Free golf betting tips from Ben Coley for the Genesis Open

Last Updated February 15 2018, 14:35Golf
Patrick Rodgers
Patrick Rodgers

In-form golf expert Ben Coley is taking on the market leaders - and Tiger Woods - in the Genesis Open at Riviera.

Genesis Open recommended bets

1pt e.w. Patrick Rodgers at 150/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Luke List at 150/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. J.B. Holmes at 80/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Jason Kokrak at 80/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Martin Kaymer at 125/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

0.5pt e.w. Tyrone van Aswegen at 350/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Dustin Johnson looks to put a disappointing weekend at Pebble Beach behind him and defend his title in the Genesis Open, one he won in phenomenal fashion a year ago.

Having briefly led by four shots last Saturday afternoon, Johnson failed to make any further progress and was unable to stare down the unflappable Ted Potter, who produced a display of precision and poise to serve up a shock result akin to Vaughn Taylor's victory there in 2016.

Johnson is a point shorter here and that's understandable, given that he went from a decent effort at Pebble Beach to spread-eagling the field here at Riviera a year ago, having previously finished runner-up twice at a golf course made for his game.

While the players may not always say so, Riviera has increasingly played into the hands of the PGA Tour's elite big-hitters, largely because missing fairways isn't punished. Perhaps that explains leaderboard ties with Augusta, where rough is limited, but whatever the case there's plenty of encouragement to reach for driver and be aggressive at both.

With Bubba Watson a two-time champion, Jason Kokrak having gone closer here than anywhere else and Thomas Pieters chasing home Johnson last year, there can be little doubt that having a spare 20 or 30 yards in your locker is a big plus at this classical par 71 on the outskirts of LA.

Given that I put up Johnson last week, there's obvious temptation to go in again but I think the opposition is slightly stronger here, with Rory McIlroy better suited to the event, Jordan Spieth having taken some big steps forward and Justin Thomas back in action in place of Jon Rahm.

Spieth comes close to selection at 14/1 having found something with the putter and he loves this place, comparing it favourably to Augusta where he is of course a champion, and he seems to be over the poa annua phobia which looked like it might preclude him from playing his best golf on the west coast.

However, truth be told I think the market looks about right at the front end so I'll throw some each-way darts starting with Patrick Rodgers.

Educated in California at Stanford University, Rodgers has plenty of experience of Riviera and wasn't far behind Pieters in the NCAA match held here in 2012, which saw the Belgian land the individual event while Spieth and his Texas team-mates took the title.

That was part of the reason I sided with Rodgers here a year ago and for the most part he justified support, sitting fourth at halfway and fifth with a round to go before a disappointing Sunday saw him fall out of the places.

Still, that's confirmation that he does enjoy this golf course and it also helps solidify ties with TPC River Highlands, home of the Travelers Championship and a course where several Riviera specialists have performed really well.

Bubba Watson is the most obvious one, having won twice at River Highlands, twice at Riviera and twice at Augusta, but there are many less-heralded players like Brian Harman, Graham DeLaet, Aaron Baddeley and Freddie Jacobson who confirm that there's substance to the comparison.

Rodgers was third behind Russell Knox in the 2016 Travelers while he's also been fourth at the Farmers and, for those who like to see golfers performing at the same time of year, his Web.com Tour victory came almost exactly three years ago.

A big-hitter who finally saw his hard work in the off-season rewarded with a top-10 finish at Pebble Beach last week, Rodgers looks an interesting each-way player - particularly if he continues to putt well.

Truth be told, you can get away with putting badly here - James Hahn ranked 50th when victorious and Johnson, beaten in the play-off, was 55th - so the focus is very much on ball-striking, which leads me to Luke List.

This huge-hitting underachiever looked like he might finally prove himself capable of winning at PGA Tour level when contending on a number of occasions last year, always powered by his trademark length off the tee married up with quality iron play.

When the latter dips, he can't really compete so it's been encouraging to see an upturn recently, ranking seventh and eighth in strokes-gained: tee-to-green and inside the top-10 for greens hit in both the Farmers (12th) and Phoenix (26th).

Luke List: Out in front
Luke List should go well at a big price

List showed up well here on his debut two years ago, sitting second after round one and seventh at halfway only for a third-round 75 to see him fall all the way down to 50th. To his credit, he responded with a best-of-the-day 67 to climb to 20th and with last year's 72-72 seeing him just miss out on the weekend, there's plenty of encouragement when it comes to his course record.

There have been a couple of shock winners here over the last decade, namely Hahn and John Merrick, and both had the local ties which List also boasts given that he was born in Seattle before his family relocated to Orange County, California.

At the risk of overdoing the course ties, there may in fact be none better than Silverado, home of the Frys.com Open in Napa, and that is one of a number of reasons to hope for a big performance from Tyrone van Aswegen.

The South African produced his best PGA Tour performance when third at Silverado in 2015 and was ninth there again in October, while he's made the cut in both starts here including when alongside List in 20th two years ago, helped by his first hole-in-one at this level.

