2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds & Picks: Viktor Hovland Among 4 Strong Fits at Bay Hill
Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Viktor Hovland
- The PGA TOUR has a star-studded field this week at Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
- Four of the top six players in the world are in the field, headlined by world No. 1 Jon Rahm.
- Matt Vincenzi breaks down four players whose games fit Bay Hill well and provide value for bettors below.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational odds via Caesars
2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds
|Erik van Rooyen||+7000|
|Si Woo Kim||+8000|
|Min Woo Lee||+20000|
The PGA TOUR continues its Florida Swing at Bay Hill Club & Lodge to play the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational this week. The event has been a mainstay on TOUR, appearing on the schedule every year since 1979.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a par 72 measuring 7,454 yards and features Bermuda-grass greens. Prior to last year, the previous five editions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational yielded international champions. Bay Hill can play extremely difficult if the wind picks up, but the course certainly has teeth whether there is wind or not.
There are 120 golfers for an event that usually attracts a very strong field, but with The PLAYERS Championship next week, a few top players have chosen to sit this one out. Even so, the field will still feature some of the world’s best such as Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Sungjae Im, Matt Fitzpatrick, Scottie Scheffler, Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood.
Past Winners at Bay Hill
- 2021: Bryson DeChambeau (-11)
- 2020: Tyrrell Hatton (-4)
- 2019: Francesco Molinari (-12)
- 2018: Rory McIlroy (-18)
- 2017: Marc Leishman (-11)
- 2016: Jason Day (-17)
5 Key Stats For Bay Hill
Let’s take a look at five metrics key for Bay Hill to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
1. Strokes Gained: Approach
Approach is often the most important statistic, and this week will be no different. This is a difficult golf course and players will be penalized for missing greens in regulation.
Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds
- Will Zalatoris (+24.8) (+2500)
- Viktor Hovland (+22.0) (+1800)
- Tom Hoge (+22.0) (+10000)
- Paul Casey (+21.3) (+4000)
- Hudson Swafford (+18.7) (+25000)
2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
To compete at Bay Hill, golfers will need an excellent performance off the tee. Distance is important due to the length of the course and its layout, but accuracy is just as important.
We have seen recent events in which golfers can get away with bad tee shots, but Bay Hill isn’t one of those courses. The rough is extremely thick and penal, so saving par after a poor tee shot isn’t likely.
SG: OTT Over Past 24 Rounds
- Jon Rahm (+26.8) (+750)
- Rory McIlroy (+19.2) (+1000)
- Cameron Young (+19.1) (+9000)
- Keith Mitchell (+18.9) (+4500)
- Sergio Garcia (+17.6) (+5000)
3. Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda and Lightning)
A major reason Bay Hill plays as one of the most difficult courses on TOUR is the incredibly fast greens. The Bermuda putting surfaces have played “lightning” fast in every round since 2017.
SG: Putting (Bermuda and Lightning) over past 24 rounds:
- Zach Johnson (+26.7) (+25000)
- Denny McCarthy (+24.0) (+13000)
- Brendon Todd (+22.9) (+15000)
- Beau Hossler (+21.6) (+20000)
- Christian Bezuidenhout (+19.6) (+5000)
4. Strokes Gained: Ball-striking
While ball-striking is in part off the tee and approach, I want the total tee to green package built into the model this week as it will take a well-rounded effort from tee to green to get it done at Bay Hill.
SG: BS Over Past 24 Rounds
- Jon Rahm (+41.2) (+750)
- Will Zalatoris (+34.9) (+2800)
- Luke List (+33.9) (+7000)
- Viktor Hovland (+32.8) (+1800)
- Paul Casey (+25.6) (+4000)
5. Strokes Gained: Par 5
With four par 5’s on the course, it will be important to take advantage of these holes. While I don’t expect the winning score to be quite as uninspiring as last year, it certainly won’t be a birdie fest.
Whoever takes best advantage of the score-able par 5’s may have the best shot to win.
