Sobel’s Genesis Invitational Betting Odds and Predictions: How To Bet Tiger Woods, Xander Schauffele and More

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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tiger Woods

Feb 12, 2020, 10:00 AM EST
  • Rory McIlroy (+750), Jon Rahm (+1000) and Justin Thomas (+1000) are the favorites at the 2020 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
  • Tiger Woods's outright odds sit at +1600. Is it time to buy Tiger? Or is the number too short?
  • Jason Sobel details his betting strategy for the 2020 Genesis Invitational.

Elevated by a field filled with single-named superstars, this week’s Genesis Invitational offers plenty of potential paradisal scenarios for Sunday’s conclusion. Brooks, Rory, JT, Rahm, DJ, Bubba, Xander, Phil, Jordan, Rose, Jason, Tony, Sergio, Cantlay, Reed and Bryson will each compete at Riviera, all but guaranteeing a star-studded leaderboard.

One of these potential scenarios, though, reigns over the rest.

It’s the scenario that includes tournament host Tiger Woods.

Woods has famously never won his hometown event, site of his first career PGA Tour start as a 16-year-old. In a career crammed with historic moments and broken records, it remains one of the lone holes in his lengthy resume, one exacerbated when he took over hosting duties a few years ago.

Like every sporting event in Los Angeles over the past few weeks, this one will take on special meaning this week.

On Jan. 26, a helicopter carrying Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people crashed and killed everyone on board.

Woods didn’t hear about the fatalities until after his final round at Torrey Pines that day. He’d heard the “Do it for Mamba!” cries from the gallery, but didn’t understand the significance. When he was asked on live television about Bryant’s death just minutes after hearing the news, he seemed shellshocked – and rightly so. It must be utterly unthinkable to speak eloquently about a friend’s death in such immediacy.


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We should expect Woods to appear more eloquent this week, with a few weeks to gather his thoughts from the perspective of being both a lifelong Lakers fan and having a personal relationship with Bryant.

He will undoubtedly hear more of those “Do it for Mamba!” chants from the L.A. crowds, only this time he’ll understand the motivation behind them. As if he wasn’t already galvanized to win this event for the first time, he will inherit more inspiration from the connection.

All of which leads to the final scenario: Tiger in contention heading to the final round. Memories of Kobe still permeating throughout Riviera, just as they have at every Los Angeles-based sporting event in the last few weeks.

The host shows up Sunday morning wearing a black sweater in the chilly air. He warms up like this, hits a handful of putts, gives a pre-round interview with the broadcast team. When he steps to the elevated first tee, though, Woods peels off the top layer to reveal not his usual Sunday red shirt, but a purple version instead. It needs no explanation, the act an obvious homage to Bryant.

The tournament doesn’t end there, but it might as well have.

Woods eagles the par-5 opening hole, then continues to pepper Riviera with pounded drives and laser-like irons shots. By the time it’s almost over, the man in purple has run away with his first tournament title. On the final hole, he rolls in a putt from 24 feet – Kobe’s final jersey number. He posts a course-record final-round 60 – Kobe’s point total in his final NBA game.

It all adds up to his PGA Tour record-breaking 83rd career victory – and there would be no better setting for that history.

When he finishes, he concludes the victory with more eloquent words about Bryant, what he meant and how he gave him inspiration throughout the week.

Sure, this ideal scenario might be too idealistic. It reeks of implausibility, at least some of the inherent details, but it’s hardly impossible.

The point is: It remains a mystery that in 13 previous starts at this tournament, Woods has never won. This week seems as good a time as any – he’s hitting the ball well and should be motivated to finally claim this one. Even if the Kobe connections are too romantic, even if he won’t don a purple shirt or post a Sunday 60, there’s no reason we shouldn’t believe Tiger can’t – or won’t – win this golf tournament.

In a field filled with superstars, the tourney host remains the biggest of them all.

Personally, I can’t wait to get out to Riv this week, where I’ll be dispatching nuggets from the range, the interview room and anywhere else I can find an edge. I love everything about this tourney but the traffic, though I’ll even take that if we can get a bumper-to-bumper leaderboard.

Keep an eye out throughout the week for more coverage, but until then, here are my Genesis picks.

Outright Winner

One player to win the tournament.

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