2024 Arnold Palmer Best Bets, Predictions: Rory McIlroy & More Expert Picks

2024 Arnold Palmer Best Bets, Predictions: Rory McIlroy & More Expert Picks article feature image

Via Getty Images/Action Network Design. Pictured (left to right): Adam Hadwin, J.T. Poston, Rory McIlroy & Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and the PGA Tour's brightest stars are in the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational field this week in Orlando, and our experts have their Arnold Palmer best bets ready.

Golf betting experts Jason Sobel, Spencer Aguiar, Nick Bretwisch and Matt Gannon have picks for Bay Hill as we break down our 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational predictions and more expert PGA picks.

Here's everything you need to know about 2024 Arnold Palmer Best Bets for the PGA Tour's 10th event of 2024 at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge.

2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational Best Bets, Predictions

Jason Sobel: Christiaan Bezuidenhout Top 20 +260 (FanDuel)

My favorite play for the Mexico Open two weeks ago was Austin Eckroat, who finished T38, then won the following week. Well, my favorite play at last week’s Cognizant Classic was Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who opened with an uninspiring first-round total before quickly climbing the leaderboard Friday morning and reaching second place halfway through his round.

If you blinked, though, you missed him heading back in the wrong direction, as two doubles and three bogeys in his last seven holes moved him from that spot on the leaderboard to the wrong side of the cut line.

As I wrote last week, though, I’m still very bullish on him for the Florida Swing, as his iron game has been terrific to start the year, and now he returns to Bay Hill, where he’s been a member and has three top-20 results in four career starts.

I like him for another top-20 finish, which has particular value at plus-money in a field of what should be right around 70 players. I hope I can triple-reverse psychology myself by going back to him one week later, just as I wished I’d done with Eckroat.

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Spencer Aguiar: Fade J.T. Poston

I did this a few weeks ago with Mackenzie Hughes at the Mexico Open when looking into attacking a player in the head-to-head sector because of the inferior profile inside my model compared to similar counterparts.

However, I wouldn't say a matchup against Brian Harman is the optimal path at FanDuel because we are looking at the two most inflated commodities on the board. Still, if you shop around to attack this troubling profile from Poston, there are options to consider.

We have seen Poston's game crumble during the past few events after losing strokes with his irons in three of four and off the tee in two of four. The form at the event doesn't necessarily help either for a golfer who has never done better than a 68th-place finish in three tries, including two missed cuts.

My model did find some positives that showed he should have been better here than his past results, but it is not as if we are still in this hot stretch of results from the American.

I am going to bet on this floor output that had him as a golfer who should have been priced closer to the 100-125-to-1 options on the board and try to find that value with a golfer like Jake Knapp against him in the market.

Nick Bretwisch: Adam Hadwin Top 20 +180 (BetMGM)

Adam Hadwin’s projections in my model this week were rather surprising, but he’s clearly getting up for these elevated events:

  • T4 at The Genesis Invitational
  • T39 at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (I don’t use that data sample due to the shortened event and inclement weather)
  • T14 at The Sentry

He also posted a T6 at the American Express where he gained strokes in all four major Strokes Gained metrics across the two tracked rounds.

His ball-striking is in great form, and he’s going to be a fairway finder who can rely on quality long-iron play to hang around all weekend. I definitely do not have much faith in his upside to win, but I have this number proper around +140, so I’ll take the value in hopes Hadwin stays in form for these large-purse events.

Matt Gannon: Rory McIlroy Top 10 +105 (Widely Available)

Rory McIlroy has immaculate course history around Bay Hill with a win, three separate top-five finishes and no worse than a T27 in nine overall starts.

If McIlroy were to have never played this course before, it would be a perfect course fit. He is obviously one of the best drivers in history and hits one of the highest balls on Tour. His apex height into greens really helps him control spin and keep the ball on the green.

His week in Palm Beach was highlighted by a few mistakes, but overall he played well. He looks comfortable over all but a few iron shots, and he needs to do a better job of avoiding big mistakes that cost him multiple strokes. I am confident in McIlroy's chances heading to a course he has torn up over his career.

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2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational Expert Picks, Fades

Favorites We’re Backing

Best Long Shot

  • Sobel: Corey Conners +6000
  • Aguiar: Nicolai Højgaard +8500
  • Bretwisch: Nicolai Højgaard +8500
  • Gannon: Emiliano Grillo +10000

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Biggest Bust

  • Sobel: Xander Schauffele +1700
  • Aguiar: Min Woo Lee +4500
  • Bretwisch: Jason Day +3500
  • Gannon: Jake Knapp +7500

Contrarian Player To Target

  • Sobel: Cameron Young +3300
  • Aguiar: Tommy Fleetwood +2700
  • Bretwisch: Luke List +11000
  • Gannon: Patrick Cantlay +1700

Trend That Guides Your 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Strategy

Aguiar: I noticed that almost all scoring has to come on the four par-5s and three shorter par-4s if golfers want to compete for the title. Those par-5s deliver between a 39% to 56% Birdie or Better Percentage, with only two additional holes yielding a birdie rate over 17.5%.

It is worth noting that controlling the ball out of the rough can be nearly impossible after missing the fairway because of the dense nature of the grass. Most approaches will lack the apex and spin needed to hold these fiery greens, which adds to the six-percent increase in approaches from 200+ yards over a standard track on Tour.

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Bretwisch: I’m looking for well-rounded players who come into the event in solid form and have the ability to work their long irons. As Spencer mentioned above, the scoring is going to come from these par-5s and the shorter par-4s.

In addition to quality long ball-strikers, I want to focus on those who can scramble as Greens in Regulation percentages will likely be lower at Bay Hill than most tournaments we’ll see during the Spring Swing.

Gannon: Driving Distance and Bogey Avoidance are the name of the game around Bay Hill. It's a bombers paradise, but there is trouble lurking. If you do not have a firm control of your golf ball on and around the greens, consider yourself cooked because these are the closest conditions we get to the majors all year long.

When winning scores are around -10 or even in the single digits, you know the scoring gets tough, and the winning score at Bay Hill has been in single digits three of the past four years. One commonality in the leaderboards over the last few seasons is Driving Distance. The bombers will let loose on these wider fairways and hit less club into the firm greens. The less club they hit, the higher the launch angle, and the easier the ball stops.

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