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Golf Daily Free Picks, Predictions, Odds

Jan. 19, 2022
VI News

Our stable of Golf Experts will be providing their Predictions, Picks and Best Bets for weekly tournaments, including the PGA, WGC and of course the four majors. Be sure to check in weekly for golf betting analysis and free picks.

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Golf Best Bets for the The American Express

Our VI PGA handicapping experts have compiled their best bets for The American Express, which is set to take place on Thursday, January 20 and ends on Sunday, January 23 at the PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus Course, and La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif.

  • Russell Henley Top 20 Finish (+140)
  • Jon Rahm (-160) over Tony Finau (first round)
  • Si Woo Kim (+100) over Patrick Reed (first round)

Russell Henley Top 20 Finish (+140)

The American Express is another PGA event where distance off the tee isn't necessarily a determining factor on players to target for wagering purposes. Accuracy off the tee, and Strokes Gained: Approach is just as important, if not more so.

Those metrics served Russell Henley well last weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He posted a 23-under 257 last weekend, falling in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama. Yes, we had Henley for a top-20 finish (+125) last week at the Sony, and yes, we're running it back again.

Again, he isn't a big basher off the tee, but he moved up one spot to third in SG: Approach at an average of 1.143 across 19 measured rounds overall, and he is No. 1 on the PGATOUR in the category (min. five measured rounds). The same metrics which made him successful at Waialae will guide him here, as he also ranked 11th on Tour in Driving Accuracy Percentage (70.78%), hitting 235 of a possible 332 fairways. In addition, Henley is a very respectable 19th in Greens In Regulation Percentage (GIR) at 75.69%. Enjoy another week at plus-money with Henley.

Jon Rahm (-160) over Tony Finau (first round)

This might be the easiest money you'll see all weekend. Rahm posted a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua two weeks ago, as he is primed and ready for another strong 2022 season. Finau, well, he was 19th at the Sentry TOC, but he was 45th in a pair of events during swing season, and he also missed the cut at the Houston Open. The trajectories aren't nearly the same this weekend.

In the first round, these players go off on the La Quinta Country Club course, each teeing it up at 8:50 a.m. Last season, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, there was no Pro-Am, so the course at La Quinta Country Club was not used. It's back, so things are a little different, in terms of familiarity. The LQCC course is the shortest of the three this weekend at 7,060 yards, Par 72, so it isn't too daunting.

Rahm is a smart player who is handy with the irons, and with smaller greens, trust the more accurate player. Finau is a banger, who muscles the ball off the tee, but isn't terribly accurate. While the fairways aren't quite as skinny as past weeks, attention must still be paid to accuracy off the green. Rahm has it, Finau doesn't. The Spaniard didn't earn the OWGR No. 1 ranking for sheer luck. He ranks ninth on the PGATOUR in SG: Off-the-tee, he is 10th in SG: Approach and second in both SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Total. He has hit 88 of his possible 108 fairways during the early days of this season, and he has bagged 37 birdies in the past six rounds, good for 6.17 per 18 holes.

Finau isn't quite reckless, but he ranks 59th in SG: Approach, he is a ghastly 222nd in SG: Putting across 10 measured rounds, and he has hit just 118 or a possible 198 fairways, good for 115th at 59.60%. He isn't finishing higher than Rahm in the opening round. Book it.

Si Woo Kim (+100) over Patrick Reed (first round)

Kim won last season's event in California, posting a 23-under 265 to bag $1.206 million in winnings. When he is on his game, he is on his game. And when he is off, he can be brutal. The inconsistency is maddening. This season he has been just so-so, including a 55th at Waialae, and a 23rd at Kapalua the past two weekends. Still, he has shot 70 or better in seven consecutive rounds heading into this one, and might be rounding into form at a place he has some familiarity.

I am a little concerned with Kim's accuracy off the tee, while he also ranks just 79th in GIR. The good news is that Reed isn't tearing it up, either. In fact, he is much, much worse. He has hit just 187 of a possible 308 fairways in 14 measured rounds, good for just 60.71%. In terms of GIR, he is 149th at 67.93%. Toss in the fact he is 196th in SG: Approach, and there isn't one metric which points to Reed beating many golfers in the field this weekend, let alone the defending champ.

Reed's Round 1 Scoring Average of 71.17, good for 209th on Tour, is also worrisome. It has been taking him a while to get revved up. Kim, on the other hand, is a more presentable 78th with a 69.00 mark. At even money, though, in an 18-hole race Thursday, I like Kim at even-money.

VI Golf Handicappers Best Bet Tracker (5-1, +425)

  • Russell Henley Top 20 Finish (+140)
  • Jon Rahm over Tony Finau (-160)
  • Si Woo Kim over Patrick Reed (+100)

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