For the 2nd week in a row, the biggest names in golf will be competing at a premier course in Florida. The 2023 Players Championship is taking place at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. The 1st round tees off on Thursday.
Below, we search for the best value prop bets among the 2023 Players Championship odds and make our PGA Tour picks and predictions.
After finishing 2nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy comes into this week as the betting favorite to win his 2nd Players Championship. Jon Rahm, the No. 1 player in the world, is right behind McIlroy, followed by Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay. Defending champion Cameron Smith is with LIV Golf and not in the field.
TPC Sawgrass features twisting and winding fairways, which are narrow and difficult to hit on several holes. Players are required to shape shots around the contours of the course, with greens in regulation being a strong marker of success here. Sawgrass is a par 72 that will play at 7,275 yards.
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Players Championship – Top-5 picks
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated Wednesday at 1:04 a.m. ET.
Sungjae Im (+650)
It’s easy to like Im this week. He’s great off the tee (21st in strokes gained) and a wizard around the greens with his wedges, which will help him save par when he does miss his target. He has 2 top-6 finishes in his last 5 starts this season and comes into this tournament in good form.
Justin Thomas (+450)
Thomas has been better than just about every player at TPC Sawgrass the last 2 years, winning it in 2021 and finishing tied for 33rd last year. He hasn’t finished outside the top 25 in his last 5 starts this season, so he’s been playing very well recently. He should be among the top 3 favorites this week.
Rory McIlroy (+220)
McIlroy cashed our top-5 ticket last week so we’ll run it back with him again at Sawgrass. He was a winner here in 2019 and has 3 other top-10 finishes at this tournament. He’s coming off a 2nd-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, too.
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Players Championship – Top-10 picks
Max Homa (+210)
Homa tied for 13th last year after missing the cut in his Players debut in 2021, but he’s a much better player now than he was 2 years ago. In his last 5 starts, he has a win, a 2nd-place finish and a 3rd on his resume, playing as well as anyone in the world.
Jason Day (+270)
Day has very quietly been as consistent as anyone in the last couple of months. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of his last 4 starts and top 20 in each of his last 6 tournaments. He missed the cut here last year, but that was an outlier after winning in 2016 and posting 2 other top 10s at Sawgrass since.
Viktor Hovland (+260)
Hovland limped his way to a T-10 at Bay Hill last week, shooting a final-round 75 after once holding the lead on Saturday. He has 7 top-25s in his 8 starts this season and tied for 9th in this event last year. Despite Sunday’s collapse, Hovland is playing well at the moment.
Other T10 contenders (in order from longest odds to shortest):
- Rickie Fowler (+500)
- Shane Lowry (+425)
- Keegan Bradley (+400)
Players Championship – Top-20 picks
Jason Day (+135)
For all the reasons listed above, I’d also consider taking Day to come in the top 20. He has 6 straight top-20 finishes this season and looks like the player he was in his prime.
Adam Scott (+330)
Scott at +330 for a top-20? Don’t mind if I do. In his last 10 appearances at the Players Championship, he’s come in the top 20 six times. He’s 17-for-20 in cuts made here and won back in 2004, finishing worse than 48th only once since 2012 – and that was last year when the conditions were brutal for those on the wrong side of the draw.
Will Zalatoris (+150)
Zalatoris disappointed last week at Bay Hill but I’m running it back with him. In his first 2 starts at the Players Championship the last 2 years, he finished 21st and 26th, so he’s been on the cusp of a top-20. It’s been an up-and-down season so far but he’s worth a bet at +150 on a course that rewards great ball striking.
Other T20 contenders (in order from longest odds to shortest):
- Joel Dahmen (+550)
- Justin Thomas (+110)
- Max Homa (+110)
Players Championship – Matchups
Suggested play is golfer in bold.
Jason Day (-120) vs. Tom Kim (+100)
This is a bet on course history/experience and recent form. Day has a big edge in both, with this being Kim’s Players Championship debut. You’re paying up a little bit with a -120 line, but Day is worth it.
Rory McIlroy (+100) vs. Jon Rahm (-120)
McIlroy is the favorite to win the tournament at +900, but Rahm is the favorite to win head-to-head? Give me McIlroy at even money to beat Rahm, who has struggled a bit on Bermuda greens and has just 2 finishes inside the top 50 here.
Max Homa (-120) vs. Xander Schauffele (+100)
Schauffele tied for 2nd in 2018, but hasn’t made the cut in his 3 tries since. Homa is trending upwards and playing the best golf of his life, which is why it makes sense for him to be the favorite. I’ll take Homa at -120.
Players Championship – Top American
Justin Thomas (+1200)
Thomas is a safer pick given his track record at TPC Sawgrass. He’s tied with Homa for the 3rd-best odds to be the top American, behind Scheffler and Cantlay. I love his chances to not only be the highest American on the leaderboard, but potentially win the whole thing.
Players Championship – 1st-round leader
Sungjae Im (+4000)
Im ranks 4th on tour in 1st-round scoring average, which is a good place to start when searching for this bet. He’s also 4th in par-5 scoring average so he should be able to take advantage of the par 5s on Thursday to get off to a great start.
Cameron Young (+4000)
Young can run hot and cold, oftentimes because of his putter. He’s as good a ball striker as anyone in the world, but if his putter doesn’t heat up, he struggles to go low. This is a week where I think he could put up a low number on Thursday, even if it means he struggles to stay in contention on Sunday.
More expert prop bet predictions
Group E winner: Rickie Fowler (+300)
Fowler is the favorite in this group over Keith Mitchell (+320), Sahith Theegala (+330), Si-Woo Kim (+350) and Sam Burns (+380). Mitchell would be the player I’m most worried about in this group, but Fowler is a past winner here and is playing well right now.
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