Sobel’s Arnold Palmer Invitational Round 3 Betting Odds & Matchups: 3 Potential Live Plays At Bay Hill
Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.
ORLANDO — Entering the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, we’ve got a nail-biter if you’ve got a live pre-tournament ticket on somebody in contention. But we also have plenty of options if you want to jump into the outright pool at the midway point.
Tyrrell Hatton and Sung Kang are the current co-leaders at 7-under, followed one stroke further back by Danny Lee, two back by Rory McIlroy, Sungjae Im and Harris English, three back by a half-dozen others (including Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed) and four back by four others (including Collin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler).
Even the seven players who are five back (Hideki Matsuyama and Graeme McDowell among them) and the eight who are six back (Keith Mitchell and Charley Hoffman) are very much in the thick of things, considering each of the last two champions posted a final-round 64 on Sunday to vault up the leaderboard.
McIlroy (+280) is the rightful favorite. Even though his second-round 73 was seven strokes higher than his opening total, he ranks second in strokes gained tee-to-green — and his price is nearly twice what it was entering Friday’s round.
The only player leading him in that ball-striking category? None other than Im (+750), last week’s champion, who is riding his robot-like reputation toward another title contention.
If you’re looking to dig deeper for a live outright, I’ve got three players in mind.
Scottie Scheffler (+4100) is a guy I bet pre-tourney, because I saw some impending potential. A double-double finish was the difference between being tied for the lead and four strokes back, but for a rookie who’s trying to win for the first time, playing off the lead could be a blessing in disguise.
Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) is doing his usual Hideki thing. His ball-striking numbers are very good and his putting is below average. But there’s a silver lining: So far this season, Matsuyama has shown a propensity for figuring out the greens in the final two rounds.
Here are his weekend scores to date: 68-65, 69-65, 65-67, 68-67, 67-66, 74-71, 65-68, 64-69, 71-67. At some point, those low numbers are going to translate into a come-from-behind victory.
Matt Wallace (+10000) is further off the radar, both in reputation and on the board. At 2-under, though, just five off the lead, he’s certainly within shouting distance and has the talent go low. This is a sweet price for a guy of his credentials who isn’t too far back.
Round 3 Matchups
Zach Johnson (+165) over Billy Horschel
I spoke with Horschel before the tournament started and he told me that while he wasn’t concerned about his irons, his driver was still “a work in progress.”
Considering that, he’s done well just to reach the weekend, but fresh off an event in which he raced up the leaderboard, then quickly fell back down, I like Johnson’s bulldog personality to prove to himself that he needs a good one on the weekend — and I like the plus-money in what is a fairly even matchup.
Xander Schauffele (-115) over Abraham Ancer
I’m as big a fan of Ancer as anybody around and think he’ll win his first PGA Tour title at some point this summer, but this feels like a good number for Schauffele. He hasn’t quite been as sharp lately as we’d like him to be, but third-round scores of 66-69-66 in his last three starts suggests he’s been able to adapt without his best stuff.