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Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds Preview: Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy Lead the Way at Bay Hill

With 16 of the top-30 players in the world making the trip to Bay Hill this week, we are in for a much stronger event with the Arnold Palmer Invitational than we saw at the Honda Classic last time out.
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Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds Preview: Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy Lead the Way at Bay Hill

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy will be star attractions, but defending champion, Bryson DeChambeau will bring his own intrigue, as will Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama, and recent maiden winner, Scottie Scheffler.

How To Watch The Arnold Palmer Invitational

  • Thursday-Friday: 2 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday: 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel)
  • Sunday: 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)

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Qualifying Criteria For The Arnold Palmer Invitational

Former winners of Arnold Palmer Invitational

  • Major Winners (Five-year exemption)
  • THE PLAYERS Championship winners (Five-year exemption)
  • WGC Match Play Winners (2019 & 2021)
  • Genesis Invitational Winners (2020-2022)
  • Tournament Winner in the past year
  • Member of most recent European Ryder Cup team
  • Winner of prior year's U.S. Amateur Championship
  • Winner of Arnold Palmer Award (Previous season's Rookie of the Year)
  • Top-50 in OWGR
  • Sponsor's Exemptions
  • Top-70 prior season's FedEx Cup
  • Top-70 current season's FedEx Cup
  • PGA Section Champ/Player of the Year
  • Below 70th position on current FedEx Cup Points List

Last Year

It was a really tough day for scoring on Sunday here last year, and the winner, Bryson DeChambeau used his distance to his advantage. Bryson's 71 matched the lowest round of the day, and that was the first time since 1980 that nobody in the field broke 70 on Sunday at Bay Hill.

This was where we saw the creation of DeChambeau's NFT as he launched the ball over the water on the par-5 6th, with a 377-yard drive, and he proceeded to hold his arms aloft like he'd won the tournament there and then.

While he was solid all day, Bryson never managed to shake Westwood by more than one stroke at any point during the last 15 holes of the day, so it went right to the wire, in what was a classic duel, and a complete contrast in styles.

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Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds

+800Jon Rahm
+1400Rory Mcllroy
+1800Scottie Scheffler
+1800Viktor Hovland
+2800Bryson DeChambeau
+2800Hideki Matsuyama
+3000Matthew Fitzpatrick
+3200Sungjae Im
+3300Tyrrell Hatton
+3300Will Zalatoris
+3500Adam Scott
+3500Marc Leishman
+4500Paul Casey

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The Favorites

Jon Rahm (+800) (Bet $100 to Win $800)

Jon Rahm will continue to be a favorite until he has a bad week of note. The last few weeks have not seen him contend as heavily as he would like, but he's still putting his name up on the leaderboard.

This is his course debut, so there's not really any way of knowing how he will do just yet, but given the emphasis on strong mid-to-long iron play and a solid all-around game, the World No.1 is likely to be a factor.

Rory McIlroy (+1400) (Bet $100 to Win $1400)

Rory McIlroy has won this event and over the past 10 years has the best form of anybody in the field in this event, so he has every right to be here at the top of the market, given he's finished T12-3-T10 in three starts in 2022.

He should have won the Dubai Desert Classic, and thanks to Joaquin Niemann and Cameron Young's brilliance through the first three rounds at Riviera, he never looked close to winning when 10th there, but even without his best stuff, he is finding himself on the first page of the leaderboard early in the year.

Since making his debut here in 2011 and finishing 11th, McIlroy has only finished worse than that once (T27 in 2016), so his last five straight starts have yielded top-10 finishes, with his victory in 2018 the highlight.

I would argue McIlroy could be given the edge as favorite in the market this week, with the best course form and third-best current form of anyone in this field.

Viktor Hovland (+1800) (Bet $100 to Win $1800)

Perhaps surprisingly, Viktor Hovland has played here three times already and while his course form of 40-42-49 is nothing to write home about, he was 3rd after 36-holes here last year, before a 77-78 weekend put to sword any chances of him winning.

Hovland keeps performing to an incredibly high clip, and while he does have the one missed cut (Phoenix Open) on his record in 2022, he's already won the Dubai Desert Classic and finished T4 at both Riviera and the Abu Dhabi Championship, so he's in fine fettle.

He may struggle around the greens here if he doesn't bring his A-game, but that part of his game looked slightly better at times at Riviera, and such is his tee-to-green prowess, he should hopefully not find himself in tough spots too often.

At 18/1 it was right on the line for me, and if you got the early 20/1 you should probably feel good about it.

Scottie Scheffler (+1800) (Bet $100 to Win $1800)

Scottie Scheffler won in Phoenix and then impressed again at Riviera, finishing T7 in his first start as a PGA Tour winner, and I suspect this good form will continue.

Scheffler has played here once, two years ago, and finished T15, sitting 3rd after round 1 and 9th after 54 holes, so he was on the first page of the leaderboard after two of the four rounds.

He has the perfect game for Bay Hill, so I see no reason why another good week isn't coming.

The price is getting to the point where you have to draw a line, and this is probably the minimum I would want to play Scheffler at, in a field that features Rahm and McIlroy.

