The best betting props for the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Dennis Rodman, Will Ferrell, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gwen Stefani – that’s a wild dinner party you wouldn’t want to skip. All four are past or present residents of Orange County, Florida, and that is where we head for this year’s renewal of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Sadly, none of the four will be teeing up, and neither will Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, or Justin Thomas – meaning Rory McIlroy heads the market at a course where he has finished in the top six in each of his last four appearances here.
Bay Hill has no shortage of sand and water, with Palmer designing the course to reward attacking golf and creative scrambling. While the fairways are wide, it’s the approach play that will strike fear into the players this weekend – as this course is one of the toughest on Tour for greens hit in regulation.
Neither driving distance nor accuracy are overly important at Bay Hill, but having your irons dialled in is a huge plus. The forecast is pleasant for the week, so with the wind not expected to cause too many problems that could mean some low scores, and I want to keep anyone with a hot putter on side.
With all that in mind, and several Gwen Stefani songs now stuck in my head, here are the best five prop bets for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds
Top Continental European Player: Francesco Molinari (+335)
Francesco Molinari has been playing himself into some nice form on Tour since the turn of the year, posting top 10 finishes in The American Express, Farmers Insurance Open, and the Genesis Invitational.
And with that purple patch of form under his belt, Molinari arrives at one of his favourite courses. The Spaniard has played the Arnold Palmer Invitational seven times here, and has four top 10 finishes, including winning the competition in 2019 with a thrilling final round of 64.
No doubt the main danger here is Victor Hovland, who was the runner-up last week at the WGC Concessional, but that near-miss aside Hovland has been quoted as saying he is "not a fan of Florida golf courses." He has finished outside the top 40 in his two appearances at Bay Hill, and missed the cut in the Honda Classic.
To Make the Cut: Luke List (-175)
A disappointing 73 on Friday meant List had the weekend off at The Genesis Invitational, but before that he had made the cut in his previous three events – posting top 30 finishes in The American Express, Farmers Insurance Open, and the Phoenix Open.
And with List’s game in tidy form, it’s his record in Florida which really catches the eye. Here at Bay Hill, he has finished 17th, seventh, and 10th in his three appearances, while he also was in a play-off with Justin Thomas at the 2018 Honda Classic, and won a Korn Ferry Challenge event in TPC Sawgrass last year.
List ranks sixth on Tour for shots gained off the tee, and although his putter hasn’t been hot in recent weeks, his short game is strong enough for him to make the weekend.
Tommy Fleetwood to beat Marc Leishman (-105)
Tommy Fleetwood missed the cut in this event 12 months ago, but that is the exception rather than the rule to Fleetwood’s Florida form. The Englishman has five top 10 finishes in nine starts during this traditional Florida swing, and comes into this tournament in good ball-striking form, having ranked 17th for shots gained: approach the green at the Concessional last week.
Fleetwood ranks in the top 30 for shots gained: around the green on Tour this season, and has previously shown off just how good he is at Bay Hill, finishing third in 2019 after leading at the half-way mark.
Leishman won this event in 2017, and has posted three top 10 finishes here in the last four years. The Aussie is well fancied, but finished outside the top 30 in both Tour events he played last month.
Both Fleetwood and Leishman excel at Bay Hill, but the Aussie with incredible hair gets the nod.
Top 20 Finish: Kevin Kisner (+260)
I’ve spoken before about the "Nappy Factor" or the "Baby Bump" – a golf theory that players hit a peak piece of form after they have a baby. You can read far more about it online, but it’s a philosophy I buy into.
The American missed the cut here in 2020 and 2018, but in between those efforts he was 23rd in 2019, and was one shot off winning this event in 2017.
Kisner welcomed the arrival of his third child earlier this year and returned to the Tour last week, where he started off well, although faded into the weekend. I can happily forgive him that as a way of blowing the rust off the clubs, and now I’m hoping he gets the Nappy Factor here and builds on those pieces of good course form.
Top 20 Finish: Keith Mitchell (+500)
At bigger odds don’t skip on Keith Mitchell.
He has missed the cut in his last three events, but a return to Florida can get his engine purring again. Mitchell has played Bay Hill twice, finishing sixth in 2019 and fifth here 12 months ago. In 2019 he led the field with 21 birdies, and finished with a final round of 66.
Add into that a victory in the 2019 Honda Classic in Florida, and Mitchell is a man who loves the Sunshine State.