The American Express 2023: Predictions, Best Bets, Sleepers

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Tom Hoge plays his shot from the 11th tee during the first round of the Sony Open golf tournament, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
(AP Photo/Matt York)
Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable Jan 20, 2023, 8:54 AM
  • The American Express will be played over three courses at PGA West.
  • Longshots have done well at this tournament of late.
  • Jon Rahm (+600) has the best golf odds to win.

The PGA Tour will return to the continental United States this week with The American Express from PGA West in La Quinta, California.

Although it isn’t a designated event, it has an attractive field with 10 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, including Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris and Tom Kim.

It’s a unique week, which will make handicapping challenging.

The American Express is the first of two pro-am events on the PGA Tour this season, meaning each professional will be paired with an amateur. Additionally, there are three courses at PGA West. Each professional and his amateur partner will play for three rounds at each of the courses — PGA West (Stadium Course), La Quinta Country Club and PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament Course) — before the low 65 pros (and ties) will play the final round at PGA West’s Stadium Course.

There’s only Shotlink data for the PGA West Stadium course, making it harder to know the players who suit the tournament best.

What is known is the majority of the winners at the event of late have been longshots. Last year’s winner Hudson Swafford was +20000 at the beginning of the week, 2020’s winner Andrew Landry was +20000, and 2019’s winner Adam Long was +60000.

Rahm did win in 2018 when he was +1000, which makes it no surprise that he has the shortest odds this week (+600).

Another thing that is known is that the scores are typically very good, and it will take a lot of birdies to win. Over the last 10 years of the tournament, all the winning scores have been at least 20-under.

Given the randomness of the tournament, it feels like a week to target more longshots than usual, as well as players who have shown the ability to score exceptionally well on easy courses.

Below are some players to target when golf betting, followed by my betting card for the week.

The American Express Prediction

Jon Rahm is predicted to win The American Express with a 14.29% implied probability, according to betting markets.

Scottie Scheffler has the next best odds to win with a 9.09% implied probability, followed by Patrick Cantlay at 8.33% and Tony Finau at 6.67%.

The American Express Best Bets

Jon Rahm +600 Odds to Win

Rahm is arguably the hottest player in the world right now. He won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in his last start, part of six straight top-15 finishes worldwide. The 28-year-old makes plenty of birdies and has won at this event before. 

His odds don’t give much value, but the way he’s playing of late makes him hard to ignore.

Patrick Cantlay +1100 Odds to Win

The 30-year-old has enjoyed quite a bit of success at this event. Cantlay has three straight top-10 finishes (he skipped the event in 2020), including a second-place finish in 2021.

His ability to play well on easy courses, especially by taking advantage of par-5s, will come in handy this week.

Sungjae Im +2200 Odds to Win

Speaking of playing well at this event, Im has an impressive four straight top-12 finishes. Although, his best finish was a T-10 in 2020. 

The 24-year-old missed the cut last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, so look for him to have a little extra motivation this week.

The American Express Sleepers

Tom Hoge +4000 Odds to Win

Hoge is one of the most underrated players on the PGA Tour. The 33-year-old was able to break through for his first career win last year and was in the mix for the Presidents Cup team, yet oddsmakers rarely include him with the other top golfers.

He finished second at this tournament a year ago and was T-6 in 2020, so this is a place where he should play well again.

Andrew Putnam +5000 Odds to Win

Putnam has a few things going for him. No. 1, he’s made 13 straight cuts, including three top-5 finishes. And No. 2, he’s made the cut each of the five times he’s played in this tournament, which includes four top 25s.

To potentially win, he’ll need other parts of his game to excel besides his putting.

Patrick Rodgers +6600 Odds to Win

Rodgers doesn’t have a great history at this event (best finish T-40), but all the relevant stats are in his favor.

He makes a good amount of birdies and does really well on par-5s, which will be vital in determining who plays well this week.

The American Express Betting Card & Other Predictions

  • Sungjae Im to Win Outright +2200
  • Sam Burns to Win Outright +3500
  • Tom Hoge to Win Outright +4000
  • Patrick Rodgers to Win Outright +6600
  • Alex Smalley to Win Outright +10000
  • Ben Griffin to Win Outright +12500
  • Sam Burns Top-5 Finish +650
  • Tom Hoge Top-10 Finish +333
  • Patrick Rodgers Top-20 Finish +240
  • Ben Griffin Top-20 Finish +400

Once again, I’m relying heavily on my Fantasy National model. My top 10 was: Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Burns, Patrick Cantlay, Tom Kim, Jon Rahm, Aaron Wise, Hoge and Rodgers.

Given the recent history of most winners being longshots, I stayed away from the players with the shortest odds. It is also why my betting card is bigger than usual.

I was surprised to get Burns at +3500 to win, but he is coming off a 32nd-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Hoge continues to be massively undervalued by the oddsmakers.

Smalley was No. 11, and Griffin was No. 13. Both are young players and have the potential to pick up their first career wins at any time.

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About the Author

Ryan Hannable

Read More @RyanHannable

Ryan Hannable is a Content Managing Editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”

Ryan Hannable is a Content Managing Editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”