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Adam Scott can rule at Riviera

Alex Livie February 13, 2013
Adam Scott will look to put his brilliant ball striking to good use at Riviera © PA Photos
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Click here to bet on the Northern Trust Open at bet365

The PGA Tour swings into Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open and the season steps up a gear with some notable names coming out of winter hibernation.

World No. 3 Luke Donald will dust off the clubs for the first time this season at Riviera, as will Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell - while the likes of Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els will make their first appearances of the year on the PGA Tour.

Donald went close to winning at Riviera in 2010, being denied by Steve Stricker, but he has struggled in the past couple of years - finishing outside of the top 50 last year and missing the cut in 2011 - and we do not feel he is any value at 20/1 this year.

Betting bullets

  • Sergio Garcia - 20/1 E/W at bet365
    Adam Scott - 25/1 E/W

The enigma that is Phil Mickelson is the bookmakers' favourite at 12/1, but he's too unpredictable to recommend with any confidence. If the Mickelson that turned up and went wire-to-wire at TPC Scottsdale turns up, he would be a fantastic bet. He also has a great record on the course having won in 2008 and 2009 and been runner-up in 2012. But he followed up his Scottsdale effort with a mixed display at Pebble Beach and we're happy to keep a watching brief as far as Lefty is concerned.

Riviera is one of the toughest tracks on the roster and as such ball striking is at a premium. With that in mind, Sergio Garcia looks good value at 20/1. The Spaniard is long off the tee and if he can find enough fairways, his brilliance with his irons will present him with enough opportunities on the greens. He looked in decent form in the Dubai Desert Classic a couple of weeks ago, despite being hindered by a shoulder problem. If the fortnight's break has enabled his medical team to remedy the problem he could well improve on his fourth place 12 months ago.

It can be a lottery when selecting a player who is making his seasonal debut, given there is no knowledge of how much work has gone in on the range. But given the standard of professionalism now, it's unlikely any player will enter an event undercooked. And in the belief that he has been working his way into form, Adam Scott looks a good bet at 25/1.

Scott is a past winner at Hogan's Alley, in 2005, and has a 17th-place finish to his name 12 months ago. This could be a big year for Scott, who has to prove he can shake off his Open meltdown, and it is worth chancing that he will make a statement of intent on his first outing of the year.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Alex Livie was editor of ESPN.co.uk