PGA TOUR Best Bets: Our Favorite Outright Picks for The 2021 American Express
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Henley
- The PGA TOUR kicks off the 2021 California Swing this week with the American Express at PGA West.
- This tournament has been good to longshots in the past, so Team GolfBet is taking a few chances down the board with our picks to win this week.
The 2020/21 PGA TOUR season rolls on and this week we head from Hawaii to the mainland to kick off the California Swing with the 2021 American Express 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.
Here are our favorite outright bets for the 2021 American Express:
Aaron Wise (+9000)
Why him? Well… why not? My main goal with this week’s outright selection was to walk the talk. I can’t write all about how winners here have averaged a huge number entering the tourney, then offer up a chalk play. There’s not much about Wise’s past results at this one which suggest he’s ready to win, though he has played 11 of 14 rounds under par. He’s also a West Coaster, which at least helps the narrative.
More than anything, though, he’s a talented young player coming off a down year which showed late improvement, as he finished runner-up at Mayakoba in his final start of 2020, yet he’s still undervalued in the marketplace, with higher odds than the likes of John Huh. On a week proven to give us anything at the top, my card will have plenty of value plays who own some win equity.
Cameron Champ (+4200)
Champ is my only play under +9000 this week. Longshots tend to thrive at this tournament and since Jon Rahm, the only favorite to win The American Express in the last decade, withdrew, I’m expecting someone down the board to take this title again.
Champ has the length to turn these two courses into pitch and putts. He’s gained strokes both off the tee and with his approach in seven of his last nine events.
The short game is hit and miss, but Bermuda is where he does his best putting work, and he’s got a win on the surface at the Sanderson Farms.
Russell Henley (+3500)
The story of this season has been players breaking through for their first TOUR wins in multiple years, and I think we may add another this week.
Russell Henley was solid throughout the week at the Sony Open, but lost his putter on the weekend on his way to a T11 finish at Waialae. Historically, the winners of The American Express have played in one of the Hawaii events leading in, and had a Top-20 during those events, both of which are checked boxes for Henley.
He also fits the course profile at PGA West as he is an elite wedge player, and despite the putting results last week, he does have a preference for the bermudagrass greens he will see this week. The only qualm is that the number is discounted from the +4500 open, but many took a hit with Rahm’s withdrawal.
Cameron Champ (+4200)
I am expecting Cameron Champ to have an excellent showing this week in his home state of California. Champ’s most recent win also came in The Golden State at the 2019 Safeway Open (Silverado) and PGA West feels like a great spot for the 25 year old to get his third PGA TOUR victory. Both of his wins have been relatively low scoring (-17 and -21) and a birdie-fest out West should be right in his wheelhouse.
Historically, despite his power off of the tee, Champ has found most success on short Par 72 courses. He is a TOUR average putter on Bermuda, compared to a negative putter on all other surfaces. With his tee-to-green prowess, a slightly positive putting week should be all he needs to get into contention at PGA West.