Last Updated Jan 23, 2023, 4:31 PM

American Express Picks, Odds and Predictions

It's Week Three in California for the PGA Tour this week, as the American Express Open takes center stage after Si Woo Kim took down the Sony Open last week at +3700 betting odds.

American Express Odds, Picks & Predictions

Golf Betting Resources
2023 American Express Open

This tournament is a lot different than most weeks on the PGA Tour, given both the format of the tournament as well as the multiple venues that get played at.

To start off, this tournament is played at three different courses: PGA West Stadium, PGA West Nicklaus, and La Quinta Country Club. We only have strokes gained data at PGA West Stadium, which is where Sunday's rounds will be played. The players will alternate through the other days on all three courses, adding in a layer of unpredictability to this tournament. All three courses play similarly which makes things somewhat able to be previewed though.

Adding to this interesting layer is the second layer: the Pro-Am format. Through the first three days of the tournament, each pro will be paired up with an amateur so each foursome will have two pros and two amateurs. The format means the rounds will be longer, sometimes up to 6 hours per round, but there are some pros to this as well: the pins will be easier and the greens slower, making for amenable scoring conditions.

Looking at the Stadium course, a few things stick out looking at the layout that all three courses share in common: a par 72, just over 7,000 yard track with Bermuda grass throughout overseeded with Poa and bentgrass. The fairways are extremely wide and do not punish you heavily for sprayed drives. There are many birdie opportunities on all three courses, with many reachable par 5s in the 500-550 range. In addition to this, 41% of the holes are in the par 4 350-450 range, so some of the longer hitters could have short flip wedges into those greens.

The Stadium course in particular is the most challenging of the three tracks, as it features numerous challenging water hazards that force you into angled shots. It's a masterful design from architect Pete Dye that has its best defense in the par 3s, as they typically rank as some of the hardest holes on the course.

American Express Open Betting Odds

Similar to the Sony Open at Waialae last week, the trio of courses that the field encounters this week will also be favorable to those with good course history. All of the courses set up pretty similarly, so the lack of data on the non-Stadium courses won't be the end of the world.

Looking at past years, 11 players have posted multiple T15 finishes at this event over the last five years: Adam Hadwin, Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Andrew Putnam, Jon Rahm, Si Woo Kim, Andrew Landry, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Tom Hoge, and Michael Thompson.

The American Express is pretty top-heavy on its stars this week, but there is a solid list of players attending, and they're headlined by odds favorite Rahm (+650), who finished T14 last season here and also won this event in 2018. Rahm is a short favorite at the number, but he fits this course extremely well and should be in contention all week.

After Rahm, the contenders range from World #2 Scottie Scheffler (+1000) to Tom Kim (+2200) as listed below and all should be in the hunt through the weekend.

Let's take a look below at my favorite candidates in each odds range to see if we can formulate a solid betting card for the week.

American Express Open Contenders

  • Jon Rahm: +650
  • Scottie Scheffler: +1000
  • Patrick Cantlay: +1100
  • Tony Finau: +1500
  • Will Zalatoris: +2000
  • Xander Schauffele: +2200
  • Cam Young: +2200
  • Sungjae Im +2200
  • Tom Kim: +2200
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)
Jon Rahm (+650) has been installed as the betting favorite to win the Sony Open. (Getty)

Golfers to Watch - American Express Open Top Picks and Predictions

Contender to Back

Will Zalatoris +2000

Coming off his back injury that kept him out of the year-ending Tour Championship, we weren't really sure what to expect from Zalatoris in his return to competitive golf at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Much to my surprise, he was a contender throughout after posting a subpar score on Thursday and finished T11 in a very solid field.

Willy Z only has one appearance at the Stadium Course from when he competed last season, and it's a good one. Zalatoris finished in 6th place last season and played strong throughout in one his first breakout performances of his career. He fits the Stadium Course mold as he is probably the best approach player on tour that has been held back by poor putting. Indeed, his putting probably cost him a win here last season but he should be able to improve this year as his putting stroke looked less shaky two weeks ago.

Mid-Range Value

Sahith Theegala +5500

Theegala presents as a solid play this week and this bet is a part of my mispriced line theory, in where I believe his line should be around +35-4000, not at +5500 where it sits. I feel like we're getting quite a few points of value here and I want to attack it.

Theegala grew up and played collegiate golf on the West Coast and is extremely comfortable playing golf in this desert climate. He also plays his best golf on shorter courses as well as Pete Dye tracks, taking 2nd in the RSM Classic and a top 5 finish at the Travelers Championship. In the Travelers, Theegala had the lead going into 18, before hitting his tee shot into a fairway bunker and getting a horrific lie that would lead to a losing double bogey.

Theegala hasn't crossed the finish line as the leader yet, but this golf course represents one of his best opportunities so far and he should look to take advantage here.

Long Shot Pick

Taylor Pendrith +10000

Pendrith is a guy who fits the mold for a course like this, a bomb-and-gouge player with a fantastic putting stroke when he's hot. He ranks 2nd in strokes gained off the tee this season and also is in the top 25 in birdie or better percentage, both of which will be key metrics for this event.

He may have missed the cut in his only performance out here last season, but that doesn't mean he can't compete. He finished at T13 in last years' Players Championship, which is a Pete Dye design very similar to Stadium West, in a difficult field and he ranks 10th in greens in regulation percentage as well. He's going to be a tough out this week.

Top 20 Finish

Si Woo Kim +190

Si Woo is coming off a huge win last week at the Sony Open, coming from behind to take the win over Hayden Buckley. Si Woo is referred to by some as a Pete Dye specialist, as he has won multiple titles on Dye tracks, including here in 2021.

Kim is truly a horse for the course here, as he led the field in par 5 scoring as well as greens in regulation during the 2021 run and didn't make a single bogey while on the Stadium course. Despite the putter being his worst attribute, he nearly always gains strokes putting here and gained 2 full strokes on the field during last year's T11 finish.

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2023 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.

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