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Handicapping

Arnold Palmer Invitational Predictions

Arnold Palmer Invitational Predictions to Win
Dates: March 17-20, 2016
Course: Bay Hill Club Ė Orlando, FL
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com

By the time the final putts fall this Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it will officially be Spring. The PGA Tour has its own way of celebrating the turning of the season and while the calendar might say Spring, the golf world waits just a few more weeks for Augusta to mark the end of winter. There are just three events remaining before the Masters and there is no better place to finish up the Florida Swing than Arnieís Bay Hill Club. The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of just a few events that have the official invite status so there will be a short field featuring very big names as well as a handful of amateur and other exemptions given out by the tournament directors. There are no qualifiers for this event, so if you are here, you have earned it. Adam Scott heads into Orlando looking for three straight wins in 2016 and Matt Every hopes to make it three straight Palmer titles after winning each of the last two editions. This tournament has a history of producing multiple winners with Ernie Els also winning here twice and then you have the standout case of Tiger Woods and his eight wins at Bay Hill. Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are among the favored contenders this week in what should be another fantastic event hosted by a true legend of golf.

Bay Hill has been associated with Arnold Palmer for just about as long as it has been in existence and the par-72 gem has a long history with the Tour. At 7,419 yards, the course is very typical of Florida golf and certainly a big change from the narrow, winding layout we saw at Copperhead last week. Tiger winning eight times here tends to skew the stats but the fact remains that this course is a bit friendlier to the big hitters on Tour, especially if they can get hot on the par-5ís. There is water in play on plenty of holes and there are clearly spots to avoid off the tee but those that can attack and shrink this layout should see a few more birdie looks than the guys that are navigating the course a little more carefully. A hot putter is always necessary and that can come from just about anyone this week as so many have seen Bay Hill on multiple occasions.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that are the best bets to win. We make some picks to come out on top and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at any of our recommended sportsbooks. Here are our picks for the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational!

Adam Scott (7 to 1 odds to win)
The value is starting to disappear with the talented Aussie but 7 to 1 isnít bad considering just how well he has played. In just six starts, Scott has notched two wins and two more runner-up finishes and he could push for another W if he can just slightly improve on the 3rd place finish he recorded here in 2014. There is nothing not to like about the way Adam is swinging it right now and that transition away from the belly putter is obviously not holding him back at all. He enters the week in the top-10 in driving distance, greens hit, birdies and scoring average. I think you just have to keep riding him until someone proves they can hang with him at his best.

Ryan Moore (30 to 1)
Close calls pay as much as missed cuts in betting golf but I guess you always want guys trending in the right direction and Moore is. His seven starts have produced four top-10 finishes, including a solo 3rd last week at the Valspar. Succeeding at Copperhead points to a player who is on top of his game as does Mooreís 17th ranked scoring average and 16th ranked putter. He is the kind of golfer that routinely goes about his business without much fanfare as he isnít the flashiest player but he is one of the best workers on Tour and gets nearly every bit out of his rounds. His scoring average is much better than his raw birdie percentage would indicate so he keeps the mistakes to a minimum and that will net strokes on the field by itself. He enters the week in the top-30 in both fairways hit and scrambling so all the bases really are covered.

Paul Casey (40 to 1)
Bay Hill requires just a little bit of everything during a tournament week so having a diverse talent like Casey makes for a sensible choice on your betting slip. Paul comes into the Palmer with a top-25 total driving mark and adds the 10th best greens hit mark to produce the 9th ranked overall ballstriking stat. The putter has never been the strong suit for Casey but he gets his chances with a strong tee-to-green game and can really make some things happen when the putts are going in. He waded through an elite field to finish 7th at the WGC-Cadillac just weeks ago and should be able to hang around front page of the leaderboard again this week.

Head-to-Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check out 5Dimes Sportsbook for the biggest variety of single round matches and prop bets.

Jason Day v. Henrik Stenson (pick to win: Day)
Neither player is in mid-season form as of yet so look for both to be sharpening their games in preparation for Augusta. A little deeper look at their pedestrian play reveals it is Day who is scuffling from tee-to-green while Stenson is putting below average. If this match was played at a course like Copperhead or at an Open layout, I would give the edge to Stenson but Bay Hill is open enough for Day to slash it around a bit and still score with is 3rd ranked putting. Stenson is currently 174th in strokes gained-putting and I do not like putting money on a guy that is losing strokes to the field on the greens. There are better days right around the corner for both players but I think it is Day that will get the win in this head-to-head as he can stay in the thick of things with his putter until his long game sharpens up.

Zach Johnson v. Kevin Kisner (pick to win: Kisner)
The players are pretty good mirrors of each other as both are control players that utilize a sparkling short game to get those quality birdie looks. Kisner is off fast in 2016, trailing just Scott in the FedEx race and enters the Palmer with the top all-around stat total. While Johnson has slipped outside the top-100 in scoring, Kisner nets the 7th best scoring mark on the strength of top-10ís in fairways, ballstriking and birdies per round. Johnson is anyoneís equal when he is on top of his swing but he seems just a bit off and I think you have to go with Kisner at this point who is utilizing Johnsonís preferred playing style a bit better at the moment.

Good luck and good golf!

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