The Players Championship Picks and Predictions

Updated: March 9, 2021

Rory McIlroy (+1,600) is technically the defending champ at the Players Championship, with last year’s cancellation. And he’s rounding into form at just the right time to make himself a great outright bet.

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It might not be an official major, but one look at the strength of this weekend’s field tells you everything you need to know about the reputation of The Players Championship.

A whopping 49 of the Top 50 players in the world will descend upon TPC Sawgrass for the 144-player event, which comes with a purse of $15 million. This will make for one of the most intriguing and competitive events on the PGA betting calendar.

We preview the field, break down the course and give our Players Championship. picks, predictions and best bets.

TPC Sawgrass betting stats that matter

The only thing more invigorating for golf bettors than playing a field this star-studded is studying a course with a long tour history – and they don’t come much more extensive than Sawgrass. The Pete Dye-designed course features dozens of strategically-placed hazards, offering handsome rewards to those who hit it straight, while pressing players into several “forced” layups. 

This course will yield birdies galore. The putting surfaces will be more absorbent than just about any others on Tour and should allow players to throw darts with their approach shots. That makes SG: Approach the most important stat of the week, particularly for approach shots in the 150-to-200-yard range. Other than that, SG: Total is your best indicator of success at Sawgrass.

The Players Championship outright winner bets

A field this deep usually means a tight bunch atop the outright odds – and this year’s edition of The Players Championship certainly fits that bill, with eight players listed between +1,200 and +2,000. Dustin Johnson is the favorite to win, with Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm next at +1,600. Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa (+1,800) are next, followed by Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at +2,000 each.

Who will win The Players Championship? Here’s our best guess:

Rory McIlroy (+1,600)

Consistency has been the name of the game for McIlroy, despite the lack of a Top-3 finish so far this season. The former world No. 1 has made eight of nine cuts with seven Top-20 finishes over that span. He was in the hunt last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational but settled for a T10 after closing with a 76. McIlroy won this event in 2019 (last year’s event was cancelled) and has three other top-eight finishes. Course history and current form make him a great top-end play this weekend.

Webb Simpson (+2,200)

Let’s go back to the former champion well here, which isn’t a bad idea given how important previous course success could prove to be this weekend. Simpson is another player who combines really strong current form (he posted a T6 in his last event, the WGC-Workday Championship, and has four Top-10 results in nine tournaments this year) and course history (he has 16-1-16 results in his last three appearances here). Simpson ranks 12th in SG: Total, and has the toolkit to win this title again.

The Players Championship matchup predictions

Dustin Johnson over Bryson DeChambeau (-125)

As mentioned earlier, this weekend will belong to the players who are responsible with their tee shots and hit the kind of approaches that regularly leave them with six-foot putts. And few players combine these two skills like Johnson, who comes in ranked third on the PGA Tour in SG: Approach (1.120), well ahead of DeChambeau (.589). And while that isn’t the only factor to consider in this tournament, that gap is significant enough that we’re comfortable taking DJ to prevail in this marquee matchup.

Paul Casey Over Jason Day (+100)

Day has looked steady since reorganizing his bag. After three missed cuts in four tournaments, he has rebounded with a 7-18-31 stretch over his last three events. But his approach game remains a major work in progress: he’s ranked 126th overall at -.060, and that could make for a rough couple of days at Sawgrass, where the birdies will be coming fast and furious. Casey is in the top-30 in SG: Approach and is on an 8-5-10 stretch in his last three tournaments. This feels like a truly safe matchup play.

The Players Championship prop bets

Balls in the Water on No. 17 (Full Tournament): Under 45.5 (-110)

Let’s spend a little time on the most famous hole in all of golf: No. 17 at Sawgrass. The Island Hole has been home to some of golf’s most iconic moments (as doubling as a watery grave for countless championship runs). The intimidation factor hasn’t changed, but with the green expected to play much friendlier in terms of holding tee shots, you’ll probably see a lot more legitimate birdie attempts this year – and far fewer shots in the drink.

Will Jon Rahm Hit the Water on No. 17? Yes (+250)

Despite what you just read, some players are destined to lose some shots at The Island Hole this week. And as one of the more fearless players on tour, Rahm is a prime candidate to misfire. Just check out the now-famous video clip of his exchange with caddy Adam Hayes at the 2019 Players Championship, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Rahm has calmed considerably since then, but he found the water at No. 17 in the final round in 2019 and is a sneaky good bet to repeat that feat this year.

The Players Championship betting card

  • Rory McIlroy Outright (+1,600)
  • Webb Simpson Outright (+2,200)
  • Dustin Johnson Over Bryson DeChambeau (-125)
  • Paul Casey Over Jason Day (+100)
  • Balls in the Water on No. 17 (Full Tournament): Under 45.5 (-110)
  • Will Jon Rahm Hit the Water on No. 17? Yes (+250)

Where can I bet on the PGA?

You can bet on PGA odds at many online and casino sportsbooks, including PGA outrights, matchup bets, and other golf props. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on PGA odds in your area.

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