Pick 'em Preview: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
6 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
Learning? We are! Of course, Rob’s already figured it out, but at least he shared the secret sauce in Draws and Fades for this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
The API is the third event for PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live. Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando is the familiar backdrop. The field for the invitational is just 120 of which the low 65 and ties after two rounds will survive the cut and chase the trophy and all the beefed-up spoils.
As we continue to experience real-time odds powered by PointsBet, we will continue to convey tips, tricks and pitfalls you may use and encounter throughout the tournament. This week, we emphasize the values of the outright and the R1 leader. We have more planned as the interface becomes more familiar and PointsBet’s release of the odds settles into a routine, but Rob already has dug deep on a couple of critical timing mechanisms that contributed to his third-place showing at PGA National, so take the time to glean what he relayed to you this week. (For the record, our gurus aren’t eligible for prizes.)
For a broader explanation of the format and FAQs, click here.
Rob … Marc Leishman (+3500)
Matt Every's consecutive victories at Bay Hill aside, a fixture on the world stage usually steps forward to claim victory. Leishman himself did it in 2017. He also was the runner-up in 2020. You know who he is. You also know that the Florida breezes will amplify his skill set.
Now, his opening line isn't as long as where we talked about starting just a week ago, but none of the expected performers are going to be and this week’s variables are different. That said, having snared Sepp Straka at +10000 late in his second round of The Honda Classic was proof that it paid to keep my head on a swivel in this game. As the saying goes, this is a fluid situation.
Glass … Cameron Davis (+15000)
Taking a flier here on a big-hitting, tee-to-green specialist who won't be bothered with a bit of wind. The angle is finding a skill set at a big number knowing I can pivot to proven quantity if he doesn't fire. Rob's Straka pick has inspired my selection this week, but I don't have to be married to it thanks to the rules of the game!
Glass … Sam Ryder (+1200)
I'm torn as I have two choices who leap off the page!
The #Brand says lean with Horses for Courses stablemate Keegan Bradley (+675) as he's cashed 9 of 10 visits here. The value screams Sam Ryder as he's ripped off T9-T26-T23 in his last three starts on TOUR. I'm going with Home State Advantage as Ryder is in the form of his life in Florida.
Rob … Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+525)
I nabbed Gary Woodland at +200 for this finish after R3 of The Honda Classic. He was one shot outside the top 10 and delivered a T5. So, if we can count on that kind of possibility at that point in time, and since there's a gentle expansion of the odds down the board for this bet, Glass' approach is the ticket.
My take is more conservative in that only 10 are guaranteed to pay, and at odds far less attractive than the same for the outright and R1 leader, I'm targeting the upper-middle of the pack for a strong consideration who I can set and forget.
Bezuidenhout is 2-for-2 at Bay Hill with a T18 in 2020 and a solo seventh last year. It's his only top 10 in 32 career PGA TOUR starts.
Glass … Matt Wallace (+550)
He showed up here in 2019 and cashed a T6. His next two visits have followed with a T24 and a T18, so there's something about this track that fits his eye. I agree, DIG DEEPER and pan for some gold! The Englishman should have all the tricks of the trade mastered at Bay Hill by now!
Rob … Beau Hossler (+600)
Like Wallace, Hossler also is one of my Sleepers. Dude is playing with house money for the foreseeable future, so Bay Hill is a free roll. He has a solo third (Pebble) and two T16s on the season. He's also 3-for-3 at Bay Hill, so all that's left is to give him the green light to get back to work.
As I chronicled in Draws and Fades this week, Alex Noren was offered at +900 for a top 20 after the third round of last week’s Honda despite being positioned at T7. I don’t know if we’re going to find that kind of gold that deep into a tournament, but it’s proof never to takes your eyes off the board. Just think if you’d have invested for real on that line at that time.
Glass … Rory McIlroy (+2000)
I HATE this action because of the lack of value, BUT in seven trips, he's posted 66 or better in every visit, so I'm leaning on the guy who has PROVEN that he's not afraid to go low here. He was tied for FRL last year and sat second after the first round in 2020, so I'm going with Occam's Razor.
Rob … Will Zalatoris (+4000)
Now that I've had two spins in plain sight and failed both times at this prop, it's time to put the lessons to use.
I'm going to begin every tournament with an early waver in this slot. Zalatoris goes out in the threesome off the 10th tee at 8:16 a.m. ET (immediately ahead of McIlroy). If he's leading, I'll sit on him, obviously. If not, I'll pivot accordingly, also obviously.
Where I've been bitten is waiting too long. PointsBet has closed the window for said pivot before I acted. I was treating it like the outright that never closes. Fool me twice…
As for specific strategy at Bay Hill, the nines challenge almost equally, but the conclusion of the front side isn't as menacing as the back. The closing par-4 18th was the hardest hole on the course in both of the last two editions. With wind freshening deeper into the day, I want my first pick to have gone through there sooner than later.
MAKE THE CUT
Rob … Keegan Bradley (-225)
He's perfect in the last nine editions, and he's 4-for-4 in 2022. Just give me the coins.
Glass … Lanto Griffin (-225)
In 10 events this season, he's MC exactly once and has rattled off eight straight paydays. As Rob claimed the BIG OBVIOUS in front of me, I'm forced to chase from this position. With T36-T21 in Griffin’s first two attempts the last two years, and with him trending in the right direction, I'll gladly join the fight!
Glass … Paul Casey (+118) over Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker.
The veteran ball-striker should be highlighted on this track regardless of his grouping. Playing with two scramblers who struggle to hit fairways and greens makes this the STAND-OUT PLAY of the first round.
Rob … Keith Mitchell (+115) over Lucas Herbert and Branden Grace.
It would stand to reason to just double-up on the R1 leader, but Zalatoris is facing Scottie Scheffler and Sungjae Im in his threesome and the objective to connect with that bet is influenced by a value that isn’t leveraged as strongly, or as wisely, here.
It’s a coincidence that I’m leaning into another relationship of a guy who has a personal connection to last week’s winner. Fresh off the wire-to-wire triumph of fellow Chilean and amigo, Joaquin Niemann, Mito Pereira was my outright and R1 leader at the Honda. This week, I can’t ignore Mitchell, who witnessed the breakthrough victory of buddy and fellow University of Georgia product, Sepp Straka, last week.
Mitchell is 3-for-3 at Bay Hill with a T6 (2019), a T5 (2020) and a scoring average of 71.58 in 12 rounds. He’s also been on a tear of late and worthy of the No. 8 slot in my Power Rankings.
Meanwhile, Herbert is an API debutant and Grace has cashed twice in four appearances. His scoring average in 12 rounds is 72.83, and I don’t advise investing in him on long, hard par-72s.