2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Final Round Odds & Picks: Scottie Scheffler Ready to Defend

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Final Round Odds & Picks: Scottie Scheffler Ready to Defend article feature image

Pictured: Scottie Scheffler. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The early story on Saturday at Bay Hill was about a number of players making their move up the leaderboard.

It started with Pierceson Coody, who is possibly the next young star on TOUR. His 6-under 66 moved him into a tie for seventh after he had just made the weekend by one shot inside the cutline. Coody's low score would be matched later in the day by current stars Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton. They both find themselves in the top four as we head into Sunday.

Kurt Kitayama still leads after bouncing back from what could have been a crushing double bogey at the par-5 4th.

Kitayama closed with a birdie on the 18th to take a one-shot lead and solidify himself in the final pairing for Sunday's final round, where he will play alongside the aforementioned Hovland.

Defending champion Scottie Scheffler also worked his way up to the penultimate pairing with another former champion of this event in Hatton. Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas headline the chasers just another shot or two behind, setting up for another star-filled Sunday on the PGA Tour.

We should see one of the calmest wind days of the week Sunday. Other than the leader, there is plenty of Bay Hill final round experience in the final few tee times, which makes for an intriguing group from which to pick our winner. Let's see who stands out in the strokes gained metrics as we head into Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

If I am simply picking a winner on Sunday, it'd be really hard to go with anyone except Scheffler. He has been a clear top-three player in the world for a long time and is finally circling back to defend his four wins from last year. He backed up his first title defense at the Waste Management with another win and I wouldn't be surprised if he did the same Sunday at the API.

Scheffler climbed his way out of the worse tee draw to stay in the mix heading to the weekend and, even with a slow start, was able to get to the top of the leaderboard before the final round. The best odds out there — +225 on BetRivers — give him about a 30% win probability. DataGolf has his chances just a touch better than that, showing a bit of value if you want to pull the trigger for Scheffler to win at Bay Hill once again.

If you only gave me one bet to get the most out of, Thomas would be the guy I put my money on from a perceived value standpoint. I have gone to this well with Thomas many times in the past and will do so again.

He is there to win and will play with that mindset throughout the final round, looking to go low and steal this tournament from the players who have a bit more pressure on them in the final group.

It looks as though everything is close to coming together for Thomas as he has found his ball striking over the past two rounds, gaining more than three shots in that metric each of the past two days.

He was able to pair that with a hot putter Friday, but that cooled off as he looked to make a move Saturday. If Thomas can continue to put himself in position to score, he is one player down the board who will be willing to be aggressive enough to go low and post a number before the leaders come in. Thomas has some solid value in my eyes at +2200 on PointsBet.

The best player in SG: Total in the final round dating back to the start of the new season probably isn't who you think it is. It's not multi-time winners Jon Rahm or Max Homa, nor is it Scheffler. Instead, it is the resurgent Jason Day.

Day has been on a tear lately with strong finishes, including three consecutive top 10s. The Australian has done it with solid play throughout the week, but he is consistently closing strong and I expect we see that from him again on Sunday at Bay Hill.

Day, similar to Coody, went out earlier and posted a number, then saw his position rise throughout the day. He closed Saturday at T12 and I am going to continue to ride his hot play in Round 4 and look for him to solidify another top 10 at +175 on BetMGM. As I often note, we get a bit discounted number at BetMGM, but in a tight leaderboard like this, that book paying ties in full is much more valuable to me.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players Through Round 3 (Average Per Round)

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