Arnold Palmer Invitational Round 4 Picks & Odds: Will Rory Chase Down Tyrrell Hatton?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Rory McIlroy
ORLANDO – Here’s hoping you had the over for Saturday’s third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Doesn’t even matter what the prop was, it likely went over.
The wind was blowing, the rough was thick and the greens were slick, resulting in an overall scoring average of 75.913. That’s 1.829 strokes higher than Friday and a whopping 3.359 higher than Thursday.
Max Homa was the lone player to break par, as his 2-under 70 was nearly six strokes better than the field average.
If you were thinking this was a one-off and Bay Hill would revert to a much easier track for Sunday’s final round, think again. I’m not sure we’ll have a scoring average quite this high again, but forecasted winds of 13-16 mph throughout the day should keep this from resembling some birdie-fest.
In each of the last two years, the eventual champion — Rory McIlroy in 2018 and Francesco Molinari last year — posted a final-round 64 to claim the title. This time, it might only take something in the area of 68-69 for a player who’s a handful of strokes off the lead to chase it down.
Tyrrell Hatton is the leader by two strokes and has odds of +250 to win ($10 bet pays $25). While that seems like a good number for a multiple-shot leader when scores aren’t low, Hatton is a combustible type who could snap in frustration at the continuing brutal conditions.
Rory McIlroy (+185) and Marc Leishman (+500) are both in a share of second place right now and there might be value in betting one of these past champions to win. Since 1970, there have been seven different multiple winners of this event, so a repeater is nothing new.
From there, the numbers only increase: Sungjae Im (+900), Harris English (+1600), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+1800) and Danny Lee (+2700) round out the remainder of the players inside 40-1. All of them are within three shots of the lead.
If you want to take a stab on a player outside this range, Collin Morikawa isn’t a bad option. With Tommy Fleetwood’s missed cut earlier this week, Morikawa now owns the PGA Tour’s longest made-cut streak, having never missed a weekend since turning pro. He remains six back entering the final round — and would have to leapfrog eight other players — but he’s eighth overall in strokes gained tee-to-green this week, so I don’t mind taking a flier on +6500.
Round 4 Matchup Picks
All bets below are -0.5 strokes, meaning the golfer selected needs to win by one stroke for the wager to cash. A tie is a loss.
Sam Burns (+155) over Max Homa
- Tee time: 12:30 p.m. ET
- Payout: $10 bet wins $15.50
Take nothing away from Homa: He easily had the best round of the day in the third round. But we all know how difficult it is to chase one low round with another. Burns has been solid this week, so give me the plus-money play.
Collin Morikawa (-135) over Patrick Rodgers
- Tee time: 12:50 p.m. ET
- Payout: $13.50 bet wins $10
It’ll be a classic Cal vs. Stanford battle here in Central Florida, but just as I mentioned Morikawa above for a potential lottery ticket outright play, I similarly like him against Rodgers, who’s continually improving in his own right.
Harris English (EVEN) over Sung Kang
- Tee time: 1:10 p.m. ET
- Payout: $10 bet wins $10
It was a brutal back-nine for Kang in the third round. After getting into sole possession of the lead, he put two balls into the water on 11, making a triple, then finished with another one. It resulted in a back-nine 42 and overall 78, but that’s not even the entire reason for this fade. In his last five Sunday rounds, Kang has posted scores of 74-74-74-69-75, which doesn’t offer any optimism that he’ll finish any better in this one.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+280) over Rory McIlroy
- Tee time: 1:30 p.m. ET
- Payout: $10 bet wins $28
Look, do I think this European Tour regular will beat the game’s No. 1-ranked player? Not really. But do I think there’s better than a 26.32% chance that he can do it? Absolutely. (That 26.32% number represents Bezuidenhout’s implied chances of taking down Rory based on the +280 odds.) For that reason alone, this is worthy of a small investment.