The American Express 2020 odds: Surprising PGA picks, predictions from advanced model that nailed six majors

Phil Mickelson begins the transition to tournament host this week when the 49-year-old left-hander welcomes a star-studded field to The 2020 American Express. Mickelson has been an ambassador for the three-course pro-am event for several years now, and he also is returning to stroke-play action for the first time since November's WGC-HSBC Champions. The PGA Tour's first mainland U.S. stop of 2020, The American Express was formerly the Bob Hope Desert Classic.

Mickelson's Presidents Cup teammates Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau are in the field, as is International Team Presidents Cup star Sungjae Im. Fowler is 11-1 in The American Express odds, with Im at 18-1, Finau and Paul Casey at 20-1. Play gets underway Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Before locking in any 2020 American Express picks or entering any PGA DFS picks or lineups, see the projected leaderboard from the team at SportsLine.

SportsLine's prediction model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, has nailed two of the last three majors entering the weekend. It predicted Gary Woodland's first career major championship at the U.S. Open even though he wasn't the favorite entering the weekend. The result: Woodland held off a late charge from Brooks Koepka and won by three strokes. The model also called Koepka's historic victory at the 2019 PGA Championship, predicting he'd hold his lead in the home stretch. In all, their advanced computer model has nailed a whopping six majors entering the weekend, and anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now that The American Express field is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times, and the results were surprising. You can head to SportsLine now to see the picks.

One huge shocker the model is calling for: Im, currently ranked ninth in the FedEx Cup standings and one of the top Vegas favorites, stumbles this week and doesn't even crack the top five.

Im is off to a blistering start this season, having already racked up two top-10 finishes. However, the 21-year-old has never won a tournament on the PGA Tour. Im finished outside the top 20 last week at the Sony Open, and despite his strong start to the season, he has struggled to find consistency throughout his young career. In fact, Im finished 25th or worse 19 times and missed the cut on nine separate occasions last season.

Im's inconsistent performances can be directly attributed to his inability to find the fairway off the tee. He ranks outside the top 100 in driving accuracy percentage (63.66), which doesn't bode well for his chances to finish on top of the American Express leaderboard this week. He's not a strong pick to win it all and there are far better values in this loaded field.

One player the model is high on at The American Express 2020: 50-1 long shot Abraham Ancer. The 28-year-old is already off to a strong start in the 2019-20 PGA Tour wraparound season, as he tied for fourth at the WGC-HSBC Champions and tied for eighth at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. That comes off a 2018-19 effort that saw him finish second at The Northern Trust, tied for fourth at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic.

Ancer, who won the 2018 Emirates Australian Open for his first worldwide victory, made two straight FedExCup playoffs and finished 21st in the 2019 standings. Ancer went 3-0-2 in the Presidents Cup for the International Team. With a strong game around the green (ranked 31st on tour in strokes gained: around the green in 2018-19), the model likes Ancer to have a great week at The American Express. 

Also, the model says four other golfers with odds of 33-1 or longer will make a strong run at the title. Anyone who backs these underdogs could hit it big.

So who wins The American Express 2020, and which long shots stun the golfing world? Check out the odds below and visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard from the model that's nailed six golf majors, and find out.

Rickie Fowler 11-1
Sungjae Im 18-1
Paul Casey 20-1
Tony Finau 20-1
Charles Howell III 25-1
Kevin Kisner 25-1
Brian Harman 28-1
Byeong Hun An 33-1
Scottie Scheffler 33-1
Vaughn Taylor 33-1
Cameron Champ 40-1
Billy Horschel 40-1
Russell Knox 40-1
Jason Kokrak 40-1
Phil Mickelson 40-1
Francesco Molinari 40-1
Alexander Noren 40-1
J.T. Poston 40-1
Matthew Wolff 40-1
Zach Johnson 45-1
Abraham Ancer 50-1
Daniel Berger 50-1
Ryan Moore 50-1
Rory Sabbatini 50-1
Nick Taylor 50-1
Brendon Todd 50-1

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