My 2022 American Express Betting Card, Storylines, Final Thoughts

Written By John Haslbauer on January 19, 2022
The American Express golf odds Adam Hadwin

The bets are set at PGA West and we are ready for action at the 2022 American Express. There are no shortage of long numbers across the board this week thanks to oddsmakers practically handing the tournament to Jon Rahm or Patrick Cantlay before the event’s even begun. I don’t think it will be that cut and dry!

As always, I’ll be hopping in the golf channel of TheLines Discord for dedicated hours starting at 8 p.m. ET to talk through my betting card, American Express DFS and general golf strategy before lock. Had a lot of fun in last week’s for the Sony Open and I’m excited to talk through this board once again.

Click on the odds below if you’d like to add my American Express bets as well. Each week, TheLines will provide the best available odds at legal US sportsbooks. 

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BETTING CARD STRATEGY: HOW I BUILT MY AMERICAN EXPRESS BETS

Similar to the approach at last week’s Sony Open, this event sets up to be a birdie fest, so I don’t find it necessary to pay up for the elite players at the top of the board under 20-1 odds.

The American Express has a reputation for hosting some of the biggest longshot winners on TOUR, and if I had to take a stance, I’d say the field of 130 100-1-or-longer odds players are more likely to win this week than the 26 players who fall shorter than that mark. It’s a week that will be decided by putting, which opens up for randomness and can severely discount the premium for ball striking we would typically pay up for.

Unit allocations remain the same each week with 3U in Outrights to pay out 24U+, 3U in Props, and 0.5U in FRLs. FRL will look a bit different and shorter this week as the odds are course-specific.

RELATED: 2022 American Express Sleeper Picks

OUTRIGHTS (3 UNITS)

Sungjae Im

My Bet: +2200
Best Odds Still Available:

Sungjae Im is my pick to win the 2022 American Express. He has always played well at this event in his three career appearances, and has never struggled to hit putts on these greens. We get a slight odds discount coming off of the Sony Open MC, as I would not have been surprised to see him open below 20-1 on the odds board otherwise. He’s third overall in my model behind the two-headed monster of Rahm and Cantlay, and is top-10 in virtually every key stat category I’m looking at this week.

Matthew Wolff

My Bet: +3300
Best Odds Still Available:

The Spotlight player of the week has made his way onto my card with very palatable odds at 33-1 after closing the 2021 year with four consecutive top-20 finishes. We know this is going to be a birdie fest, and few players thrive more in easy scoring conditions than Matthew Wolff. He’s a boom or bust player, so a few water balls and a MC wouldn’t shock me, but if I’m fielding a card that needs to go toe-to-toe with Rahm and Cantlay, I can’t pass up Wolff’s upside at this price.

Will Zalatoris

My Bet: +5000
Best Odds Still Available:

Another player we haven’t seen in some time, Zalatoris will be making his 2022 season debut and American Express tournament debut this week. Some people will shy away from playing Zalatoris in a birdie fest, but it’s easy to overlook that he’s gained 2.5+ strokes Putting in three of his last five measured rounds. We know he’s going set himself up with plenty of birdie opportunities and it’s encouraging that the putter has flashed the potential to pop week to week. Maybe he’s even used the two month layoff to practice on honing in that skill some more.

The Stadium Course’s best defense is its Par 3s, upon which Zalatoris has thrived throughout his early career, ranking 7th in this field in Par-3 Scoring. He should be able to tap into the same skillset that allowed him to dominate in birdie fests on the Korn Ferry Tour this go around in La Quinta.

Adam Hadwin

My Bet: +10000
Best Odds Still Available:

The 100-1 odds went away quickly Monday morning, but Adam Hadwin was the first bet I placed this week. Hadwin’s an above average golfer by TOUR standards and closed out his 2021 year in the same fashion with five consecutive made cuts. The No. 1 player in event history at The AmEx will go as far as his putter takes him this week, and the recent form and course history suggest that should continue.

Taylor Moore

My Bet: +12000
Best Odds Still Available:

I have not gotten a chance to watch Taylor Moore play a ton in his early PGA TOUR career, but the stats are jumping off the page, especially at 120-1. He’s an above-average ball striker with a consistent putter that can spike. Moore was a mainstay atop Korn Ferry leaderboards in 2021 and should be able to bring that birdie-making ability to PGA West for similar results on one of the TOUR’s easiest set ups.

Hayden Buckley

My Bet: +16000
Best Odds Still Available:

I might’ve bet Hayden Buckley at half these odds, but these are the fruits of a field which features a scorching hot Rahm and Cantlay. As I wrote about in the Sleepers article, I believe Buckley will go on to have the best season of any other KFT recent graduate in the field this week, and this may be the last time we get to play him at 100-1 odds for quite some time.

