Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Arnold Palmer Invitational
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This week the PGA Tour remains in Florida and heads to the home of Arnies Army, Bay Hill Club & Lodge, for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The big difference this week compared to last week's Honda Classic which kicked off the Florida swing is the field. As always, this event draws an elite field and this year welcomes nine of the Top 10, 23 of the Top 25, and 42 of the Top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings.
The elite field will be challenged as Bay Hill has ranked as a Top 10 hardest course on tour(including majors!) in five of the last six years and ranked out as the hardest back in 2020. As with most Florida courses, water is a major defence and the win can also wreak havoc on golfers. Next up is the distance as it plays as one of the longest courses on the regular tour schedule and it starts with the Par 3's as they are some of the longest and hardest on tour listed at 199, 215, 221, and 231 yards. Combine that with five of Par 4's that come in over 450 yards and there is a well-above-average amount of long-iron approach shots here.
Looking at the shotlink and strokes gained data over the last three years, this is another tournament where the correlations are very even across the board with Strokes Gained: Approach ranking at the top each season. Inside that bubble, I will also be weighing long iron approaches quite high in my model and bombers who are relatively accurate can also gain a ton on the field.
With that said, let's look at the course, trends, and dig into some picks.
Previous Five Winners
- 2022 - Scottie Scheffler(-5)
- 2021 - Bryson DeChambeau(-11)
- 2020 - Tyrrell Hatton(-4)
- 2019 - Francesco Molinari(-12)
- 2018 - Rory McIlroy(-18)
Course History Targets
World Golf Ranking (#3)
Vegas Odds (9/1)
There is no debate about who leads the way in terms of course history this week as Rory returns to Bay Hill with one win(2018), five Top 10's and no finish worse than T27 in eight trips. During that stretch, he leads the field in almost every category including SG: Tee to Green and DraftKings scoring. The form may not look great coming off a T32 at the WMPO and T29 at the Genesis but both results can be attributed to the poor putting and we have seen this movie before. He was in a similar funk at the end of last season losing over five strokes putting in the first two playoff events then followed it up with back-to-back wins at the Tour Championship and CJ Cup. Considering the elite ball striking and course history, I will be loading up on Rory who is the third-highest priced golfer in this field.
World Golf Ranking (#62)
Vegas Odds (35/1)
Not too far behind Rory in the course history model is Tyrrell Hatton who won here in 2020, was runner-up last year and is second in this field in Strokes Gained: Total here at Bay Hill. On top of the course history, Hatton is also one of the most consistent players in the field(relative to price) making 10 straight and 17 of his last 18 cuts on tour. At a mid-tier price on both sites, I am on board with Hatton in all formats.
Also Consider: Chris Kirk who has back-to-back Top 5's here at Bay Hill and Top 15 finishes in five of his last six trips
Current Form Targets
World Golf Ranking (#1)
Vegas Odds (6/1)
Just like there is no debate with Rory leading the course history model, there is also no debate about who is the hottest player on the planet right now. Rahm is coming off a win at the Genesis where he gained a whopping 11.9 strokes on approach, which is more than all but two players gained TOTAL during the event. It was Rahm's third win in five starts, ninth straight Top 15 finish which includes a crazy eight Top 10's. He is one of only a few players in the world who are elite across the board when looking at stats and there is no doubt in my mind he will not only top the T17 from last year but contend for another win. I also love the fact DraftKings has put him in a salary tier of his own. Lock and load this week!
World Golf Ranking (#159)
Vegas Odds (140/1)
There are obviously golfers with better form in this field but looking at the value range, Sam Ryder is one that stands out this week. After missing three straight cuts, he bounced back in a big way with a T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open and has followed that up with two straight T20 finishes at the WMPO and Genesis. A red-hot putter has driven the form as he has gained a whopping 13.7 strokes on the green in the last two events but the irons also jump off the page as he ranks 15th in SG: Approach on my sheet. The history here hasn't been great but it hasn't been bad either as he has made the cut in two of three trips. Ryder is one of my top value plays this week.
Also Consider: Seamus Power who has been red-hot with eight straight made cuts and seven straight Top 25 finishes including a win at the Bermuda Championship
Stats Model Targets
World Golf Ranking (#47)
Vegas Odds (30/1)
It has been a tremendous run for Day this season and he is most definitely on track to pick up the "Comeback Player of the Year" award. Since missing the cut at the season-opening Fortinet Championship, Day has not only made the cut in eight of nine events but has finished Top 25 in each of those and comes in with three straight Top 10's. That success has been led by a near-elite tee-to-green game as he ranks(in this field) 9th in SG: Tee to Green, 3rd in Par 4 scoring, 5th in Par 3 scoring, and he is also back to being an elite putter ranking #1 in that area over the last 24 rounds. He has won here at Bay Hill before and playing as well as he is, I wouldn't be surprised to see him content here once again. At these prices, I will have exposure in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#30)
Vegas Odds (125/1)
Hoge has been a bit up and down since his red-hot start to this season but still stands out and fits what I am looking for this week in my stats model. Looking at just the last 24 rounds, he ranks 13th in SG: Ball Striking, what he lacks in game-changing distance off the tee, he makes up for with elite iron play ranking 1st in SG: Approach and 4th in proximity from 200+ yards. The birdies haven't been dropping at his regular pace lately but he is still 11th in Opportunities gained so I can see it turn around quickly. To cap it off, Hoge returns to Bay Hill with some history having made the cut in three of four trips with his worst finish a T32 among those three made cuts.
Also Consider: Joseph Bramlett as another value play who fits the stats model rankings Top 30 in SG: Ball striking, Driving Distance, SG: Approach, and both Proximity ranges