McIlroy the betting favourite on Arnold Palmer Invitational odds

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the 14th green during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament, Friday, May 17, 2019, at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Fresh off his best performance since claiming fifth place in last year’s Masters, Rory McIlroy prepares for this weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational as the +800 betting favourite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Set as the world’s top-ranked golfer when the PGA Tour was put on pause due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, McIlroy has struggled since golf returned last June. The 31-year-old has finished outside the top ten in 13 of 17 appearances going into Thursday’s first-round action of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Bay Hill, Florida.

The Northern Ireland native has shown signs of a turnaround in the early going this season, particularly on the big stage. After opening the 2020/21 campaign by claiming a share of eighth place at the US Open, McIlroy cracked the top ten for the third time this season with a sixth-place performance at last weekend’s WGC-Workday Championship.

A return to Bay Hill might be just what McIlroy needs to end his lengthy championship drought. A top-six finisher at this event in each of the past four years, McIlroy raised the trophy in convincing style three years ago, outpacing runner-up Bryson DeChambeau by three strokes.

DeChambeau closely trails McIlroy on the odds to win this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, joining rising star Viktor Hovland as +1200 co-second favourites at betting sites. DeChambeau has also struggled to regain the form that earned him one tournament victory and three top-ten finishes last season. DeChambeau opened the current campaign with his first career major tournament win at the US Open but has struggled with consistency since, coming off a 22nd-place result last weekend and finishing outside the top 20 or missing the cut in three of his past four outings.

A meltdown on his final hole in second-round action proved to be the difference for Hovland, who was forced to settle for a share of second place at the WGC-Workday Championship. After going minus-7 through 17 holes, Hovland struggled to finish the round with a quadruple bogey. However, the 23-year-old Norwegian has otherwise been steady this season, finishing among the top five in four of his past five outings including a win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Further down the golf odds for this week’s event, defending tournament champion Tyrell Hatton sits at +1600, just ahead of Patrick Reed and Sungjae Im, who are knotted at +2000. The winner at this tournament in 2019, Francesco Molinari sits at +2800. Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman have also each claimed victory at this event in the past, and they are pegged at +3300 and +4000, respectively, for the tournament.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.