After coming close to scoring a win at the Sony Open in Hawaii with Ben An, we are hunting for an outright winner at The American Express.
This week, the tour moves to the Palm Springs California area for what’s now simply called the American Express or as Jon Rahm called it, “a putting contest.” The event is played over there separate courses, and as Rahm alluded to, you had better be able to go low. The winner for the last five years has averaged 25 under par.
Remember, the pick methodology relies upon four factors:
The American Express Betting Outlook
- Current form
- Horses for courses
- Home course or home location advantage, local ties, etc.
- Current odds
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The American Express Odds
The American Express Picks
Sungjae Im (+2000)
Form: Last week, a rare DNP for IM. Two weeks ago, he finished t5 at The Sentry.
Horse for course: Big time. Im has finished no worse than t18 the last six years including five top 12s. This year, Im is currently first in birdie average, first in putting average, and eighth in scoring average. Last year he was first in third round scoring and third in par five birdies.
Local ties: None. Sungjae is a native South Korean.
Odds: I’m not thrilled with his low odds as he’s usually in the mid-20s to 30s range. It shows you how consistent he’s been at this event.
Sam Burns (+2800)
Form: Last week, DNP. Two weeks ago, Burns finished t18 at The Sentry.
Horse for course: Burns has three top 20s in four tries including a t6 in 2020. In 2023, he ranked eighth in strokes gained putting, fourth in total putting, and ninth in putting average.
Local ties: None. Sam’s neither an East Coaster nor West Coaster. The LSU grad is from Louisiana.
Odds: Good odds for a Ryder Cupper.
Tony Finau (+3300)
Form: Last week DNP. Two weeks ago, Finau finished a not-so-great t38 at The Sentry.
Horse for course: His game has really turned around since he changed putters last year picking up two top three finishes toward the latter part of the season. He finished fourth in putting average and fourth in putts per round last year. He finished 23rd in strokes gained off the tee and sixth in strokes gained around the green. In 2024, Tony is third in putting average.
Local Ties: Tony’s a West Coaster out of Utah.
Odds: These are about as high as you’ll see for Finau.
JT Poston (+3300)
Form: My pick to win this week. Poston is on a roll. Last week, he finished 6th and the week prior finished with a t5 and has seven top 10s out of his past 11 tournaments.
Horse for course: Poston has two top 10s here including a tie for sixth last year. So far this year, JT is 18th in greens in regulation, 26th in putting average, 23rd in putts per round, and fifth in scoring average. Last year, he ranked first in approaches from 75-100 yards, fourth in approaches inside 100 yards, and ranked within the top 25 in seven other putting categories.
Local Ties: None. East Coaster who went to Western Carolina and lives in Georgia.
Odds: Vegas is catching on. His odds keep shrinking.
Jason Day (+3300)
Form: Last week DNP. Two weeks ago, Day finished a respectable t10 at The Sentry.
Horse for course: Day doesn’t play this event often. A year ago, he finished t18 and had a t49 in 2022. One of the tour’s best scramblers, Day is currently first in three scrambling categories, sixth in putting average, and third in birdie percentage. Day has always been known for his driving length and accuracy where he ranked 22nd in total driving in 2023, but the man can putt as well. In 2023, he ranked 19th in total putting and 26th in putts per round and overall putting average.
Local Ties: Day lives just off Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield course near Dublin, Ohio. Originally from Australia, Day has no ties to the West Coast, but he did have a pretty successful swing out West finishing with four top 20s in four events including two top 10s.
Odds: Tremendous pot odds for Day here. I took him over Cantlay (last man out) because of these odds.
Si Woo Kim (+4500)
Form: Kim finished t42 last week and finished t14 at The Sentry.
Horse for course: SWK is a former winner here (2021). He also has a ninth and a t11. His stats aren’t flashy as he’s really a hit or miss player. Currently, SWK is fifth in putting from 20-25 feet and has yet to miss inside three feet or less. Last season, he ranked 30th in par three birdie leaders and 27th in one-putt percentage.
Local Ties: None. Currently lives in Dallas.
Odds: Favorable odds for a guy who plays well here.
Adam Hadwin (+5500)
Form: Last week, Hadwin missed the cut, so we are clearly not relying on his form.
Horse for course: Here is where Hadwin shines as he has had three top three finishes, and way back in 2017, Hadwin carded a 59 at La Quinta on his way to a second-place finish. In 2023, Adam ranked 21st in strokes gained putting, 11th in total putting and ranked within the top five three times in other putting categories.
Local Ties: None. Adam is a Canadian who attended Louisville.
Odds: Nice longshot odds. Was hoping for a tad higher.
Last Man Out
Patrick Cantlay (+1000)
(Long)shot in the Dark Pick
Erik Van Rooyen +10000
Last week’s pick Hayden Buckley (+12500) missed the cut. This week, we are going with the South African. EVR has turned his game around perhaps motivated by his former teammate’s (at the University of Minnesota) battle with terminal cancer. EVR finished 2023 strong with three top 25s including a big win at the World Wide Technology Championship in Mexico last November.
Last year at the Amex, EVR finished in a tie for sixth. He’s played both events this year finishing with a t52 and a t22 so he shouldn’t be rusty. In 2023, EVR ranked 30th in birdie average and 22nd in final round scoring average. Let’s hope he finds that final round form for a big payout this week.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.