The Players Championship Picks & Analysis | March 9-12
Event: The Players Championship
Where: TPC Sawgrass
Watch: Golf Channel, NBC
When: March 9-12
The PGA Tour continues its stroll through the Sunshine State this weekend with one of the big, fun events of every season, the Players Championship at TPC Saw-grass. A field that includes 43 of the World Golf Rankings’ top 50 players will tee it up for shares of $25 million in prize money, the biggest purse in PGA history.
Last week Kurt Kitayama, a 200/1 shot, outfought some big names late on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, his first Tour victory. Harris English and Rory McIlroy tied for second, one shot out of a playoff; defending Bay Hill champion Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Ty Hatton, and Jordan Spieth tied for fourth; Davis Riley and Trey Mullinax tied for eighth; and Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Cam Young and Viktor Hovland tied for tenth.
Our top pick last week, Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick at +3300 on Bovada’s Arnold Palmer Invitational betting board, finished T-14, “thanks” in large part to a 76 on Saturday.
Cantlay now owns top-four finishes in each of his last two tournaments; he took third at Riviera three weeks ago.
Scheffler now owns three top-seven finishes over his last five starts; Spieth now owns a pair of top-6s over his last three starts, as does Hatton; and Day owns four top-10s over his last four tournaments.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, home to this event since 1982, plays to a par-72 at around 7,250 yards. The average winning score over the last five Players Championships is -14.
Since Tiger Woods won the Players for the second time back in 2013, eight different players have won this event.
Last year Australian Cam Smith shot a final-round 66 to win The Players at -13, one shot better than Anirban Lahiri. Paul Casey showed third; Kevin Kisner took fourth; Keegan Bradley finished fifth; Harold Varner, Russell Knox, and Doug Ghim tied for sixth, and Sepp Straka, Adam Hadwin, Viktor Hovland, and Dustin Johnson tied for ninth.
Smith is not back in the field to defend his title this weekend, nor are Lahiri, Casey, Varner, or Johnson, all having bolted to the LIV Tour.
Each week we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight what we believe to be some of the best golf betting values on the board, with a few free picks to click. Odds to win and pairings for this week can be found at Bovada.
Here’s our take on some of the field in this week’s Players Championship.
Once again, Jon Rahm tops the betting on Bovada’s weekly PGA “win” board at +900. Rahm opened with a 65 last week at Bay Hill, then shot back-to-back 76s to fall from contention. But he’s still the best player in the world right now.
McIlroy is the second betting choice at +900, and Scheffler comes third at +1000.
But we’re looking elsewhere to make a little golf cash.
Jason Day +2800 to win
Day, somewhat quietly, is one of the hotter players on the Tour right now. It started six weeks ago with a T-7 at Torrey Pines; then he finished fifth at Phoenix; then he T-9 at Riviera; and last week he T-10 at Bay Hill. He also won this event in 2016, took a T-5 in 2018, and a T-8 here in 2019. With all that in mind, 28/1 is too good to pass up.
Patrick Cantlay +300 to finish top-five
This former UCLA Bruin, as mentioned above, finished third at Riviera three weeks ago, with four rounds in the 60s, then took a T-4 last week at Bay Hill, with an eagle and three birdies over his last seven holes. He has not fared all that well at TPC Sawgrass, though, and missed the cut here last year due in part to a triple-bogey six on the Island Green on Friday. But there’s always a first time.
Keegan Bradley +700 to finish top-five
Bradley took a T-7 at the Players in 2018 and placed fifth here last year, with a pair of 68s on the weekend. He also won an event in Japan back in October, finished second at Torrey Pines in January, and took a T-10 last week at Bay Hill despite a second-round 77. If he just shoots 73 that day, he’s in a playoff.
We caught a taste of golf betting success last week with Hatton at +400 in one of Bovada’s “group bet” offerings against Day, Sungjae Im, Hovland, and Fitzpatrick.
As for this week, Bovada is offering a slew of prop bets on what happens at the par-3 17th hole. For instance, the over/under on balls in the water for the week sits at 55; a hole-in-one will get you +250, and an ace on Sunday will catch you +2000.
The first groups for this Players Championship go off Thursday morning at 5:50 ET.