SG: Par 5 Over Past 24 Rounds
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+19.5) (+2200)
- Aaron Rai (+16.7) (+25000)
- Seamus Power (+14.3) (+6000)
- Max Homa (+13.4) (+4500)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+13.0) (+2500)
Arnold Palmer Invitational Model Rankings
Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories discussed above — SG: Approach (27%), SG: Off the Tee (23%), SG: Putting Bermudagrass/Lightning (18 %), SG: Ball-striking (17%) and SG: Par 5 (15%).
- Jon Rahm (+750)
- Sungjae Im (+2200)
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+2200)
- Russell Henley (+4000)
- Luke List (+7000)
- Lanto Griffin (+7500)
- Seamus Power (+6000)
- Marc Leishman (+2800)
- Viktor Hovland (+1800)
- Will Zalatoris (+2800)
2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks
Viktor Hovland (+1800) at DraftKings
Hovland comes into the week with scorching hot irons, which is the most important aspect of taming Bay Hill. In his most recent start at Riviera, the 24-year-old gained 6.1 strokes on approach. The dialed-in performance trailed only Tony Finau and winner Joaquin Niemann in the category, leading Hovland to a fourth-place finish.
Last season, Hovland was also very good at Riviera. He gained 4.1 strokes on approach (fifth-place finish) and rode his hot form into the following week. His next start came at WGC Concession, where finished in second and gained 8.7 strokes on approach, a career best. Hovland now heads to Florida once again after a strong showing at Riviera and I expect another ceiling performance.
The No. 4 ranked golfer in the world recently won the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World TOUR (January 2022). Despite the worldwide success, Hovland is still in search of a signature win on the PGA TOUR. Bay Hill would be a logical spot for that to happen.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+3000) at bet365
It’s no secret Fitzpatrick absolutely loves Bay Hill. Fitz has finished in the top 10 in his past three starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with his best finish (second) coming in 2019.
While he clearly has the course history on his side, the Englishman also rates out perfectly for Bay Hill. In the field, Fitzpatrick ranks first in par 5 scoring, sixth in Strokes Gained: Putting on lightning-fast bermudagrass greens, and 12th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. With a game that was built for this course, it’s no surprise that he has excelled here throughout his career.
The 27-year-old gained 4.2 strokes on approach in his most recent start at the WM Phoenix Open and 7.2 strokes from tee to green. His game is rounding into form at the proper time to finally get his first PGA TOUR victory.
Paul Casey (+4000) at DraftKings
Among Casey’s three PGA TOUR victories, two have come in the state of Florida at the 2018 and 2019 Valspar Championships. Like Copperhead, Bay Hill is a great course fit for Casey, considering the difficult conditions and the potentially higher-than-normal winning score.
Looking at the history of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the first things that are worthy of mentioning is the amount of elite European players who have had success at Bay Hill. Prior to Bryson Dechambeau’s dominant victory last season, the past three winners were Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari and Tyrrell Hatton. Casey is a European of a similar mold who has tons of Ryder Cup experience (like the other three) and excels in difficult conditions.
In addition to the ideal course fit, the 44-year-old is playing some excellent golf. At the Genesis Invitational, Casey gained 5.6 strokes on approach and finished in 15th. With four par 3s on the course of 200+ yards, Casey should have an advantage as he gains an average of 2.4 strokes on the field per event on par 3s of that length.
With two top-10 finishes in his past three tries at Bay Hill, Casey has proven he has what it takes to contend at the course.
Danny Willett (+20000) at DraftKings
Willett offers pure win equity. You won’t find many golfers in their mid 30s with nine professional wins in the triple-digits on the oddsboard for this week, but that’s where we find Willett.
Considering he has won as recently as October (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship) in a relatively strong field, it is safe to say that his game is in fine shape. He emphasized that last week at the Honda Classic, despite not finishing very high on the leaderboard. He was solid across the board statistically and gained 5.6 strokes from tee to green on the week.
Willett’s troubles came with the putter, where he lost an abysmal 4.4 strokes. He has shown he is capable of handling firm and fast greens in the past, as he has won The Masters at Augusta National. Although the surface is different, the speed of the greens at Bay Hill is one of the few that can rival Augusta.
Willett has some solid course history, with finishes of 18th and 31 in his past two trips to Bay Hill. If it plays difficult this week, the 34-year-old Englishman has the grinder’s mentality to contend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.