UG Tips: The Genesis at Riviera
What a week to be offering up some betting tips on the PGA Tour. Most of the big dogs are teeing it up this week in LA, and consequently there are some interesting odds. This is a fantastic event that often produces a top-notch champion, with 32 of it’s 55 winners also claiming majors. Recent years have seen the likes of DJ, Bubba and Phil Mickelson winning – but also relative unknowns in John Merrick and James Hahn.
The rough isn’t going to be too penal, which will be welcomed by Tiger, whose last outing saw him driving it like a complete chopper. The greens are fairly small (similar in size to Pebble) and said to be playing pretty firm this week. So, accuracy into the greens and some fine scrambling is going to be required.
Dustin Johnson is rightly priced as an overwhelming favourite. As defending champion, world number 1 and having 6 top 4 finishes from 8 visits, it could be said that he likes the place. However, at 9/2 doesn’t really fit in our plan. In fact several of the big boys have reason to steer clear. Spieth is struggling with his putting, Thomas has no particular affinity with the course, and Rory doesn’t seem to fare too well on the Poa greens. That said, it means that there are a few tasty odds further down the pecking order.
Paul Casey 28/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £370
He’s done well for us in the recent past, and has a Tied 2nd here in 2015 to enhance his confidence. Traditionally he is a slow starter to the season, but this year he is continuing his fine form of last year and is really striking the ball well. This is the type of course that you really associate with Casey doing well, and at this price promises to go well.
Chez Reavie 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £520
The man with the absurd name has played some amazing golf these past couple of weeks and was unlucky not to come away with a win. His overall record at Riviera is not great, but recent form (his past record at Pebble was shocking too) is enough to suggest that he will back it up once again. A 7th place here in 2016 proves he can play the course and with his recent form, could be amongst them once more.
Thomas Pieters 50/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £645
The talented young Belgian came second here on debut last year – albeit coming through the field with a final round 63. He has form here too, having won the NCAA individual title at Riviera in 2012. These seem generous odds given his prodigious talent, which may be due to his uncertain mental fortitude. I’m very happy to back him this week with some decent form behind him. With his game he could well be the sort of player that blows a field away – could be just the course for him to start this week.
Bubba Watson 50/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £645
Having returned to playing a normal golf ball again, Bubba has seen an upturn in fortunes this season. Having won here twice before (2014, 2016) he must always be considered. His perceived inaccuracy off the tee won’t be an issue this week. He ranks high on Poa Putting Performance and has recently shown an improvement of fortunes on the greens. With a tradition of Masters champions faring well at Riviera I am confident that he will contend once again this week.
Sangmoon Bae 125/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £791.25
He’s played here three times before with a record that reads T8-T12-T8, which begs the question as to why his odds are so high. Admittedly, he’s had to put golf on hold for a couple of years while he did his military service, but a T15 at Pebble last week shows that he is re-acclimatising after a tough return to PGA Tour action.
KJ Choi 200/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £1260
KJ has brought us much joy in the past, and especially at Riviera. Having made a little shy of $1million here in his past 8 visits, you could say that he is quite the fan. Having seen him on the fringes of contention at Pebble compels me to back him once again to go well on a course that he knows how to play. He’s not the longest, but has proven time and again that he can negotiate the challenges of Riviera.