2023 Genesis Invitational Updated Odds, Picks: Thomas, Hovland Among Fits for Riviera
Via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas of the United States lines up a putt on the third green during the final round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 12, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- The PGA TOUR finishes up its West Coast swing with a bang at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
- Matt Vincenzi breaks down his model to find the best course fits this week.
- Find his picks, including Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland, below.
Click arrow to expand the Genesis Invitational odds via PointsBet
|Si Woo Kim||+10000|
The PGA TOUR’s West Coast swing makes its final stop to play a second consecutive designated event at historic Riviera Country Club. The 2023 Genesis Invitational is one of the best tournaments of the year at one of the most iconic golf courses in the world.
Riviera Country Club is a par-71 that measures 7,322 yards. The fairways and rough consist of Kikuyu grass, and the greens are Poa Annua.
The Genesis Invitational field will consist of 130 players and is absolutely stacked at the top and very deep. 23 of the top-25 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are teeing it up at Riviera this week, and it’s likely to be the strongest field in the history of the event with a whopping prize pool of $20 million up for grabs.
Tiger Woods will also make his 2023 debut at Riviera this week. The 15-time major champion hasn’t played in a professional tournament since the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut.
We’ve backtested past tournaments at Riviera Country Club to see which metrics matter most this week.
Past Winners at The Genesis Invitational
- 2022: Joaquin Niemann (-19)
- 2021: Max Homa (-12)
- 2020: Adam Scott (-11)
- 2019: J.B. Holmes (-14)
- 2018: Bubba Watson (-12)
- 2017: Dustin Johnson (-17)
- 2016: Bubba Watson (-15)
- 2015: James Hahn (-6)
Let’s take a look at several metrics for Riviera Country Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:
Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
This week, I find ball striking to be especially important. Riviera requires golfers to play well in all facets of their game.
Ball striking includes both off the tee and approach, as one or the other will not be enough this week. Golfers will need to excel with both the driver and irons this week if they want to contend.
Last year’s winner, Joaquin Niemann, gained 9.1 strokes ball striking.
Total Strokes Gained: Ball Striking in Past 24 Rounds
- Scottie Scheffler (+39.1) (+1100)
- Rory McIlroy (+37.8) (+1000)
- Collin Morikawa (+34.8) (+2000)
- Tony Finau (+33.8) (+1800)
- Jason Day (+32.8) (+4000)
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
While off the tee is included in the ball striking stat, I am double-dipping here by incorporating SG: Off the Tee. Driving distance is very important, as the course is long, and there are many fairway bunkers that require length to carry.
Driving accuracy is also important because the Kikuya rough can be quite penal.
SG: OTT Round in Past 24 Rounds
- Keith Mitchell (+19.6) (+11000)
- Jon Rahm (+19.1) (+750)
- Scottie Scheffler (+18.3) (+1100)
- Rory McIlroy (+17.7) (+1000)
- Hayden Buckley (+17.2) (+25000)
Strokes Gained: Putting (Poa and Fast)
Riviera’s fast and firm greens are notoriously difficult. Putts from 10 feet and in are far from a guarantee, and this is an area where we will see many golfers struggle this week.
SG: Putting (Poa and Fast) Past 24 Rounds
- Kevin Kisner (+24.2) (+30000)
- Denny McCarthy (+23.1) (+15000)
- Adam Scott (+18.7) (+5500)
- J.T. Poston (+18.5) (+18000)
- J.B. Holmes (+17.7) (+60000)
Poa can get really bumpy late in the day, making tough par saves late in the tournament even more difficult. Average three-putts per round are much higher at Riviera than the TOUR average.
3-Putt Avoidance: Gained in Past 24 Rounds
- Taylor Moore (+7.6) (+15000)
- Callum Tarren (+7.2) (+35000)
- Sam Ryder (+7.1) (+15000)
- Keegan Bradley (+6.9) (+7500)
- Mackenzie Hughes (+6.8) (+25000)
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
This event will be far from a birdie-fest. As mentioned, Riviera is a true all-around test.
With fairways relatively difficult to hit, playing out of the rough will create a lot of missed greens. Golfers will need to make some tricky up and downs to get away with par at Riviera.
SG: ARG: past 24 rounds
- Justin Thomas (+17.4) (+1400)
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+13.7) (+20000)
- Wyndham Clark (+12.9) (+8000)
- Scott Piercy (+12.4) (+60000)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+12.2) (+4000)
Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.
These rankings are comprised of SG: BS (28%), SG: OTT (24%), SG: Putting Poa and Fast (17%), SG: ARG (17%) and 3-Putt Avoidance (14%).
