Sleeper Picks for the 2021 Genesis Invitational – Four Names to Consider

| February 15, 2021 2:57 pm PDT

With a “who’s who” of the PGA Tour slated to tee it up at Riviera, it may not be the best week to back the longshots. Then again, the field was stacked in 2013 when John Merrick emerged. The field was loaded in 2015 when James Hahn walked away with the trophy.

Just go back to 2019 when Justin Thomas woke up on Sunday with a four-stroke cushion. JT was out-dueled by the 100th-ranked golfer in the world that afternoon – proving that anything can happen at “Hogan’s Alley.”

Have I warmed you up to the idea that it may be worth your while to invest in a few Genesis Invitational sleeper picks?

I’ve got four in mind.

Marc Leishman +6000

Marc’s poor stretch of golf lingered a lot longer than he would have liked, but the gifted Aussie appears to have finally turned the corner. Top-25s in three straight starts includes 12 straight rounds of par or better – 11 of which have been red numbers.

Any concerns that he might not be a good fit at the demanding par-71 layout – allow me to quickly put those thoughts to bed.

Leishman has two top-5s here since 2016, and he’s not one of the guys who’s putting disappears whenever he steps on poa annua. Marc won the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open and finished 11th in SG: putting last time out at Torrey Pines. The surfaces at Torrey and Riv are comparable.

Kevin Na +7500

A quick glance at Kevin Na’s recent track record at Riv (MC in 2020, T33 in 2019) may lead you to believe that he’s not a good fit at this venue. That assessment couldn’t be further from the truth, just go back and look at how Na fared in the Pacific Palisades during the two seasons prior.

  • T4 in 2017
  • T2 in 2018

Kevin’s surgical approach and magical short game are tailor-made for this golf course. Plus, how many other Genesis Invitational sleepers sitting at +7500 have won four times on the PGA Tour since 2018?

I’ll give you a hint – the answer is zero.

Abraham Ancer +8000

Abraham Ancer’s price tag this week is exactly why you must shop your lines across all of the best golf betting sites. While Abe was sitting at +5500 and +6000 at the first few sportsbooks I encountered, I found him lurking at +8000 to win at BetOnline.

There was no way I was missing out on this first-class ticket to value town.

Not only is Ancer one of the straightest drivers on tour (5th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy), but he’s virtually eliminated the left side of the golf course (1st on the PGA Tour in left rough tendency). He’s also a deft iron player (21st in GIR) and is armed with a silky-smooth putting stroke.

17th or better in four of his last five PGA Tour starts, Abraham continues to knock on the door. I could see him bursting through this week.

Cameron Smith +10000

A missed cut and a T62 in his last two starts aren’t very encouraging. Having said that, perhaps missing a cut in his last start isn’t such a bad thing.

Before his disappointing showing in his title defense at Waialae, Cameron ripped off five consecutive top-25s – including at T4 at Sherwood and a T2 at Augusta. 

If you’re noticing a trend regarding my sleeper picks for the Genesis Invitational, I’m not messing around with guys who don’t have great short games. You need to be able to salvage pars when you miss greens at Riviera.

Cue in Smith – a guy who’s top-10 on tour in sand saves and top-10 on tour in three-putt avoidance.

More Genesis Invitational Betting Picks

Taking a stab on a few Genesis Invitational sleepers could lead to a huge sweat on Sunday. Believe me, once Maverick McNealy threw a dart into 18 at Pebble and posted -16, I was biting my fingernails.

If your comfort zone is to back one or more of the favorites, you’ve got all sorts of options, with 12 of the top 15 players in the world set to participate. Among that group, look for Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland to stand out.

I take those thoughts a step further below.

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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