Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Tips & Predictions – Thursday 7th March 2019

Tiger Woods fans were sent into near meltdown by the news that he has withdrawn from the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Woods was clear that his withdrawal is due to a neck injury and not a flare up of his lower back problems. Those with tickets should be able to overcome the disappointment though given the number of world class players teeing it up at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

Rory McIlroy is not the highest ranked player in the field this week but he may be playing the best golf of this incredibly talented field. His hard work from 150 yards is beginning to pay off and last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational champion looks set to go in again in fine form.

Top Tips

Rory McIlroy @ 7/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

Course Info

Arnold Palmer was known as perfectionist in everything that he did. That approach very much applied to his golf course design. Of all the courses he designed around the world it was Bay Hill that captured Palmer’s heart and he was always overseeing changes to the Florida venue to keep it current and keep the world’s best players on their toes.

The par of Bay Hill has changed a number of times over the last 20 years or so but the club are now settled on a par of 72. The distance has changed a little from last year though with the lengthening of the fourth and ninth holes taking the total yardage to 7,454.

The one thing that’s remained constant at Bay Hill is the speed of the greens. They will be lighting once again causing problems both with approach play and putting. Driving accuracy could be more of a challenge than normal as the secondary rough is reported to be pushing four inches in length. Slightly damp conditions should help the longer hitters but they don’t need it as distance off the tee has long been important at Bay Hill.

CourseLocationLengthPrize Money
Bay Hill Club and Lodge Bay Hill, Florida 7,454 Yards $9,100,000

Recent Winners

Keith Mitchell secured a massive betting upset last week when the 300/1 shot won the Honda Classic. That is a tournament which, much like the Arnold Palmer Invitational, tends to produce winners of the highest class. Bay Hill is not a complete stranger to big shocks though as Matt Every’s back to back wins in 2014 and 2015 prove.

Every’s previous has the world number 435 ranked player a general 100/1 shot but we’re much more likely to see another player from the top drawer win following Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Rory McIlroy. Tiger Woods won the two renewals before Every but it’s worth noting that apart from those two each of the last seven winners were international players.

YearWinnerTo ParWinning Margin
2018 Rory McIlroy -18 3 Strokes
2017 Marc Leishman -16 Playoff
2016 Jason Day -17 1 Stroke
2015 Matt Every -19 1 Stroke
2014 Matt Every -13 1 Stroke

Analysis: Perfect Weather to Produce Some Low Scores

The weather is perhaps the biggest reason why so many professional golfers decide to base themselves in Florida. Mother Nature provides incredible golfing conditions throughout the year and the forecast suggests it will be bordering on perfect this week. Some rain before the tournament should soften the course up. Combine that with benign wind and you have a recipe for some very low scores.

Can McIlroy Get a Pre-Masters Bump?

Rory McIlroy’s decision to focus his efforts solely on the PGA Tour this season was made because he is desperate to win his first major championship since 2014. That stretch is far too long for a golfer of McIlroy’s quality but he really is looking ready to return to the winner’s circle at the very top level.

McIlroy has never been afraid of failing on the biggest stage. He learns from tough afternoons on the golf course and will be fired up having failed to lay a glove on Dustin Johnson when they played together in on the weekend of Johnson’s incredibly impressive win at the WGC Mexico Championship. The fact that he was the only player within 10 shots of Johnson gave McIlroy great confidence about the state of his game though and he can go one better on a course that he loves.

Defending a PGA Tour title is a very tough thing to do but it’s happened a fair amount at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and McIlroy is a worthy favourite to do just that at 7/1 with Betfred.

Poulter Ready to Surprise Again

Ian Poulter’s Ryder Cup exploits and brashness have not combined to make him particularly popular amongst American golf fans. There is a certain respect for what he has achieved in the game though and the fact that he remains competitive against the best golfers in the world well into his 40s is another reason for Poulter to be very proud of himself.

The Englishman’s form since being told erroneously that he had lost his PGA Tour card is little short of spectacular. Poulter is still a truly global golfer, capable of competing at any tournament in which he plays as evidenced by his current run of form which reads T3-T6-T3-T6-T33 with each of those events taking place in a different country. Poulter is certainly capable of a place at Bay Hill this week at odds of 50/1 with bet365.

Final Verdict: Rory McIlroy to Win

International players have had the better of their American counterparts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in recent years and the European charge looks particularly strong for the 2019 renewal. Ian Poulter absolutely cannot be written off at a generous price but punters may find it’s as simple as backing the favourite, Rory McIlroy.


The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of just 5 events that the PGA Tour have granted invitational formats for their qualifying criteria. This means that the field sizes are considerably smaller than they would be for a normal event, with around 120 starters. It's worth noting that with events like this, the committee are required to fill their quota with lower ranked players if they fail to do so at the start.

The tournament has been running since 1979 and originally was brought in to replace the Florida Citrus Open Invitational, which had been running since 1966. It's held at the Bay Hill Golf Club, which was owned by Arnold Palmer from 1974 to his passing in 2016.

It's been under its current name as the Arnold Palmer invitational presented by MasterCard since 2007, but prior to that has usually had ‘Bay Hill' somewhere in the name. Whilst an invitational, the tournament rarely see's players avoid competing, mainly down to the respect they have for one of the greatest that played the game in Arnold Palmer.

It's been a tournament that Tiger Woods has dominated over the years, winning on 8 separate occasions from 2000 to 2013, with a winning streak of 4 in a row between 2000 and 2003. To put that into context, there have only been 6 other multiple winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, each with 2 wins to their name.

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