More commonly known as the Desert Classic, the American Express acknowledges its sponsors and slots in as the third PGA golf tournament of 2024. We have already seen great entertainment at the start of the New Year and this week promises to be another closely-fought tournament.
It’s the beginning of the West Coast Swing and, with 22 of the world’s top 50 golfers waiting to tee it up, there is no shortage of quality. La Quinta, California, is the destination, so let’s see if we can claim some winners with our American Express predictions, preview & betting picks.
Included in the field for the 2024 edition of the American Express is the current World Number One. Scottie Scheffler returns to the Tour and he leads the outright betting at best industry odds of 6/1. Despite his position at the top of the market, Scheffler is down in sixth place in the Power Rankings. Inconsistency and concerns about his putting suggest backers should be wary.
Just behind Scheffler are Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay who can both be backed at 9/1 in places. Cantlay was the runner-up at the American Express in 2021, losing out to Si-Woo Kim by just one stroke. In doing so, he hit a course record of 61 at the Stadium Course, which still stands. Schauffele interests us: He tied for third here last year and tied for tenth in the first tournament of 2024 but his winless run now stretches for 18 months.
Behind the market leaders at the top sportsbooks, a significant gap opens up to the chasing pack. Sungjae Im slots in at a top price of 22/1 while Justin Thomas is quoted at best odds of 25/1. Thomas is finally showing a return to form with three straight Top Fives since the FedEx Playoffs. Sungjae Im has made the cut in five previous appearances at the American Express, and his worst finish was a tie for 18th.
Moving through this section, Tom Kim has shortened to 25/1 and his appearance at the top of the Power Rankings may have led to a change in price. He tied sixth in this event last year and has the all-round game needed to succeed on three courses.
A clutch of golfers follow at best odds of 33/1. J.T. Poston, Eric Cole, Sam Burns and Min Woo Lee can all be found at that figure. Poston has seven top 10 finishes in his last six starts and tied for sixth here last year. Lee enjoyed a brilliant end to the year on the DP World Tour, and each of those 33/1 shots could offer a threat this week. Others to mention in this section of the American Express golf betting lines include Jason Day and Tony Finau at 35/1 and Wyndham Clark at 40/1.
The outsiders are led this time by Si Woo Kim, Taylor Montgomery and Chris Kirk, who are all listed at best odds of 50/1 in places. As a recent winner on Tour, Kirk looks to be good value at that figure and he tied for third here in 2023. Si Woo Kim is our first former winner of the American Express, having edged out Patrick Cantlay by one shot in that thrilling finish of 2021.
Other players to consider before we move on include Adam Hadwin at 55/1, Rickie Fowler at 66/1, Billy Horschel at 80/1, Will Zalatoris at 100/1 and Matt Kuchar at 110/1.
American Express Golf 2024 Predictions & Picks with Course & Betting Trends
The American Express is an unusual event as three different courses are in play. All are based in La Quinta, California and each will provide different tests for the field. The locations are the Stadium Course at 7,187 yards, PGA West at 7,147 and La Quinta Country Club at 7,060. Each is a par 72. Players will rotate between the venues for the first three days before the Stadium Course hosts the final round on Sunday.
The last ten years have produced three multiple winners of this event, so there are good omens for former champions. Both the most recent champions, Jon Rahm in 2023 and Hudson Swafford in 2022, lifted the trophy for the second time.
Recent winners of the American Express show that Driving Distance has been a marginally better stat than Driving Accuracy. Twelve months ago, champion Jon Rahm ranked highly for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and Greens in Regulation, but there isn’t a clear pattern.
This preview and its betting picks is looking for a good all-rounder who is showing sound form, and Xander Schauffele is a man who ticks those boxes. His winless streak is an obvious concern, but he is too good a player to remain without a trophy for much longer. Schauffele for the win is the main prediction against the bookies, along with a few others to get in the top 10.
- Xander Schauffele to win at best odds of +1200 (12/1) with BetOnline.
- Top 10 Finish Picks (all odds with BetOnline who are biggest on all four selections): Xander Schauffele (+125), Tom Kim (+325), Eric Cole (+350) & Chris Kirk (+500).
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.