Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Odds & Preview 2020 | PGA Golf Tournament
This week the PGA Tour heads to Bay Hill Club and Lodge for Arnie’s Tournament in Orlando, Florida. The API is one of three Invitational status events, along with Jack and Tiger’s Tournaments, which means an increased prize pool and a three-year tour exemption for the winner.
This also means a world-class field will descend on Bay Hill with the likes of,
- Rory McIlroy
- Brooks Koepka
- Adam Scott
- Patrick Reed
- Xander Schauffele
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Justin Rose
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Tony Finau
- Jason Day
- Henrik Stenson
- Hideki Matsuyama
- Rickie Fowler
- Bubba Watson
- Marc Leishman
Joining defending champion Francesco Molinari who are all seeking to claim a win in the 4th rendition of the event since the passing of the great Arnold Palmer. The 2nd event in the Florida Swing, Bay Hill is a classic golf course that shares many of the same qualities as other Sunshine State tracks. Before we break down this week’s course, lets quickly recap last week’s Honda.
Three weeks and three straight Outright victories for yours truly with Sungjae Im displaying incredible fortitude down the stretch to capture his first victory on Tour. Considering how consistent Im has been in 2020, it was only a matter of time before it all came together for the young South Korean.
The Honda was predictably difficult, with some huge names failing to make the cut. In the end, the Bear Trap claimed its final victim, Tommy Fleetwood, who’s errant shot on 18 while one back of the leader sealed it for Im. Hard not to feel for Fleetwood, who came into the week as the betting favorite.
He has the game to compete, but through 63 PGA Tour appearances is yet to claim a victory. I certainly won’t be backing him anytime soon as a favorite, but one would think a win is around the corner for the Englishmen.
On top of the Outright victory, full tournament head to heads went 5-0 to complete what was the most profitable tournament for me in 2020. Onto the Arnold Palmer Invitational!
Arnold Palmer Invitational Course Preview
Bay Hill is a rather challenging 7,454 yard Par 72. It features a set of tough par 4s along with three long par 5s that measure over 550 yards. As with most Florida courses, the difficulty level of Bay Hill will vary with the wind. We have seen winning scores from 11 to 18 under, and Francesco Molinari took home the title last year with an incredible final round 64.
At first look, it is unlikely we see that type of scoring this week as forecasts are calling for higher than normal winds in Orlando, especially on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, where gusts are expected to exceed 20 miles per hour.
Strong Approach Game Needed With Wide Fairways
Off the tee, players will face rather wide fairways by Tour standards. However, the rough is penal, some of the longest on Tour, so players will take less than driver off the tee in an attempt to keep it in the short stuff. The result of this strategy is almost 33% of approach shots come from 200+ yards at Bay Hill.
As is the case most weeks, a robust approach game is necessary here. Winners have gained almost three times the amount of strokes on approach as they have off the tee or around the green. The need for a strong approach game makes sense as Tiger, inarguably the best iron player of all-time has eight wins at Arnie’s event.
Putting Is Paramount At Bay Hill
The theme with Florida courses is the Bermuda surfaces, and this week is no different. The area hasn’t seen much rain in the past few weeks, so it is fair to expect firm and fast playing conditions. Meaning these greens could reach 12-13 on the stimpmeter.
This makes putting the ball in the fairway even more critical as the greens have the potential to be extremely firm, and players who are unable to spin it out of the thick rough will fail to control their entry shots.
Putting is paramount at Bay Hill, and it is almost guaranteed the winner will be a player who gets hot with the flat stick. The last four winners have ranked 4th, 1st, 2nd, and 6th in strokes gained putting over the course of the week. This means guys who do not have the ability to have outstanding putting weeks have no shot and won’t gain consideration from me (Sorry Benny An).
To recap: This week, I will be focusing on Strokes Gained Approach (shocker), Proximity from 200+, Strokes Gained Putting on Bermuda, and strong wind players.
Xander Schauffele +2200 at MyBookie.ag
For our first play, we turn to one of the most elite ball strikers in the world. First and foremost, Xander’s form is outstanding. Ignoring a cut in his hometown of San Diego (where he sucks every year), his worst finish of the 2019/20 season is a tie for 23rd at the Genesis.
Considering he has two playoff losses over that timeframe and Xander is a few shots away from being the early favorite for Player of the Year. What is most incredible about his early-season run, and why I love him this week, is he had this success without a single dominant putting tournament.
