PGA Picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Will this crazy season of unknown winners or those winning for the first time continue in Orlando? This week is the Arnold Palmer Invitational, And as the title stipulates, you have to get the invite to play in this field.
For many of the somewhat older players at Bay Hill this week, this is their way to honor “Arnie” having met him here before or being quite familiar with his legacy, as he was the first player on the PGA Tour to have the charisma for still developing golf television audiences.
For a second consecutive week, those players who were at PGA National last weekend will play at another hard course (Oh the humanity!). We will for certain have a new champ, as last year’s champion, Bryson DeChambeau, pulled out Monday still battling a lingering left-hand injury. In all, 120 players will tee it up Thursday, and the top 65 and ties will continue on the weekend.
Get free golf picks for every event on Doc’s Sports PGA golf expert picks page.
A Look at the Field
Here is a look at the Top 12 and ties with the lowest golf odds to win it all at online sportsbooks.
Jon Rahm +850 - Rory McIlroy +1200 - Viktor Hovland +1600 - Scottie Scheffler +1800
Hideki Matsuyama +2200 - Will Zalatoris +2200 - Adam Scott +2800
Matthew Fitzpatrick +2800 - Sungjae Im +2800 - Keith Mitchell +3300
Paul Casey +3300 - Marc Leishman +3500 - Tyrrell Hatton +3500
For the first time this season, there is zero buzz about Rahm despite being the favorite. In five tournaments, he’s finished T21 or higher, including three Top 10’s, but Rahm has not won and the perception of a weekly favorite is diminished.
To a lesser degree, that is also true of Im, who missed the cut as the favorite at the Honda last week. Despite five Top 20’s in eight starts, there are now two missed cuts in his last five starts.
Hovland has played great, except for a missed cut at Scottsdale, and he shot a pair of 65’s in L.A. and is first in birdie average.
McIlroy is attracting a great deal of attention, having finished 4th, 1,6,5, and 10 at Bay Hill the last five years, clearly understanding what it takes to succeed in Central Florida.
Another very popular choice among making golf picks is Will Zalatoris, who has the long iron game to succeed; four of the last five winners on Tour this season were first-timers. Zalatoris fits the mold.
Matsuyama is another stellar long iron pro, which matters at Bay Hill. He can score well on the par 5’s. Like Zalatoris however, finishing in the Top 3 or 30th depends on the putter.
Though Adam Scott and Paul Casey fit the mold as ball-strikers and accurate off the key, neither has been dialed in close to their A-game, and they have more questions than answers.
Leishman and Hatton are past champions and could rise up, but few believe they will this week.
Scheffler won the Phoenix for his first victory and didn’t have a letdown with a T-7 at the Genesis the following week. He’s yet to play well in Florida, with his best finish a T-15 at Bay Hill.
Mitchell is on the come up, finishing 9th to 12th in his past three starts, and he’s playing the best golf of his career.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
To win at Bay Hill, it takes skill to not only win but patience and playing borderline boring golf, with the ability to be a shot-maker.
DeChambeau winning last year seems to blow that theory up, but he had an exceptional week in driving accuracy and his iron game was pinpoint accurate.
The par 72 spread over 7,466 yards is a test for these players. Because half the holes have water that comes into play, the par 4’s in many cases discourage using the driver, leaving the participant to lay up with a shorter club off the tee, only to have to utilize a longer one to reach the green. Plus, there are over 100 bunkers throughout.
Last week we mentioned the PGA National accounted for the most double bogeys on the Tour; Bay Hill ranks in the Top 10. Last year this was the toughest scoring course, and in 2019 it ranked 9th hardest. That means patience in trying not to be over-aggressive where trouble will lurk.
Mid and long iron approach shots must have the proper distance and height (especially with wind forecasted for Friday to Sunday), as the greens are normally firm, which could lead to intended targets having much longer putts or worse rolling off the green.
The putting surfaces are fast and sloppy, which would favor those better at reading greens and having the ability to properly read them.
This venue has hosted every event for 42 years, and every player would be wise to follow Tiger Woods's lead as an eight-time champion.
Take advantage of the par 5’s, use caution off the tee on the par 4’s, hit high shots at the pin to reduce roll and hope the putter is working over four days. That’s the winning formula here.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
By the odds, McIlroy looks like a very solid wager for Top 5 and 10 wagers and certain matchups at -130 or lower for head-to-head’s.
Zalatoris seems like a good choice for a Top 10 and possibly more if his putting stroke is trustworthy. When this article was posted, Zalatoris was -120 for a Top 20, which seems like a pretty safe bet.
Mitchell looks like a value pick for a Top 20, and James Kokrak has tied for 10th, 18th and eighth the last three years at Bay Hill and could cash nicely in this one.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports was in the golf business for over 20+ years and understands the ins and outs of what it takes to find winners on the Tour. Doug and his customers enjoyed another winning tournament last weekend.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 23 Documented No. 1 Titles - 96 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 27 Handicapper of the Month Awards. (Latest: 3 in MLB last year) Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.