Sportsmemo golf handicapper Nick Borrman offers his thoughts on the Arnold Palmer Invitational teeing off from Bay Hill Golf Course in Orlando, FL. Nick discusses the guys at the top of the odds board, golfers to fade and other expert picks surrounding the Arnold Palmer Invitational!
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Arnold Palmer Invitational
PGA Tour Betting Notes
March 2-5, 2023
Bay Hill Golf Course in Orlando, FL
Jon Rahm (+650 at DraftKings)
Golf Channel & NBC
Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds Board
Top-10 Total Strokes Gained over the last six months (betting odds via FanDuel or DraftKings) Jon Rahm +3.37 (+650) Rory McIlroy +2.84 (+1000) Scottie Scheffler +1.30 (+2500) Tony Finau +2.38 (+2800) Max Homa +2.35 (+2200) Xander Schauffele +2.32 (+2400) Patrick Cantlay +2.13 (+2500) Jason Day +2.03 (+3300) Will Zalatoris +2.03 (+7500) Justin Thomas +1.97 (+2500)
Arnold Palmer Invitational Course and Field – Bay Hill Golf Course (Orlando, Florida)
From Nick Borrman:
Another designated event this week means another star-studded field and this one ranks even tougher than the two in California as 44 of the Top-50 in the world are in the field. Next week is The Players so enjoy another two weeks of some action-packed golf!
The field is of course highlighted by the Big 3, Rahm, Rory and Scheffler as the golf world is very much beginning to sound like what we witnessed over the last 15 years in the tennis world.
Considering both of the California swing designated events were won by the Big 3, it would be very unsurprising to see another one lift the trophy again this week, especially as Scottie Scheffler comes in defending his title which he was just able to do three weeks ago at the WM Phoenix Open.
Bay Hill is a very difficult track and if the wind is blowing, it becomes US Open-like. Last year, the wind picked up on Sunday as players struggled to the finish line with Scheffler earning his 2nd TOUR title with a winning score of just 5-under.
The course measures nearly 7,500 yards and plays its length with several forced carries and doglegs which force players to position themselves properly versus grip and rip.
The fairways are narrow, the rough is think but thankfully the greens are on the larger side. Still the field only hit 60% of GIR last year which was 8% below the season average.
Only adding to the challenge, water and bunkers are all over the track. There is not one statistical profile that will win here as players must be sharp in all facets.
Here is the most important factor to pay attention to this week as this is the first time this year where I believe the weather will play a significant role and likely give and advantage to the draw.
Perhaps as strong of an advantage as we saw last year at The Players. Friday’s forecast reads: “Partly cloudy skies, with gusty winds developing during the afternoon.
Winds SSW at 20 to 30 mph. Higher wind gusts possible.” That is substantial and a big reason to load up on guys with the Thursday PM – Friday AM tee time draw.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Predictions
Assuming the wind does provide a sizeable advantage and effectively eliminates half of the field, still do not expect a long shot winner this week. Stick to the Top-10 or 15 on the odds board. Only 3 of the 17 TOUR wines this season have ranked outside the Top-15 lowest odds.
Rory McIlroy +1000 (FanDuel)
Nothing sexy about taking one of the Big 3, but Rory’s consistency at Bay Hill is fantastic. With a minimum of at least 12 rounds played here, Rory leads the field by a wide margin in Avg Strokes Gained here at +2.64 per round with a total of 32 rounds played.
Rory is a past winner here back in 2018 and in eight career starts, has finished outside the Top-20 just one time (T27 in 2016). He has finished inside the Top-10 in five of his last six starts here with the other being a T13.
Of the Big 3, it’s easy to say Rory is in the worst form as the other two both won one of the designated events in California and Rory wasn’t in contention in either one.
He’s never been good in California and has performed so much better in Florida with wins here and at next week’s The Players. The last tidbit I’ll add is Rory is #1 SG Tee to Green over the last 12 months.
He continued to hit the ball well in California, but his putter was awful as he has lost an average of -0.89 SG in his eight rounds. I expect him to get that corrected this week and be in the mix at one of his favorite tracks.
Keegan Bradley +260 (Bet365)
Keegan will be a popular play this week because of his course history here and rightfully so. He missed the cut in his very first try but has since made the cut on all ten starts with four Top-11 finishes including finishing T10 in 2021 and T11 last year.
Keegan is also in good form this season with a win at the ZOZO Championship in October and a runner-up finish just last month at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. He also has two other Top-20 finishes this season and another T21 in eight total starts.
Keegan is a solid all-around player without any real weakness, but he is obviously a level off from the elites. Still, he ranks inside the Top-50 in SG Tee to Green, SG Off the Tee and SG Approach.
With difficult conditions on tap this week, par will be a good score and Keegan ranks 30th in Bogey Avoidance this season so as long as he continues that and keeps his mistakes to a minimum, he should have a good chance to make a leaderboard appearance on Sunday.
Golfer to Fade
Everyone in the Thursday AM – Friday PM draw
Seriously, it’s going to be that bad. We saw this exact scenario nearly a year ago at The Players as winds kicked up to ridiculous levels.
If you don’t recall the tournament or remember those exact results, do yourself a favor and Google the Top-20 and you will find nearly all of them from the same draw.
That is likely to be the case again this week. Books of course don’t like giving away free money and as this becomes public knowledge, odds, and perhaps even matchups, will be adjusted, so strike early!
See you next week in for The Players Championship!
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