Find out why we’re backing a hole-in-one at Riviera this week, where two-time champion Adam Scott should confirm his love for the layout.
Golf betting tips: Genesis Invitational specials
2pts at least one hole-in-one to be made at 7/4 (Sky Bet, bet365)
2pts Adam Scott to be the top rest of the world player at 11/2 (General)
1pt Cam Davis to be the top rest of the world player at 11/1 (General)
1pt Luke List to finish in the top 20 at 3/1 (Sky Bet)
ADAM SCOTT is the yardstick at Riviera and a must for any shortlist including my own. Ultimately, I felt 33/1 from 80s a fortnight ago at Pebble Beach was a bit too much to swallow, but there’s no denying the two-time course winner is in the kind of form that saw him capture the second of those titles in 2020.
The best way to back him is to focus on side markets and worry less about whether that putter of his, so effective of late, can remain that way over crucial five-footers on Sunday. That is my nagging doubt with Scott and while he has it in him to capture more titles, perhaps even a major if he keeps on playing the way he has been, trusting him to prove it is difficult at 33s.
So, the best way to back him is as a pair with CAM DAVIS in the top rest of the world player market.
Fellow Australian Jason Day has a pretty poor record here, I’m far from convinced it’s the best course for straight-hitting Tom Kim, Sungjae Im is playing poorly by his standards, and Hideki Matsuyama couldn’t quite get involved even at his favourite PGA Tour stop last week.
With Byeong Hun An also disappointing at Scottsdale, where he’s contended more than once, there aren’t many with compelling profiles at the top of this market. Then we come to the Canadians, doubtless inspired by Nick Taylor’s win, but Corey Conners has a terrible Riviera record and isn’t a player to run scared of at the best of times.
Only Kevin Yu worries me a little at a big price but Scott, Davis and Si Woo Kim are the ones to focus on, and I’m splitting stakes on the Aussies.
Scott has won this market three times in 15 starts and every single one of them featured both more players and greater depth. Also twice second, he’s the right favourite and anything 5/1 and bigger looks good value.
The case for Davis is less straightforward but he’s going to go close soon and I think this place should suit him more than results suggest. Pairing the two makes for a rock-solid bet at around 3/1, though some may wish to back Scott alone knowing that if Davis does beat him and the rest of them, he’ll likely have bagged us the outright place money.
Kim to be the pick of four Korean players isn’t without merit but I don’t think the market is missing anything in making him a 5/2 shot and it’s fully a year since he showed the sort of conviction with putter in hand that might be required to contend this week. His long-game is in a great place though and it could be that another top 25 is enough, given how far below his best Im appears to be.
Speaking of dodgy putters, this is a fantastic course for LUKE LIST and 3/1 about a top 20 seems generous.
He’s managed that twice in eight Riviera appearances so far, but this field is close to half the size and we’re without five or six players you’d fancy to fill places in that top 20, including three recent champions.
List missed the cut at Scottsdale but actually putted well in an event which doesn’t really suit him. Neither does Pebble Beach, where he’d never before made the cut, and he was 26th through 54 holes there before play was abandoned.
Given that Riviera is made for his power fade and will play longer than it sometimes has, if List can avoid a nightmare week with the putter then he can aim a bit higher than 20th, without perhaps threatening to win.
Finally, 7/4 about a HOLE-IN-ONE looks a bet to me.
This was odds-on at Pebble Beach, where there was just a slightly bigger field and, yes, no cut. That means there were more shots fired into par-threes and, clearly, the short seventh hole does offer up opportunities.
But to go odds-against at Riviera looks a mistake. We’ve seen holes in one in this event in six of the last nine years and while again we have to factor in a smaller field, in return we get a set of par-threes which are for the most part quite nicely set up for an ace.
The fourth is brutal and only around 15% of players find the green so we’d be lucky to land one there, but the 14th and 16th are both in play, and the sixth most certainly is. In fact, it would be nice if we could nominate a hole and play this bet only on that one, because when the pin is back-left and front-right, shots feed down to it in a way that is reminiscent of the 16th at Augusta.
Bets like these seldom appeal as it’s a numbers game in essence, but even allowing for a smaller field, this looks 10/11 each of two to my eye. At 7/4 with bet365 and Sky Bet, we’ve a bit of value and a bit of fun, even if the hope is it doesn’t last four days.
Posted at 1200 GMT on 13/02/24
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