The difficult Florida swing continued last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament filled with bogeys, blunders and blustery conditions. With such a high level of play required to win, it was no surprise to see one of the pre-tournament favorites in Scottie Scheffler slip on the red cardigan.
After winning for the second time in three starts, the Texan will look for more of the same at this week’s Players Championship. In a tournament that saw the Arnold Palmer Invitational winner and runner-up contend in 2021, there is a real possibility Scheffler and Viktor Hovland run back their mini duel down in the Sunshine State.
The Players Championship, considered by many to be the “fifth major” of the year, welcomes the best players in the world, including 48 of the top 50. Missing are only Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson as a purse of $20 million is up for grabs with $3.6 million going to the eventual winner.
Along with expert picks found below, you can also see The Players Championship prop bets as well.
The draw to TPC Sawgrass is clear as world No. 1 Jon Rahm once again headlines the oddsboard at [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog]. The Spaniard was in contention on the back nine in the 2019 edition of this tournament before he limped home, making a number of costly mistakes before Rory McIlroy eventually proved victorious.
Unable to get back to his winning ways in his Arnold Palmer Invitational debut last week, our odds calculator gives the U.S. Open champion a 6.67 percent chance to win at TPC Sawgrass. While Rahm is the favorite once again, he is not without company as defending champion Justin Thomas and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa both check in at +1600.
Here’s a look at the golfers with the likeliest odds to go all the way:
Who Is Favored To Win The Players Championship?
Odds as of March 8 at [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog]
What Happened in Last Year’s Players Championship?
A weekend charge proved to be the difference last year at TPC Sawgrass. Justin Thomas posted rounds of 64-68 to shoot up the leaderboard on Saturday and Sunday. His par-5 scoring, highlighted by an eagle-3 on the par-5 16th during Saturday’s round, was the story of the week.
Playing the 16 par 5s in 14 under, Thomas’ eventual winning score of 14 under was enough to get past Lee Westwood by one stroke and Bryson DeChambeau by two strokes.
With DeChambeau topping tee shots and Westwood missing short putts, Thomas’ firepower was eventually too much as he skirted the water hazard on the 72nd hole. Securing pars on the dried-out par-3 17th and anxiety-filled par-4 18th, he notched his 14th PGA Tour title and has remained winless worldwide since.
Course and Analysis:
This will be the 40th time the PGA Tour stops at TPC Sawgrass for the Players Championship. With the potential for a Monday finish in cold, blustery conditions, strong ball-striking and an all-around game will be needed in order to navigate the Pete Dye design in Ponte Vedra, Florida.
A par 72, a large bulk of par 4s measure from 450 to 500 yards, placing importance on not only driving accuracy but proximity from a key range of 125 to 150 yards. Combine this with the need to take advantage of the par 5s and players face the risk of falling behind if unable to score when necessary.
Par-5 scoring is the main component I am looking at despite what others may say. Outside of Jason Day, each winner since 2012 has done more than 50 percent of their scoring on these holes. And the Australian connected on 47 percent of his scoring on these four holes, so it is not as if he is too far off.
Thomas, McIlroy and Webb Simpson played them in 14, 9 and 13 under respectively, a neighborhood that should be visited by the eventual champion. In addition to this, a strong tee-to-green presence and past success on Pete Dye designs will be featured in our analysis.
2022 Players Championship Expert Selections
Patrick Cantlay +2000 To Win:
The top scorer in this field on par 5s over the last 24 rounds, there is plenty to like about Cantlay’s prospects at this week’s Players Championship. Now the world No. 4, Cantlay’s rise to prominence has been slow due to injury, but he has officially reached the peak and shows no signs of slowing down.
Starting with a victory at the Memorial, the UCLA product sprinted into the playoffs, winning the BMW Championship and eventually the Tour Championship. While some wagered this would not last, his form has continued into 2022.
After finishing fourth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Cantlay has since added a top-10 at the American Express to go along with two close calls at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the WM Phoenix Open.
While he struggled at the Genesis Invitational, back-to-back weeks of nearly winning will do that to any mere mortal. Strong on Pete Dye designs throughout his career at TPC River Highlands, Harbour Town Golf Links and even the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, the 29-year-old arrives to TPC Sawgrass as a completely transformed player.
Brooks Koepka +3300 To Win
It is finally time to buy in on the four-time major champion as Koepka arrives having had strong showings in two of three outings.
