters on tour, but he has played great thus far, going 2-1, with his only loss (with Ben An) coming to Tiger Woods/Justin Thomas. This will be a crucial match to determine the outcome of the Cup, being in the second match out, and we'd favor Hideki's form (he ranks first out of all 24 players in strokes gained/overall in that 36-round span) over Finau's below average putting. --SH
Match 10: Cameron Smith (+225) over Justin Thomas — I’m a sucker for the home crowd angle, but there’s a few more reasons to love Australia’s Cameron Smith over American stalwart Justin Thomas. First, JT was clearly out of gas late on Saturday at Royal Melbourne, understandable given the fact he’s played in every match. Second, smith is the superior chipper and putter of late. Per fantasynational.com, Smith ranks seventh over his last 50 rounds in strokes gained/short game, 13th around the green and 17th in putting. In those same categories Thomas ranks 35th, 15th and 41st. At Royal Melbourne, a course Smith knows quite well, the shots around the green are critical, and could be the difference in this match. --CP
Match 4: Haotong Li (+225) over Dustin Johnson — This bet is not for the faint of heart. Haotong Li has played only one match this Presidents Cup, and he and Marc Leishman didn't look very solid in their defeat to Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler. But still, +225 (bet $10 to win $22.50) is just too steep of an underdog price to pass up. Haotong Li is a world-class player, not in the echelon of Dustin Johnson, but perhaps just a tier or two lower. Dustin Johnson hasn't played like a top-five player in the world of late, and in fact, his stats in his past 36 rounds are abysmal. He's last in this field in strokes gained/putting; last in strokes gained/approach; and second to last in strokes gained/short game. Those aren't Dustin Johnson-like numbers, and those also aren't the kind of stats that should dictate DJ being such a heavy favorite. This is a prime example of oddsmakers inflating the odds toward the American-biased public bettor. Take a shot at Haotong Li at this heavy discount. --SH
Match 3: 6:24 p.m. (eastern): C.T. Pan (+163) over Patrick Reed (U.S.) (-125) — It is impossible for oddsmakers to predict how Patrick Reed’s distractions will affect his play. Nobody knows for sure. Often, Reed is motivated with a chip on his shoulder. But this has been a downright circus. C.T. Pan is quietly 2-0 this week, partnering with Hideki Matsuyama to take down Patrick Reed/Webb Simpson, 5 and 3, yesterday. The stats point to Reed, but analytics can’t quantify what has happened with Reed. He will hear it more and more from the Aussie crowds on Day 4, and though he’s done a good job handling the taunting overall, that’s a lot to take. It’s been a week to forget for him, and it’s too much to expect him to win in this spot. We’d prefer the nice +163 odds with an undefeated Pan. --SH
Bonus: U.S. to win the Presidents Cup (+125) — Had the U.S. team tied up the matches at 9-9 like they should have, they’d have all the momentum and would be back to being a slight favorite to win. So I think you’ve got to take them at +125 here, hope that they win a few of the early matches to tie up the score and then we’re in business. The International team winning would be great for the event and be an awesome story, but unfortunately I think the U.S. team is going to spoil the party. --CP
Breaking down the rest of the matches:
Match 5: 6:46 p.m. (eastern): Bryson DeChambeau (U.S.) (+110) vs. Adam Hadwin (International) (+120) — This is probably the biggest unknown of all singles matches. We didn’t see either player on Sunday: Hadwin was back in the hotel room sick, while Bryson jumped up in the stands to cheer on his teammates. These odds seem right—we’re tempted to take Bryson given Hadwin’s health, but not knowing how serious Hadwin’s illness was, we’ll pass. If Hadwin is healthy, his short game is one of the best in the field, so it’s intimidating to bet against that.
Match 9: 7:30 p.m. (eastern): Webb Simpson (U.S.) (+120) vs. Byeong-Hun An (International) (+110) — This is one of the matches we’re most excited for. Webb is finally out of the Patrick Reed shadow, and he faces one of the strongest International players thus far. Ben An has two points for his team and hasn’t looked phased by the pressure. That could change without a partner to lean on. Webb, meanwhile, hasn’t sniffed a point, going 0-3 with Reed. But he entered this Presidents Cup playing like one of the best players in the world. We’re tempted to trust the short- and long-term putting stats: Webb was ranked 11th in the 2018-2019 season in strokes gained/putting, while An was 182nd (sixth-to-last out of all qualifying players), and even in their fall appearances, Webb is in the top 20, while An was 114th. So a slight lean to Webb, but An has looked sharp all week, so we're reluctant to go against him.
Match 11: 7:52 p.m. (eastern): Matt Kuchar (U.S.) (+163) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (International) (-125) — As our Shane Ryan pointed out, Kuchar has a 0-4 Presidents Cup singles record, while Oosthuizen has never lost (1-0-2). The odds feel right here, we'd lean with Oosthuizen, one of the International leaders here. But Kuchar played well on Saturday, and he does have a strong record in WGC-Match Play and is a former U.S. Amateur champion.
Match 12: 8:03 p.m. (eastern): Rickie Fowler (U.S.) (-106) vs. Marc Leishman (International) (+138) — We have a feeling either side will wrap this up before we get to the final match here. But Leishman versus Rickie is compelling anyway. And not just because it boasts two of the nicest players on the PGA Tour. Leishman is one of the leaders of this International team, in his native Australia. He's one of the best ball-strikers on his team, but he has lost two matches for the International side. Rickie, meanwhile, is one of the best putters in the world -- we trust his putter over Leishman's. We still don't have enough of a feel of how this will play at the end to make us feel strongly one way or the other. We'd lean with Rickie.