The opening golf tournaments in 2018 on both sides of the Atlantic have been tough to call with Ted Potter Jr the latest in a line of unlikely winners.
Potter took out the AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach on Sunday and it wasn’t a bad week for us. Our tip for the win, Phil Mickelson, gave us a run for our money as he came in second while our Top Ten tip on Paul Casey did convert as the Englishman tied for eighth. Let’s see if we can build on that as we stay with the PGA Tour and the 2018 Genesis Open.
Dustin Johnson was a first time winner here twelve months ago and the World Number One is back to defend his title in a strong field this week. DJ leads the outright market by some margin after a tie for second with Mickelson at Pebble Beach and he also heads the Power Rankings right now.
With six top four finishes in his last ten events, Johnson is an obvious 5/1 favorite and there is a considerable points gap to the chasers who start at around 12/1.
Most USA betting sites have Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy locked at the same 12/1 odds while Justin Thomas is four points behind so already we can see we have a strong field in attendance. Rory started the season well on the European Tour and came close to taking out the Dubai Desert Classic but a Missed Cut last week suggests he might be avoided.
Neither Spieth nor Thomas make an outstanding case with both men registering a string of Top 25s without threatening the very top of the leaderboard. Thomas is outside of the Top Tens in terms of Power Rankings this week but Spieth features well and it could be time to end a six month drought without a trophy.
Four of the World’s Top Ten players are in action this week but inevitably, all of the pre-tournament talk has surrounded the return of Tiger Woods, who takes part in this competition for the first time in more than ten years.
Tiger has never won here and is long odds at 40/1. We’ll continue to monitor his comeback but won’t be staking any money on his name just yet.
A better option in this section would clearly be 22/1 shot Phil Mickelson who was second last week. One of the reasons that we favored Lefty was his record at Pebble Beach where he had won on no fewer than four separate occasions. Phil has won the Genesis Open twice and has also been a runner up twice so when you add in current form, he has to be worth a punt in the Top Ten markets at the very least.
The same can be said for Paul Casey who is available at 30/1 and continued a string of consistent returns for us with that tie for eighth last week. The Englishman hasn’t won anywhere since 2014 but gives us regular profits in Top Ten markets and has some good, relevant stats for this week.
Other players to look out for with distant prices include our most recent winner Ted Potter Jr who is way down the betting lines, JB Holmes who is marginally shorter, and Chez Reavie who has enjoyed a consistent opening to the New Year and could run the leaders close once again.
Our Preview’s Genesis Open 2018 Predictions, Course & Betting Trends
First held way back in 1926 as the Los Angeles Open, this event has changed venue on occasions but has essentially become established at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. At just over 7,300 yards, it is relatively long for a par 71 and distance hitting can be a factor at times, particularly at the driveable 315 yard 10th.
Driving Accuracy hasn’t been too much of a factor in recent years and it is interesting to note that the booming but often wayward Bubba Watson won here twice between 2014 and 2016. Americans have won in ten of the last 11 renewals and it is tempting to get firmly behind Dustin Johnson based on the factors that we’ve seen so far.
However, we are waiting for Jordan Spieth to hit top form – we know it’s only a matter of time and he has good stats if not a particularly great record at the Genesis Open. These our this preview’s advised picks and betting predictions: