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2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Final Round Picks: Value on Keith Mitchell, Matthew Fitzpatrick

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Final Round Picks: Value on Keith Mitchell, Matthew Fitzpatrick article feature image
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Pictured: Keith Mitchell. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

I’m not sure designated events are what I hoped they would be from a gambling perspective. Boards have gotten weaker and matchups are more star-studded than I care to see, but you can’t argue with the results of the greatest stars in the world battling every Sunday for the title.

We have a semi-surprising Saturday leader in Kurt Kitayama at nine-under par. My model projected him as a top-50 golfer heading into the week, although you don’t have to look too deep on the leaderboard to see Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Tyrrell Hatton hot on Kitayama’s tail and ready to strike.

All of that should make for an exciting final round, even if the value is hard to find on the betting board. If you have access to +450 on Hovland to win this event, he is intriguing, but let’s try to talk a little about some of the safer markets.

If you haven’t already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

Arnold Palmer Invitational

Keith Mitchell -110 over Rickie Fowler (Bet365)

I tend to agree with the public sentiment that Rickie Fowler is back. Three consecutive top-20 finishes shouldn’t be scoffed at. However, the negative trajectory for upside in my model was my ultimate undoing and why I didn’t play him in any capacity this week.

I don’t want that comment to get lost in translation since safety is the primary concern when we discuss head-to-head wagers. That probably explains why I stayed on the sidelines before jumping into the mix for Sunday.

In the image above, you will notice the six biggest overachievers this week when we take a golfer’s ball striking and add their baseline short-game over their actual production.

I have been a massive proponent of gradually adding in those factors after each round to get a better idea of expected outcomes for the following day, and we have this interesting spot with Fowler because he ranks as a top-20 golfer on the leaderboard, but has stayed flat from a head-to-head rank perspective after each new data input.

Conversely, Mitchell has jumped from 17th to eighth, and it is the reprojected scoring for each that generates the most alarming returns of the mix. My model believes Mitchell should be ahead of Fowler by 9.11 shots if both got their expected generation of information in the more volatile stats of the week. Let’s bet on that deviation and try to grab a nice little advantage that should be priced closer to -135.


Matthew Fitzpatrick -120 over Sahith Theegala (Bet365)

I don’t want this section to become overly redundant with our last wager. My strategy in round four has always been to run everything as a 50/50 mix between my pre- and in-tournament information. I believe that gives us a nice distribution since it considers our pre-event research, but still looks into how someone is striking the ball that week.

Theegala was someone my model worried about from a statistical perspective before the week started since it didn’t know how he would handle the water fast Bermudagrass. Overall, he has done a fine job avoiding the massive blow-up potential that others have fallen into over the opening three days.

Regardless, the 5.16-shot increase he has experienced with his putter worries me since my data projects Fitzpatrick to be 8.39 shots better at this stage if both men had been delivering their baseline returns. That is enough for me to take a shot on a wager that my model also had right around -135.

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