Bryson DeChambeau (+2800) (Bet $100 to Win $2800)

Bryson's finish this week is largely going to depend on his health. Like Daniel Berger last week, he will seem an attractive price come Thursday if we hear anything about his health, based on his course form alone.

DeChambeau who is the defending champion this week, is second only to Rory in this field in terms of course form, over the past decade, making 5 of 5 cuts and finishing 2nd, 4th, and 1st in three of his past four starts here.

At the +2800 it might be worth taking a flyer on him, especially if anything comes out to say he's injury-free, but in his latest Instagram post, the suggestion is he's hoping he can play and play well, more than expected at this stage, which is not a good spot to be in against the best in the world.

Hideki Matsuyama (+2800) (Bet $100 to Win $2800)

In seven starts here, Matsuyama has made all his cuts which is impressive enough, but with only one top-10 to his name in that span (T6 in 2016), he will need to improve on what he's done here in the past, to have a chance.

His 6th place finish came courtesy of a final-round 67, and that was the only time in his career he has ended a round inside the top-10 here, so while he's been very steady, he has yet to really breakthrough at this layout.

He's capable of winning on any given week and this course plays to his strength, so I would not be surprised to see him succeed here, I will just be looking elsewhere.

Incoming Form (2022)

Below are the top-10 in adjusted scoring average since the start of 2022:

  • Scottie Scheffler: 25-20-1-7
  • Matt Fitzpatrick: 6-10
  • Rory McIlroy - 12-3-10
  • Will Zalatoris - 6-2-26
  • Jon Rahm - 2-14-3-10-21
  • Viktor Hovland - 30-4-1-MC-4
  • Adam Scott - 10-9-38-4
  • Max Homa - 15-MC-14-10
  • Cameron Young - MC-40-20-26-2-16
  • Hideki Matsuyama - 13-1-30-8-39

If we remove Matt Fitzpatrick who's only played two events, the next man in is Billy Horschel (23-36-11-6-16).

Past Champions (10 Years)

  • 2021 - Bryson DeChambeau (-11) - 1 stroke victory
  • 2020 - Tyrrell Hatton (-4) - 1 stroke victory
  • 2019 - Francesco Molinari (-12) - 2 stroke victory
  • 2018 - Rory McIlroy (-18) - 3 stroke victory
  • 2017 - Marc Leishman (-11) - 1 stroke victory
  • 2016 - Jason Day (-17) - 1 stroke victory
  • 2015 - Matt Every (-19) - 1 stroke victory
  • 2014 - Matt Every (-13) - 12 stroke victory
  • 2013 - Tiger Woods (-13) - 2 stroke victory
  • 2012 - Tiger Woods (-13) - 5 stroke victory

Early Leans

Paul Casey (+4500) (Bet $100 to Win $4500)

In 9 of the last 12 renewals of this event, a European has either won or finished 2nd in this event, which of course may not mean a lot come Sunday, but it does at least show this is an event that allows an array of Europeans to contend.

In Casey's case, he has played here five times over the past decade, making four cuts and finishing inside the top-10 twice.

When 9th in 2016 he only sat outside the top-9 after one round (13th after 54 holes) and last year he was 7th after 36-holes and should he have a better weekend this time around, he can improve on his best efforts here.

Way back in 2007 Casey was 1st after round 1 and 2nd at the halfway stage here and while a 73-74 weekend only allowed him to finish 14th, he at least has experience of being in the mix here.

Casey has been top-10 in SG Tee-to-Green in his past two PGA Tour starts and in four starts in 2022 worldwide, he has finished T16-T12-T24-T15, with the latter coming at Riviera last time out. His 16th place finish in Singapore was impressive, given he opened with a 76 and was sat outside the top-100 after day one, and his effort at Riviera was impressive enough.

He is a two-time winner in Florida (both at the Valspar Championship) and as indicated in my course preview, the Houston Open has always provided some crossover, so all three of his PGA Tour wins are relevant this week. I love his chances at an attractive price.

Max Homa (+5000) (Bet $100 to Win $5000)

Max Homa has yet to break 70 in two starts at this event, but that can change this week, after two previous looks here and solid current form. On top of that, despite him not breaking 70, he's finished 24th and 10th in two starts here, and this looks right up his alley.

I loved what Homa did in Phoenix, where his game tee-to-green looked pretty strong, especially off-the-tee, where he ranked 5th. He also ranked 25th off-the-tee at Riviera, where he put up a strong title defense, finishing 10th.

Three top-15 finishes in his last four starts, and a good pair of starts here, Homa looks a great selection this week, as he continues to overcome his self-imposed "imposter syndrome".

Homa is one of the better players in the world at the moment and continues to play that way.

Keith Mitchell (+5000) (Bet $100 to Win $5000)

Let's keep rolling with Mitchell, until his form deserts him, or he becomes too short in the market.

The 35/1 was frowned upon last week but he posted another top-10, despite throwing away three shots over his last five holes, so a top-5 finish was more than within his grasp again.

He finished 6th here on debut, sitting 3rd after 36 holes, and when 5th on his second start he was in that position after day one and day four, so he's been solid so far.

