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Arnold Palmer Invitational tips: Justin Thomas to continue resurgence at Bay Hill

The USPGA Tour continues its Florida swing at Bay Hill Golf Club, from where golf pundit Martin Colwell picks out his best bets from the stellar field competing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Arnold Palmer Invitational key stats:

  • When: March 7-10 2024
  • Where: Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida 
  • How long: 7,466 yards - par 72
  • What to expect: Accuracy and/or scrambling skills key, long rough, nine water hazards, quick greens, can be gusty
  • Who won last year: Kurt Kitayama (-9)

Planet Sport Bet offer : PGA Tour Arnold Palmer Top Price on the Planet: Scheffler 7/1 (was 6/1) and Rory McIlroy 10/1 (was 9/1)

It’s hardly surprising to see Scottie Scheffler installed as the pre-tournament favourite - the world number one is a previous winner here whose game is in great shape overall.

However, his frigid flatstick continues to let him down at crucial times, so he’s difficult to back at just 13/2, and it’s also hard to trust 9/1 shot Rory McIlroy after he flunked a big chance to win last week.

Of course, both could win at a canter if they hit their straps, and the same could be said for Viktor Hovland, who has not had a good start to 2024, causing the Norwegian to put in a lot of time with his new coach to iron out some issues that make him hard to back at his current odds. 

Xander Schauffele shares the same 14/1 price tag, but just cannot seem to convert his challenges into wins these days and can be easily bypassed from a betting perspective.

Patrick Cantlay is another one who now finds it hard to win. That will inevitably end at some point, but he has had chances recently and the 16/1 odds do not interest me. 

Ludvig Aberg is currently rated the third-best golfer in the world, but in reality he is still a  rookie and so 18/1 in this calibre of field looks skinny to me.

Much more appealing is the recent resurgence of Justin Thomas, who has emerged from his season in the wilderness and can easily bounce back from missing the cut at the Genesis Invitational last time out.

JT has made two top tens from four outings in 2024 and his record for his previous seven tournaments prior to his Genesis setback is T12th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, T3rd, T6th, and T12th, which is right up there with the best current performers on the circuit.

If he could just tighten up his putting, especially on a Sunday afternoon, then he has the game to make a mockery of his 28/1 pre-tournament odds.

Suggested bet: Justin Thomas (28/1) each-way in the Arnold Palmer Invitational


Others to watch:

  • Jordan Spieth (20/1) - No doubting his pedigree, of course, but just too inconsistent for me lately, and hard to fathom why only six players have shorter odds than him here.
  • Sam Burns (20/1) - Likely to be popular this week, but is the 20/1 available a bit skinny in this field?
  • Will Zalatoris (25/1) - Returned from injury recently, game seems in good order, this tournament may be a bit early for him to contend to win, but is a good warm up ahead of bigger prizes
  • Chris Kirk (60/1) - Six career wins on tour, including at The Sentry in January, Kirk finished with a final round 65 last week, so could hit the ground running here.
  • Sepp Straka (100/1) - Has alternated decent finishes with missed cuts this year, and will need a decent start if he wants to add to his two Tour wins in this company.

Suggested bet: Chris Kirk (60/1) each-way in the Arnold Palmer Invitational


Suggested bet summary:

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