After a run of back-to-back outright winners, we came up a little short last weekend. One of my outright picks in Viktor Hovland did finish second though, so we were right there until the end.
Betting on golf always seems to come down to the wire, which is why I’ve become hooked. All you can ask for is to be in the mix on the back-nine come Sunday, which has been the case the last three weekends. Let’s dig in and see if we can keep it rolling.
This week we shift our sights onto Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The course measures at 7,454 yards for a par 72. The weather will definitely be something to keep an eye on, especially with how much water is on this course. If it gets windy over the weekend, lookout.
Rory McIlroy comes in as the favorite to win it all at +850.
As for my betting picks, nothing groundbreaking here, but aside from digging into the data (RickRunGood.com database), I try to look for guys that have had past success at the particular course, value, and players that are trending in the right direction coming into the event.
Now to our best bets...
2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Dates: March 4-7
Course: Bay Hill Golf Course, Orlando, Florida
Watch: GOLF/ NBC
Picks to win outright
Viktor Hovland +1200
I'm going back to the well with Hovland again this week. Is there anyone playing more consistently than him right now? He has finished sixth or better in four straight events and could’ve had a chance at winning last weekend if not for that wild quadruple bogey hole.
When you look at metrics like Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Ball Striking, Hovland is in the top-5 for both over his last 24 rounds. If you do go chalk, he is my favorite of the bunch.
Sungjae Im +2500
I hate listing Im under longshots, but I try to put guys who are 25-1 or longer in this section. Im has played excellent in Florida, as he’s had four top-5 finishes in the state over the last two years, including a win at the 2020 Honda Classic. I love that he has also finished third in his two trips to Bay Hill. Going into the weekend with that confidence will be big come Sunday.
This nugget from Rick Gehman also helps:
Another plus, Im loves putting on Bermudagrass greens. He finished 28th last weekend, but was in the mix throughout the event. At 25-1, he is definitely worth a little pizza money.
Sam Burns +4500
Burns has the goods to make a run this weekend. To win this event, you need to be solid off the tee and putt well. Burns comes into this week possessing that combination. He ranks seventh in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last 36 rounds and fourth in putting on Bermudagrass over that same period of time.
He’s been knocking on the door recently and has made the cut at Bay Hill each of the past three years. This is his chance to make the leap. I can see him putting it all together this weekend, especially at 45-1.
A couple of other sleepers I have sprinkles on are Will Zalatoris (+5000) and Erik van Rooyen (+17500). Zalatoris comes into this striking the ball very well, and has four top-25 finishes in his last five events. I watched van Rooyen play last weekend and he showed me some flashes. His strokes gained metrics have been improving, and he is definitely worth a nibble at this number.
Francesco Molinari top-20 +138
Molinari fits what I love to look for when picking outrights. He comes into this event in great form, as he has had three top-10 finishes in his first four starts of 2021. He also won this event in 2019 and has three other top-10 finishes in his last five times at Bay Hill. I will also have a sprinkle on him at +3000, but like the + money in this spot as a small safety net.
As always, make sure you shop around for the best lines. Good luck and let’s make some money.
*Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook