Betting Preview for the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational

| March 2, 2021 10:22 am PDT

Despite THE PLAYERS Championship looming next week, 13 of the top-25-ranked players in the world have made their way to Bay Hill. Among the select field of 123 are Rory, Bryson, and a couple of guys who tied for 2nd last week at The Concession.

Let’s have a look at the betting odds and start working our way toward some Arnold Palmer Invitational predictions.

2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds

I’m usually quick to fade the betting favorite, although Rory makes a strong case in this particular instance. Nothing worse than a 6th-place finish in the last four editions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational (4th-1st-6th-5th), McIlroy was close to putting it all together last week.

Rors’ 25 birdies were the second-most, and he led the field in putts per GIR. McIlroy’s putter seems to be flowing much smoother after ditching his mallet for a more conventional blade-style head, and thus, his confidence is starting to build.

As good of a bet as Rory is to play well this week in Orlando, Viktor Hovland might even be more of a sure thing. Top-6 finishes in six of his last seven appearances, the ball-striking savant flashed his short game brilliance coming down the stretch at the WGC.

Splitting your action between McIlroy and Hovland isn’t the worst idea.

Recent Winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Tiger won this event back-to-back in 2013 and 2014; Matt Every followed suit in 2015 and 2016. With that being said, no American has won the API since.

Last Five Winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational 
Year Champion Score in Relation to Par Margin of Victory
2020 Tyrrell Hatton -4 1
2019 Francesco Molinari -12 2
2018 Rory McIlroy -18 3
2017 Marc Leishman -11 1
2016 Jason Day -17 1

Removing Woods and Every from the equation, the last American to win here was Kenny Perry in 2005.

Conditions were brutally difficult when Hatton won here in 2020, and another challenging test awaits the players in 2021. Winds forecasted for 15+ mph over the weekend means lots of big numbers are in store.

With that, let’s move into my Arnold Palmer Invitational picks.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Pick to Win

Staying on theme with a non-American triumphing at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, I’m going with an individual who arrives at Arnie’s Place with some unfished business. Matthew Fitzpatrick would have donned the red cardigan sweater here two years ago had it not been for Francesco Molinari’s blistering 64 in the final round.

Fitzpatrick, the runner-up here in 2019, placed 9th here in 2020 thanks to being the only player in the field to break 70 on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Englishman won his 6th European Tour title in December at the DP World Tour Championship, and he’s gone 17th-5th-11th the last three times he’s teed it up. Fitzpatrick’s short game was firing on all cylinders in Bradenton, leading the field in scrambling and making the second-fewest bogeys of anyone in the field.

He’s got great history at this venue, his recent form is sizzling, and here’s the cherry on top.

When the going gets tough, and his peers start to crumble, this man thrives.

  • Matthew Fitzpatrick

Best Bets for the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2021

My sleepers and DFS picks are coming next in separate posts, but I’ll leave you with two more predictions for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Francesco Molinari to Finish Top 10

Top-10s in three of his last four starts since the calendar turned to 2021, Francesco Molinari is finally rounding back into form. And while he’s not bulletproof at Bay Hill like that guy they call Tiger Woods, Molinari’s 7-7 here with four top 10s.

Francesco Molinari’s Career Results at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Year Finish
2019 1st
2018 26th
2017 7th
2016 9th
2015 17th
2014 5th
2013 34th

Talor Gooch to Finish Top 20

12th at The Genesis Invitational, his last time out marked Talor’s third top-12 finish this season, and he finished T13 at the 2020 API. The Oklahoma State product flourishes when the wind blows, and his success at this golf course extends beyond his top-15 here last season.

Gooch fired 65 the first time he ever laid eyes on Bay Hill Club & Lodge (en route to a T26 in 2018).

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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