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The 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational is just around the corner! This weekend we'll see world-renowned golfers take the course in Florida. Johnny Covers is here to share his first-round leader predictions and picks.

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational First Round Leader Predictions, Picks: Viktor Hovland Leads the Way

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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 Prediction

The 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational is being played this week at Bay Hill Club & Lodge as part of the PGA TOUR's ongoing Florida Swing. Having been on the calendar every year since 1979, the tournament has been a cornerstone of the PGA TOUR, with one of the game's legends being front and center every year. But this year's competition will be an "elevated event," with a $20 million prize fund, which many consider a direct response to LIV Golf.

The par-72, 7,454-yard Bay Hill Club & Lodge features Bermudagrass greens, and if the winds pick up as they usually do, will once again be one of the most difficult tracks these guys see all year.

The fact that the event is "designated" ensures that all of the top TOUR players will be present this week once again. As a result, Orlando this week will host 44 of the top 50 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking and create a "Major-like" field of the world's very best. 

Let's take a closer look at three guys that could get off to a hot start.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks

Viktor Hovland (+4000) Bet $100 to collect $4100. DraftKings has the best odds, click here

Viktor Hovland came within one stroke of breaking through at Bay Hill last year, but a final-round 74 was his downfall as he came in one shot behind a blazing Scottie Scheffler. Additionally, Hovland finished third in the field for the week with 10.3 strokes added from the tee to the green. That day's conditions were challenging, so the fact that he persevered despite them bodes well for his chances this week. Additionally,  

So far this year, he is hitting the ball well off the tee, which is essential for playing well at Bay Hill, and has three top-20 finishes in four tries. He has improved by 3.6 strokes per event over his last 12 rounds, which places him third in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. The Arnold Palmer Invitational's winning formula is unquestionably long and straight, which helps compensate for Hovland's continual short-game issues that have plagued him.

Look for a hot start from Hovland here.

Tom Kim (+5500) Bet $100 to collect $5600. DraftKings has the best odds, click here

Although placing T-50 in Phoenix and T-45 in Los Angeles this season are obviously respectable finishes, they pale in comparison to the excellent caliber of work that Kim has done over the course of his first nine months on the tour. Bay Hill rewards great approach players, and no golfer in this field has gained as many approach strokes (0.75 per round) in as many rounds (67) since Kim's debut last summer.

Tommy Fleetwood (+6500) Bet $100 to collect $6600. DraftKings has the best odds, click here

Fleetwood has had six career starts here, made six cuts, and comes into the week two top-10 finishes and a T3. He is obviously familiar with Bay Hill and has a history of grinding in these loaded-field competitions. The Englishman could bounce back after a slow start to 2023 here.

The Arnold Palmer Invitationals Picks

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Article Author


Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.

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