Genesis Invitational Final Round Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions: Don’t Forget About Dustin Johnson
David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Johnson.
LOS ANGELES — Getcha popcorn ready…
The final round of the Genesis Invitational is going to be must-see TV, with the final threesome of Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar all tied for the lead and a large mix of solid-to-elite players giving chase.
Let’s run through the chances of every contender, including my pick to win – a slightly off-the-radar selection.
Odds as of Sunday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Rory McIlroy -10 (+165)
If you’re ultra-confident in the world’s No. 1-ranked player, getting him at plus-money as a co-leader seems like a gift. But it won’t be that easy, of course. Despite four wins since the beginning of last year, he also has a pair of second-place finishes, a pair of thirds and four fourths, indicating that his conversion rate while in contention is hardly infallible. I certainly won’t talk you out of him if you really like his chances, but fading the favorite is often a winning play in these scenarios.
Adam Scott -10 (+380)
Nobody is hitting the ball better than Scott this week, as he’s picked up 3.46 strokes on the field from tee to green. An opening-round 72 – the highest single-round score of anybody inside the top-five right now – is the only thing keeping him from being the sole leader. While he can ride this hot iron play to the title, I’m skeptical about his putting in high-pressure situations and even more leery about this being his first start in two months.
Matt Kuchar -10 (+550)
While this technically wouldn’t count as a “wire-to-wire” victory for Kuchar, since he only owns the co-lead right now, he’s been at the top of the leaderboard after every round – a scenario from which he’s never won before. “If you’re starting out well,” he said, “you feel good about your game and you’re playing well and you’re confident and excited, there’s more of a drain, I think, come week’s end.” He wasn’t exactly hinting that he’s feeling that drain right now, but he wasn’t exactly denying it, either. Sleeping on the lead for three nights is a difficult proposition for any player.
Russell Henley -9 (+1400)
When he plays poorly, Henley tends to miss cuts, as he’d done in each of his previous five starts entering this week. When he plays well, though, Henley can close, having won three PGA Tour titles in his career. I’m still not sure I’d classify him as a closer, though, and he’s never had to do it against this type of competition. We saw Andrew Landry bounce back after five straight MCs to win The AmEx last month, but that’s more of an outlier than the norm. It would be surprising to see yet another player pull that off.
Harold Varner III -9 (+1600)
He’s been in this situation before. Just last year, at the PGA Championship, HV3 was tied for second place entering the final round, only to post an 81 and finish T-36. I’m more inclined to believe, though, that he’s learned from that experience as opposed to skittish about the next one. Nobody on Tour plays with a more positive attitude. The role of underdog might suit him in this situation, but I’m still a bit worried that he still doesn’t have enough firepower to overtake the leaders.
Dustin Johnson -8 (+700)
Did somebody say firepower? Johnson leads the field this week with three eagles and he’s chipped in a dozen birdies, as well. Sure, he needs to eliminate the mistakes, as he posted two bogeys and a double in his final 11 holes Saturday, but if this is going to turn into a game of “How low can you go?” then the 2017 champion (and two-time runner-up) just might have an edge in being two strokes off the lead and entering the round with the mindset of having to make birdies instead of trying to tread water. At this price, he’s my favorite play on the board.
Joel Dahmen -8 (+3400)
I’ve been waiting for this West Coast guy to start making some noise on the West Coast and he’s doing it in a big way so far this week. We’re starting to get into the territory of “How are his odds so high?” and can’t say I have a great answer. He’s never won a PGA Tour event before, but if you like Dahmen’s chances of sticking around and hanging in there with the big boys, getting him at 34-1 feels like it’s worth taking a shot.
Max Homa -7 (+4200)
Talor Gooch -7 (+7000)
I’ve bunched these two guys together, because they’re basically in the same boat: Post a repeat score of Saturday’s round and they could be claiming a trophy afterward. Homa shot a third-round 65 – his fourth R3 score of 66 or better in his last seven attempts – and Gooch was one better, as his putting finally caught up to his impressive ball-striking. We all understand how tough it is to chase a low score with another one, but much like with Dahmen, these prices might be too good to pass up for a chance at a winner.
Sung Kang -7 (+5000)
He’s gotta be kicking himself right now for three consecutive bogeys (14-15-16) down the stretch during the third round. Kang has talked this week about implementing a new putting stroke and we have to wonder if it was more of a band-aid than a surgery. Last year’s winner of the Byron Nelson held off Brooks Koepka during that one, so we know he’s got the chops to pull off the giant-killer routine, but this is an admittedly tougher ask.
The Field -6 and below
If you really think Jon Rahm (+3300), Hideki Matsuyama (+4800), Bryson DeChambeau (+6500) or even Wyndham Clark (+13000) – each of whom is four shots back – can make a run at this thing, once again, the prices are right to take a chance. For these guys, though, it’s not so much the stroke differential that hurts, but the number of players between them and the leaders. Each of these guys would have to leapfrog 10 others in order to win this tourney, which is a tough proposition.
Best Round 4 Matchups
Dustin Johnson (-110) over Max Homa and Talor Gooch
1:24 p.m. ET
Look, if I’m going to say that DJ is my favorite outright on the board, then I’ve gotta take him in this three-ball, too. As mentioned above, Homa and Gooch are each coming off uncommonly low rounds, while DJ might have some room for improvement. You’ll have to pay up, but this could be a smart play.
Matt Fitzpatrick (-101) over K.H. Lee and Brian Stuard
12:32 p.m. ET
Another big favorite here, but for good reason. Lee and Stuard have both putted terrifically this week, but flatsticks are fleeting while the form remains in ball-striking – and Fitz has easily outperformed the other two in that category.
Vaughn Taylor (+153) over Denny McCarthy and Si Woo Kim
11:50 p.m. ET
Same story here, to an extent. McCarthy and Woo have each been putting exceptionally, while Taylor is just behind them; ball-striking for all three has been below average, though not as poor from Taylor as the other two.
J.T. Poston (+252) over Sergio Garcia and Patrick Cantlay
11:50 a.m. ET
The underdog in this three-ball, Poston actually struck the ball better than either of his world-class ball-striking playing partners during Saturday’s round. If he can repeat it, this could be a nice plus-money win.