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

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.

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