The Arnold Palmer Invitational odds
Rory McIlroy has reclaimed the No. 1 world ranking this year, but he has yet to claim a victory in 2020 despite top-five finishes in each of his three starts. Sportsbooks believe that’s bound to change with only half of the top-10 players in this week’s field at The Arnold Palmer Invitational.
McIlroy finished tied for sixth at Bay Hill last year after a final-round 72 – highest among anyone who finished in the top 10 – and those Sunday hiccups have followed the Northern Irishman into 2020. McIlroy lost by three shots at the Farmers Insurance Open to Marc Leishman, who beat McIlroy by four shots on Sunday. A few weeks later, Adam Scott won The Genesis Invitational by two shots with a final-round 70. McIlroy finished three shots off the pace, carding a 73 on Sunday.
McIlroy was in the mix again the following week at the WGC-Mexico Championship, posting four rounds in the 60s. That included a solid 68 on Sunday, but he still was four shots behind Patrick Reed, who posted 69-63-67-67 for the week. All of the players mentioned above will tee it up this week in the final preparation before next week’s The Players Championship.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational Best Bets to Win
McIlroy is the overwhelming betting favorite at most every book, including being
offered at +500 at PointsBet and William Hill. The next closest is Tommy Fleetwood, with the Englishman being offered at +1400 by both books after finishing third last week. Fleetwood has yet to claim that elusive first PGA Tour title – with commentator Paul Azinger creating a cross-continent social media feud by pointing out as much during Sunday’s final round at The Honda Classic. However, Fleetwood arrives at Bay Hill in excellent form, with a win, two runner-ups, a solo third and two other top-20 finishes in his past six worldwide starts. He also finished T3 in Arnie’s event a year ago.
Fourteenth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau is the third betting favorite at both books at +1600. The bulked-up DeChambeau finished second in his last start in Mexico after a tied for fifth at The Genesis. DeChambeau also finished second at Bay Hill two years ago, although he struggled to a tied for 46th last year. A fascinating group to watch during the first two rounds will be DeChambeau paired with Reed – two of the more polarizing figures in the world of golf – and the affable Phil Mickelson. Reed enters the week ranked ninth following his eighth career PGA Tour victory in Mexico and is being offered at +2500 by both books.
Some Longshot Bets and Betting Odds for this Weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational
So, too, is Sungjae Im, with the South Korean coming off his first Tour victory. It was only a matter of time before the reigning Rookie of the Year broke through, and that time came last Sunday at the treacherous PGA National. Not only did Im vault to No. 25 in the world rankings, the South Korea finished tied for third at Bay Hill last year. He’ll tee it up for the first two rounds with Leishman (+4000 by both books) and Rickie Fowler. Despite being among the top 10 lowest odds at +3000 at William Hill and +3300 at PointsBet, Fowler has tumbled from seventh to 27th over the past year and has missed two of his past three cuts.
It’s a similar story for Justin Rose, who is +4000 at both books. Ranked No. 1 in the
world entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational a year ago, Rose arrives at No. 13 this week with a pair of missed cuts in his past three starts. Rose is playing with McIlroy and defending champion Francesco Molinari, who has continued his even more precipitous freefall since imploding on Sunday at last year’s Masters. The Italian doesn’t have a top-20 since the BMW Championship in September and has three missed cuts and a tied for 53rd in 2020. So it stands to reason why William Hill is offering him at +9000 and PointsBet at +10000.
The other featured group includes a trio of intriguing options. Scott has won two of his past three starts while rising to No. 7 in the world. However, he skipped this event after tying for 41st the previous year, and doesn’t offer tremendous odds at +2200 by both books. By contrast, fellow Australian Jason Day won the event wire-to-wire in 2016, but had to withdraw last year due to a thumb injury. He has been dealing with ongoing back issues as well, and the former No. 1 hasn’t won since 2018. Day has shown flashes, including a fourth-place finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and is being offered at +3300 by both books.
And then there’s Brooks Koepka.
The enigmatic American enters the week at No. 3, joining McIlroy as the only top-six players teeing it up. But he has also posted only one top-20 since withdrawing from The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in October, and that came at the Saudi Invitational. In two events since, Koepka has a tied for 43rd at The Genesis and a missed cut last week. He notoriously uses regular Tour stops to build up for the marquee events like next week at TPC Sawgrass. Koepka missed the cut at Bay Hill last year and is being offered at +3000 by both books. That’s well below the likes of Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese star hasn’t won since 2017, but does have a tied for fifth and a tied for sixth in his past two starts and is being offered at +2000 by both books.
Looking for a sleeper?
Brendan Steele has acknowledged his fondness for the Bermuda grass found on the Florida swing. He finished tied for 17th at Bay Hill last year and is coming off a tied for fourth at The Honda Classic after playing in the final group on Sunday.
Steele isn’t known for being a strong Sunday closer, but does have four career PGA wins and is being offered at +8000 by William Hill and +9000 by PointsBet. Another one to watch is Ben An (+4000 at both). Not only did he finish tied for 10th at Bay Hill last year, the South Korean went 66-68-67 over the final three rounds last week after opening with a 76. It was the lowest final 54-hole score in the field, and An also finished T9 two starts ago at the Phoenix Open.