Wednesday prime-time golf is something we can get used to. Though the fireworks were sparse in Day 1 of the 2019 Presidents Cup, the surprises were not, with the Internationals holding their largest-ever Day 1 lead, 4-1. That might be a surprise, unless you read our Day 1 analysis, which predicted the "upsets" by Adam Scott and Ben An (+110) and Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer (+140), as well as the Internationals taking Day 1 (+188). So to us, it wasn't as big of a surprise as others might've thought.
Oddsmakers have now adjusted the odds, and the Internationals and the United States have even-odds to win the Presidents Cup, according to MGM Sportsbooks and most other oddsmakers, a big adjustment from before Day 1, when the Internationals had odds above 2-to-1.
But Team USA now has a format that has been friendly to them over the years. They have owned the Internationals in foursomes matches, boasting a 34 1/2-17 1/2 advantage in the past five Presidents Cups, compared to just a 31-20 edge in fourballs. We're looking at the analytics, just like Ernie Els and his International vice captains, and we've identified some of our favorite bets and matchups ahead of Day 2's foursomes matchups.
Presidents Cup, Day 2 bets:
(Yesterday's record: Up 5.31 units, hitting Internationals winning Day 1 (2 units, +188); Scott/An (1 unit, +110); Oosthuizen/Ancer (1 unit, +140); and losing a Team USA Day 1/Day 2 odds boost.)
Day 2 matchup: Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele (-125) (Bet $12.50 to win $10) over Adam Hadwin/Joaquin Niemann — Els’ strategy after Day 1 clearly worked, but it remains to be seen if Niemann was out there because Ernie thought he and Marc Leishman gave the Internationals their best chance to win the first match, or if he wanted to get one of his rookies valuable experience. I’ll say it’s the latter cause Niemann struggled yesterday, while both Schauffele along with Cantlay played well, even though they lost their match. The U.S. team will need to come out hot and this pairing looks (on paper) like one of the weaknesses on Els’ team (if there is one right now). --Reid Fowler, DraftKings expert
Top International points scorer: Sungjae Im (+600) — Judging by how Sungjae Im looked on Thursday, and the fact the dude has no problem playing a TON of golf, I like his chances to play every session this week. Even if he sits one out, I can see him winning every match he plays in and collecting four points. He’s that good. Adam Hadwin, who played with Im Thursday and already has a point, probably has the best value at +1000 right now, but he’s paired with Joaquin Niemann on Friday, and Niemann was not sharp on Day 1. Im is the next best option at +600, and he’s teaming up with Australia’s Cameron Smith in foursomes. I’d be stunned if they don’t take at least a half a point from their match with Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland. --Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor
Day 2 matchup: Tiger Woods/Justin Thomas (-125) over Hideki Matsuyama/Byeong Hun An — Is this somewhat of a square bet? Maybe on the surface. Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas were the lone highlight for Team USA on Day 1. And Tiger's odds are always inflated, with oddsmakers knowing that most Average Joes will back Tiger. Still, I think this number is a discount. Matsuyama and Ben An are two of the International team's weakest putters, and we'll gladly take Tiger's and JT's putters over theirs. And we'll also add that Matsuyama is 1-4 in his past foursomes matches. --Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest associate editor
Day 2 matchup: Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar (+140, DraftKings) over Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuzien — In a brilliant move by Captain Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson will play with Matt Kuchar in foursomes on Friday in Australia. As a team, DJ and Kuch have gone 5-1-1 in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, and 3-0-1 in the alternate-shot format. As for Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott, they’ve surprisingly never been paired together in this event, and their combined foursomes record is 9-10-3. If I was Ernie Els, I wouldn’t have broken up Oosty and Abraham Ancer, who were dominant in a 4&3 drubbing of DJ and Gary Woodland on Thursday. --CP
To Win The Presidents Cup: Internationals (+100) — I was definitely among those who thought the Americans' insane talent differential would lead to a decisive U.S. victory. Not so fast. According to Data Golf, the International team now has a 52.2-percent chance to raise the Cup, compared to 39 percent for the Americans. That's different than the 25.3 percent chance the analytics platform gave the Internationals before the matches started. That's a huge disparity, and the oddsmakers haven't fully adjusted. Again, the books are going to shade toward the Americans, knowing the public is likely to back the familiar, more talented American squad. Be sharp and take the discount with the Internationals, who will be way stronger favorites if they are successful on Day 2. --SH