Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. However, finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they select a champion.
Below, we will cover the best bets for The Genesis Invitational based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds.
A second straight elevated event brings another incredible field, including a certain 15-time major champion who hasn't played a regular-season event since October 2020. All the big dogs are here, and another terrific course awaits.
Any weakness will be exposed at Riviera Country Club, and the highlights are approach and driving (big surprise). But, what we've seen so far this year is that the stronger the field, the narrower the options. So we'll give in on a single-digit number to start our card. Despite Nick Taylor's best efforts last week, these elevated events are going to be dominated by the top golfers, and our cards need to reflect reality more than hope.
At The Top
Jon Rahm (+700) - Everyone knows the story by now. You want old-school stats? Rahm is first in scoring average, second in birdie average, and second in greens in regulation percentage. More modern metrics? He's first in total strokes gained, second in strokes gained: off the tee, and fourth in strokes gained: tee to green. The proof is in the purse too -- Rahm has won twice already this season and hasn't been worse than T7 yet. He finished last season with T5, T8, and T15 in the three FedEx Cup Playoff events. In four trips to Riviera, he's finished 21st, 5th, 17th, and 9th. Rahm plays his best golf on the west coast every year, and in his poa finale, he's as close to a lock to contend as anyone.
Xander Schauffele (+1400) - Speaking of success on the west coast, the California native (drink!) has placed 13th, 15th, 23rd, 15th, and 9th at the Genesis during the last five years. Since withdrawing with a back injury at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, he's been in the mix during each of his last three events. If not quite making waves, he's been steady all week without truly pressing the leaders in Phoenix to finish T10, likewise at Torrey Pines to finish T13, and storming from way back with a Sunday 62 to finish T3 at the American Express.
He's playing good golf all over the course so far, ranking 25th on Tour in strokes gained: off the tee, 4th in approach, 39th around the green, and 36th putting. That type of consistency is his calling card, and last year he finally showed he has the winning gene -- even at a short number.
Jordan Spieth (+2900) - Spieth broke his winless streak in San Antonio almost two years ago and won again at Harbour Town last year, but it's been a while since his last proper win against elite competition. A tie for sixth in Phoenix with the full assortment of magical shots piques our interest at Riviera. He makes the stop here every year, and over the last five years, he has made the cut each time, finishing T9, T51, T59, T15, and T26. That's solid if not spectacular but includes a stretch where Jordan wasn't finding top 20s every week.
The stats are poor so far mostly because he hasn't played all that much, but Spieth was inside the top 40 in strokes gained: off the tee, approach, and around the green last year. Where he struggled was putting (155th), and he's outside the top 100 again to start this season. Just by luck and natural variance, he'll regress closer to his mean as he plays more events. With skill as a true short-game artist, he's likely to do so with a week where he makes everything. You can feel that week coming.
Tom Kim (+3700) - Kim has won twice already on the PGA Tour at just 20 years old; he's a true phenom even in an age of young studs coming up the ranking. His iron play is exceptional, and though he didn't record enough rounds to rank last year, the eye test showed that approach play was his strength. That's borne out in the numbers this year, ranking 5th in greens in regulation percentage and 11th in strokes gained: approach. Some reasonable questions about his ability to mash it with the biggest hitters still linger, but in this range, we are seizing the value first and foremost.
Justin Rose (+6500) - Can Rose really win back-to-back starts at this stage of his career? No doubt that's unlikely, but it's priced into the 65-to-1 number. He has had plenty of success in California over his long career, and this season, he's been remarkably consistent. After missing the cut at Mayakoba to start his campaign, he finished T9 at the Houston Open, T29 in RSM Classic, T26 at the American Express, and T18 at the Farmers before winning that wonky Pebble Beach event.
The field strength could not be further apart, but Rose is in good form across the board. The former World No. 1 and major champion won't be intimidated by a stacked field, and a splash on a big stage could cement a remarkable comeback story.