A return stateside has the PGA Tour getting the West Coast swing of the season underway in La Quinta, Calif. with the playing of The American Express. There are a few notable changes to the tournament format this year with only two courses being used instead of the usual three, and the pro-am portion of the event was shelved over health and safety concerns due to COVID. As a result the cut will take place after 36 holes and not 54 as we’ve seen in past tournaments. Playing alongside a Rolex Series event on the Euro Tour and with opening favorite Jon Rahm withdrawing, the field is watered down. Still, there are a number of betting options with new tournament favorite Patrick Cantlay featured prominently. Visit BookMaker.eu for a complete list of matchup betting odds when you’re ready to place a wager.
The American Express Matchup Odds at BookMaker.eu
Scottie Scheffler -165 vs. Matthew Wolff +135
Sungjae Im -110 vs. Tony Finau -120
Abraham Ancer -145 vs. Kevin Na +115
Phil Mickelson +165 vs. Russell Henley -210
Rickie Fowler -140 vs. Lanto Griffin +110
Adam Long +115 vs. Cameron Champ -145
Paul Casey -130 vs. Charles Howell III +100
Patton Kizzire -115 vs. Ryan Moore -115
Emiliano Grillo +115 vs. Sam Burns -145
Brian Harman -115 vs. Si Woo Kim -115
Zach Johnson +100 vs. Aaron Wise -130
Adam Hadwin -130 vs. Gary Woodland +100
Alex Noren -115 vs. Chris Kirk -115
Cameron Davis -125 vs. Lucas Glover -105
Talor Gooch -125 vs. Erik Van Rooyen -105
Francesco Molinari +120 vs. Russell Knox -150
Joel Dahmen -105 vs. Sepp Straka -125
J T Poston +100 vs. Doc Redman -130
John Huh -140 vs. James Hahn +110
Tom Hoge -105 vs. Wyndham Clark -125
Peter Malnati +120 vs. Cameron Tringale -150
Chez Reavie +125 vs. Keegan Bradley -155
Brendan Steele -135 vs. Michael Thompson +105
Matthew Nesmith +100 vs. Charley Hoffman -130
Tony Finau -110 vs. Scottie Scheffler -120
Abraham Ancer -150 vs. Rickie Fowler +120
Sungjae Im -160 vs. Matthew Wolff +130
Phil Mickelson +160 vs. Cameron Champ -200
Patrick Reed -145 vs. Brooks Koepka +115
Patrick Reed -110 vs. Patrick Cantlay -120
Brooks Koepka +110 vs. Patrick Cantlay -140
Maverick McNealy -135 vs. Scott Piercy +105
Need to Know
Eliminating the easier La Quinta course from the rotation should make things a little more interesting. The field will play 18 holes on each of the Stadium Course at PGA West and the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West over the first two days. Players surviving the cut after 36 holes will play the weekend on the Stadium Course, which is considered the more difficult layout playing around two strokes harder on average. It plays just over 7,100 yards at par-72 with five scoreable par 4s. Each venue is a stock par 72 and considered to be among the easiest on Tour, and that’s been reflected in recent scores. However, with no pro-am we will see a tougher setup with thicker rough and difficult pin placements.
The American Express Matchup Picks
Abraham Ancer -145 vs. Kevin Na
Going by last week’s results the odds in this matchup should be reversed. Na emerged victorious at the Sony Open while Ancer missed the cut. I always have a tendency to fade the previous week’s winner given that it’s hard to win two in a row and the hangover lingers. And considering Ancer had a wonderful showing in the California desert last year I’ll back him despite the steep price. Ancer closed last year with a 63 on the Stadium Course for a solo second and he’s gained nearly a stroke on average over the field during his rounds.
Phil Mickelson +165 vs. Russell Henley
I’ve always been a fan of Mickelson and I couldn’t pass on him at this price. Sure, I might be throwing money away given Lefty’s recent showing on Tour, but he’s been a standout on the Champions Tour and serving as host this week only adds to his allure. There is no pressure on him to perform, which should help, and he makes it a point to play this event since it’s in his backyard. He missed the cut last year, but he has a pair of top-3s since 2016 and two victories from the early 2000s. One more charge in Lefty’s bag yields a nice payout for backers.
Brooks Koepka +115 vs. Patrick Reed
We didn’t see the real Koepka last year as he was dealing with a knee injury that hampered his season. He returned to form at the end of 2020 with a T5 at the Houston Open and a T7 at the Masters. He’s looking to carryover that success into this year while making his tournament debut. He should find some relief on courses that are considered easy by Tour standards, but he’ll have to be dialed in order for backers to get a payout.
Adam Hadwin -130 vs. Gary Woodland
If you’re looking for course form, go no further than Hadwin, who’s done just about everything but win this tournament. He skipped last year’s edition for the birth of his child and looks to continue a run that saw him go T2-T3-2nd in his previous three starts. Hadwin faltered at the end of last year and a return to a place that has yielded great success could help him get back in the swing of things, so to speak. I was hesitant to back him, but you can’t overlook his numbers in this event.
Lanto Griffin +110 vs. Rickie Fowler
I can’t back Fowler given the way he’s been playing for the last year. So instead I’ll throw down on Griffin, who has plus odds in this matchup. Griffin survived the cut in both Hawai’i tournaments and is among the leaders in the field in approach and putting, two areas that will be decisive in this event. And until Fowler shows any type of form I will stay away from him.
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