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PGA Tour Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Picks for the 2020 American Express

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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Rory Sabbatini

The PGA Tour kicks off its annual California Swing with the 2020 American Express, which features a unique setup. Not only will the tournament take place on three courses, it also features a 54-hole cut after Saturday.

The American Express features a relatively weak field, with Rickie Fowler topping the odds as a 9-1 favorite.

Here are our favorite bets for this week’s PGA Tour event:


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Jason Sobel

The Bet: Brendan Steele Top-10 Finish (+700)

Yes, it was a heartbreaking result for Steele last week, as he went into the final hole with a one-stroke lead, then waited … and waited … and waited … and ultimately made a par and lost in a playoff. But a few things to keep in mind: That was his first top-10 finish in exactly 101 weeks, so he’ll take plenty of positives from that and he’d never before played the Sony Open.

This one is much more Steele’s speed, as desert golf has always suited him well. Expect him to be in the right frame of mind to step on the gas pedal and keep some momentum going, rather than hanging his head after the playoff loss.

Josh Perry

The Bet: Charles Howell Top-20 Finish (+130)

With the pro-am format and players bouncing between courses, it’s tough to find anyone we can truly count on here. But Charles Howell is about as consistent as they come.

He hasn’t missed a cut here in the last decade and has five top-20 finishes in that span, including three of his last four starts at this tournament. Couple those solid results with a 12th-place finish last week in Hawaii and I’ll take my chances with Howell continuing his good run at plus-money.

Justin Bailey

The Bet: Brian Harman over Phil Mickelson (-135)

Sure, Mickelson finished second here last season, but since then, he also has nine missed cuts and eight finishes of 37th or worse. If Phil’s current golf form was as good as his social media game right now, this would be a different story. However, over his last 50 rounds, he ranks 104th or worse in nearly every Strokes Gained metric. Consequently, he ranks 144th in Total Strokes Gained, per Fantasy National.

This seems like a solid spot to short him against Harman, who has been exceptional over his last 50 rounds, ranking 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach, sixth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and first (!!) in Total Strokes Gained.

Bryan Mears

The Bet: Sungjae Im Top-20 Finish (-120)

Sungjae isn’t the favorite this week — the honor belongs to Rickie Fowler — but he arguably should be. The 21-year-old is a big leap candidate for this upcoming season and comes into 2020 playing some brilliant golf. He’s missed just one cut since May, and that was at the windy British Open, which is understandable.

In his first appearance at this event this season, he finished 12th, and he sets up perfectly for these courses, which are very easily scorable. That means birdies and par-5 scoring will be crucial, and Im is near the top of the field in both categories. I think we’ll see a lot of young guys break out this season — I like Scottie Scheffler this week, too — and Im is near the top of that list.

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