Van Aswegen has also shared fifth at TPC River Highlands, so he ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to having the game for Riviera while his latest performance also offers encouragement, as he finished 26th at Pebble Beach having played well and been inside the top 30 throughout the week.

At the risk of alienating all bar the really battle-hardened readers, the grass types at Riviera also play to his strengths as van Aswegen improves for poa annua, while the kikuyu used at Riviera is most commonly found in his native South Africa - hence why veteran Retief Goosen contended here two years ago, Branden Grace took to the place on his first visit, Charl Schwartzel likewise and Dylan Frittelli holed the winning putt in the aforementioned NCAAs.

Combine all of those factors and van Aswegen looks well worth chancing at 350/1.

Returning to the power angle, I think it may be worth forgiving JB Holmes a couple of missed cuts since he played in the final group at Torrey Pines.

Firstly, the disappointment of missing out on the play-off there will have stung and if we go back to his last win, it's interesting to note that Holmes had come up just short three weeks before, then went on to miss the cut at Bay Hill before a hard-fought victory in Houston.

Secondly, he was forced to go on the defensive - and rightly so - having taken over four minutes to play his second shot at the final hole of that event, and it's possible that the media spotlight which he felt was undeserved had a detrimental impact on his performance in Phoenix just days later.

We do have to forgive last week's effort at Pebble Beach, too, but he missed the cut by a single shot when he doubled the final hole at Monterey on Saturday to underline the fine margins between success and failure at this level.

What's more, Holmes started his week in abysmal fashion on the greens, missing seven putts from inside 10 feet in his opening nine holes including three inside five feet, before picking up the pace and giving himself a chance to advance to Sunday.

Obviously, it's concerning to see any player struggle so badly but the slightly faster surfaces of Riviera may well help and he's certainly better suited by the layout of the golf course, having been third, sixth, seventh, eighth, 11th and 12th here since his 2006 debut.

Holmes has only failed to make the weekend once at Riviera, but that came in 2013 - the year he suffered terribly with ankle and elbow injuries which limited him to just five PGA Tour starts, four of which resulted in missed cuts.

Second in strokes-gained: tee-to-green here in 2016, Holmes is fancied to go well if able to return to the form he showed at Torrey Pines.

Given his record both at Riviera and in California as a whole, there's every chance he can do that and the fact that he became a dad over Christmas is another little factor which may explain his effort at Torrey, and hopefully inspire a similar one here.

Another reason for Holmes' appreciation of this dog-legged layout is that he favours a cut, and I can't help but wonder whether his preferred shot shape will help Martin Kaymer get to grips with Riviera at the first time of asking.

Kaymer has a phenomenally good record in the United States, winning two majors and a PLAYERS while also reaching the Match Play final in nearby Arizona, which used to be his winter base before he relocated to Florida.

It's possible that we don't see the best of him until he returns to the east coast, but Kaymer's record in California is very solid with just three stroke play starts, all in the US Open, all cuts made and two top-15 finishes.

Martin Kaymer has been hitting the ball well for a while now

He's fine on poa annua and plays well on his rare forays to the kikuyu of South Africa, and with those three wins having come courtesy of around 75 starts on US soil looks worth chancing at 125/1.

His current form looks very similar to that which preceded his PLAYERS and US Open victories in 2014 and having led the field in greens hit on his way to a top-20 finish in Dubai, the German arrives with the long-game control which so often paves the way to success here.

Of those towards the top of the market, Ollie Schniederjans is by far the most tempting after a fine top-three finish in Phoenix, where something clicked with the putter as he charged through the field on Sunday.

A brilliant talent who is going to win at some stage in the near future, Schniederjans was eighth here courtesy of four sub-70 rounds a year ago and was very difficult to leave out at 45/1.

Marc Leishman has the correlating form at TPC River Highlands and Augusta, has also won in South Africa and grew up on poa annua greens, so the consistent Australian is shortlist material too while Matt Kuchar has drifted a long way in the betting from last week - an event he tends not to play well.

But I would rather throw a sixth and final dart here with Jason Kokrak offered a second chance.

Another big-hitter, he went nicely enough for us last week and would've been right there on the fringes were it not for some struggles with the back-nine at Pebble Beach.

His form at Riviera is stronger still, as he was a tad unfortunate not to win here two years ago when second to Bubba before a rock-solid tie for 22nd on his return.

Kokrak's ball-striking performance when runner-up was absolutely outstanding and having started the year with four cuts made, including a top-10 finish at the CareerBuilder, he looks primed to go well again.

Others to mention include Harold Varner, who was handed an exemption here in 2014 and did well to make the cut before some very good golf when 26th in 2016.

Brendan Steele is twice a winner at Silverado and continues to play really nicely as he looks to sneak a return to France as part of the Ryder Cup side, while Beau Hossler has been threatening to put four rounds together throughout his rookie season and this is his final chance to do so in his native California.

Posted at 1155 GMT on 13/02/18.

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