It may have a new name, The American Express, but this is one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour, having first started out as Palm Springs Desert Golf Classic in 1960. It is hard to think of a golf tournament that has enjoyed more titles but casual sports fans may recall its many years as the Bob Hope Desert Classic.
With a rather obvious new sponsor in tow, we have a tournament that employs three different courses and will see a decent field that includes the new host and two-time winner Phil Mickelson.
Last week’s betting tip for the win, Webb Simpson, came within one shot of joining the playoff at the Sony Open on Sunday. So let’s see if we can go one better this time with our America Express predictions.
There are some absentees from this event so Rickie Fowler (+1100 aka 11/1 with Bovada USA offshore sports betting site) returns to the top of the odds markets after his tie for 5th at the Tournament of Champions. 2019 was a poor year for the 31-year-old and he is playing this event for the first time since 2014.
Fowler clearly has the quality to convert on that favorite’s berth but overall form doesn’t back up that position and he isn’t actually leading the power rankings.
Sungjae Im (16/1) is the second favorite and the man at the head of the Power Rankings chart as we head into Thursday. Im tied for 12th here on debut last year and is looking to break an American stranglehold on this event that dates back to 2011.
Form-wise, 50% of the South Korean’s 42 starts as a pro have resulted in top 25 finishes and 2020 should see his stock continue to rise.
Just behind Im is England’s Paul Casey who is at the same win price as Tony Finau (both 20/1) with the best online sportsbooks. While the focus was on the Sony Open last week, Finau was recording a fifth place at the Hong Kong Open and is another player hoping for a return to form this year.
The mid-range odds look to carry some value with Kevin Kisner, Byeong-Hun An and Scottie Scheffler all bunched together at around 33/1. Then we come to Francesco Molinari whose fall from grace since winning the Open Championship in 2018 sees the Italian golfer as large as 40/1 in a tournament where many big names are absent.
Scheffler is interesting as he takes a slot towards the head of the Power Rankings but any of the names in this chasing bunch could come through on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson (40/1) finds himself with the outsiders for The American Express and Lefty will get some support. Hosting duties haven’t been kind to the top players in recent years but Mickelson was tied for second by one shot behind Adam Long last year.
There is interest in Harris English, Billy Horschel and Cameron Champ while Alex Noren is another dangerous European. Defending champion Adam Long’s victory came from nowhere and he finds himself way down the list at triple-figure betting odds. Long’s victory 12 months ago shows that we should never rule anyone out and further down the outright win market are other former champions in the shape of Bill Haas and Jhonattan Vegas.
Our Preview’s American Express Golf Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
In an unusual format, the American Express uses three courses in California – the PGA West Stadium Course, the PGA West Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club. They range between 7,060 and 7,204 yards but all are listed as par 72s. In another twist, there is a 54-hole cut before the qualifying players complete on Sunday.
The courses are not among the most threatening on Tour but each provides a different challenge. Coupled with the relative weakness of the field, The American Express looks to be wide open.
The host Phil Mickelson is one of several multiple Champions over the years and the most recent of these was Bill Haas who completed a double in 2015. Mickelson’s last win in 2004 has precipitated a period of American dominance which has been broken just once, by Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas in 2011.
In a wide open event the winner will deliver some generous profits to a few lucky punters but this USAbetting preview will take a relatively modest price on Paul Casey to come through. The Englishman consistently appears in the top 20 on Tour because he has a solid all round game and that is what is needed to succeed at this quirky event.
Casey for the win is our main American Express prediction while the top ten picks will hopefully add to a nice set of profits by Sunday evening. So the advised bets are: