First held back in 1960, you may be more familiar with the American Express as the Desert Classic. The tournament has been through more sponsors than most with the current commercial partners coming on board in 2020.
Some legends of the sport have lifted the trophy across the last 60 years with Arnold Palmer holding the overall record of five victories. In 2022, there is something of a mixed field but it does contain the world’s top ranked golfer at the head of the markets. So let’s crack on with our golf preview for this week, with predictions and betting picks.
Spain’s Jon Rahm holds that number one ranking position and he is also a former champion of this event. Back in 2018, Rahm edged out Andrew Landry in a playoff to lift the trophy. Four years later, he starts as clear favorite at a general 7/1 for a repeat.
Rahm returned some good stats in his last outing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and looks in good shape coming into Thursday.
Behind the outright market leader is last year’s runner up as Patrick Cantlay slots in at 10/1. He finished just one shot behind the winner Si Woo-Kim after earlier posting a course record of 61. With a tie for 9th in his previous appearance here in 2019 and a fourth place in the Tournament of Champions, he is another obvious threat.
A gap opens behind the top two until we reach Scottie Scheffler and Sungjae Im who are both available at 20/1. Like the men in front of them, these two are in good form at the start of the new season and they both have a decent record in the American Express.
Scheffler returned a solo third place here in 2020 and has recorded three top five finishes in the fall schedules. Im started the 2022 season with a tie for eighth at Kapalua and he hasn’t finished outside of the top 12 in his last three visits to this event.
Moving through the chasers, Corey Conners and Tony Finau are both at 22/1 followed by Abraham Ancer at 25/1. We’d marked Mexico’s Ancer down as one to watch in recent weeks but he has started 2022 slowly.
After a tie for 35th followed by a Missed Cut, Ancer will be happy to return to a tournament where he finished in second place in 2020, and fifth last year.
Conners is in better shape and should be one to follow in the top 10 finish betting odds markets at the very least. Finau’s long hitting could suit the unusual format of this event.
Other names to consider from within the chasing pack include Talor Gooch, Matthew Wolff and Seamus Power who are all quoted at 30/1 in places. All three could make a challenge but there should be some interest in Wolff who leads the Tour in Adjusted Scoring.
Leading up the outside bets this week is Patrick Reed who is quoted at best industry odds of 35/1. Also at 35/1 is Russell Henley who made such a strong challenge at the Sony Open last week. Reed is a former winner of this tournament but we have to go back to 2014 to find his 2-stroke victory over Ryan Palmer.
Next up are Cameroon Tringale and Will Zalatoris at 40/1, followed by Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Alex Noren at 50/1. Also included this week is the defending champion and it may be a surprise to see Si Woo-Kim out at an industry best of 66/1. The South Korean can mount a threat but those odds are an accurate measure of his form right now.
Other players to mention include Luke List at 80/1, Adam Hadwin at 80/1, Brian Harman at 90/1, Cameron Champ at 100/1 and Gary Woodland at 100/1. It’s not the strongest field of the new season and there could be scope for a longer-odds winner this week.
Our Preview’s American Express Golf Predictions & Betting Picks with Course Trends
There have been frequent changes of name and a number of different venues since this tournament began as the Palm Springs Desert Classic at the Thunderbird Country Club. From 2016 onwards, the PGA West Course, the Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament course have claimed joint hosting duties.
So we have three venues in place, each of which will offer their own challenges. In general, each location is a fairly standard par 72 but, in an unusual format such as this, we should be looking for someone with good all-round stats.
That’s why this preview is coming back to Scottie Scheffler for our main prediction. He has the form and some good relevant stats that could prove crucial in three venues across four days. He is becoming known as the best player without a Tour title but, with many big names missing, this is the perfect opportunity to put that right.
Scheffler for the win is the main tip, along with three additional top 10 finish betting picks, which will hopefully all add up to a profitable four days:
- Scottie Scheffler to win at biggest odds of +2000 (20/1) with BetOnline.
- Top 10 Finish Betting Picks (best odds in brackets): Scheffler (+225 BetOnline), Corey Conners (+250 EveryGame, BetOnline), Matthew Wolff (+375 BetOnline) and Will Zalatoris (+450 BetOnline).
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.