Let’s dive in for a look at the players primed for a strong showing this week at The American Express, and those who may disappoint at their price points.
Patrick Reed (+1500, $10,200)
It’s really not easy for me to do this, I want you to know that before you read on. This play is inspired by my brain and not my heart.
We know that with Jon Rahm withdrawn, the top of the Field gets a big boost of win equity. As the odds currently stand, Reed and Cantlay are essentially co-favorites at this event, but Cantlay is priced $900 higher. Koepke and Finau are also priced ahead of Reed on Draft Kings, despite the longer betting odds. Typically a disparity between pricing and odds like this means a jump in ownership, but c’mon guys, it’s Patrick Reed.
Objectively, he is one of, if not the best golfer in the field this week and in true Patrick Reed fashion, I will be over-weight on the 2014 champ in DFS.
Matthew Wolff (+2300, $9,700)
Matthew Wolff at +3000 or better odds is an autobet for me regardless of the Field, and I was fortunate enough to get him at that price before the Rahm news. I may not’ve jumped on him at the current +2300 price, but you can still count me in at $9,700 on DK.
Wolff was on top of the world after the US Open and Shriners where he delivered back to back Runner Ups. His three events since then have been uninspiring, but I think an extended break and easy track like PGA West is exactly what Wolff needs to kick off 2021 right.
While you don’t need distance OTT here, it’ll definitely give him a leg up on this field and provide plenty of Eagle opportunities on the 4 gettable Par 5s. I’m dismissing the SG:ARG category this week, and with that removed, Wolff’s game looks pristine coming in.
Sam Burns (+5500, $8,300)
Sam Burns has also featured in my Bombs & Values article for The American Express, but price value aside, he has some serious win equity this week. Looking at SG:TOT last 36 rounds, Burns ranks ahead of this week’s favorites Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepke, and Tony Finau. Burns has been on FIRE (I had to) with his ball striking coming into this event, and there is no doubt he’ll get a victory in 2021. This is a top-heavy field, but rarely have the favorites prevailed here, so Burns +5500 is well worth the investment.
Tony Finau (+1700, $10,500)
This is in part personal, as I was high on Tony the first time in a long time at the Sentry TOC where he nearly finished in last. Tony has a winning problem and I would describe any outright bet on him at worse odds than +2000 as ill-advised, regardless of the Field. At $10,500, I’d much rather take the savings and go down to Reed, Sungjae, or Wolff.
Finau will gain popularity from the TPC Scottsdale comps, but until he becomes more consistent, I’m going to avoid Tony Finau as a favorite.
Brooks Koepke (+2100, $10,800)
I don’t play Brooks in non-Majors and I probably won’t write him up in Faves/Fades again for the rest of the season because that point will continue to ring true.
After an extended break, we would hope he’s starting the 2021 season healthy, but there’s really no way for us to know for sure. At this price, you need to be absolutely certain that his knee is healthy, and I’m just not willing to take that gamble. Brooks is also notorious for going through the motions in weak fields and with this being the first event of the season for him, I expect there will be someone hungrier for a Win that overtakes him.
Adam Hadwin (+7000, $8,000)
Golf fans around the globe were happy to hear that this year, The American Express would be switching up the format, removing the pro-am + La Quinta CC course, and reverting to a more standard 36-hole cut set-up. The one person who may not welcome change here is Adam Hadwin. He’s been a model of consistency at PGA West and #1 in the event’s history in average strokes gained between PGA West’s 3 courses, despite having never won here. Hadwin sputtered to the end of the 2020 season and with this event feeling a bit different from years past, I don’t think we can assume he’s just going to find the PGA West magic again. He’s a sensible play at +7000, but there are a myriad of players sub-$8,000 with similar games and better recent form coming in.