His best-putting performance came when he missed the cut in San Diego gaining only .5 strokes in 2 rounds. An insane ball-striking season has been the backbone of his success, with his best performance coming in his last appearance at the WGC Mexico, where he gained an incredible ten strokes on approach. He has had plenty of dominate putting performances over his career, showing backers he has the ability necessary to get hot.
While we aren’t getting quite the value here as there is later on the card, Xander has hit it so well that if he puts the putter together for four days, he could win this thing going away.
Henrick Stenson +4000 at Bovada.lv
While I am by no means a huge course history as a predictor guy, it is difficult to ignore what Stenson has done at Bay Hill. He comes in number 1 in the course history portion of my model with multiple top 5s, including a playoff loss in 2015. This makes sense when considering the strength of Stenson’s game.
Off the tee, he almost exclusively uses a 3 wood, and as mentioned above, Bay Hill is a less than driver course which sets up perfect for Stenson off the tee. He is 3rd within this field in proximity from 200+ yards of his last 50 rounds, and when the wind kicks up, the Sweede is in his element, coming in 3rd in the wind portion of my model.
Combine all this with the fact that Stenson
- Has gained strokes on approach in every tournament he has played on Tour since this event last year.
- He has already collected a win in 2019/20 season at the Hero
- This is a perfect spot for Stenson to finally break through at Arnie’s Tournament.
Ian Poulter Top 20 +300 at Bovada.lv
You will see a non-American theme to the card this week and for good reason. If you take away the greatest golfer of all time, only one American has won here since 2010. Many International players compare Bay Hill to what they see across the pond, so there is a sense of comfort when stepping into Arnie’s tournament.
For some reason, Poulter is one International player that is constantly overlooked as a viable outright target. This is a guy who has 17 professional wins, including three on the PGA Tour, 2 of which came at star-studded WGC events. His form is solid with 4 top 20s in 2019/20, two on the PGA Tour and two on the Euro Tour. Last week at the Honda he came in 27th despite gaining strokes in every major strokes gained category.
Similar to Stenson, this less than driver track fits Poulter perfectly as he can struggle off the tee, but his approach game is as good as anyone’s, coming in 23rd in strokes gained approach within this field in their last 50 rounds. He has excellent course history, 8th in my model, and of course, the Euro veteran has no problem with it starts to blow.
A top 20 at 3-1 is just silly, and I’ll be adding a sprinkle to his Outright price as well.
2u Lee Westwood -1.5 +100 Over Phil Mickelson at BetOnline.ag
Head to head full tournament handicapping is a combination of finding a guy you want to fade with a guy who is in solid form. The more significant, the bigger the play, and this is my largest play of the week. Phil has missed 3 of 4 cuts and threw in a 3rd at an event he has dominated over the years despite losing strokes on approach.
You can look at any sample to show how bad he has been, but this one is the most telling: Phil has lost strokes total on the field in 16 of this last 20 starts. Enter Westwood, who is probably the hottest player in the world. A 22nd at the WGC Mexico was followed up by a 4th last week at the Honda. A win proceeded these performances in January at the Abu Dhabi, a Euro event who’s field ranks as one of the strongest on that Tour all year.
My only hesitation in not making this an official “Drone Strike” is that the 46-year-old has played a lot of golf over the last couple of months, and hitting a wall is possible. Even with that said, one golfing veteran is going one way with older age, and the other is heading in an entirely different direction. In the Retirement Home Play of the Week, lay the strokes with Mr. Westwood.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Outright Plays
|Outrights||Odds||Stake (Unit)||To Win|
|Total Units Invested:||2.11|
Arnold Palmer Invitational Head To Head Plays
|FULL TOURNAMENT HEAD TO HEAD
|Westwood -1.5 o Phil||100||2||2|
|Cauley o Howell||-105||2.1||2|
|Carl o Na||-110||1.1||1|
|English -1.5 o Kokrak||120||1||1.2|
|Reed -1.5 o Brooks||115||1||1.15|
|DeChambeau o Fleetwood||100||1||1|
|Ancer -1.5 o Hovland||115||1||1.15|
That is it for this week! As always, thank you for reading and make sure you follow my Twitter @jmazzjd. I’ll be releasing my full card there on Wednesday morning as well as any Outright adds tournament progresses.