By Riley Magnuson
February 15, 2023
The PGA Tour heads back to the state of California after an incredible tournament and atmosphere in Arizona this past weekend. The stars will be out once again, and while we won’t mention it again in the blog, the hype surrounding Tiger Woods and his return is obviously off the charts.
After a hot start to 2023, we took a step back last week after taking an outright victory with Justin Rose at Pebble Beach two weeks ago. Our sites are set again on some bigger names this weekend at The Riviera, and with a bit of luck, we’ll be back in the winner’s circle come Sunday night. Best of luck this weekend and stay tuned to my Twitter for any adds or hedge opportunities!
2023 PGA Record 4-11 (+2.83u) All-Time PGA Record 23-43 (+19.7u)
Top 10 +170 (0.375u)
Top 5 +350 (0.25u)
Winner +1600 (0.1u)
Tony Finau enters this weekend among the five or six players with the best odds in the tournament. While he hasn’t finished first or even top five since November, he also hasn’t fallen outside of the top 20 since the month of November either. In the calendar year of 2023, he has put together four solid runs, finishing T7, T16, T9 & T14. He has managed to stay very consistent even after cooling off a bit from his scorching hot finish last season, and could be poised to contend at a course that has left him very close on a number of occasions.
Finau has made the cut in each of the last five seasons at this tournament, including not one, but two 2nd place finishes. Last season saw a closer to pedestrian T33 at this event, but unlike his recent success entering this tournament, Finau missed the cut in the preceding two tournaments leading up to last year’s Genesis Invitational, at the Farmers Insurance Open and the WM Phoenix Open. Again, two tournaments that saw top 15 performances this time around.
I think Finau stands a fantastic shot of avenging those two runner-up finishes here at Riviera, but I’ll also take a couple swings on top 10 and top 5 odds, assuming at least a couple of the guys with better odds ahead of him are due for some regression.
Top 20 +130 (0.5u)
Top 10 +260 (0.25u)
Winner +2800 (0.1u)
The thought process with Hovland this week is essentially to buy low on him in some sense, despite him having still played well in recent weeks. I say buy low because the expectations for him in each of the last three tournaments following a win in December at the Hero World Challenge, were absolutely sky high. He was consistently a trendy pick to win or finish top 5, but unfortunately did not fare quite that well.
In each of the past three events following the victory in December, he has finished T18, T13 and last week T42. These aren’t anything to be embarrassed about, but after the expectations, his odds have taken a bit of a dip, and for the first time to my knowledge he is available at plus-money to finish inside the top 20 and almost 30-1 to win the whole thing.
I’m taking a swing now that the smoke has cleared a bit, on a guy that has finished par or better in all 24 rounds in the 2022-23 season. On top of a level of moderate success, he’s also been great in his first two runs at this tournament, finishing fifth and fourth. I love his chances again the third time around.
To close it all out, in the 2021-22 season he also took home a victory at the Hero World Challenge, and followed it with a T30 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and missed the cut at the WM Phoenix Open before finishing fourth at the Genesis Invitational. Give me Hovland to have his best run since December here this weekend!
Top 30 +170 (0.375u)
Top 5 +1400 (0.1u)
This is a bit of a different play than we’ve had and I promise Justin Rose isn’t a homer play or anything because he got us the victory two weeks ago. I am taking a stand with Rose, as mentioned when I wrote about him at Pebble, to be a much bigger factor throughout the season than he was last year.
I am not suggesting he climbs the ranks into the faces of the tour or anything like that, but I am trying to take advantage of some low odds on my belief that they will be significantly higher throughout the season.
On top of what I just mentioned, I also needed some previous success to push me over the edge, and that’s exactly what we have this week. Since 2011, Rose has played at Riviera six times, making the cut each time, and finishing top 20 in four of the six. His best finish came in 2017 with a fourth place finish. I decided not to be as aggressive and stay away from outright odds, but love the +170 price for a solid top 30 finish and a nice +1400 sprinkle on the top 5 odds.