2023 Genesis Invitational Round 3 Odds & Picks: Patrick Cantlay Lurking

2023 Genesis Invitational Round 3 Odds & Picks: Patrick Cantlay Lurking article feature image

Pictured: Patrick Cantlay. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

There is still golf to be played in Round 2 at the Genesis Invitational, but most of the players still on the course going into Saturday morning are closer to battling the cutline than contention at this stage. Max Homa was in the final group to finish on Friday evening and although he concluded a fantastic round with a disappointing bogey on his final hole, he still holds a one-shot lead heading into the weekend.

Homa is a shot ahead of Jon Rahm, Keith Mitchell and a big surprise in Lee Hodges — all of whom are 9-under through two rounds. Many other top players in the world are also within the top 10, setting things up for a fantastic weekend at Riviera and that's before mentioning the fact that Tiger Woods will also play another 36-holes over the next two days.

This is a tournament where we want to take our long shots now, going into Saturday, as five of the past seven champions have played from ahead going into Sunday. Each of those seven winners were at the very least in the final group, which puts that as our goal for the chasers going into the third round.

Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3

You could argue from a skill, course history and world ranking standpoint that Patrick Cantlay could've been around +1100 to start the week. His form coming into the Genesis Invitational prevented that type of number from being posted and pushed him out to a ridiculous +3000 at some books. Now, he heads into the weekend at that +1100 number at PointsBet despite being just three shots short of the lead.

Many will narrow in on the more than two shots Cantlay gained around the greens Friday, but I will choose to focus on his improving iron game. He gained 1.65 shots on approach and 2.4 strokes ball striking in his second round, which is another step forward from his slow start to the year. The odds are fair on the Californian heading into Saturday and with his play trending up, I'll be looking to buy Cantlay to be a part of those final groups going into Sunday.

It was a bit curious and concerning to see Will Zalatoris skip the elevated event last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after his return to golf from last year's season ending back injury. However, he has quickly put those concerns to rest through two rounds at Riviera where he's 5-under after 35-holes with one left to play on Saturday morning. Zalatoris really ramped things up on Friday as he gained more than four shots on the field with his play tee-to-green with more than two-and-a-half of those coming on his ball striking.

He would be my favorite combination of odds and play heading into the weekend at +4500 as that price seems a bit too long for his skill level and proximity to the lead. Zalatoris is a player who has shown he's able to step up on tougher courses and this is one that certainly fits his skillset if he continues to strike the ball as he has in the opening two rounds.

Digging deeper for a placement play, I'll be targeting Jhonattan Vegas as we go into the weekend. He has improved with every tournament this year after battling injury and even surgery in 2022. Vegas sits T21 going into Saturday after gaining more than two shots on approach in Round 2, but giving most of those back on the greens. If he can get the putter going, he can certainly contend for a top 10 type of finish, but I think we can get some plus money for a top 20 if those odds open before Round 3.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players Thru Round 2 

*Cut is +1, Nick Hardy has two holes to play to get into Round 3

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