Gdula's Golf Simulations: The Genesis Invitational

The Genesis field is loaded, so where can we find betting value at Riviera?

Volatility is the name of the game in golf, and picking winners isn't easy. With fields of 150-plus golfers sometimes being separated by how a putt or two falls each week, predicting golf can be absurdly tough.

We'll never be able to capture everything that goes into a golfer's expectations for a week, but we can try to account for that by simulating out the weekend and seeing what happens.

The Process

I'll keep it simple: I track weekly results from the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour.

Using a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers, I adjust each golfer's score relative to the field. The ultimate goal is to place a score from the Waste Management Open, the BMW International Open, and the Knoxville Open on level playing fields. This adjusted strokes metric lets me see how golfers are performing across all tours.

Their adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing the event out thousands of times.

Here are the results for The Genesis Invitational.

Win Odds

Golfer Wins FanDuel
Golfer Wins FanDuel
Rory McIlroy 11.4% +750 Justin Thomas 8.2% +1000
Jon Rahm 8.1% +1000 Patrick Cantlay 5.0% +2000
Adam Scott 5.0% +2900 Xander Schauffele 4.9% +2200
Dustin Johnson 4.7% +1400 Justin Rose 3.7% +3700
Hideki Matsuyama 3.2% +2900 Tiger Woods 2.7% +1600
Brooks Koepka 2.5% +2000 Patrick Reed 1.9% +4200
Tony Finau 1.7% +2700 Paul Casey 1.6% +4500
Collin Morikawa 1.5% +3300 Jordan Spieth 1.5% +3400
Jason Day 1.3% +3400 Sungjae Im 1.2% +5000
Jason Kokrak 1.2% +10000 Matt Kuchar 1.2% +5500
Matthew Fitzpatrick 1.1% +7000 Max Homa 1.1% +9000
Bubba Watson 1.1% +2000 Marc Leishman 1.0% +3300
Bryson DeChambeau 1.0% +4200 Phil Mickelson 1.0% +4800
Ryan Moore 1.0% +9000 Abraham Ancer 1.0% +6000
Brendon Todd 0.8% +10000 Andrew Putnam 0.8% +15000
Cameron Smith 0.7% +8000 Sergio Garcia 0.7% +5000
Charles Howell III 0.7% +9000 Matthew Wolff 0.6% +10000
Joaquin Niemann 0.6% +9000 Scottie Scheffler 0.6% +9000

This is not only loaded but also top-heavy (which is usually the same thing but not always). Sometimes, that means there isn't a lot of value to be found, and that is somewhat the case this week.

Rory McIlroy (+750 on FanDuel Sportsbook) is valued pretty fairly, but Justin Thomas (+1000) and Jon Rahm (+1000) are a little more overpriced. It's not egregious to start your cards with one of the three if you want, but I'm more drawn to the next tier, where there's more tangible value.

Patrick Cantlay (+2000), Adam Scott (+2900), Xander Schauffele (+2200), Justin Rose (+3700), and Hideki Matsuyama (+2900) all have some positive return attached to their names based on the modeling. This is where I'm starting with my betting card for the week with action on Hideki and Scott already. I think this is the best overall range -- cutting off the favorites and looking at the second and third tier -- for our action.

After that tier, things really drop off in terms of win equity, and then the field bottoms out into the abyss. We've seen some long shot winners over the past few years (J.B. Holmes last year, James Hahn in 2015, and John Merrick in 2013), so we don't have to shrug and wait until next week. That being said, there isn't much to differentiate the long shots in terms of the model projections. We can look for golfers who are a good course fit and who pique your interest. The projections are mostly indifferent about them.

Some possible punt options are Joaquin Niemann (+9000), Scottie Scheffler (+10000), Corey Conners (+10000), Sebastian Munoz (+17500), and Cameron Tringale (+20000).