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Arnold Palmer Invitational: Preview, Odds & Best Bets


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The second leg of the PGA Tour’s “Florida Swing” begins Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.

It’s one of three events on tour with elevated status, which means a larger purse, a bigger allotment of FedExCup Points and a three-year exemption for the winner. Field Level Media’s golf experts provide key tournament notes, odds and best bets.

ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL

Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla., March 3-6

Course: Bay Hill Club & Lodge (Par 72, 7,466 yards)

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Purse: $12M (Winner: $2.16M)

Defending Champion: Bryson DeChambeau

FedEx Cup Leader: Hideki Matsuyama

HOW TO FOLLOW

TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC).

PGA Tour Live: Four live feeds per day on ESPN+

Social Media: @APInv (Twitter)

NOTES

–The 120-player field includes 10 of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

–DeChambeau will not defend his title as he continues to recover from wrist and hip injuries.

–The field hit only 56.84 percent of the greens in regulation last year, the fifth-lowest mark on tour.

–The top three finishers this week who are not otherwise exempt will qualify for The Open Championship.

–Former Michigan State star and 2021 U.S. Amateur winner James Piot will make his PGA Tour debut.

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–Notable sponsors exemptions include former FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker and former major winners Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington and Danny Willett.

–Last season’s final-round scoring average of 75.49 was the highest in a final round since 1980.

–Payne Stewart set the tournament scoring record of 264 in 1987.

BEST BETS

–Jon Rahm (+750 at DraftKings) will make his event debut as he seeks his first win since last year’s U.S. Open. Rahm opened at +900 at BetMGM but has moved to +800.

–Rory McIlroy (+1000) has five consecutive top-10s at Bay Hill, including a victory in 2018. He has been backed by the most total bets at DraftKings (4.3 percent)

–Scottie Scheffler (+1600) has three top-fives this season, including his first tour victory at the Phoenix Open.

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–Viktor Hovland (+1800) leads the tour in birdie average at 5.73 per round. He has not finished better than T40 in three previous event starts but does have three wins in his past seven worldwide starts. Hovland has been backed by 9.1 percent of the money at DraftKings, the most in the field, along with 5.3 percent of the bets.

–Matsuyama (+2500) is the only two-time winner on tour this season. His best finish in seven previous event starts was a T6 in 2016. Matsuyama has the same odds at BetMGM, where he has been backed by 7.0 percent of the bets and 6.7 percent of the money.

–Will Zalatoris (+2500), making his second event start, and has been backed by 6.0 percent of the bets and 7.9 percent of the money at DraftKings. He is also the biggest liability at BetMGM, where Zalatoris has been backed by a book-high 8.1 percent of the bets and 10.8 percent of the money.

–Sungjae Im opened at +3000 at BetMGM but has moved to +2500 as Im has been backed by 4.9 percent of the money wagered on the outright winner at the event.

–Field Level Media

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