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PGA Power Rankings: Top 5 for Arnold Palmer Invitational

The 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational is set to have the best golfers on the PGA Tour return to compete in the Sunshine State in Orlando, Florida. PGA handicapper Matt MacKay is here with his power rankings ahead of Thursday's opening round.
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PGA Power Rankings: Top 5 for Arnold Palmer Invitational

We were treated to quite an event at the 2023 Honda Classic during the first leg of the Florida events on the PGA Tour. While most of the high-profile golfers took the event off to rest or practice for the upcoming Arnold Palmer Invitational, Chris Kirk and rookie Eric Cole dueled on the back nine, with Kirk earning his fifth outright win and first since 2015 during a dramatic one-hole playoff on the 18th hole. It was filled with entertaining, pressure-packed moments for these two players, who outperformed other notable names like Shane Lowry, Sungjae Im, and Sepp Straka throughout the four rounds at PGA National Resort.

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The stakes get even higher heading into the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational. The field is packed with stars and elite talent, ranging from Jon Rahm, who has already won three events this season, to Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy, amongst many others. Scheffler is the defending champion at Bay Hill and defended his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open a couple of weeks ago, making him a player worth serious consideration from a betting perspective. McIlroy won here in 2018 with a final score of -18-under-par, while Scheffler won with a meager five-under-par finish in 2022.

Despite Scheffler's success at this event last year and his win at the WMPO in mid-February, he is +1000 to win outright at the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rahm leads all players as the betting favorite at +650, while McIlroy is the only other player with higher odds than Scheffler. Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, and Justin Thomas are the only other players with 20/1 odds or higher in a star-studded field ahead of Thursday's opening round. Here are our picks, predictions, and odds in the form of power rankings ahead of the opening tee times from Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Time and Where to Watch

  • Date - Thursday, March 2nd - Sunday, March 5th, 2023
  • Opening Tee Time - 7:00 a.m. ET - 2 p.m. ET
  • Where - Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Florida
  • Where to Watch - ESPN+, Golf Channel, NBC

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Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds

Jon Rahm+700
Rory McIlroy+1000
Scottie Scheffler+1100
Max Homa+1900
Collin Morikawa+2100
Justin Thomas+2300
Xander Schauffele+2400
Will Zalatoris+2500
Patrick Cantlay+2800
Tony Finau+2800

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Arnold Palmer Invitational Course

Bay Hill is the typical Florida course on the PGA Tour. Numerous water hazards and sand bunkers are flanking the fairways and greens, demanding precision with tee shots and approach shots alike. Ball striking will be at a premium, per usual. Still, there is a bit more relief in comparison to PGA National last weekend, as players will navigate a par 72 that runs 7,439 yards with four par 3s and four par 5s evenly distributed on the front and back nine.

The first couple of holes on the front nine don't feature any water, but the second hole is a lengthy par 3 that tips at 227 yards. While there may be more par 5s at Bay Hill, they are lengthy holes to conquer, averaging over 550 yards. Strong drivers and irons will be a necessity to reaching the green for eagle and birdie opportunities. Players will have quite a few doglegged fairways, which include tree lines and more narrow fairways, adding to the challenges of avoiding sand and water while reaching the smaller greens ahead of schedule.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Power Rankings

1. JON RAHM (+650) Bet $100 to collect $750. FanDuel has the best odds, click here

It's chalky to roll with Jon Rahm, but it'd be unwise to fade the 28-year-old Spaniard. He's on fire right now and dominating nearly every event he's competed in on the PGA Tour. Rahm has won three of six events outright, including his most recent appearance at Genesis Invitational, where he scored -17-under-par to outpace Max Homa. Rahm ranks first in quite a few metrics and is top-ten in five of six strokes gained categories. It also helps that he's converting nearly 76 percent of his greens in regulation. +650 is a low value for PGA betting, but sportsbooks set it this high for a reason. He placed T17 at Bay Hill in 2022, so expect Rahm to drastically improve by staying near or atop the leaderboard in Orlando this weekend.

2. SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER (+1000) Bet $100 to collect $1100. FanDuel has the best odds, click here

We're already getting good value with the reigning Arnold Palmer Invitational champion. Scottie Scheffler is typically first or second in PGA Tour events regarding his outright odds, but he's being slept on a bit by the books here, getting 10/1 odds in his return to Bay Hill. Scheffler already proved that he could defend his title at an event based on his win at the 2023 WMPO, but he's also collected three other T12 finishes or better since January. He's a wizard off the tee, ranked second in strokes gained off-the-tee, while also ranking first in fringe scrambling and second in GIR conversion rate at 75 percent. I love Scheffler's value to repeat at Bay Hill.

3. MAX HOMA (+1800) Bet $100 to collect $1900. FanDuel has the best odds, click here

Max Homa has put the PGA Tour on notice with his improved skill set this season. The 32-year-old California native has been a professional for a decade. Still, he's been tearing it up lately, earning two outright wins since September, which is a third of his total career victories. Homa nearly added a third at Riviera, but Rahm was in the zone and stayed ahead down the stretch. Previous finishes of T17, T10, and T24 indicate that he's comfortable at Bay Hill and should be competing for the winning purse and hardware once Sunday afternoon arrives. At 18/1, we're getting good value with one of the Tour's most improved players.

4. WILL ZALATORIS (+2500) Bet $100 to collect $2600. Pointsbet has the best odds, click here

Dipping down into the 20-1 odds range, Will Zalatoris is a player who stands out to me. The 26-year-old American has only played in four events this season, partially due to recovering from a back injury. However, he still earned a fourth-place finish at Genesis and T11 at Sentry in early January. Zalatoris is built for big events, as he's shown throughout his brief but impressive career, so getting 25/1 odds on him to win his first outright event of the season is great value to acquire. He's ranked first in approach putt performance, Round 4 scoring average (65.3), and hits over 73 percent of greens in regulation. Don't sleep on Zalatoris at Bay Hill, where he's previously drawn finishes of T38 and T10.

5. SAM BURNS (+4000) Bet $100 to collect $4100. Unibet has the best odds, click here

We haven't seen Sam Burns return to the elite form he showed us during 2022, where the Louisiana native won three outright events, but he looked good at The American Express and WMPO roughly a month ago. The 26-year-old missed his first cut at Genesis, so don't expect a repeat performance at Bay Hill, especially with an extra week of rest and practice to prepare. Burns is ranked sixth, putting from 10 feet, averages 66.8 in the third round, and one putt 45.4 percent of the time. Previous finishes of T9, MC, and T36 show a wide range of outcomes, but it's worth sprinkling on Burns' upside, especially at 40/1 odds.

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Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.


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