Paul Krishnamurty has scoured Betfair's wide array of speciality golf markets ahead of this week's big event and recommends the following portfolio of bets and in-running trades...
"There have been few if any better drivers this century than Westwood...It would surely no surprise if this most consistent of world-class performers found some form just in time for the Masters."
With Tiger Woods withdrawing ahead of his bid for a ninth title, this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational is wide open. Martin Laird is the only former winner with any realistic hope of a repeat, so we're almost certain of a new champion. We know from the vast bank of course form that long, straight driving is an essential requirement for victory at Bay Hill and that's precisely the reason behind the following two in-running trades.
Back to lays
Back Gary Woodland 4u @ 44.043/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 7.06/1
Long, straight driving is Woodland's forte and it looks bound to deliver rewards soon. The case for this emerging star is made in more detail in our each-way column and bigger odds on the exchange also offer trading value. My plan is to stake four units at 44.043/1, then place a lay order for 20 units at 7.06/1. In effect, this is a four to one bet that he hits the lay target, leaving an extra 36 units profit if he wins.
2u Lee Westwood @ 80.079/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 15.014/1
Likewise there have been few if any better drivers this century than Westwood, which has enticed me into backing him many times on this course. Whilst he has never delivered, five top-20s is a fair record and he has repeatedly ruined good rounds on the brutal 18th hole. Recent poor form is of course a huge negative but it's well reflected by these odds. Moreover, a name like Westwood always commands market respect when he appears in contention so the odds could collapse with a fast start. It would surely no surprise if this most consistent of world-class performers found some form just in time for the Masters. Here the trading plan is again effectively a four to one bet with extra profit if he wins.
Back Zach Johnson to beat Hunter Mahan 8u @ 1.9520/21
Taken over the course of a season, this could be the perfect even match. Both are bang in form, have been very consistent over recent months and stand similar chances of winning a major. On this particular track in this state, however, the stats point clearly towards Johnson.
Mahan has never really been seen to best effect in Florida, presumably due to the Bermuda greens. He's never made a top-five in this state, and made only one top-20 from ten tries at Bay Hill. In contrast, Zach immediately took to this layout, finishing top-eight on his first two appearances back in 2004 and 2005. Those efforts, outstanding for a newcomer, marked him down as a likely future winner of the event and he's registered a couple more top-11s here since. He's never arrived with a better chance.
Back Graeme McDowell 4u @ 3.7511/4
Back George McNeill 2u @ 8.27/1
Back Fredrik Jacobson 2u @ 10.09/1
Back Ken Duke 1u @ 18.017/1
Finally, a quartet for the top-ten market, staking nine units, needing one winner to secure a profit. Twice runner-up Graeme McDowell needs little explaining. Take out a poor Honda Classic showing, excusable after a gruelling run at the World Match Play, he hasn't had a bad week all year. Gmac is a massive contender. George McNeill has a longstanding reputation as a Florida specialist and is in the most consistent form of his career, with Sunday's seventh place his fourth straight top-20. He's yet to miss a cut in four attempts here and has never arrived in anything like this form.
Freddy Jacobson has a decent Bay Hill record, with ninth place two years ago his third top-20 from six. Coming off the back of consecutive top-20s, he very nearly made the staking plan for my Find Me a 100 Winner column. Instead I plumped for a highly optimistic punt on Ken Duke at 410.0409/1 so it makes sense to also back him at big odds for this much more realistic target.