The Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds & Picks

by | Mar 3, 2021 | golf

 Event: The Arnold Palmer Invitational

Date: March 4-7, 2020

Where: Bay Hill Club - Orlando, FL

Watch: The Golf Channel/NBC

In general, PGA players and the golf world went all out with the red shirts to support Tiger last week, and the color theme remains appropriate this week as a red sweater will be given to the winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. One of the most popular players in Tour history lent his name to this event in 2007, and it is no doubt that his association has made this stop a highlight of the season. Tyrell Hatton will defend his 2020 title against a strong field led by Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, and Viktor Hovland. Jordan Spieth is looking to keep his string of solid results going with fan favorites like Rickie Fowler and Jason Day looking to jump-start their seasons just ahead of the year’s first Major. Tiger Woods has dominated this event with eight wins at Bay Hill, but he and Matt Every have been the only American players to win here in recent years as the last five champions have all been from overseas.

Bay Hill Club has become synonymous with Arnie himself, and the course has plenty of Palmer’s personality baked in. The par-72 layout measures just under 7,500 yards, and there are several risk/reward opportunities. Aggression alongside execution will have players in prime shape, but there are also plenty of bogeys waiting for those that go for it and miss. Winning scores have ranged from 11-under to 19-under since 2012, which is a relatively volatile range for a non-Major, but it took just 4-under for Hatton to win last year as the winds kicked up and Bay Hill turned brutal. Hatton carded a 73-74 finish, marking the first time since 2006 that a player was over par on both weekend rounds and still went on to win. There was just one sub-70 round over the weekend last year, so this course can turn into an absolute grind. Par-3 scoring and smooth play around the greens will have players saving a few strokes over the week and improving their overall chances.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best values on the board. We make a short, middle, and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at just about any golf betting outlet. Odds and pairings for this week can be found at Bovada. Here are our picks to win the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Patrick Reed (20 to 1 odds to win)

Reed has played sparingly in 2021 but has just one missed cut in seven starts with a win at the Farmers among three top-ten finishes. He was T9 last week at a tricky Concession course, and I generally think most that fared well there should be in good shape heading into Bay Hill. Reed’s best finish at the Palmer was a T7 in 2018, but his 15th place finish last season was likely more notable considering he shot a third round 80 yet finished just seven strokes back of the lead. His 71 on Sunday was tied for the second low round on the day, and I’m happy to throw that one poor round out considering how difficult things were last season. Reed is currently 2nd on Tour in putting average, and that stat is directly feeding the 2nd best birdie rate per round. He has been reliable in finding fairways this season, and I think that is going to lead to an improvement in greens hit over the long run. He has shown the ability to win when he is hitting greens, and I like how his game fits around this course.

Billy Horschel (33 to 1)

Horschel is one of the more consistent players on Tour, and while that is somewhat the opposite of Palmer’s more mercurial approach, Billy has been able to put in consistent results at Bay Hill and has never missed a cut in eight starts. He has just one missed cut in 2021, and his T2 last week was very impressive as he had to hit just about every type of shot while negotiating a challenging weekend layout at the WGC event. He enters the week 52nd in fairways and 40th in greens, and while those numbers don’t jump off the page, they are indicative of Horschel’s steadiness and ability to grind out solid rounds. He is 23rd in off-the-tee performance, and a top-50 putter in terms of strokes gained. He has a good touch around the greens and has that veteran prowess on tough up-and-down chances. He’s not long, so he’ll have a few long iron scenarios to navigate, but that was also the case last week, and he nearly ran down Morikawa for a win.

Harris English (55 to 1)

English put in some of his best work this season while football was dominating the sports world, so you might not know that he has five top-ten finishes since November and won the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. He has moved up to 19th in the OWGR and will look to improve on his T9 at Bay Hill last season. Harris isn’t a long ball hitter but finds the fairways, and a top-30 putter has produced the 10th best birdie average this season. English is also 10th in scrambling and doesn’t routinely give away strokes during the round. He was nearly four strokes better than the field on these greens last year and didn’t miss a fairway in round two en route to five birdies. Steady can win here, and Harris is one of the best grinders on Tour right now.

Head-to-Head Matches

Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your BetNow Sportsbook for single-round pairings and a variety of prop bets.

Bryson DeChambeau (-110) v. Rory McIlory (-120) (pick to win: McIlroy)

This is the heavyweight battle in all of the head-to-head matches this week, with DeChambeau leading the Tour in driving distance and Rory right behind him. Both are statistically dominant in their own right, especially when either is at the top of their game, but McIlory is 2-1-1 against DeChambeau in four tournaments this season and 2-1-1 against Bryson at Bay Hill. Rory won here in 2018 and is currently on a four-year run that has seen him finish 4th-1st-6th and 5th for an average career finish of 9th. DeChambeau has a couple of contending runs here but has averaged a finish of 19.75 in four career starts. McIlroy is still the best driver of the golf ball when he is at his best and has a slight edge in birdies over Bryson despite being a slightly weaker putter. DeChambeau may have the highest ceiling of any player since Tiger, but I still give the consistency advantage to Rory, especially at a course where he has such a long track record of success.

Francesco Molinari (-115) v. Jason Day (-115) (pick to win: Molinari)

Molinari and Day are both former Arnold Palmer champions, but Francesco has the better overall record at Bay Hill, having never missed a cut here in seven starts while Jason has missed two in eight starts. Molinari is 3-2-1 against Day when they have shared the field here, and Franky also has a 2-1-2 lead when playing Day head-to-head in 2021. Molinari has the better short-term trend as well, with three top-10 finishes in his last four starts, while Day has three missed cuts in his previous six starts overall. Molinari sees an advantage in the fairways hit department and is the better overall tee-to-green player. The birdie and scoring averages run very close together, so this could easily turn out to be a close match, but Molinari is the better scrambler, and those few extra par saves will pay off a tough course.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Wagering Odds

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Rory McIlroy 9-1
Bryson DeChambeau 12-1
Viktor Hovland 12-1
Tyrrell Hatton 16-1
Patrick Reed 20-1
Sungjae Im 22-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 25-1
Jordan Spieth 28-1
Paul Casey 28-1
Hideki Matsuyama 28-1
Louis Oosthuizen 35-1
Jason Day 35-1
Francesco Molinari 35-1
Billy Horschel 40-1
Tommy Fleetwood 40-1
Marc Leishman 40-1
Sam Burns 45-1
Harris English 45-1
Will Zalatoris 45-1
Max Homa 50-1
Jason Kokrak 50-1
Cameron Tringale 60-1
Kevin Na 60-1
Justin Rose 60-1
Branden Grace 66-1
Rickie Fowler 66-1
Kevin Kisner 70-1
Cameron Davis 70-1
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 70-1
Adam Hadwin 80-1
Robert Macintyre 80-1
Victor Perez 80-1
Talor Gooch 90-1
Lanto Griffin 90-1
Shane Lowry 100-1
Maverick McNealy 100-1
Chris Kirk 100-1
J.T. Poston 100-1
Matt Jones 100-1
Matt Wallace 100-1
Henrik Stenson 100-1
Ian Poulter 100-1
Charley Hoffman 100-1
Lee Westwood 100-1
Si-Woo Kim 100-1

Good luck and good golf.