Arnold Palmer Invitational Outright Predictions: Can Rory Piece Together a Winning Puzzle?

A decent field highlighted by a couple of heavy hitters is set to tee it up at Bay Hill for the iconic Arnold Palmer Invitational. We break down the chances of Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, and a longshot who had an impressive finish here a year ago.

Last Updated: Mar 1, 2022 5:11 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Rory McIlroy Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA Tour
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Next stop on the Florida swing: The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Arnold Palmer Invitational odds have Jon Rahm (+800), Rory McIlroy (+1,100), and Viktor Hovland (+1,400) topping the board but with many of the Tour's stars out for the week, there is still room for others to shine.

Our Arnold Palmer Invitational outright predictions highlight a favorite, a sleeper, and a longshot to keep your eye on when things get going on Thursday.

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Arnold Palmer Invitational outright picks

Among the favorites: Rory McIlroy (+1,100)

While Rory has been in more headlines for his Phil Mickelson-related comments than his golf game of late, his results have actually been pretty solid since his emotional breakthrough following the Ryder Cup last Fall.

Over on the DP World Tour, he followed up a T12 in Abu Dhabi with a solo-third finish in Dubai where he all but had the tournament won before putting a ball in the water on the 72nd hole. 

He came back to the U.S. for the Genesis, where he managed to sneak his way into a T10 finish after another solid week and you only have to go back a few months to the last time he hoisted a trophy (CJ Cup @ Summit). 

He may not be the world-beating Rory of old, but he’s quickly rounding into form and coming to a place where he has great tournament and course history. 

He took the title here in 2018 and has gone T6-T5-T10 in his three starts since, making this a comfortable venue for him to put the put all of the pieces together.

He gained strokes in all major categories in Dubai and at Riviera, including +1.33 and +1.35 strokes per round on the greens. 

Another strong putting week paired with the much more consistent driving we've seen from Rory in 2022 makes for a very dangerous threat to win.

Sleeper to watch: Matt Fitzpatrick (+2,200)

This isn’t much of a sleeper pick, but Matt Fitzpatrick is a name you may very well breeze by when scanning the odds board.

Fitz has been all over the front page of the leaderboard at Bay Hill, posting impressive finishes of T10, T9, and solo-second in 2019, where he got bested by Francesco Molinari by two shots.

On top of the strong course history, he’s entering the week in some form that might catch you by surprise. He finished T2 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, T12 at Hero World, followed by T6 at Pebble Beach and T10 in Phoenix back in the States.

The T10 finish here last year came amidst an atrocious week on approach, but that should be taken lightly as Fitz has been consistently gaining strokes on the field in that area in 2022.

A strong or even average week's worth of second shots in combination with a game that suits this tougher test should put him right back into contention come Sunday. 

He’s never won on the PGA Tour but has played some of his best, most consistent golf over the past few months, even landing him a win at the Andalucia Masters (Spain) back in October.

He's not a heavy hitter like Rahm, Rory, or Hovland, but it would be a mistake to look past Fitz this week.

Longshot worth a look: Andrew Putnam (+10,000)

Much further down the board is one Andrew Putnam, available at 100/1 odds.

Putnam was on a bit of a groove to kick off the new season, posting finishes of T27 at the Sony, T14 at Amex, and T6 at Pebble Beach. 

That groove may or may not have disappeared in Phoenix (missed cut) and at the Genesis (T48), but the 33-year-old now comes back to Bay Hill looking to improve on last year’s T4 finish.

He ranks just inside the top 30 in strokes gained approach and while this field is stronger than last week at the Honda, it’s very far from that of the Genesis Invitational, which leaves the door open for guys like Putnam to make waves atop the board.

What's held Putnam back is his driver. He ranks 183rd on the season in strokes gained off-the-tee and despite his T4 finish, ranked 61st in the field in this event last year.

All Putnam needs to contend again is an average or better week off-the-tee. If he can produce that, the rest of his game should take care of itself as showcased by his play here last year.

It’s certainly a flier, but it’s worth a second look at the +10,000 number.

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