GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the Arnold Palmer Invitational based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Three winners in a row! Patrick Reed (WGC-Mexico), Viktor Hovland (Puerto Rico Open), and Sungjae Im (Honda Classic) are all in the field again this week, and in this field with a clear cut number one and no one else particularly close, we end up with some terrific value on mid-range and long-shot options in a narrower field than normal.

We are looking for closers this week. In the past 10 years, we see winners at Bay Hill who have a certain air about them. Francesco Molinari was ruined by his water ball at Augusta a few weeks after his win here last year, but in the summer before he was just about unstoppable around the world. Aussie's Marc Leishman and Jason Day have a winner's mentality and are very successful PGA Tour pros. Even Matt Every, whose surprise win in 2014 was exceeded only by his shocking repeat the following year, proved that taking down the field at Arnie's gives you a mojo worth noticing. And our first pick has about as much mojo as you can possibly get right now...

For more info on Bay Hill Club & Lodge, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Rory McIlroy (+550) - This number is about as short as anyone will get on the PGA Tour, and it's not like we are talking about a B-level event with alternates here. This is still an invitation-only with 20 of the top 35 players in the Official World Golf Ranking in the field. So while this number may be tough to swallow for some, all it takes to see the value is McIlroy's look ahead odds for THE PLAYERS Championship, where he is listed at just a slightly higher +750 in arguably the strongest field of the season. Rory is on another level right now, and you can hardly be faulted for backing him as part of a top-heavy card.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1600) - Something clicked with Bryson off the tee recently, as he adopted a brute force approach that he hopes will transcend course set up and give him a baked-in advantage each and every week. It worked just fine in friendly conditions in Mexico, where DeChambeau finished runner up to Reed. Will he be able to sustain it at a course where clubbing down and keeping it in play off the tee has proven the more successful approach? That remains to be seen, but even with an iron in hand his ability to mash right now is right up there with McIlroy. In his past 12 rounds, DeChambeau has gained 15.2 strokes off the tee over his last 12 rounds according to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club. When golfers level up in a specific area and crush the competition even in a single aspect of the game, results often follow.

Value Spots

Marc Leishman (+3700) - With a win at Torrey Pines earlier this year, the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational Champion has both current form and course fit in his favor. Leishman has three other top 25s in the past four years to go with his victory, and his aptitude in windy conditions make him an ideal fit for Bay Hill. He is a well-rounded player who can sometimes get lost in a field of the very top players. He's priced well below his skill level this week and makes for a great investment in the mid-range. Two wins in four starts is a lot to ask, but he's a reliable cut maker and in this small field warrants a heavy investment at better than even money for a Top 30 Finish (+105).

Collin Morikawa (+4500) - Morikawa immediately became one of the most consistent golfers on Tour the moment he turned pro, having made every cut since the Travelers Championship last June. He is unproven on bermuda thus far in a very small sample, but the ballstriking profile compared with some awful recent short game performances point to a swing in the right direction. He's struggled with the short putts that experience can only help with, and if he plugs that hole he will be able to contend just about everywhere. He is another quality value for a Top 30 Finish (+130).

Long Shots

Abraham Ancer (+5500) - Ancer has climbed all the way to 29th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and even without several of the world's top players he checks in as the 23rd highest odds, just ahead of Max Homa (+6500, 78th in OWGR) and Maverick McNealy (+6500, 231st in OWGR). He is taking some action, having started the week at 66/1 and risen to 60/1 before settling at his current number. That type of action is worth noticing, and with top 10s in half his past six starts and most recently a T12 in a WGC event, Ancer is hard to ignore this week.

Kevin Na (+8000) - Speaking of golfers whose world ranking seems to have no bearing on their odds! Na is just one spot behind Ancer in the OWGR and, unlike Ancer, actually wins golf tournaments from time to time. He has 3 wins in the last 20 months and has popped for some good finishes of late. His most recent form is T9, cut, T14, cut, T17. He has put up some solid finishes at Bay Hill as well, with three finishes of T6 or better in the past eight years. The short game could well come into play this week if the wind picks up, and at this price, he is well worth the wager.