Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA TOUR 2021: Genesis Invitational

PGA TOUR 2021: Genesis Invitational

Damien Kayat previews the Genesis Invitational taking place at Riviera Country Club in California. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 US PGA Tour  | Genesis Invitational 
Riviera Country Club, California, 
February 18th-21st

Let’s hope that this week at Riviera can live up to last week’s shenanigans at Pebble Beach.  I was gutted that my pick Jordan Spieth couldn’t hit fairways on Sunday.  Daniel Berger stooped in like Danny Ocean in a blistering Sunday round.  This week will see the concluding chapter of the West Coast Swing.  This event actually dates back 95 years.  Originally known as the Los Angeles Open, this event has been staged almost exclusively at Riviera since 1973.  This week essentially resembles a Major Championship field.  11 of the top 12 players in the world will be in attendance this week.  Dustin Johnson- a champion here in the past- will look to further his reputation as the world’s preeminent golfer. 

One thing to say about Riviera off the bat: Augusta provides an amazing corollary.  Augusta has seen lefties Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir win in the last century. All three of those players are multiple winners at Riviera.  Shot-shaping seems to favour lefties.  The narrow, tree-lined Kikuyu fairways aren’t conducive to pure power.  Furthermore, recent winners Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson own Green Jackets.  Riviera is similar to Augusta in terms of green contours.  Players will need to scramble well and use their imagination around the greens.  Recent winning scores range between -13 and -15, which tends to suggest that bogey avoidance may be more critical than birdie average this week.  Players who are solid over the four days should be in with a shout.  

The clear absentee this week is Tiger Woods.  But there are many elite names present to mitigate his absence.  Dustin Johnson has been immense over the past year and will relish the chance to further his growing legendary status.  I’m weary of both Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy at 12/1.  I think that Schauffele and Thomas make far more sense at 14/1.  Bryson DeChambeau may need to alter his blitzkrieg approach in order to find success here.  Last week’s winner Daniel Berger is still nicely under the radar while defending champion Adam Scott is always in the mix.  Brooks Koepka has rebuilt his game splendidly while Jordan Spieth will be looking to put the disappointment of last week behind him.  This promises to be an amazing spectacle of golf despite another week sans fans. 

Past Winners
2020: Adam Scott (-11)
2019: J.B Holmes (-14)
2018: Bubba Watson (-12)
2017: Dustin Johnson (-17)
2016: Bubba Watson (-15)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Dustin Johnson (6/1)
Jon Rahm (12/1)
Rory McIlroy (12/1)
Xander Schauffele (14/1)
Justin Thomas (14/1)

Value Bets

Hideki Matsuyama- To Win (33/1), To Place (7/1)
Matsuyama is a guy with strong Augusta form (without having won the Green Jacket).  Matsuyama is a guy with excellent form in this event.  In the past two seasons he has finishes of 5th and 9th.  Outside of a missed cut in 2017, he has never finished worse than 23rd in six events.  His recent form is a slight concern, with too many finishes in the 40’s in recent weeks.  But prior to that came that decent T13 at Augusta.  Courses like this (where course history tends to matter more) can help spark players in a slight funk. He just NEEDS to putt well.  The putter has been the bane of his career.  Let’s hope he can find his range again on these Poa Annua greens.  

Jason Kokrak- To Win (100/1), To Place (22/1)
14 of the last 17 winners at Riviera have recorded a top 15 at this course prior to capturing the title.  Furthermore, 14 of the last 15 winners had played the event at least five times prior to winning.  Kokrak was runner-up in 2016 and added top 25 finishes in the next two years.  He has played this event nine times previously.  Perhaps he could be primed for a dark horse challenge.  Kokrak captured his first PGA Tour win in October at the CJ Cup.  While he hasn’t hit those heights yet in 2021, he did open the Sony Open with an exceptional 62.  This event could be his chance to mount a concerted title challenge.

The Man to Beat

Brooks Koepka- To Win (22/1), To Place (48/10)
This is really based less on course history than recent form (slightly contrary to the above choices).  The odds are just way too high at 22/1 for the four-time Major champion.  Koepka took last week off after returning to the winner’s circle at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Of those who made the cut in Phoenix, Koepka was 2nd in both Strokes Gained: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green.  I think Koepka could be ready for another stellar season on the PGA Tour.  American players just seem to be killing it at the moment.

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