A who’s who of PGA Tour stars are at Riviera Country Club this week. We break down the Genesis Invitational with our top picks to win.
Each of the top 10 golfers and 16 of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) are in Pacific Palisades, CA, this week for the final event of the PGA Tour's West Coast swing. Max Homa returns to defend his 2021 title in his hometown. He tied for 14th in last week's WM Phoenix Open with Scottie Scheffler claiming his first PGA Tour victory in a playoff win over Patrick Cantlay.
This week also marks one year since Tiger Woods' car accident. While he returned to competitive play with his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship in the fall, he won't be playing this week. However, he'll be in attendance as the host of the event.
Here are my top outright picks for the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA.
Genesis Invitational Odds
Genesis Invitational Odds Analysis
Jon Rahm is the betting favorite for the fifth time already this calendar year. However, he shouldn't be bet with an implied win probability as high as 11.11% at DraftKings Sportsbook in the 120-man major-like field. PointsBet raised his odds overnight after opening lower than 10-1. There's some value on Collin Morikawa, who's No. 2 in the OWGR, with a share of the sixth-best odds on the consensus line. Odds quickly dropped for Morikawa and Dustin Johnson after opening, while Matsuyama and Scottie Scheffler went the other way at most books.
Looking further down the board, there appears to be early value on Tony Finau, who lost to Homa in a playoff last year. He's the 15th-best player in the field by the OWGR measure, but he opened at +6000 to win at DraftKings. Caesars Sportsbook looks at him a little more favorably with market-low +4000 odds.
Former Open Championship winner Francesco Molinaro, who tied for eighth in this event last year, is being offered with odds as high as +15000 at BetMGM and PointsBet. That highlights the value that exists in these stacked fields. Seven of the last eight winners at Riviera Country Club were +2000 or longer to win. Four winners were +5000 and above, with two at +10000 or higher.
Riviera Country Club Course Profile
Riviera Country Club plays to a par of 71 and measures 7,322 yards. It has hosted this event annually since 1999 and first hosted the PGA Tour in 1929. Winning scores have ranged from minus-6 to minus-17. Homa and Finau were each minus-12 through 72 holes last year, and it was the fourth time since 2012 a playoff was needed.
The difficult shot-makers course is highly regarded by PGA Tour pros to help draw out the strong field each year. The cut line is routinely over par. Tight fairways are lined with difficult Kikuyu rough, bunkers guard nearly every green, and the oft-unpredictable firm and fast Poa annua greens present yet another hurdle. Finally, occasionally strong winds can keep many more players than usual in contention come Sunday.
The most common par-4 range is between 450-500 yards with six such holes. The par-4 10th is just 315 yards with the other four ranging from 400-450 yards. All but one par 3 are 192 yards or longer, with the 4th hole extending to 236 yards. Just seven holes played below par last year, and the easiest was the 503-yard, par-5 first with a scoring average of 4.279. The other two par 5s come in at 583 and 590 yards.
Genesis Invitational Stats
Our key stats for this week are:
Strokes gained: approachSG: tee-to-greenSG: around-the-greenDriving accuracySand save percentageBogey avoidance
All but one of the 19 golfers to finish T-15 or better last year gained strokes from tee to green over four rounds. Three of those lost strokes around the greens and another three lost strokes on approach. Three others lost strokes putting.
Of the 11 golfers to finish T-8 or better, three averaged below 300 yards with their drivers, including Homa at just 290.1 yards. Homa ranked fourth in the field with 56.1% driving accuracy and fourth with 63.5% greens in regulation. He and Finau were two of the six players in the field to card two eagles in the tournament.
Finau led last year's field with 2.59 SG: tee-to-green per round. Homa was seventh among those who made the cut with 1.15 SG: putting per round. Cameron Tringale, Morikawa, Sam Burns, and Finau were among the leaders in SG: approach.
Genesis Invitational Picks
Sungjae Im (+4000 via DraftKings)Finau (+5000 via BetMGM)Jason Kokrak (+8000 via PointsBet)
Genesis Invitational Outrights
Sungjae Im missed the cut in this event in 2019 and 2020, both times with an uncharacteristically poor iron game and with awful putting in his first visit. He improved significantly on the greens from 2019 to 2020, and I expect much better success with the irons as he comes into this week averaging 1.96 SG: tee-to-green and 0.35 SG: approach per round through 27 measured rounds on the 2021-22 PGA Tour season.
Im's also 30th on Tour in par 4 efficiency: 450-500 yards, 21st in driving accuracy, T-15 in sand save percentage, and second in bogey avoidance. He's coming off an ultra-rare two-week break from tournament play after a T-6 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open followed a T-11 at The American Express.
His odds are inflated this week due to his poor course history with 0.95 total strokes lost to the field per round. However, he was routinely being offered with much lower odds than these to start the calendar year. He's No. 24 in the OWGR and a two-time PGA Tour champ. Forty-to-one is a fine value.
Last year's runner-up is coming off a missed cut at the WM Phoenix Open to help boost his odds. He outperformed Homa in SG: tee-to-green and SG: approach last season, with the biggest difference between the two being on the putting surfaces. Finau is averaging 1.29 total strokes gained on the field over 24 career rounds at Riviera CC. He was a co-runner-up in 2018.
Putting is once again a weakness for Finau early this season, but he's averaging 1.22 SG: tee-to-green per round. He's also gaining strokes off the tee and on approach.
While we're liking Im's current form over his course history, we'll go the other way with Finau. The +5000 odds are far too high for the two-time runner-up and 19th-ranked golfer in the OWGR. We missed out on the +6000 opening odds but we're still getting value at +5000 as Caesars is offering +4000.
Jason Kokrak has yet to play on the mainland since winning the Houston Open in the fall. His 2022 schedule started with a 38th-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, a T-17 at the Sony Open, and a T-45 at the Saudi International on the DP World Tour. Still, he has three PGA Tour wins since the fall of 2020 and is a tremendous value bet at a course his game fits well.
He has gained 0.88 total strokes per round on the field over 35 career rounds at Riviera. He missed the cut in 2020 but returned last year to tie for 32nd while ranking second in the field with 2.05 SG: putting per round. While he still lost strokes with his irons and wedges last year, he's far too consistent of an elite putter to be priced down here. Kokrak's averaging 0.49 SG: putting per round this season.
The Canadian-born veteran is also T-60 in par 4 efficiency from our key distance of 450-500 yards, 47th in driving accuracy, 32nd in sand save percentage, and 16th in bogey avoidance. FanDuel Sportsbook is offering a market-low of +5500 for him to win this week.
Where to Bet on the PGA Tour
Here are our top-rated sportsbooks for odds boosts:
Picks made on 2/15/2022 at 8:15 a.m. ET.