Arnold Palmer Invitational picks, sleepers, betting advice

first_imgLast week, the Honda Classic lived up to its billing as one of the most difficult tests in golf, and it was awesome to see last season’s rookie of the year, Sungjae Im, win his first tournament on the PGA Tour. This week, we head up the road from Palm Beach to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational played at the legendary Bay Hill Club, and the strong field gives bettors plenty of intriguing options when filling out their cards.  Bay Hill is a moderate-length, 7,400-yard, Par-72 layout that features long and challenging Par 3s and excellent scoring opportunities on all of the Par 5s. The layout doesn’t cater to one style of play over another. Long hitters, such as Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, won’t be afraid to blast driver and set up short irons, but many other players will opt to club down off the tee and be left with longer approaches.  PGA DFS: Lineup Builder | How to winHenrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, and Kevin Kisner have all posted wins or high finishes at Bay Hill over the past few years by taking a safer route off the tee and playing excellent with their mid-to-long irons. The rough at Bay Hill is brutal and there is water all over the place that will cause guys to rack up bogies or worse if they get loose off the tee, making API another event that puts a premium on ball striking. The field is fairly stacked this week, with McIlroy, Koepka, Fleetwood, Bryson Dechambeau, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, and Adam Scott among others all playing at Arnie’s place. Outside of Matt Every in 2014 and ’15, this is typically an event won by the heavy hitters, with Tiger Woods (seven times), McIlroy (’18), Molinari (’19), and Jason Day (’16) being a few of the recent winners over the years here.If you have more questions or are looking for more betting and DFS advice (NFL, MLB, NBA, PGA), check me out on Twitter (@DFSBenj).Key StatsPar 5 Scoring Ball Striking Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Strokes Gained Approach > 175 yardsArnold Palmer Invitational Betting Advice, OddsOutright Bets to Consider*odds via DraftKings SportsbookRory McIlroy 5/1 I never love betting tournament favorites at numbers less than 10/1, but this feels like a spot where taking the favorite McIlroy makes a lot of sense. McIlroy is a past champion of this event (2018) and is playing the most consistent golf of anyone in the world right now with top-five finishes in all five of his starts since October. His game is built for Bay Hill, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win this event four or five times over the course of his career given how aggressive he plays it off the tee. It’s a similar style that a young Tiger Woods played en route to his seven API victories. Putting a bet on McIlroy will require a hefty investment for the payoff to be worth it — and the bottom end of your card will need to be filled with longshot value plays — but McIlroy is playing too consistently and is on a track that fits his game too well for me not to get a piece of the world’s No. 1 player. Henrik Stenson 45/1  After McIlroy, there are several solid options in play for outright and top-five or top-10 bets. Bryson Dechambeau (18/1) looks good, and I won’t argue if you want to bite on Brooks Koepka (30/1) or Justin Rose (45/1) at their depressed betting odds. However, I prefer two other guys in the 40-50/1 range, starting with Stenson. While Stenson will be coming off of a long layoff (he hasn’t played since the end of January), his game is a perfect fit for Bay Hill. Stenson remains one of the best long iron players in the world, and it’s no surprise that his course history at this event is among the best in the field. Over the past eight years, Stenson has finished T17, fourth, MC, T3, second, T5, T8, and T15 at Bay Hill, which makes his +450 T10 odds very tempting, as well. Marc Leishman 50/1 Leishman is a player that I’m going to be interested in whenever he gets to a course that emphasizes driving, and 50/1 is a great number on his outright odds. Leishman is a former winner at Bay Hill and has typically tended to play very well at this event. He’s coming off of a recent win a month ago at Torrey Pines, which was another strong field event where the course placed a heavy emphasis on driving. Leishman is a specialist on firm and fast courses, and Bay Hill certainly checks both of those boxes.Sung Kang 175/1 There are a number of longshot plays that are viable this week, and I’m going to throw a total punt on a guy that I like to back when his odds creep over 100/1. Kang is sneakily one of the better ball-strikers on tour, and his long irons are excellent when he is playing well. Kang posted a second-place finish at Riviera a few weeks ago, and Bay Hill is the type of layout that he can pop at. His top-20 odds are also standing out at +600, which is a place where you can invest in Kang, as well, if you aren’t looking for an outright longshot bet.last_img

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