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Ryder Cup 2018: Pair of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are Friday's biggest favorites

September 27, 2018

Ross Kinnaird

Jordan Spieth won't play with Patrick Reed for the first time in his Ryder Cup career when the 2018 matches begin on Friday morning. That doesn't mean his sparkling team record will take a hit, though.

Spieth and new partner Justin Thomas are the biggest favorites to win in the opening four-ball session, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman. The two buddies who already have a combined career Grand Slam are listed at -160 (Risk $160 to win $100) in their match against Europe's Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.

Spieth is coming off a disappointing PGA Tour season in which he didn't win and was the lone Team USA member who failed to qualify for last week's Tour Championship. Still, his Official World Golf Ranking (No. 10) paired with Thomas' (No. 4) gives the Americans a big advantage on paper over Casey (No. 21) and Hatton (No. 26). Both Thomas and Hatton are Ryder Cup rookies, while Casey is playing in the biennial event for the first time in a decade.

Sherman has the U.S. favored in three of the four matches with Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau being the lone underdog pair at +120 (Risk $100 to win $120). Those two will go out first and take on Europe's top tandem — at least, by world ranking — of No. 2 Justin Rose and No. 8 Jon Rahm.

The closest match in the fourth one of the session pitting Spieth's former partner with Tiger Woods against Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari. Reed/Woods are slight favorites (-115) against the Europeans (-105) in that one.

And Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler — whose cumulative world ranking of 10 is equal to the Rose/Rahm duo — is a -130 favorite against Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen (+110). Here's a look at Sherman's odds for all four matches:

Reed and Spieth went 2-0-1 paired together as Ryder Cup rookies in 2014 then went 2-1-1 in 2016. They are tied for the most points by any pairing in U.S. history, and that doesn't include a 3-0-1 record at last year's Presidents Cup. But Woods, who has played with 12 partners in seven previous Ryder Cups, wasn't on either of those teams and he took Reed under his wing when he was a vice captain at Hazeltine two years ago.

Overall, the U.S. is a -150 favorite (Europe is +130) to lift the trophy. Having won in 2016, the U.S. only needs to win half of the 28 total points to retain the cup.