5 picks I love at the Genesis Invitational, according to a professional gambler

Do you like Dustin Johnson this week? Our expert does.

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It’s a paradox of golf that the world’s greatest players don’t compete routinely on the world’s greatest courses. At the game’s highest level, architectural gems are the exception, not the rule.

This week will bring us one of those outliers when the PGA Tour returns to Southern California for the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, the George Thomas masterwork in Pacific Palisades that ranks 27th on GOLF Magazine’s roster of Top 100 Courses in the World.

Most Tour pros don’t talk a lot about design. But press them on the topic, and they’ll tell you that it matters. The better the venue, the more compelling the test, the more interesting the competition. That’s good news for golfers.

And for gamblers.

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Who doesn’t like a little extra intrigue with their sweat? Max Homa won the Genesis last year, edging Tony Finau in a playoff. Both men are in the field again, along with a litany of A-listers, including Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, world No. 1 Jon Rahm, and past Genesis winners Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

Erick Lindgren, Golf.com’s expert prognosticator, is coming off another winning week and looking to keep the momentum going. The terms are the same as ever. We give Lindgren a $1,000 gambling budget (just play money), and he supplies us with his favorite 5 picks. You can check out Lindgren’s Genesis plays below.

(At last week’s Waste Management Open, Lindgren placed $200 on Keith Mitchell to finish in the top 10. The +700 wager paid $1,400, giving Lindgren a net profit of $600 for the event.)

(Looking to play any of these bets yourself? We teamed with BetMGM and the online sports book is offering a Risk-Free Bet of up to $1,000).

Dustin Johnson to win: +1,600 (wager: $250)

It’s been well over a year since DJ’s last win, an epic dry spell for a man who notched at least one victory in 13 of 14 seasons. The drought has to end sometime, and Riviera, Lindgren says, is as good a place as any. “There are horses of courses, and DJ has been a stud here,” Lindgren says. On top of that, Johnson flushed it at Torrey a couple of weeks back

Joaquin Niemann to win: +5,000 (wager: $200)

After a hot start here last year, Niemann was derailed by a third-round 78. Lindgren is looking for another solid week, minus the Saturday hiccup. He’s getting the Chilean at a pretty meaty price.

Cameron Tringale Top 10: +600 (wager: $300)

Forget about best player to never win a major. Tringale might be the best who has yet to win. Lindgren likes his history at Riviera. “It feels like (Tringale) is about to finally win,” he says. “But this wager gives us some wiggle room.”

Sam Burns first-round leader: +4,000 (wager: $100)

Burns got off to a blistering start here last year, and held the lead heading into the weekend. Lindgren likes the line on a repeat performance. “Sam is having some pretty wild swings right now,” he says. “It’s worth a shot backing him to do what he did last year.”

K.H. Lee top 5 after Round 1: +1,600 (wager: $150)

Golfers often play to patterns. Lindgren always looks for them. “K.H. has been getting out of the gates quickly lately,” he says, “including a 65 last week.”

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josh sens

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.