Mitchell finished 43rd here last year, but he was coming in off the back of three-straight missed cuts then, whereas this week he's coming in with a form line of T7-MC-T12-T10-T9 so far in 2022.

This points to a trap spot, as the form has to end eventually, but I am willing to give him one more week, to see if he can parlay this form into a win, rather than a missed cut.

Jason Kokrak (+5000) (Bet $100 to Win $5000)

Jason Kokrak was always going to find it hard to keep up the strong form he's displayed across 2020 and 2021, but he's slowly creeping back to that level over the past weeks again, and I think he can contend here at a course he likes.

In his second and third starts at this course, Kokrak finished 4th and 6th, sitting 3rd after 54-holes on both occasions. That was in 2014 and 2015, but fast forward to the past three years, and he's kept that up, finishing 10th, 18th, and 8th.

He was 4th after a round 1 68 here last year, and an 8th place finish indicates he still likes this layout.

He'll need to improve his off-the-tee game which has not been at its best of the late, but he shot rounds of 67 and 66 at Riviera last time out, which tests this aspect of your game, and I think he can go well.

Sebastian Munoz (+13000) (Bet $100 to Win $13,000)

Munoz may well work better as a top-10/DraftKings play, but there is a lot to love about the Colombian, who is trending in the right direction.

So far in 2022, Munoz has finished 39-23-21 in his last three starts. When 21st at Riviera, he was 10th after 36 and 12th after 54 holes, and he's fired a second-round 65 at the Farmers and second-round 64 in Phoenix, so he's been playing some good stuff on Friday.

He opened with a 68 here last year to sit 4th going into Friday, and while it went downhill from there, the 49th was an improvement on the missed cut a year prior and shows he can hang around over the weekend.

Munoz has ranked 15th and 1st in his last two starts in SG Off-the-Tee and 4th and 3rd in the same two in SG Tee-to-Green overall.

Looking at the 2020 BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, there was some clear leaderboard crossover, with Kokrak and Matt Fitzpatrick both finishing T6 there and Rory McIlroy was T12 there and is a winner here, so I think Munoz's T8 finish there is a nice indicator.

Like Straka last week, Munoz is playing solid without really getting much out of it, and it may finally come to fruition this week and see him contend.

The Field

  • Paul Barjon
  • Sam Bennett
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout
  • Keegan Bradley
  • Hayden Buckley
  • Sam Burns
  • Jonathan Byrd
  • Paul Casey
  • Cameron Champ
  • Corey Conners
  • Cam Davis
  • Jason Day
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Rickie Fowler
  • Dylan Frittelli
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Doug Ghim
  • Lucas Glover
  • Talor Gooch
  • Branden Grace
  • Lanto Griffin
  • Padraig Harrington
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Russell Henley
  • Lucas Herbert
  • Garrick Higgo
  • Lee Hodges
  • Tom Hoge
  • Nicolai Hojgaard
  • Max Homa
  • Billy Horschel
  • Beau Hossler
  • Viktor Hovland
  • Charles Howell III
  • Sungjae Im
  • Stephan Jaeger
  • Zach Johnson
  • Matt Jones
  • Takumi Kanaya
  • Si Woo Kim
  • Chris Kirk
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Patton Kizzire
  • Greg Koch
  • Jason Kokrak
  • Anirban Lahiri
  • Martin Laird
  • Danny Lee
  • K.H. Lee
  • Min Woo Lee
  • Marc Leishman
  • Luke List
  • Adam Long
  • Peter Malnati
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Denny McCarthy
  • Graeme McDowell
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Maverick McNealy
  • Troy Merritt
  • Keith Mitchell
  • Taylor Moore
  • Trey Mullinax
  • Sebastián Muñoz
  • Kevin Na
  • Henrik Norlander
  • Sean O'Hair
  • Carlos Ortiz
  • John Pak
  • Taylor Pendrith
  • Pat Perez
  • Thomas Pieters
  • James Piot
  • Ian Poulter
  • Seamus Power
  • Andrew Putnam
  • Jon Rahm
  • Aaron Rai
  • Chez Reavie
  • Patrick Reed
  • Davis Riley
  • Patrick Rodgers
  • Justin Rose
  • Sam Ryder
  • Rory Sabbatini
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Adam Schenk
  • Charl Schwartzel
  • Adam Scott
  • Greyson Sigg
  • Alex Smalley
  • Brandt Snedeker
  • J.J. Spaun
  • Scott Stallings
  • Brendan Steele
  • Henrik Stenson
  • Sepp Straka
  • Kevin Streelman
  • Adam Svensson
  • Hudson Swafford
  • Nick Taylor
  • Sahith Theegala
  • Davis Thompson
  • Michael Thompson
  • Brendon Todd
  • Cameron Tringale
  • Kevin Tway
  • Erik van Rooyen
  • Matt Wallace
  • Nick Watney
  • Lee Westwood
  • Vince Whaley
  • Danny Willett
  • Aaron Wise
  • Matthew Wolff
  • Gary Woodland
  • Cameron Young
  • Will Zalatoris

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Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!


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