2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds and Pick
The 2016 PGA Tour rages on this Thursday, when the 38th Arnold Palmer Invitational tees off at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.
The course stretches out to 7,419 yards and extends to a par of 72. Thanks to dicey greens, putting is at a premium, but the difficulty could potentially even things out across the field. In other words, rolling with the favorites may not be as easy or smart as it looks at first glance.
It’s going to be tough to write off defending champion Matt Every (+9000), even though Vegas clearly isn’t giving him much of a chance to defend his title of a year ago. Add Every (has won last two API tourneys) to the sleeper mix, ironically enough, but be sure to pour through the top golfers with the best odds, and pay some mind to some of our favorite sleepers.
Tiger Woods, who has been dominant at the API, leads a stacked list of big name golfers that won’t be partaking in the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson join that list, which could help open things up a little more for the favorite – Rory McIlroy (+500).
McIlroy certainly is not without competition, of course, as Adam Scott (+800) has the second best odds to take first place, followed by Henrik Stenson (+1200), Jason Day (+1400) and Justin Rose (+1400) to round out the top five.
All five are favorites for different reasons. McIlroy is simply the most talented golfer in this field, as Jordan Spieth won’t be participating and it really feels like he’s simply due. Rory finished 11th at least year’s API and earned his first top-5 finish of the young season two weeks ago at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. He could be heating up and use this as a springboard for The Masters.
Scott is probably the top favorite of most experts and he’s got the best odds per Vegas after McIlroy. That’s all for good reason, too, as he’s been smoking hot with back to back tournament wins. He’s also got four top-10 finishes in 2016 and has taken third at Bay Hill twice before.
Stenson, Day and Rose are all top shelf golfers and Vegas let’s us know that with their listed odds. Stenson has made all seven of his cuts at Bay Hill, while he’s crept closer to a win in each of his last four appearances in Orlando (second in his last appearance). He hasn’t been amazing this year, but he does have two 11th-place runs under his belt.
Day hasn’t had a ton of success in Florida, but he cracked the top-20 here last year and he has been okay in 2016 (three top 25 finishes in four tries). Rose is also a natural favorite to compete at a high level, as he’s fared quite well at this course and brings two top-three finishes to the table. Rose has been heating up in general lately, as well, finishing inside the top-17 in each of his last three tourneys.
Hideki Matsuyama (+2800) heads a great group of big name sleepers, as he’s the first recognizable name outside of the top five and almost cracked the top-20 in the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He had to withdraw two tourneys ago, and barely made it inside the top-40 in his last run, but has a win and two top-five places on the season. He’s a real threat for the crown.
Kevin Na, Ryan Moore (both at +3300) and Matt Kuchar are also on watch, but if you’re looking for a few better sleepers with odds that could be fun to play with, consider Brant Snedeker and Zach Johnson (+5000).
Snedeker has been quite good at this course (two top-15 finishes in his last two appearances at Bay Hill) and aside from a rib issue (caused him to withdraw last time out), he could be a real dark horse to make a deep run. Kuchar is an odd one, as he hasn’t played here since 2003, but he could return from the long break in style. He’s enjoyed a decent 2016 thus far, finishing inside the top-28 in each of his last three tries.
Need someone with insanely fun odds? Try Charles Howell III (+6600), K.J. Choi (+8000) and Smylie Kaufman (+10000).
Howell has been awesome at this course (made 13 of 15 cuts at Bay Hill) and comes in hot after cracking the top-five last week at the Valspar Championship. Choi is a major dark horse and is coming off a shaky showing last week, but does have two top-five finishes on the year. He could have the goods to turn bad odds into a big payout. Lastly is Kaufman, who is a rising rookie you should have heard of by now. He’s missed a couple of cuts, but already has a tourney win and has cracked the top-15 an impressive five times. Of all the sleepers, he and Every (last year’s winner) might be the funnest bets.
Ultimately, this is probably Adam Scott’s tournament to lose. The field is weeded out a bit and Rory McIlroy, as good as he is, has not been remotely the same guy so far in 2016.
This is still a competitive field, but Scott is insanely hot right now and even has a great history at this course. Vegas likes him, too, so while the return on the investment isn’t great, he’s probably the best bet to win and one of the safer plays for a top-10 finish.
If you’re merely looking for a high upside sleeper or someone to crack the top-10, we like the rookie – Kaufman.
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