Perry’s Genesis Invitational Betting Preview: Fade the Favorites at Riviera

Perry’s Genesis Invitational Betting Preview: Fade the Favorites at Riviera article feature image
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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Joaquin Niemann.

Well, everything was going swimmingly at Pebble Beach until the 70th hole.

Nate Lashley made a mess of No. 16 after looking fairly comfortable in contention through most of the final round and our 200/1 ticket went down the drain. But at least he saved us the heartache that would have ensued from watching Daniel Berger bury a 30-foot eagle to win the event.

Just another week where we stayed afloat, thanks to Kevin Streelman’s sweat-free top-20 finish.

Now, it’s on to Riviera and the return of quite a few of the stars.

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The Course

Riviera Country Club measures 7,340 yards for a par 71, and every season, it tends to rank up there as one of the most difficult courses from tee to green on tour.

This course tends to favor length off the tee in recent years. Bubba Watson has won three times in the last seven years. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes also picked up wins here during that time frame.

Prior to that run, though, there was a time when the shorter hitters like Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Aaron Baddeley and John Merrick also pieced together some solid results.

Distance will be the advantage, but players with elite short games who can keep the ball in play off the tee can sneak up on the leaderboard as well.

The Favorites

After a week or two away for many of the big names, we have a loaded field this week.

Dustin Johnson opened as the clear favorite as +550 and is making his first start since his win in Saudi Arabia. DJ has a strong record here, winning in 2017. He also hasn’t finished outside the top 20 since 2013.

Behind him is a strong group in that +1200-1400 range.

Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele all opened in this area of the board. None have won the event, but each has put up a string of nice results here throughout their careers.

Thomas came closest in 2019, when he let a fairly substantial lead slip away to  Holmes after a final-round 75.

Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau are below them at +1800. Of the top names, Cantlay is where I’d lean. The form is great after a second and third in two starts in California, and he was fourth here in 2018, so the course should fit his game.

Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger close out the range in the +2000s.

Koepka (+2200) is probably the biggest threat here. He’s fresh off a win in Phoenix, but he’s never really done much on this course before, so that gives me pause.

Finau should play well here but has just been very inconsistent. He was second in 2018, but in four of his six starts here, he finished outside the top 50.

Berger is taking the leap into this range as well off the win at Pebble Beach. But he hasn’t made the cut here in two tries, so I’ll steer clear of the back-to-back scenario this week.

For me, nothing much outside of Cantlay is really popping up. We know he can go really low, as his last two events have shown, so maybe he’ll start a little slow, and then I’ll look to jump in live.

The Midtier

Starting out the card, I’ll go with Joaquin Niemann down here at +5500 on DraftKings.

Niemann feels like he’s been forgotten a bit this week. He took second in both events in Hawaii and hasn’t played since. The record here isn’t great, and he’s usually struggled on Poa greens, but the ball striking numbers — especially with the approach — were stellar his last time out.

I’ll also go with Marc Leishman at +7000 on DraftKings. His game is starting to turn around, and he’s shown with wins at Torrey Pines and Bay Hill that he’s capable of taking down one of these events where the strong players show up.

The results have been hit and miss, but he’s finished in the top five here twice. So, when the game is right, this is a spot where he can be competitive.

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The Longshots

We do see players come from a bit off-the-radar here at times, notably James Hahn and JB Holmes.

So, I’ll try my luck down here starting with Cameron Tringale at 100/1 on FanDuel.

Tringale has a solid record here, finishing in the top 30 six times in nine starts. He’s also trending well in recent weeks, finishing inside the top 20 at three straight events. He’s a guy worth looking at for top-20s and matchups down in this range.

Overall, it’s a pretty light card for me. With so many strong players here, it’s going to be tough to dodge everyone up at the top of the board. We’ll take a more aggressive approach in the event if we can find some slow starters.

The Genesis Invitational Card

  • Joaquin Niemann +5500 (0.6 units)
  • Marc Leishman +7000 (0.47 units)
  • Cameron Tringale +10000 (0.33 units)

Total Stake: 1.4 units

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