Arnold Palmer Invitational Final Bets

My Final Thoughts: The 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational Final Betting Card, OAD, And DFS Plays

Picking PGA winners is no easy feat, and in this biz, you’re going to be wrong a lot more times than you’re right. That’s just the nature of consistently betting a ton of guys who are 20/1 or longer, but that’s also what makes this all so entertaining and keeps me locked in week in, week out. I did the math and since I’m going to bet every prominent PGA Tour event in 2021 (that’s roughly 50 tournaments), I need to pick at least 5 winners to be profitable on outrights for the year. Two months into the year and we have 2 winners already (each coming within the last 3 weeks), so that’s a 12-win pace we’re on right now. When a 3-point shooter starts heating up, that basket starts to look a little bit bigger and that’s how I’m feeling staring down the board again this week. We’re picking with confidence at the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational, so with that said, here’s a full look at my plays for this week’s tournament.

Outrights

  • Matthew Fitzpatrick +2500
  • Francesco Molinari +3000
  • Jason Kokrak +4900
  • Sam Burns +5000
  • Charley Hoffman +12000
  • Henrik Norlander +14000
  • Matthew NeSmith +16000

It’s a bomb-heavy card for me this week with 3 plays north of 100/1, but while the odds are long, I wouldn’t be betting them if I didn’t think they had a chance to win this. The common theme here is Ball Striking and/or Course History and everyone on the card with the exception of Jason Kokrak was written up early this week in either Bombs & Values or Faves & Fades.

While the mid-tier range does tend to go a bit overlooked in my writeups – not quite a bomb, not quite a favorite – I do want to spend a little time talking about Jason Kokrak. Once a liability with the putter, Kokrak has quickly turned his putting into a strength, ranking 7th in this Field SG: P over the last 24 rounds. He’s 13th in Good Drives Gained and 18th in GIRs. Put those 3 elements together and you’ve got yourself a dangerous combo. When you add on that he is 6th T2G historically at Bay Hill with 3 T20s in the last 5 years, there’s a lot to love about the reigning CJ Cup champ.

It would make sense for me to have more placement bets this week, but believe it or not I don’t have all the money in the world, so I decided to instead put that bankroll towards more DFS lineups than usual to get exposure to the Luke Lists and Chris Kirks of the world. I don’t think those guys can win, but I do think Hoffman, NeSmith, and Norlander can, so I stuck with them as outrights. I left just enough reactionary bankroll this week for a live T5 or T10 bet if I see some value on the low-end players, but I doubt I will add more live Outrights to the card this week.

First Round Leader

  • Talor Gooch (+7000)
  • Cameron Tringale (+7000)
  • Sebastian Munoz (+8000)
  • Keith Mitchell (+9000)

It seems like every week lately the FRL has come from the 70/1+ range and looking at the talent up here this week, I would expect that trend to continue. I’ve played Gooch and Tringale a lot recently, and know the form and ability to go low is there, so I like the FRL action with them to complement the outright card. Mitchell loves playing this course and in one-round bursts, I think has the ability to shoot a 64. Munoz of course is locked to my card, and although I don’t expect a high finish from him, his measurables do stack up well to score at Bay Hill.

Matchups

  • Matthew NeSmith -112 > Sebastian Munoz
  • Viktor Hovland -112 > Bryson DeChambeau
  • Cameron Davis -137 > Keegan Bradley

Coming off our second 3-0 Matchup sweep in three weeks, the yearly Matchups record has boomed up to 15-9-1 for the season. Looking to keep the momentum going for three more hits, and another parlay.

In the first matchup, I am sacrilegiously betting on Sebastian Munoz’s demise. Well sort of. If he wants to light it up Thursday and coast his way to a T2 finish, that would be ideal, so long as NeSmith and his +16000 outright cash for me. In reality though, NeSmith is the #1 Approach player and #2 Ball Striker in the field at a track that puts a premium on Approach and Ball Striking. Munoz, bless his heart, is not playing his best golf right now and I just don’t expect him to put 4 great rounds together this week.

Next we have Viktor Hovland, the soon-to-be Masters champion (at least I hope as I continue to clutch my +4000 ticket) versus wildly overrated Bryson DeChambeau. It feels like I bet against Bryson in matchups every week and honestly, it’s been going really well so far. Hovland is arguably the hottest player on Tour with 4 T5s in his last 5 events. Frankly he should be favored over anyone in this field matchup-wise but in this instance versus Bryson, he is not. I talked about all the reasons I dislike Bryson early this week, and really it all boils down to accuracy off the tee with the amount of hazards in play and expected wind.

And finally we have Cameron Davis, the scoring phenom, versus Keegan Bradley, who I imagine frequently visits Scottie Cameron in his nightmares. I’ll be over-weight on Davis in DFS, and while I think he measures up very well for this course with his game and recent form, his lack of past experience was the only thing holding me back from betting him outright. This way, I get to root for him and still have some non-outright action. Keegan on the other hand does have course history here, and it’s unremarkable, with no finishes better than T25 in the last 6 years. This is me betting on Davis to finish T25 and Keegan not to.

One And Done

  • Paul Casey

It’s not going great over here in OAD folks. At this point I just need to openly tell you how cold I’ve been in OAD to give you good fade material. Look what I did to Dustin Johnson last week. T45 in a WGC?!

I am currently 2,732 out of 3,335 in the Mayo Cup. My best finish so far is Cameron Tringale’s T7 at the AT&T Pro-Am. It’s evidently clear that I have a curse following me, so I’ve decided to do an overhaul of the decision process this week.

Paul Casey is a player I like a lot here, is playing well recently, and has good course history. I have 0 exposure to him in DFS or my bets, which makes this a perfect hedge. If he tanks, more leverage for me elsewhere, and really how much lower can I drop in OAD? I’m eying Casey for The Players and Masters, so I’m just hoping he can stay in decent form for the weeks ahead.

DFS Core

  • Cameron Davis ($7,900)
  • Henrik Norlander ($7,200)
  • Chris Kirk ($7,000)

Three $7K guys is a rarity of a core for me. Typically over-exposing yourself to this range opens up a lot of volatility. But on the contrary, these three players have been a model of consistency lately. Each were written up as DFS Values in my article earlier this week and as I really thought about the bottom of the board this week, I don’t feel compelled to dip into the $6K range when we have this array of proven Recent Form at low cost. This core allows plenty of flexibility to fit in guys like Hovland, Fitzpatrick, Hatton, and others at the top of the board for a good balance of stars and scrubs.