- Xander Schauffele (+1600)
- Rory McIlroy (+1000)
- Scottie Scheffler (+1100)
- Jon Rahm (+750)
- Jason Day (+4000)
- Sungjae Im (+2500)
- Tony Finau (+1800)
- Max Homa (+2000)
- Hayden Buckley (+20000)
- Will Zalatoris (+3500)
2023 Genesis Invitational Picks
Justin Thomas +1600 (DraftKings)
Justin Thomas was my headline bet last week, and despite not winning, he didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was an extremely encouraging outing for last year’s PGA Championship winner. Thomas finished in solo fourth place and shot an impressive final-round 65.
JT gained 12.1 strokes from tee to green, which was second only to the winner, Scottie Scheffler. He was excellent in all phases of his tee to green game, gaining 4.7 strokes off the tee, 4.1 on approach and 3.3 around the green. Thomas putting it all together at TPC Scottsdale is a great sign for his chances at Riviera. The course will demand a well-rounded game from golfers this week, and Thomas is starting to round into peak form.
In addition to his great week in Arizona last week, Thomas has also had a great deal of success at Riviera, and history has shown that players who have a strong track record at the course are more likely to have a repeat performance.
In his past five starts at the Genesis Invitational, Thomas has three top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish in 2019. In that event, JT lost to J.B. Holmes on a windy Sunday when he played 36 holes. The 29-year-old ranks seventh in the field in Strokes Gained: Total in his past 24 rounds at Riviera.
Thomas is trending in the right direction, and all signs point to him finally getting his long-coveted victory in the event that Tiger Woods hosts.
Pick: Justin Thomas
Viktor Hovland +3000 (Caesars)
Throughout the early stages of his PGA TOUR career, Viktor Hovland has shown flashes of brilliance. He’s won three weaker-field events and has 12 additional top-five finishes on tour. The one thing he’s missing at this stage of his career is a signature win.
I firmly believe in Hovland’s talent and think Riviera is one of the big TOUR stops that suit the 25-year-old best. Hitting the ball long and straight will be a major advantage, and Hovland gained 4.2 strokes off the tee last week at the WMPO. He’s has played the course twice and has finishes of fifth in 2021 and fourth in 2022.
In those starts, he gained an average of 5.1 strokes on approach and 6.9 strokes from tee to green. The around the game for Viktor is a concern, as it always is, but in his two starts at Riviera, he’s only lost 0.6 and 1.3 strokes around the green. The Norwegian putts much better on Poa Annua greens than other surfaces and has gained strokes putting at both of his trips to Riviera.
The game is loaded with young stars, but I believe Hovland is the one who’s yet to realize his potential in comparison to the others. That changes with a win in an elevated event at a historic course.
Patrick Cantlay +2600 (FanDuel)
Patrick Cantlay has had a pretty disappointing start to his 2023 season, but this is simply a “bet the number” scenario for me. Cantlay is a top player, and the number is looking like it’s going to continue to drift toward 30-1 by the time the tournament kicks off, which is an auto bet for me.
Cantlay has played some great golf at Riviera, with a fourth-place finish in 2018 and nothing worse than a 33rd in his four starts since, including three top-17 finishes. The 30-year-old is from California and has played a lot of great golf in his home state.
Cantlay has a strong short game, which can be a necessary skill at Riviera. He’s one of the best putters on TOUR and is a player who is reasonably trustworthy with a mid-range par putt in front of him, which will undoubtedly be an important factor this week.
I’d prefer Cantlay be in better form prior to playing at this event at what is typically a ball striker’s paradise. However, he’s capable of turning it on quickly, and the odds are too tempting to ignore.
Pick: Patrick Cantlay
Keegan Bradley +7500
Keegan Bradley is one of the few players down the odds board whom I can actually see getting deep into contention this week. He has the pedigree and experience beating some of the world’s best in a major and playoff event to make me feel reasonably confident that he can go toe-to-toe with an elite golfer down the stretch.
Bradley has been playing some excellent golf this season. In his past two starts, he’s finished second at Torrey Pines and 20th last week at TPC Scottsdale. In both starts, he’s gained strokes in every major statistical category, so should be up for the total all-around test that is Riviera.
Bradley has turned what was previously a major weakness into a relative strength. The veteran is gaining about a stroke on the field per event in his past 20 starts with the putter. He’s always been an elite ball-striker, so if his hot putting stretch continues he can get in the mix in this week’s elevated event.
Pick: Keegan Bradley
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