Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks, Odds and Predictions

It's Arnie's tournament. The legend made Bay Hill a staple tournament by putting his name on it, and now with the PGA Tour putting it as an 'elevated' event and all of the top players attending, the Arnold Palmer Invitational is stronger than ever.

This has long been an event where Tiger Woods has dominated, including a stretch where he won 8 times here in 14 years, but that time seems to be ending, with defending champion Scottie Scheffler, world number 1 Jon Rahm, and other ascending players like Max Homa and Will Zalatoris having great results here recently.

All of those players plus plenty others took last week's Honda Classic off to play the coveted Member-Pro at nearby Seminole Country Club in Jupiter, but they head two hours north this week to play the treacherous Bay Hill course, where only ten players finished under par last year.

Let's dive right into it.

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational

  • Date: Thursday Mar. 2 - Sunday Mar. 5, 2023
  • Venue: Bay Hill Club & Lodge
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Par-Yardage: 72, 7,454 yards
  • Defending Champion: Scottie Scheffler
  • TV: CBS, Golf Channel
  • Betting Odds

Course Preview

Bay Hill can give a golfer all kinds of trouble, with water hazards in play on nine holes. The real issue though, is the lack of trees yet again on the Florida course that leave it exposed to the heavy winds that can derail any golf round.

This came heavily into play at last year's API, where the gusts were so forceful that greens become nearly impossible to hit and only the best scramblers survived the weekend.

This course THRIVES on strokes gained on approach and ball-striking, key elements that go hand-in-hand with the difficult conditions that can come into play. It also heavily values being able to grind out pars, which can be a tough task on the fast Bermuda greens.

Rory McIlroy has been installed as one of the top betting choices to win this week's event from Bay Hill. (Getty)

Arnold Palmer Invitational
Betting Odds

It's a foregone conclusion who draws the shortest odds at every tournament until further notice: Rahm himself. The favorite at +700, Rahmbo is quite simply just the best player in the world right now, as he continues to prove in every tournament he plays. He's a man possessed, and until he falters, nobody else will sniff the top spot, not even Rory (+1000).

However, if we look at the last six winners, it’s notable that all six posted a Top-15 finish at this event prior to picking up their win. Rahm does not qualify in that stat.

Speaking of Rory, he's also a man possessed on this course, with a grand total of zero finishes outside of the top-30 in his 8 starts at this event. However, he's looked shaky at times this season and is hard to trust at such short odds.

Scheffler comes next, and he has looked strong so far this year, with a win recently in Phoenix.

After the top group, it's anyone's guess who picks up the slack, though it could be Will Zalatoris, who tied for 38th here last season but shot 7-over in the final round after being in contention all week. Zalatoris has a strong game for this course and is coming off a strong finish at the Genesis Invitational a few weeks ago.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Contenders

  • Jon Rahm +700
  • Rory McIlroy +1000
  • Scottie Scheffler +1000
  • Collin Morikawa +2100
  • Max Homa +2200
  • Will Zalatoris +2200
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Contender to Back
Arnold Palmer Invitational

Scottie Scheffler +1000

First things first, we start with the defending champ. As mentioned above, Scheffler comes off the win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and has obviously performed well at Arnie's track in his two starts, with the win and a T15.

Scottie just checks so many boxes that it is hard to ignore his fit for this course on paper.

He ranks 1st in Strokes Gained: Par 4s, Styrokes Gained: Ball-Striking, Bogeys Avoided, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He also is extremely efficient at playing in difficult conditions, as he had to both here and at August National last year when he won The Masters.

Scheffler is listed at +1000 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Getty)

Mid-Range Value
Arnold Palmer Invitational

Sungjae Im +4100

Moving on to the mid-range pack, Im stands out in a stellar group because, as is typical, his results speak for themselves. He has played this event four times, and he has four finishes of T21 or better, with two top-3 finishes on the resume.

That course history is extremely important here given that this is one of the rare events where course history is a much more sticky stat than course comp history.

Sungjae's stats also pop when you look into them, as he ranks in the top 15 of this field in Bogeys Avoided, Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and the 150-175 proximity bucket, where over 21% of the approach shots come from from on this course. Im also excels at long par 3s, as there as several of those at Bay Hill.

Long Shot Pick
Arnold Palmer Invitational

Billy Horschel +12000

While we're on the subject of course history at this event, let me introduce you to Billy Ho, who's only missed one cut in his ten appearances here and had a runner-up finish last year after coming into Sunday tied for the lead.

Horschel is a very long shot at 120-1, and common sense tells us that a guy that long probably won't win this event with all the talent that's gathered, but if someone can break the mold, Horschel has a solid chance to do it. A South Florida resident, Horschel often looks very good on the Florida swing and is coming off a solid weekend finish at the Honda Classic this past week, giving him even more time to adjust to the tricky Bermuda greens.

Top 20 Finish
Arnold Palmer Invitational

Keith Mitchell +200

Mitchell has had a great start to his spring swing so far, with a T4 and T5 in 2 of his last 3 starts. He also has two top-6 finishes here at Bay Hill, again continuing my trend this week of course history being a very sticky factor in how I pick my bets.

Mitchell isn't going to wow anyone with his stats, but he's a strong and accurate driver of the golf ball, and history has shown that the longer drivers have more success here. He also ranks 6th in this field in Birdies or Better Gained, and that's always going to be an important stat when the blustery conditions make scoring a challenge.

I don't think he triumphs this week, but he has shown a knack for tricky courses like this and I believe he contends well into the weekend this year.

The Bay Hill Club & Lodge will hos the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Getty)

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2023 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.

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