A handful of tournaments might lay claim to being the fifth Major of the year but for most of us, that unofficial title goes to The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. The action is back at this iconic course as the season builds with the Masters getting even closer.
As you would expect, this is one of the strongest fields of the year with just one or two notable absentees so let’s move straight on and see if we can pick the 2019 winner.
With a $12.5 million purse at stake, this is now the richest single golf tournament in history so it’s no wonder that the world’s best are lining up at Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida. A strong field usually brings a tight betting market and that has certainly been the case this week with two joint favorites.
Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy (+1200) are locked at the same outright win price with most recommended United States’ online sportsbooks and it is certainly possible to make a case for either man. DJ has the quality but surprisingly, he has a poor record at TPC with a best of a tie for 12th in ten starts. As a result, he is way down the Power Rankings this week.
We have been a little unkind to Rory lately but he continues to produce single figure finishes without getting over the line. In fact, his tie for sixth on Sunday was his worst finish from five starts in 2019.
Just behind the top two is Justin Thomas (+1600) who leads a strong chasing pack that features Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and our most recent winner on Tour, Francesco Molinari (all at +2000). Thomas looks the most likely of the four with relevant stats that put him at the top of this week’s Power Rankings. Molinari, however, has four top ten finishes in eight starts in this event.
Finally we come to our first former champion at TPC Sawgrass. Rickie Fowler (+2000) has a much better record than anyone we have mentioned so far after winning in 2015 following a tie for second three years earlier. However, five missed cuts in nine appearances indicate just how difficult this event can be to predict.
Moving through the list we have two-time TPC Champion Tiger Woods (also 20/1) who may be tentatively making his way back after his latest injury scare. Elsewhere, other golfers to consider in this chasing pack might include Bryson Dechambeau (+2800), Jon Rahm (+2800) and Sergio Garcia (+3300) who won here in 2008 and has two runners up places to go with that triumph.
There’s some interest in Jason Day (also 33/1) this week and he has drifted out to a long price but concerns over a back injury mean that we will be avoiding him. Also towards the front of the outside bets is our defending champion Webb Simpson (+4000) who took out the Players Championship by a clear four strokes from the chasing pack last year.
The quality among the outsiders in the Players Championship betting odds shows what a tough event this is and as we move right down, top class golfers including Jordan Spieth (50/1), Paul Casey (40/1), Tony Finau (50/1), Gary Woodland (50/1) and Ian Poulter (40/1) could be right in the mix on Sunday.
Our Preview’s Players Championship Course & Betting Trends with Predictions & Picks Verdict
In bare statistical terms, TPC Sawgrass is a par 72 at just under 7,200 yards but that doesn’t come close to telling the full story. It features some of the most famous holes in golf – none more so than the par 17th with its island green which can seem to shrink in size when standing on the tee.
Overall, The Players Championship can play longer than its yardage and the threat of rain over the first two days could also give the power hitters an advantage. With greens set to approach 13 on the stimp, form with the flatstick will be as crucial as ever.
We are expecting up to 11 past Champions to appear in the field including Webb Simpson who is mounting a defense but it is quite rare to double up. Only the great Jack Nicklaus has won the Players Championship on three occasions although Tiger Woods, Hal Sutton and Davis Love III have all claimed a second victory since the turn of the century.
Looking at all the figures it may be a week where you want to focus on the top 10 Players Championship betting odds markets but if pushed for a winner, this preview’s prediction and pick would be Justin Thomas. The former World Number One has great relevant stats including those for Par 5 Scoring and Adjusted Scoring and they could be key this week. These are our recommended bets:
- Justin Thomas to win @ +1600 with Bovada or Intertops.
- Justin Thomas (+175 Intertops), Tony Finau (+450 Bovada or Intertops), Tiger Woods (+250 Intertops) and Paul Casey (+360 Bovada) for top 10 finishes.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.