We head to La Quinta, California for the 2020 American Express after a brief swing out in Hawaii. Last year, this event was known as the Desert Classic and it seems to get a new sponsor every year. Back in the day, this tournament was known as the Bob Hope Classic and then recently it was the Career Builder Challenge, so keep that in mind when you are trying to pull course history. We have a full field of players to choose from which means plenty to explore in the golf betting markets.
This tournament is a little different as each player will be guaranteed three rounds (Saturday Cut), all played at a different course. The final round will be played at the TPC Stadium Course, so this course will have two of four rounds with the PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament course and La Quinta Country Club getting the other two rounds.
For additional info about the course and some guys to consider in your lineups, make sure to read the DFS American Express Above the Cut Article which can help you build teams. But let’s take a look at what we have on the golf betting side of things.
** When betting futures, one of the most important aspects is making sure you shop around for the best number available to you. Over time, this can make a massive difference in the results so make sure to stay tuned for all the resources available to help you find the most value when looking across the golf betting markets**
Kevin Kisner 28-1
Last week, Kisner played great, but just couldn’t get the putter to fully cooperate. He gained over 10 strokes tee to green which is a sign the game is in good shape. In terms of the cold putting, that’s rare for a guy this good and it could be a spot to jump on with his odds sitting at 28-1.
This course sets up perfectly for Kisner as he should have a ton of short irons and wedges and opportunities to lean on the short game. Kisner’s course history doesn’t stand out but that isn’t an issue to me and in fact, may contribute to the price we see in the outright markets. With such a wide open tournament due to the lack of win equity up top, a guy like Kisner is live to get in the mix.
Aaron Wise 80-1
I mentioned Wise as a potential PGA DFS play this week, but I also see logic in looking at him in the golf betting market. We have Wise at 80-1 to take down this event and while the recent form isn’t good, the upside is still there. He should be gaining plenty off the tee and he has shown the ability to get hot with the putter and excel at birdie-fest tracks. With three guaranteed rounds, Wise should have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of par 5’s and with better iron play, I think we will find him on the leaderboard come Sunday.
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Brian Harman Top 10 +450
Last week, Harman was solid, but couldn’t get in the mix with a 32nd-place finish. When looking over the strokes gained data, we see quality numbers across the board and pretty consistent play going back to swing season. Harman is a good Bermuda putter, and without a glaring weakness, he has the skillset to build on the middling finish from last week.
The odds of a top 10 sit around 9-to-2, which is enough value for me to take a position on a guy who easily has the talent to be in the hunt. Harman was third here in 2017, but regardless of the course history, he should set up with his well-rounded game. His skill set and recent form check most of the boxes I am looking for and he makes sense in DFS as well as golf betting markets.
Russell Knox -105 vs. Vaughn Taylor
Before I dive into this matchup, I want to mention the ridiculous fortunate break last week as Hideki Matsuyama rallied from 10 shots down against Colin Morikawa to win that head-to-head bet. Now we look to build on that this week and in particular with this Knox-Taylor matchup.
Knox was on fire with his irons last week and is playing consistent, quality golf. He hasn’t been getting into contention, but with a head-to-head, we are willing to back a guy who is putting up consistent top-25 finishes and I don’t see that changing this week. Everything is clicking and Knox is a hot putter away from knocking on the door in one of these events.
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Taylor is also playing quality golf and is a pretty low variance golfer in general, both of which aren’t bad things in a head-to-head. Taylor relies on putting and quality irons, which were on display last week at the Sony en route to a 12th-place finish. He will once again try this formula at the American Express and hope to continue the solid form.
I am backing Knox here as he is simply a better golfer than Taylor even with Vaughn playing at the level he is. Knox hasn’t done anything with the putter and although he’s not great on the greens, there is more room for improvement and upside than with Taylor who is relying on gaining those strokes each week. Add in that Knox is just -105, which is a coin toss, and it’s a price that I can justify backing him against Taylor in this head-to-head.
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If you are unfamiliar with golf betting or just looking to dive into it for the first time make sure to try and understand each type of bet and how to properly bankroll for each. When choosing a few outright players at long odds, we are hoping to hit one of those a year as it would pay for the entire season and then some. Think of that as the large-field GPPs where you really hope to tread water and then rely on a big hit once every year or so to do major damage.
On the other side, we have head-to-head bets which naturally are more like cash games or head-to-heads in DFS where you aren’t going to win a huge multiplier of your money, but also should be hitting them at a reasonable clip. Getting a clearer picture of what each bet is like is important as this is a long season with a lot of opportunities to take some stabs in the betting markets.
Good luck everyone!
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