Cameron Young

My Bet: +35000
Best Odds Still Available:

It doesn’t take much to make a case for any 350-1 outright, but Cameron Young is my favorite bomb play in a long time. He’s top-10 in SG: OTT and Birdies or Better Gained, joining the company of only Rahm, Cantlay, Sungjae Im, and Jhonattan Vegas. Two of those players have already won this event, one holds the course record here, and the other is my favorite pick to win this week. I like the company he keeps.

FIRST ROUND LEADER (0.5 UNITS)

Sebastian Munoz (LQCC)

My bet: +3300
Best Odds Still Available: +3500

At last, the first chance of the 2022 year to bet Sebastian Munoz FRL. Last time we saw him, he cashed as first round leader on another rotating course set up in the RSM Classic. The odds are short in a course-specific FRL market, but my hopes are still high.

Adam Schenk (NTC)

My bet: +4000
Best Odds Still Available: +4000

I ran out of room to talk up Adam Schenk in my Sleepers article earlier this week, but he stacks up very well for this course, as evidenced by back-to-back top-40 finishes and a T14 in 2020. Schenk’s biggest weakness is his wedges around the green, and this is the course where that skillset matters the least. His irons and putter were clicking at the end of 2021 and his skill-set should suit a birdie-makers course well.

Chesson Hadley (SC)

My bet: +6600
Best Odds Still Available: +6600

Chesson Hadley is a Russell Henley-light player, and is always viable to go low early, as long as he’s not in contention on Sunday. Worth a gamble at 66-1 on the No. 1 Bermuda putter in this field to go low on Thursday.

PROPS (3 UNITS)

Last week was bookended with Russell Henley heartbreak between the one-stroke FRL loss with a par on 18 and the playoff outright loss after a par on 18. The props were the saving grace though, cashing the Henley > Jones conviction play and Keith Mitchell T20 at +330. We also survived a Webb Simpson T10 bet after cashing out before the weekend, although that’s not much to be proud of. This week, we look to keep the momentum going, hoping for another clean(er) sweep.

Top European: Jon Rahm

My Bet: +110
Best Odds Still Available:

In one of the most random events of the year to predict, it’s hard to have any conviction, especially in 1v1 matchups where there are a multitude of different ways to find success here. So instead, I find conviction by doing some simple math on the Top European prop, which can be found at BetMGM.

Rahm is +500 to finish ahead of the 155 other players in this field. He is +110 to finish ahead of 15 other Europeans. All things being equal, you are 10x more likely to finish ahead of 15 other players than you are to finish ahead of 155 others. Now, all things are not equal, and Davis Love III does not have the same chance to win this tournament as Rahm. But proportionally speaking, a fair number on Rahm for this prop would be 10x shorter than his outright odds, or -165, so to get plus-odds is huge value.

I’d even argue that there’s disproportionately better odds to cash versus his European opponents, as his biggest threats are Seamus Power (28-1) and Justin Rose (55-1). That means the next seven greatest threats to beat Rahm according to the outright odds aren’t factored into this prop. And he doesn’t even have to win to cash! I love this prop, and makes for a nice hedge if he does decide to assert his dominance and boat race the field to kill our outright hopes.

Top-30 Finish: Hayden Buckley

My Bet: +310
Best Odds Still Available:

Hayden Buckley has been gaining popularity throughout the week, and for good reason. His balanced, all-around game and hot start to the year with three T12 finishes in his first six starts of the 2022 season just do not match the odds valuation this week as a long shot outright or here as a 3-1 T30 finisher. Buckley has the tools to score on easy courses in a myriad of ways and I think a T30 floor is pretty conservative for him.

Top-40 Finish: Cameron Young

My Bet: +320
Best Odds Still Available:

In my opinion, Cameron Young is the best value you can find on the board this week. This event will simulate Korn Ferry Tour conditions as closely as any other on TOUR all season, so it’s hard to ignore a player with the stout birdie-making ability of Cameron Young – who won not once, but twice on the Korn Ferry Tour last season. The 350-1 outright is asking a lot, but I don’t think Young even needs his best stuff this week to crack the top-40.

ONE AND DONE

My Pick: Adam Hadwin

Not off to the hottest of starts in OAD after Webb Simpson made the bare minimum of the cut makers at the Sony Open. Shifting to the American Express, it’s a challenge to hold any conviction given the recent crop of winners. It’s a random, volatile week to predict winners, so I’m taking a defensive approach and choosing a player I won’t want to play again for the rest of the season: Adam Hadwin.

