GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the Arnold Palmer Invitational based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

We were within striking distance up and down the card last week, with five of our six picks for the WGC-Workday Championship finishing inside the top 15, plus four of our six picks for the Puerto Rico Open coming inside the top 11. Only the wins count here, though, and we're back at it his week for one of the Tour's mainstays. It's been five years since an American won the API, and each of the past four winners had a prior top-five finish at the course.

That may be a bit too narrow to cut off possible options, but suffice to say we'll be far more interested in golfers with history at Bay Hill and at least one strong result on their resume. We've seen Matt Every repeat here and Tiger Woods win eight times, so prior winners are very much in play for the right price. Aside from Every, Bay Hill consistently produces a high-class winner and we must keep that well in mind as we scroll through the offerings.

For more info on Bay Hill Club & Lodge, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Bryson DeChambeau (+1300) - We may well look back and realize we overthought it not just picking Rory McIlroy (+850) to lead off our card, but on a long winless streak offered at a single-digit price, McIlroy is just not that appealing this week. We'll gladly play Rory in our daily fantasy lineups, but our betting card starts this week with the powerful DeChambeau. He was fourth here last year, just warming up his new style of musclebound golf before going all the way in after the pandemic layoff. We know he's going to be at the top of the driving stats, and with the way his game is right now he really just needs to do one other thing well to find himself in contention.

Sungjae Im (+2300) - Im has the all-around game to survive the worst that Bay Hill can throw at him, and with back-to-back third-place finishes in his first two trips to Bay Hill, he clearly finds it to his eye even in difficult conditions. A runner up finish at Augusta National and a win at PGA National gives him elite finishes at two of our comparable tracks, and with some consistency with the putter recently, Sungjae could be primed to go on a run of strong finishes and we can get in early and hedge our bets on a Top 10 Finish (+210).

Value Spots

Francesco Molinari (+3100) - Molinari has a win and three more top 10s to his name, and after a forgotten 2020 campaign, he looks back to his old self. He relocated to California, and while we could exercise some caution that his three top 10s in the last four events were all in the Golden State, his confidence is finally back and his Bay Hill history can only amplify that. His improbable come-from-behind victory in 2019 was the last great moment of his peak. It's only right that he cement his return to the world's elite with a victory here.

Marc Leishman (+4600) - After finishing as the runner-up at his event last year, Leishman was on a stretch of 10 made cuts and had hoisted the trophy at Torrey Pines just six weeks earlier. Then came the pandemic layoff and play stoppage until the Tour resumed action at Colonial in mid-June. Leishman's season from that point forward was, quite simply, a disaster. It's certainly possible that he was more impacted than most by the events of the world, as he was when he withdrew from the 2016 Olympics due to concerns about the Zika virus. Whatever the reason, Leishman was close to the worst regular on Tour week in and week out, not just missing cuts but closer to dead last than the cut line.

But since a T13 at The Masters, Leishman has been much more like his old self, with just one missed cut in six starts since Augusta that includes a T4 at the Sony Open and a T18 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He's played Bay Hill every year since 2010, with a win in 2017, a T3 in 2011, and a T7 in 2018 to go along with his runner-up last year. His season went off the rails after this event a year ago, and it would be fitting if he can solidify his return with a strong showing in this edition.

Long Shots

Kevin Kisner (+7000) - Kisner has played a light schedule to start the season, skipping the West Coast events entirely. He knocked the rust off last week at the WGC-Workday Championship with a T41 despite losing almost five strokes ballstriking. We are more interested in his work on bermuda greens this week, as he gained 1.2 strokes last week, 2.8 at the Sony Open, 3.0 at the Tournament of Champions, and 4.6 at the RSM Classic. That he avoided poa altogether makes his preferences clear, and the long layoff puts him up at longer odds than he otherwise would be had he just played more recently. We're most keen on his runner-up finish here to Leishman in 2017.

Ian Poulter (+15000) - Poulter makes a home in Florida and is a stalwart in the API field, with 10 straight made cuts highlighted by a T3 in 2012. He was seven shots back of Woods in a blowout win, but the larger picture shows he has a comfort level at the course in a variety of conditions. He's non-American and has a top five in his history, and a win would mean a whole heck of a lot when it comes to Ryder Cup pick consideration. That being said, it's a long week and this would be a massive surprise, but a hot round or two is definitely possible and he's worth a sheckle for First Round Leader (+8000).