Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – The Genesis Invitational
Chris will be bringing you weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. Want more? He also provides a cheatsheet with stats, course history, current form, player write-ups for cash and GPP, a customizable model, and much more.
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This week the PGA Tour heads to the Riviera Country Club for the 2021 Genesis Invitational. A loaded field of 121 players led by World #1 Dustin Johnson will take on one of the toughest tests on the regular PGA rotation.
Before getting into the picks, let's take a look at the course, the previous winners, and some of the key stats in my model this week.
Riviera Country Club
Par 71 - 7,332 Yards
Greens - Poa
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Previous Five Winners
- 2020 - Adam Scott(-11)
- 2019 - J.B. Holmes(-14)
- 2018 - Bubba Watson(-12)
- 2017 - Dustin Johnson(-17)
- 2016 - Bubba Watson(-15)
Top Stats in the Model
When breaking down the top stats I use a combination of my own cheatsheet and the tools over at FantasyNational.com.
Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
The fairways are narrow and the rough is not as penal (average 2" high) and with the course playing longer than listed(six Par 4's over 450 yards) I will be looking at Driving Distance more than anything when breaking down off the tee stats. I won't rule out a player who is shorter off the tee but they will need to check a lot more boxes to make my player pool this week.
From a correlation standpoint, SG: Approach was nearly double as important in each of the last two years when the course played inside the Top 10 hardest courses. With Fantasy National, I also look at Opportunities Gained as they correlate very highly.
With an average fairway's hit around 50-55% annually here combined with rough that isn't as penal, I will also be weighing Rough Proximity as there should be a ton of approaches coming from off the fairway.
Par 4 Scoring
In terms of correlation against finishing position, Par 4 scoring was insanely high and more than double that of Par 5 scoring. It makes sense with six of the 11 Par 4's coming in over 450 yards and four of them 470 or longer. On top of that, with a Par 71 setup, there is one less Par 5, as well. If using the Fantasy National tools, make sure to zone in on Par 4 scoring from 450 to 500 yards in your models.
Other stats to consider in your models: Birdie or Better %, SG: Around the Green, Par 5 Birdie or better%
Top Tier Targets
I don't think you can go wrong with either DJ or JT this week so it's the price that splits the hair for me here. Thomas has yet to win this season(panic alarms as it's already Feb) but has finished T13 or better in all seven events including three Top 5 finishes. While he ranks(in this field) just 23rd in SG: Ball Striking since the start of the season he is 8th in Proximity, 1st in Par 4 scoring, 2nd in Par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards, 1st in Opportunities and Birdies Gained and 2nd in DK scoring. The next win is coming and I am betting(literally) on it being this week.
The top tier is absolutely loaded this week and Morikawa sits right in the middle of it and for good reason as the 24-year-old already has three career wins. His 2020-2021 season didn't get off to a hot start as he, for the first time in his young career, missed back-to-back cuts but found form when the calendar flipped to 2021 as he put up a T7 finish at both the Tournament of Champions and Sony Open while gaining a whopping 11.1 strokes on approach. He finished T26 here last year in his first trip to Riviera while losing 2.5 strokes around the green and putting combined. I see that as his floor this time around with upside of a 4th career victory. I will have plenty of exposure in DFS, betting, and he will be my one and done pick this week.
Mid Tier Targets
If you are targeting ball striking as much as I am, Niemann is a no-brainer in the player pool. Since the start of the season, he ranks(in this field) 3rd in SG: Ball Striking and when you break it down further it gets even better as he is 7th in SG: Off the Tee, 4th in driving distance gained, and 17th on approach which has resulted in 5th in par 4 scoring and birdie or better %. He some results to forget(T44, MC) here at Riviera but had nowhere near the form as he does now which puts him right near the top of my model and PTS/$ rankings this week.
For my cash game player pool, I am looking for a bit of course history, form, ball striking, and par 4 scoring and wouldn't you know it, Tringale checks every single box. He has made all four cuts in 2021 and eight of 10 on the season and now returns to Riviera where he has made the cut in eight of his last nine trips including six Top 30 finishes. Statistically, he has gained strokes on approach in six straight events and ranks Top 10 in birdie or better. Another Top 25 finish would be his top projection for me this week but ultimately at his price I am looking for somewhere between that and Top 40 for him to pay off in cash games at his price.
World Golf Ranking (#261)
Vegas Odds (201/1)
Ghim is no stranger to my articles and with so many big names at the top this week, I am back on him this week. It is surprising the price has dipped back down in the $7K range on DraftKings considering he has made eight of 10 cuts on the season including an impressive six Top 25 finishes and is 26th tee to green in this field so far this season. It is his first trip to Riviera but he is easily my favorite PTS/$ value in this bottom tier.
World Golf Ranking (#154)
Vegas Odds (141/1)
Here is what I said about NeSmith last week:
In terms of form, NeSmith is much like Norlander with some missed cuts(4) mixed in this season but he has also tallied two Top 10 finishes, one of which came last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The driving force behind his hot start to the season has been the iron game as he has gained four or more strokes on approach in four of his last six events. He now returns to Pebble Beach where had an impressive T11 last year in his first trip to the event. He checks every box and at these prices, he is in play for me in all formats.
While it was a heck of a ride after an opening-round 74 last week, he not only made the cut but finished with his 5th Top 25 of the season. I also talked about his iron game above and for the three straight week he gained over four strokes on approach and it was also promising to see him gain over a stroke around the grain in each of those events. He is another first-timer here at Riviera but with that form and a price that dropped $1,100 on DraftKings since last week, I will have exposure in all formats.