GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for THE PLAYERS Championship

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for THE PLAYERS Championship based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Another winner last week! We certainly aren't retiring after a 13/1 winner in Bryson DeChambeau, but we'll take our winnings and cautiously move on to THE PLAYERS Championship, the annual test of patience for DFS players and bettors whose hours of research blow up along with their golfers' chances when they put it in the water and make double bogey to tank an otherwise promising round.

We are all about class this week at arguably the strongest field of the season. There have certainly been some off-the-wall winners in the past, but as the Tour gets deeper at the top of the ranks, pegging someone outside the top 20-30 players in the world is a real reach. The variance is ratcheted up and distance is mitigated, but when it comes to finishing time we loathe to overlook such a strong group in favor of an out-of-nowhere winner like Si Woo Kim in 2017.

Experience is important at Sawgrass, even if it doesn't necessarily have to be a track record of high finishes. Some of the top young players are re-writing the rules of such trends, however, and we're much more keen on recent form, especially considering the change in conditions in the schedule change from May to March. Each of the past four winners had a top 25 in his prior start and arrived in generally good form, and that will be a theme on our card this week.

For more info on TPC Sawgrass, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Justin Thomas (+1900) - Undoubtedly a popular pick this week, but JT is close to an automatic pick at a number this high. His T15 at The Concession, while his driving was all over the map, is a mark in his favor rather than a demerit, given that he was awful on Thursday and not nearly at his best all week but was still able to post a quality finish. A lost weekend at Riviera that saw him lose 5.8 strokes putting over two rounds is his only real blemish this season (on the course at least), and excluding that missed cut, Thomas has been inside the top 15 in every other event this season. He is a reliable winner year in and year out, and without a tally to his 2021 campaign yet, we can confidently back him this week.

Collin Morikawa (+2200) - A victory here would be two in a row for Morikawa, a tall order to be sure but one he's more than capable of if his putter behaves the way it did at the WGC-Workday Championship. He won twice in four starts over the summer, proving that when he's firing with his irons it really does only take a hot week on the greens to hit paydirt. He's gained 9.6, 7.5, and 8.5 strokes via approaches in his last three events, and while debuts are typically thin at TPC Sawgrass, Morikawa did participate in last year's first-round and had no trouble firing a 68 with just one bogey on his card. His accuracy off the tee and absolute fire on approach are a perfect combination for THE PLAYERS.

Xander Schauffele (+2400) - We can't skip over Xander at this number having seen him go off closer to single-digits multiple times this year. Schauffele brings it each and every week, and before a T39 at the WGC-Workday Championship, he'd been in the top 25 in every single event except one for the past year. That's a crazy level of consistency to end up with zero wins, and when the victories come for a player of his ability, they're likely to come in bunches. Xander has a well-earned reputation for winning in short fields, but what those fields also have in common is that they are filled with all the best players. The same goes here, and at longer odds than we've seen him over the past year, we'll bite once again this week.

Value Spots

Daniel Berger (+4400) - Berger is two events removed from a win at Pebble Beach that capped off an unreal 12-month stretch. This time last year he was rounding into form and would ultimately get his win coming out of the COVID layoff at Colonial, and those two victories that came at courses where bombers' advantage is mitigated could be informative this week. Every win on the PGA Tour is a big deal, but Berger has his sights set higher than the likes of what he's already accomplished and will surely only enter the conversation as one of the game's best with a win here, at a major, or a playoff event. Sawgrass may well be his best chance, and this number is just about the longest we'll see him all year. He's shorter in the look-ahead odds for all three domestic majors, and the 44/1 screams value.

Sungjae Im (+4700) - The Florida splits are real, and with a three-under 69 in round one last year off a missed cut in his debut, we can happily get behind Sungjae at TPC Sawgrass at this number. He's lost strokes via his approaches in three straight events, but we know he can play through slumps. That he's posted top 30s even far from his best gives us confidence he can contend when it all clicks, just as he did at Augusta National in the fall. TPC Sawgrass requires a complete player, and Sungjae fits the bill.

Long Shots

Harris English (+10000) - Berger is the 15th ranked player in the world. Sungjae is the 17th ranked player in the world. English is No. 18, yet comes in at double the odds. The hangover from his long-awaited win at Kapalua is over, and after getting back at it with a T26 at Bay Hill, we can expect another strong showing this week. He was T2 after the first round last year, firing a 65 and birdieing four of the five par 5s. A couple missed cuts out West and his worst tee-to-green performance in four years at the WGC-Workday Championship are skewing his odds way too high. We saw him beat the game's best in Hawaii, and but for a supernova from Dustin Johnson (+1200), he'd have won in the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs against another strong field.