After a third-place at the WM Phoenix Open, the Floridian returned to his home state two weeks ago for the Honda Classic and finished in a tie for 16th, impressing from tee to green to gain north of five strokes on the field in said category. Disappointing on the greens, he returns to TPC Sawgrass this week where he has posted positive SG: Putting figures in each Players Championship appearance.
With T-16 and T-11 finishes, Koepka is known to be a player to look to when the lights are the brightest. While the list of past champions is littered with major winners, it is without Koepka’s, something I could envision changing this week in Ponte Vedra.
Justin Rose +10000 To Win
The Players Championship has seen a number of old-timers contend as TPC Sawgrass is susceptible to the positional golfer. In recent years, it has been Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk, and for my money, I am willing to wager this year Justin Rose will fill this role.
The Englishman has done most of his recent damage on courses similar to TPC Sawgrass, with a T-12 result at the RSM Classic following up a top-10 effort at the Wyndham Championship and two surprise performances at the major championships. Between a top-10 at the Masters and the same on a Pete Dye design for the PGA Championship, there is still lots of golf left in the former U.S. Open champion.
Rose, a great wedge player and fairly accurate off the tee, does most of his scoring on par 4s. While we will need to see an uptick on par 5s, it is a risk to take given his success at TPC Sawgrass which includes a top-five, top-10 and two top-25 finishes in his last six outings.
Keith Mitchell +12500 To Win
I just don’t see enough changing to justify this price differential from recent weeks. A player who was going off near the top of the oddsboard at the Honda Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Georgia Bulldog’s number has now tripled. While the strength of the field surely makes up for this, the other portion lies in his course history.
To that, I say Mitchell has never been the player he is at this point in time. After collecting four top-12 finishes in 2022, the 30-year-old arrives with confidence unseen before. Possessing a complete game, elite drivers of the golf ball in Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and DeChambeau present the blueprint for Mitchell to follow.
Fantastic on par 5s and an underrated scrambler, we will need to see just an uptick in his iron play. However, if it does cooperate, the man who has played well in Florida his entire professional career should do so once again this week.
Mackenzie Hughes +20000 To Win
We looked in the Canadian’s direction for the Honda Classic and while he did not come through, he did not do anything to sour the taste in our mouths. We like him once again at a price more than four times that at PGA National, and he has the statistical profile to match previous Players Championship winners such as Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar, as well as 2015 playoff loser Kevin Kisner.
Hughes splits fairways with the best of them. Extremely well off on par 4s and with a wedge in hand, the Olympian has an innate ability to catch lightning in a bottle on the greens.
He was the leader after 54 holes at the U.S. Open and finished in a tie for sixth at The Open, and has proven to play with the big boys when it matters the most. Known to play his best at the likes of the RSM Classic and various shorter, Bermuda-laced golf courses, Hughes is extremely underpriced as he has the potential to scramble his way to victory as we have seen in the past.
Golf is unique for many reasons, but one of them is the significant number of betting props available at weekly tournaments. The Players Championship is no different.
Sportsbooks are offering odds on things like whether there will be a hole-in-one, OVER/UNDERs on the winning score for the eventual champion and odds on which players from specific countries will have the lowest score, to name a few.
Like other sports, betting on props is a fun and unique way to enhance your golf gambling experience.
Live Betting is arguably one of the most exciting ways to bet on golf. If the player you placed a pre-tournament bet on is out of the running at any point during the Players Championship, you can bet on another golfer as the days go by and have another stake in the game.
If there are only a few men in the hunt on the final day, the odds likely won’t be significantly high, but your chances of winning are. We’ve seen this happen multiple times in the PGA Tour’s Return to Golf, as multiple tournaments have gone to a playoff.
These helpful pages will assist you in handicapping your golf wagers:
How to Bet on the Players Championship
When and where is the 2021 Players Championship?
The 2021 Players Championship will be held from March 11-14, 2021, at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The 2020 Players Championship was cancelled after one round due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To stay up to date on the latest golf news, check out our PGA Tour page.
What kind of golf bets can I make?
There are plenty of ways to wager on golf. Whether you’re looking for long-term futures value or to get some action on an upcoming tournament, golf is an exhilarating sport to bet on. For a full list of opportunities to bet on the links, check out our How to Bet on Golf page.
Is the Players Championship always held at TPC Sawgrass?
Yes, the Players Championship has been held solely at TPC Sawgrass since 1982. At $12.5 million, the Players Championship currently offers the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf. The Players Championship is not a major, but it’s known as the most prestigious non-major tournament. For more golf futures betting info, head over to our Golf Futures page.
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