During the 2023 golf season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will share his betting targets each week. Here are his thoughts on this week’s Genesis Invitational.
Note: Nate will tweet out his official bets when they are placed before the event. He also discusses his bets in all sports on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
About the Tournament
The PGA TOUR wraps up the West Coast Swing with the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles. This is another elevated event with a $20 million purse, just like the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week. The event draws another premier field to Riviera Country Club in a tournament hosted by Tiger Woods.
Speaking of Woods, he will be making his first official start since last July’s Open Championship. It’s a great story for Woods to play in this event nearly two years after he was injured in a serious car accident. He’s priced at 125/1 this week and doesn’t have a win at Riviera in his career, so it’s an easy decision to pass on betting him in this loaded field.
Top of the Board
Last week Jon Rahm (+750) and Rory McIlroy (9/1) headlined the odds at TPC Scottsdale. Now Scottie Scheffler (10/1) joins that duo after he picked up his second straight Waste Management Phoenix Open win. Out of that trio, I’ll have the most interest in McIlroy, but his outright number is too short to bet before the tournament.
Four players from this range stood out to me — and I have bet on three of them. The one who will not be part of my pre-tournament betting card is Tony Finau (16/1). Finau lost in a playoff at this event two years ago, and I had a bet on him at 50/1 here last year when he finished tied for 33rd. The price is what’s going to keep me off Finau for now, but I’ll look to bet him in-tournament if he struggles early and his number increases.
Collin Morikawa (22/1) and Patrick Cantlay (25/1) both missed the cut in Phoenix last week, but I’m expecting the Southern California natives to have strong bounce-back showings. Morikawa missing the cut in Phoenix could be a good thing for him as he can rest up for an event in his hometown. In 2020, Morikawa missed his first career cut at the Travelers Championship and then won his next start at the Workday Charity Open, so he has a history of bouncing back.
Morikawa has three starts at the Genesis Invitational and was tied for second last year. In 2021, he finished tied for 43rd but was second in the field in strokes gained approach. Morikawa putted well last year at Genesis and hopefully that continues as he’s more familiar with the greens at Riviera. The situation, course history and odds outside of 20/1 all lead me to a bet on Morikawa.
Cantlay entered this event last year off a playoff loss to Scheffler at Waste Management and was priced at 11/1. Seeing Cantlay at over double the price this year with a bounce-back opportunity is why I bet on him early Monday morning. The former UCLA player has played well at Riviera with his best performance being a tied-for-fourth-place finish in 2018.
Viktor Hovland (28/1) is another player I bet on Monday morning. He’s had two strong showings at this event (tied for fifth in 2021 and tied for fourth in 2022). It’s impressive that such a young player did that well at this course in his first two starts, but Hovland has a special skillset that is held back by his around-the-green game. Hovland displayed great ball-striking prowess last week in Phoenix, but losing over three strokes around the greens led to a 42nd-place finish. He will continue to contend at this course if his positive ball striking continues.
I usually write up a couple of mid-range targets, but I’m skipping that this week. I expect one of the elite players to win, which is why I have most of my money this week placed on Morikawa, Cantlay and Hovland. I also want to save some money before the tournament for a potential live add.
I might end up adding a longshot and also bet on them to finish in the top five. Nick Hardy (250/1) is a player I’ve targeted a few times this year because of his strong off the tee and approach statistics. While Hardy has struggled with his putter, he’s a young player with deep odds that has the upside to pop here.
James Hahn (250/1) won this event in 2015, but he has had a lot of volatile results which can lead to him contending on the weekend or missing the cut. Hahn made his first cut of 2023 last week in Phoenix and is worth a look at this number.