EXTRA VALUE FOR THE
ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL!
The second of a quadruple header in Florida as we head into Spring sees some of the world’s best head to Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Due to the congested schedule so far this season, we have a somewhat diluted field this week with some of the star players like Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele all sitting this one out with the PLAYERS champs and Honda Classic coming up in the next couple of weeks.
McIlroy Starts 8/1 Favourite
Without these stars it’s unsurprising to see Rory McIlroy head the market for this tournament at 8/1. He’s a previous winner here and loves playing in Florida, where he currently resides.
He’s fallen short a few times lately but those who have watched him know just how well he’s playing at the moment, even if the results don’t quite match the performances, though he bounced back from a missed cut two weeks ago to finish in a tie for sixth at The Concession last weekend, earning each way payouts for our bet.
However, he’s shortened massively here despite finishing ahead of every player that was ahead of him in the betting last weekend, and at his price we’re hesitant to get behind him when he still is yet to fully click into gear ahead of the Masters next month.
Hatton Defending Champions At 16/1
Tyrell Hatton will be defending his crown having held off Australian Marc Leishman to win by one shot in 2020 and build upon his 4th placed finish in 2017.
Hatton fit the mould last year as now each of the last four winners had already achieved a top-five finish around Bay Hill in their career, showing the importance of course pedigree coming into this competition.
Scoring can often be tricky here, with Hatton’s win last season coming at just four under par, and t’s therefore imperative not to go off track on the par-3s, as previous winners have proven that scoring on the four shorter holes automatically puts you right in the mix at the top of the leaderboard. Indeed, the last seven winners here have excelled on the par-3s.
Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Every (on defence) ranked first, Francesco Molinari and Rory McIlroy third, Marc Leishman and Jason Day fourth, and Every sixth in his first win.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Tips
Matthew Fitzpatrick has also previously spoken of how difficult this course can be if you miss the greens, so it’s no surprise that three of the past four winners have ranked in the top-10 for Greens in Regulation (GIR), with the exception coming in 2018 as McIlroy took the spoils having ranked 45th for GIR, but scrambled beautifully ranking first in that regard and second in Putting Accuracy.
Each of the last five winners have also ranked in the top-20 for scrambling over the week, as short game control is imperative to avoid slipping down the leaderboard.
Sung-Jae Im 22/1
It’s on these trends that we come to our first pick of the week, and it’s a familiar name for us in Sung-Jae Im (22/1). Our attention immediately turns to the South Korean for Bermuda Grass tournaments, where he often excels, and his underlying stats this season suggest he’s ready for a big win at some point.
He’s failed to build on his fifth placed finish at the Tournament of Champions season opener, though 12th at the Amex and 17th in Phoenix show what he’s capable of, even if he’s yet to string his game together with consistency, though maybe being in Florida can help that.
His 28th place at the Workday last week means he’s only finished outside the top four in two of his last six outings in the Sunshine State, while he’s finished third in both his starts at Bay Hill, which is a perfect platform to go off here.
From the top 10 in the market, only Bryson DeChambeau has a better Par-3 average than Sung-Jae this season, and at the prices he looks like a very strong each way bet to potentially become he sixth successive winner from outside the US here.
Matthew Fitzpatrick 20/1
We’ll look abroad again for our second pick of the week in Matthew Fitzpatrick at a slightly shorter price of 20/1.
He’s made a really strong start to the season, carrying on the momentum from his European Tour win in Dubai back in December, going 17-5-11 in his most recent three starts.
As mentioned, strong putting is imperative around this course, with every winner since 2011 ranking in the top 15 for Strokes Gained: Putting, with all but one ranking eighth or better. Fitzpatrick has gained strokes on the green in each of his last 15 made cuts.
In his last two starts, only four players had fewer putts per round than the Englishman at Riviera a fortnight ago, while he topped the field in scrambling at the Concession last week.
If that wasn’t enough, his recent form here is enough to at least get behind him to place, finishing second here to Molinari in 2019, and following that up with another top-10 finish last year, so we’re happy to get behind him each way in a weakened field.