Arnold Palmer Invitational Sleepers and Value Picks: Bet on Hatton, Fowler at Bay Hill
Arnold Palmer Invitational Sleepers and Value Picks: Bet on Hatton, Fowler at Bay Hill
Bay Hill has always been a famous Tour stop, first because of its affinity with designer, Arnold Palmer, and secondly because of Tiger Woods winning eight times here in his career. This week though, we will see an incredibly strong field, one much stronger than we typically see at this event.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational follows in the lead of the WM Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational as elevated events on the PGA Tour, meaning all the best players on Tour play for a huge purse this week.
That means we see the interchanging trio of Jon Rahm, Rory McIroy, and, Scottie Scheffler, who continue to battle it out for the No.1 spot! After returning to World Number 1, when defending his Phoenix Open title, Scheffler got to enjoy that for all of one week, before Jon Rahm won AGAIN, this time at Riviera.
McIlroy and Scheffler have both won this event, with the latter the defending champion again this week, as he looks to make it back-to-back wins at a tournament, just like he did in Phoenix two starts ago. Rahm on the other hand is playing this event for just the second time, finishing 17th on debut last year. With these three players all in the field, all in form, and all clearly capable of playing well at this course, it is no surprise to see some deep odds on your favorite players this week.
Taking all this into account, let's look at our favorite sleepers and value picks for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as we look for a longshot who can take down the big three at Bay Hill this weekend.
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What is Required to Succeed at the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational?
Here are the top statistics to look at, ahead of the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational
- SG: Tee to Green
- Greens in Regulation
- Par 3 Scoring
Five of the last five winners of this event have ranked 13th or better in SG Tee to Green the week they won here. Francesco Molinari was also the only winner in this span to win without ranking inside the top 13 in SG Approach, as he ranked 34th in that department that week. This is clearly a ball strikers paradise.
For those that are followers of more traditional stats, four of the last five winners here have ranked inside the top 9 for Greens in Regulation for the week. Rory McIlroy (45th in GIR) is the sole exception, back in 2018.
There is going to be a lot of focus on the Par 5's this week and rightly so, but it appears good Par 3 scoring actually has more of an impact. Each of the last six winners have ranked inside the top 6 for Par 3 scoring the week they won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Scottie Scheffler played the Par 5's better than anybody else last year, and Bryson DeChambeau ranked 3rd in that department, but before that the three previous winners had not ranked any higher than 15th for Par 5 Scoring, with Molinari ranking 54th on the week.
Good Bermuda Putting is always important in the Florida swing, and that will clearly be the case here as well. If someone turned around their putting form last week at the Honda, in their first Florida start of the season, that player may be worth a second look for your value and sleeper picks this week.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Trends
To help you potentially unearth a strong value or sleeper pick for the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational, here are multiple trends that might help you narrow down your search criteria!
- 5 of the last 6 winners of the Arnold Palmer Invtational had already posted a top 5 in this event previously. Scottie Scheffler, who finished T15 on debut, is the exception.
- There have been seven players who have won this event more than once, with Matt Every in 2015 the last to achieve this feat. Tiger Woods won here an astonishing eight times in his career, so course form has been a strong indicator here.
- Only one player has won this event on debut (Robert Gamez, 1990)
- Before Bryson and Scheffler won here, the previous five winners were all international players, with the wind often a factor that plays into strong links players hands.
These trends suggest we are looking for:
- A player who's performed well at Bay Hill before
- Someone who can cope with strong winds
Do Sleeper and Value Picks Win the Arnold Palmer Invitational?
Here are the pre-tournament odds of the last 10 winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational
2022 - Scottie Scheffler +2000
2021 - Bryson DeChambeau +1300
2020 - Tyrrell Hatton +5500
2019 - Francesco Molinari +3300
2018 - Rory McIlroy +2000
2017 - Marc Leishman +10000
2016 - Jason Day +1400
2015 - Matt Every +30000
2014 - Matt Every +6600
2013 - Tiger Woods +300
The average winning price of the last 10 winners here at Bay Hill hovers around the +6200 mark, but that is inflated in a big way by Matt Every's 300-1 win when defending champion. With that said, the likes of Leishman at 100-1 and Tyrrell Hatton at 55-1 provides some confidence for sleepers and value bettors.