I’m actively avoiding any of the upper-tier players this week in OAD. This is one of the smaller purses of the year, and even if we never see Cantlay under 10-1 odds to win a tournament again, I’m going to save him for a WGC or Major that pays out more for 1st place. Same with Rahm. I think it would be crazy to waste your one Rahm selection this week when history has shown that anyone is capable of winning, if they catch a hot putter.

Hadwin will draw some ownership, but you can never expect a player at 75-1 odds to be a chalk choice in OAD. His form was just fine to close out 2021, nobody has better course history at The AmEx, and perhaps most importantly, nobody has putted better on these greens than Hadwin. I’m expecting a putting contest, so I’m going with the player I think has one of the best chances to win this with his flatstick alone.

FINAL BETTING CARD

CLOSING THOUGHTS AND STORYLINES

We are taking a leap of faith this week that Rahm and/or Cantlay do not bring their A-games to PGA West. Fading each of them on the betting card means you are hoping they don’t have a spike putting week, which is entirely possible, but they won’t find much trouble here otherwise from T2G.

At the Sony Open, I did not feel compelled to bet anyone under 35-1 odds. In the end, I guess you could say that strategy was wrong, but if Hideki Matsuyama – a bottom-20 putter on the entire PGA TOUR – is going to lead the field in putting, I can live with those consequences. This week, I went out of my way to start my card with Sungjae Im at 22-1. We are getting a decent buy-low spot for Sungjae as he looks to rebound from breaking his streak of 14 consecutive cuts made at the Sony Open. I’m not scared away by two mediocre rounds of golf in Honolulu. Sungjae has never finished worse than T12 here in three career appearances and is fully capable of winning a golf tournament with his putter. After Rahm and Cantlay, I believe it’s Sungjae that has the best chance to win this event.

Here’s a look at a few last storylines I’m looking out for at the 2022 American Express.

Will Rahm & Cantlay Continue Their 2021 Dominance?

Cantlay closed 2021 with what I thought to be some unsustainable spike putting weeks at the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship, but picked up right where he left off with another high finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Jon Rahm is Jon Rahm, and capable of dominating at any given tournament. Given the randomness of this event, I’m cautiously optimistic that we cannot simply hand the tournament to either of them as the odds board would suggest. Most players in the field this week will hit a high percentage of greens in regulation and set up a slew of birdie opportunities, so ultimately the player who hits the most putts is going to win this tournament. If we learned anything from last week, it’s that even the worst putters in the world (Hideki Matsuyama, ranked 199th out of 215 PGA TOUR players in 2021 in SG: P) are capable of being the best putter in the field any given week. There’s no shortage of great putters in the field this week, so I really don’t see any value in paying up for either of the top players in this week’s tournament from a betting perspective.

Pro-Ams Are Back

I think it’s entirely unnecessary to thrust amateurs into a legitimate PGA TOUR event with FedEx Cup and world ranking points at stake. It’s just an added gimmick that slows down the rounds without really adding anything for the viewers. Following Talor Gooch’s frustrations with Kevin Na’s slow play at the Sony Open last week, it’ll be interesting to see how he and other fast-pace players cope with 6+ hour rounds where amateurs are hacking out of the gallery and four-putting hole-to-hole.

The Grass

It’s been a banner week for Agronomy Twitter. What I thought was a simple “it’s Bermuda everywhere” kind of course has turned out to be anything but. Anywhere you search on the internet will tell you that PGA West is 100% Bermuda grass in its fairways, rough, and greens. However, apparently that’s been misrepresented over the years, because in the winter months, the Bermuda is dormant in California, and needs to be overseeded with Poa and/or Rye.

So what does that mean? Probably absolutely nothing. But, the speculation that we’re not going to see 100% pure Bermuda greens has caused me to change my tune on Bermuda specialists and just focus on good overall putters in this putting contest. Even if the greens aren’t actually Bermuda, the top Bermuda putters have typically performed well here. So, I guess my stance hasn’t really changed since the beginning of the week.

Good luck with your 2022 American Express bets!

John Haslbauer Avatar
Written by
John Haslbauer

John Haslbauer writes about golf betting and advanced golf metrics for TheLines.com. He is a passionate golf fan, golf writer, and (casual) golfer. A graduate at Syracuse University, John works out of Jersey City as a Director of Media Strategy for HBO and HBO Max. He created the website thepgatout.com at the start of 2021 and is active on Twitter (@PGATout). No, he is not a tout. The Twitter handle is a joke. Touts are lame. We hate touts.

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