2023 American Express Sharp Money Analysis and Expert Matchup Picks
Mike Mulholland/Getty Images. Pictured: Taylor Montgomery.
What do you get when they present you with a three-course rotational setup that lacks ‘Stat Tracker’ technology on two of the three properties? Aside from an awkward watching experience, you end up welcoming six-hour rounds because of the pro-am nature of the event.
156 players at The American Express will be traversing through the PGA West Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta track from Thursday to Saturday, generating an abnormal 54-hole cut for the field and maladroit coverage for the fans.
All golfers who make the final round will head back to the Stadium Course for a second time to wrap up the week, but it is one of those events that will limit our in-tournament nature of a betting card since data isn’t readily available. Those answers force us to try and highlight as much palpable information as possible before the event, but let’s analyze where some of the sharp and square money is rolling in as of Wednesday afternoon.
If you aren’t doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom rankings for golf. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
Where Is Sharp Money Heading to Start the Week?
I’ve seen some of the sharper books in the space move Keith Mitchell down into the 50/1 range, although you can still find him around 100/1 at most legal shops.
I don’t know if I am as high as some are when it comes to his chances at The American Express, but his combination of par-five scoring and total driving does grade well if we are shooting purely for upside.
I currently see Mitchell hitting above his weight in multiple head-to-head matchups, including holding his own against two golfers I like in J.T. Poston and Taylor Pendrith, but I likely will save most of my exposure for the DFS zone if we are trying to find a way to become involved.
After becoming a relatively decent-sized favorite over Sam Burns, Brian Harman and Tom Kim in matchups, we also saw Cameron Young’s outright odds start to slip marginally at a handful of shops.
It is one of those spots where Young’s upside reminds me of what we kept seeing from Will Zalatoris last season before his first victory, but books aren’t doing us any favors in how they are pricing him during these contests.
You aren’t going to find anyone in this field who combines distance and short-iron proximity better than what Young has shown he can produce early in his career, but the value surrounding him seems to be running away from us quickly.
It is fair to say that it will shock no one if the 17th-ranked player in the world wins this event, but I am in the minority that feels like shops have priced me out in almost all sectors of the space.
Who Is Moving in the Wrong Direction?
It has been a combination of negative returns involving Andrew Putnam in any market you want to look into for the week. The American has drifted on most credible shops from 50/1 to 70/1, and it doesn’t help matters that he is showing as a rather sizable underdog in head-to-head pairings against Aaron Wise, Brian Harman and K.H. Lee.
My model agrees with this stance entirely, as Putnam ranks as the highest overvalued commodity on my board. Playing someone like Si Woo Kim +100 over Putnam is a realistic path to consider for tournament matchup.
The 33-year-old ranks a measly 116th in my recalculated weighted proximity, 124th for off-the-tee + approach and 126th for my remeasured par-five output. All those answers will have me taking a firm stance against that profile this week, and while the past course history is impressive, it becomes a problem using it as one of your central answers since rollover success at this event only managed to rank 37th on Tour for annual courses.
Pick: Si Woo Kim +100 Over Andrew Putnam (DraftKings)
Sam Burns fit the threshold I used slightly better when locating fade candidates on the board, but I decided to pivot the answer over to Taylor Montgomery for two reasons.
For starters, Burns can be found as high as -135 against Montgomery in a head-to-head battle between the two golfers, but perhaps even more important than that, the DFS exposure between the duo is heavily favoring gamers wanting to play the UNLV product over the more seasoned commodity in Burns.
Yes, I realize Montgomery has been stellar since entering the PGA Tour a few months ago. However, his results are being heavily propelled because of a flat stick total that ranks him second in this field — something that doesn’t play as well at a venue with water if his output of grading outside the top 100 of this field in proximity and total driving come to fruition.
I know some intelligent people on Wyndham Clark this week, but the numbers on my model can’t figure out what those individuals are noticing, and I tend to lean strongly in the camp of trying to find opportunities to take him on when possible.
I’ve seen a matchup of J.T. Poston -120 over Clark in existence if you shop around, and I’ve also encountered a similar price in situations where you replace Poston with Keith Mitchell.
If you want to trust the improvement the American showed with his irons before the layoff, I can get behind that reason above anything else, but I don’t love the concept of using historical returns for this event as an argument.
Clark ranks 123rd over the last two seasons in production on Pete Dye courses (even if he does grade well for the other two properties), and the combination of inaccuracy off-the-tee and helter-skelter approach returns throughout his career can still jump out and bite him at any moment.
Pick: J.T. Poston (-120) Over Wyndham Clark