The Players Championship: PGA Tour betting preview & Predictions
The Road to Augusta is officially underway. After big win from Kurt Kitayama last week, all eyes are now on TPC Sawgrass for the PGA Tour’s jewel in the crown – The Players Championship. Defending champion, Cameron Smith, deferred to LIV Golf which means we are guaranteed to crown a new winner. But who in this highly talented field will emerge on top?
The Players Championship: Field overview
TPC Sawgrass is a course that will test even the most elite golfers. It’s why, according to Andy Lack of Rick Run Good, only four of the last ten winners here have been priced below +3000. That’s stunning when you think about it and while it’s always appealing to go for the stars, this could be an opportunity for a future star to make a name for himself.
Rory McIlroy comes into this event as the favorite and it’s not hard to see why. He was an inch short of winning last weekend and won this event back in 2019. Rory is clearly beginning to heat up at the right time and has been magnificent off the tee. If he can find some success around the greens, this could be his year.
Of course, it is hard to look past John Rahm, who had four consecutive top 10’s (and 2 wins) prior to his 39th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. If that’s as bad as it gets, look out.
If you want to pivot away from the top names, there may be no better option than Justin Thomas at +2200. He won The Players Championship two years ago and has four consecutive top-35 finishes. That metric also applies to his most recent tournaments, with JT finishing inside the top 25 in every event this year so far. He’s playing solidly, has had great success here before, and is priced very attractively.
Patrick Cantlay is another name worth taking a look at. He’s flown under the radar this year but has two top-5 finishes to his name over the last two events. He has often struggled at The Players Championship but if he’s climbing back to that 2021-level form, then this is a perfect spot to bet behind him while he’s still cheap.
Max Homa’s 2023 season has been beyond impressive. He’s sustained the huge leap in growth we saw him take last year with a win and a trio of top 3s so far. He oh-so nearly won at the Genesis Invitational and came 13th here last season. Homa is red hot right now and there may be no better putter on tour.
Where to find value in The Players Championship
To win: +4000
If you’re looking for someone comfortable around this treacherous track, Keegan Bradley has 4 top-30’s in a row here and has been playing some solid golf to start his 2023 campaign. Coming off of a top-10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bradley is riding a wave of confidence going into an environment he has thrived in over the last four years.
To win: +5000
Rickie Fowler has reunited with Butch Harmon and the results are speaking volumes. Four top 30’s in a row is not a bad way to start the year for a previously struggling player and his approach play has improved significantly. It’s only going to take one explosive round for the Fowler of old to reappear and when that day comes, it’ll be too late to get this kind of price on him. I like his chances of a good result at The Players Championship.
To win: +13000
I don’t usually like playing Hadwin as he has a tendency to ruin my day, but I can’t ignore his strong run of form around TPC Sawgrass at this price. He came 10th in Phoenix and while the courses are extremely different, the level of pressure will be similar. I don’t mind taking a punt down in the bargain bucket.
Betting prediction for The Players Championship
My head says Rory McIlroy rebounds to form at the Players Championship, but my heart says Will Zalatoris. No research, just feel. Justin Thomas feels like the best value play if you want to maximize your returns.
The Players Championship betting offers
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire