PGA TOUR Picks: Our Favorite Props & Matchup Bets at The 2021 American Express
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Kramer Hickok
- Bettors can expect a wild leaderboard at the 2021 American Express.
- The last two winners of this tournament, Adam Long and Andrew Landry, were 500/1 and 200/1, respectively.
- With that in mind, we picked out our favorite prop bets and matchups at PGA West:
After two weeks in Hawaii, the PGA TOUR heads to the mainland this week to kick off the California Swing with The 2021 American Express at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.
Although this tournament will look a little different from past iterations, you can still expect it to play out in similar fashion. In other words, prepare for a birdie-fest and don’t be surprised if we see a huge longshot win. The past two winners here, Andrew Landry and Adam Long, were 200/1 and 500/1, respectively.
Tournaments like The American Express can provide some serious betting value all over the board. Here are our favorite props and matchups at PGA West:
Doc Redman top-5 finish (+2800)
Oh, come on: Did you really think you’d get through this preview without a(nother) Doc mention? We’ve all seen those football lines where we think to ourselves: That seems fishy; the wrong team is favored and I want to smash the underdog money-line, but maybe the books know something I don’t. (Hint: They definitely do.) Well, that’s how I feel about this. One of my favorite up-and-comers is listed at 140/1 outright as I’m writing, which feels like the books are just taunting us, but I’ll gladly take that bait.
More than the outright play, though, I love him here at top-five, considering he’s cashed three of these tickets in his last eight starts.
Keegan Bradley to make the cut (-159)
Nothing too flashy for me this week.
Bradley is coming off a missed cut at the Sony where he lost seven strokes with the putter over two days. That’s just who he is some weeks. The putter can completely derail otherwise great play.
The good news is that he is usually pretty solid at this event. He’s made the cut in all four appearances and finished inside the top-25 on three occasions.
Bradley’s ball-striking was on point at the Sony, so as long as he doesn’t lose more than two or three strokes on the green he should make the weekend. Bradly has only lost over three strokes per round with his putter on one other occasion in his career. That was at the 2020 Houston Open. He backed that up with a 13th at the Zozo.
Erik van Rooyen Top-10 Finish (+700)
I nearly wrote up EVR as my longshot, but reality set in overnight that the better play was around his finishing position. He’s ranks just outside of the Top-50 in the World Golf Rankings and his odds don’t reflect that. I understand that he hasn’t shown himself to be a winner in Europe or the States, but the talent is there and he deserves the consideration all the way up the betting board.
The result at the Sony Open will show a missed cut, but if you look closer he had 11 birdies and 2 bogeys in 34 holes. His issue was two triples in his Friday round that caused him to miss the cut by one. He couldn’t get out of a bunker on his second hole in Round 2, then had a bad cart path bounce out of bounds on the back nine, otherwise he was playing the weekend with a chance to make a run.
All of the strokes gained numbers were there for EVR last week, and if he avoids the big numbers, PGA West sets up well for him to have a solid finish.
Kramer Hickok Top-10 Finish (+1600)
I am going with a flier on Hickok here to cash a top-10 at long odds. This event notoriously provides some unexpected winners and Hickok has the type of talent to get involved this week. I am a believer in Hickok’s long-term prospects at becoming a competitive PGA TOUR player, and PGA West seems like the right spot to begin his ascent.
At Waialae, Kramer gained 6.3 strokes tee to green on his way to a 19th-place finish. While not a good putter, Bermudagrass is his best surface as evidenced by his average performance last week.
I like his chances at a T10 and will be sprinkling a bit on an outright win at 175-1 as well.
Sam Burns (+100) over Lanto Griffin
Following a T-6 finish in this event last year and a T-7 finish in his most recent start in Houston, I expect Burns to be a popular play this week in all formats. I’m a big fan of his game and – as I wrote in my preview piece “The Leap” – I think the best thing he has going for him is that he tends to perform well on all types of courses in all parts of the country.
I have no problem with the LSU product for top-10 props and DFS plays, but he might hold the most value in matchups against some similarly priced players this week. For this one in particular, I think the market is weighing Griffin too heavily based solely on having two starts under his belt. He’s played decently, but I’ll still take a hungry Burns in this one.
Scottie Scheffler (+100) over Tony Finau
Scheffler and Finau have pretty similar games and both have the ability to play well at PGA West.
It’s been pretty much even between the two for their careers, Scheffler holds an 11-10-4 record over Finau in the 25 events they’ve played together, most recently at the TOC where Scheffler finished well ahead of Finau.
They’re even with their outright odds, so this feels like a match up where both guys should be -110. I’ll take the small dog here, who I think should probably be the small favorite.
Joel Dahmen (+110) over Rickie Fowler
I’d take nearly anyone over Rickie Fowler at this stage. The guy simply just hasn’t had it, in fact the last time he had a Top-10 was one year ago at this event. Yet, books continue to price him as though he is still one of the upper-tier golfers in the world. I’m fading Rickie in nearly every aspect until I see him put it together.
Joel Dahmen is no slouch in his own right, and I believe he is due for a victory this year. He’s a good fit for PGA West, and I’ll be happy to jump on board with Dahmen at plus money when one could argue he’s the better player in this matchup.
Ryan Moore (+100) over John Huh
I love Ryan Moore’s skill set as a fit at PGA West. Looking at previous winners, Moore fits the bill as a great iron player who won’t necessarily have to putt lights out to win. While not long off of the tee, he is extremely accurate which will be more important than distance this week.
An excellent Pete Dye player, Moore seems to be going overlooked this week. The 38-year-old finished sixth here last year and despite not playing recently, I think he has a real chance to compete this week.