It is important to note that this is an elevated event this time round, therefore the field strength is stronger, and it may just be we have to settle for another short-priced favorite winning.
The good news is, there is still some incredible value to be had out there, and any player below is capable of mixing it with the big boys.
Let's see who rates out as the best of these longshots, as we look for value and sleeper picks for the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Value and Sleeper Selections for the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Here are my value and sleeper selections for the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational. All of these plays are +4000 or bigger in the outright market, in order to qualify for the value and sleeper pick criteria!
Tyrrell Hatton Outright +4500 (Claim a $50 Free Bet at DraftKings)
Tyrrell Hatton loves this event, and he was close to adding himself to the list of multiple winners, when finishing 2nd here to Scottie Scheffler 12 months ago, two years after winning this title back in 2020.
The scoring has been tough in each of these renewals, with Hatton winning at -5 in 2020, before Scheffler won at -4 last year. Strong winds are forecast once again this week, and with his obvious course form, and pedigree in links events, he makes perfect sense again this week.
Hatton has finished 1st, 2nd, and, 4th here, and has never missed the cut at Bay Hill, making him one of the more reliable options on paper. Even if the scoring gets lower, he can adapt, as he did when 4th on debut in 2017, when the winning score was -11.
Hatton ended 2022 with a 2nd place finish at the DP World Tour Championship, and he's posted two top 9's already in 2023, so he's clearly in good shape.
He is hitting the ball well, and he must walk onto Bay Hill's property with all the confidence in the world
40-1 on a course winner, who has already started the new year well, looks a great price to me.
Chris Kirk Outright +6500 ($1000 No Sweat Bet at FanDuel)
This feels a bit too obvious after his win last week, but I am happy to go in on Chris Kirk again at Bay Hill this week.
Kirk's ball-striking numbers have stood out all season long, and it appears all it took was to get on Bermuda greens to elevate his results. Kirk is now a 3-time winner on Bermuda Grass courses, and while back-to-back wins is a tough ask, especially with this strength of field, Kirk has been playing really well tee to green all year long, so there's no real reason for him to struggle this week.
Kirk ranked 5th in SG Tee to Green last week, and 8th in SG Approach en-route to victory, and any sort of continuation like that would certainly see him in the mix again this weekend.
In terms of course form, Kirk ticks the trend boxes nicely, as he finished 5th here last year and was 8th in 2021 as well. Overall, in 10 starts at this event, Kirk has made the cut 9 times, and has finished inside the top 16 on eight of those occasions. Maybe a recent win will provide the confidence he needs to just get over the line here now.
Kirk is a strong enough wind player to deal with the conditions here, hence his incredible form at this event, and I think he can at least threaten the top 5 of the leaderboard again.
Rickie Fowler Outright +8500 ($1000 No Sweat Bet at FanDuel)
We are seeing a strong renaissance from the like of Justin Rose and Jason Day this season, but one name perhaps more exciting than anyone else, is Rickie Fowler. This is a player who has finished runner-up in three of the four majors, and inside the top 3 of all. On top of that, he has won some prestigious titles, and he'd love to add this one to the collection this week.
Fowler is a two-time winner in Florida having won the Honda Classic, and the fifth major, the PLAYERS Championship, and now he can etch his name into history further this week, with a win at Bay Hill.
Fowler is striping the ball right now, ranking inside the the top-9 in SG Approach in each of his past four events, and his all-round game has improved week-on-week as well. His SG Tee to Green numbers are trending in the right direction, ranking, 54-26-22-12 in those same four starts.
His course form is a bit patch in terms of top finishes, but he's made 11 of 12 cuts here, and does fit the trend of a previous top 5 here, as he finished 3rd in 2013. He was also 5th after 54 holes on his second start here in 2011. He went on to finish 30th, but his overall group of results show just how well he can score round here.
More recently Fowler has finished 12th (2017), 14th (2018), and 18th (2020) at this event, so now he's playing some of his best golf again, he should be right up for this test. Fowler equaled his best-ever finish at Riviera last time out, where he finished in a tie for 20th, so plenty of stock should be put into that effort, as it is not a course he finds easy to play.
The final piece of the puzzle is the fact he needs to climb 20 places in the World Rankings to book a Masters spot, so his next two weeks, here, and at the PLAYERS Championship, are critical.
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!