2022 The American Express Round 3 Picks: Best Bets, Including K.H. Lee to Pass Patrick Cantlay
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: K.H. Lee.
The second round of The American Express brought more scoring, but this time it was highlighted across all three courses as golfers each played better than two strokes under par. La Quinta actually rotated from the easiest course on Thursday, to the relatively toughest on Friday, while the Stadium Course played close to two strokes easier in the second round.
While the courses rotated in difficulty, Patrick Cantlay kept rolling right along as he shot 4-under to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard heading into Round 3 on Saturday. He will take a one-shot lead over Tom Hoge into the weekend with a two-shot edge over a group of five led by Will Zalatoris. Many others are lingering further back, and with Cantlay headed to the tougher Stadium Course with higher winds expected on Saturday, things could get interesting in a hurry.
I’m still looking down the leaderboard for my best bets heading into the weekend as we look to find some value before the cut. Let’s see who stands out before they tee it up on moving day.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
K.H. Lee +8000 (BetMGM)
It wasn’t the best second round from K.H. Lee after he torched the Stadium Course on Thursday to the tune of a 9-under 63. He followed it up at La Quinta with an uninspiring 1-under 71, but he will still play an easier track on Saturday while some of the leaders battle the wind at the Stadium. I don’t ever need much of an excuse to buy in on Lee, but I really like the way things set up for him the rest of the way.
He has a chance to make a move to cut into his five-shot deficit on Saturday, before rolling into a course on Sunday when it is all on the line. Lee admittedly struggled to find fairways and greens on Friday, but at these odds we are getting a proven TOUR winner on a course where he should have an edge. This is a numbers play that I believe we can rely on heading into the weekend at The American Express.
Nick Taylor Top 10 +1600 (BetMGM)
I am sticking with the longshots as I think this thing could get flipped upside down on Saturday with higher winds expected and the leaders headed to the toughest course. Nick Taylor on the other hand will head to La Quinta where he has gained 1.8 strokes total on the field across his last four appearances on the course.
The Canadian will start the day five shots back of the top 10, but coming in off of a solid 3-under round at the Stadium Course. If he can keep his play headed in the right direction, including the better-than-a-stroke he gained on that field in the second round, he will be in position to compete for the top 10 heading into Sunday. I am taking this at long odds, but also importantly on BetMGM where they pay all ties in full, giving us a little extra room to work with this weekend.
Adam Hadwin +105 over Alex Noren
Let’s take a course history shot in the dark at plus money. Adam Hadwin has had the best track record at this event of any player over the last five years, and even as he sits on the edge of missing the cut into Saturday, I will still back him. He will head to the Stadium Course where he has done a lot of damage over the years, and as the winds start to pick up, I like his chances to edge out Noren in the third round.
The results on the Stadium have been closer in recent years, but I think the experience for Hadwin gives him an edge that isn’t backed into these odds. I make Hadwin favored in this matchup, making this one of the better plays heading into Saturday.
Strokes Gained Data for All Players on the Stadium Course in Rounds 1 & 2
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