Golf

THE PLAYERS Championship: Betting Picks, Win Simulations, Course History, and Key Stats

Brandon Gdula
Brandon Gdula@gdula13
THE PLAYERS Championship: Betting Picks, Win Simulations, Course History, and Key Stats

The toughest field in golf tees it up this week for THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Volatility gets ramped up this week at a course where danger looms and where water is in play on all 18 holes.

Here's all you need to know for this week.

TPC Sawgrass (Stadium) Course Info

All course data from GCSAA unless otherwise noted.

  • Par: 72
  • Distance: 7,275 yards (average for a par 72)
  • Average Fairway Width: 30.7 yards (26th of 86 courses)
  • Average Green Size: 5,500 square feet (a bit small)
  • Green Type: Poa overseed
  • Stimpmeter: N/A
  • Recent Winning Scores: -17, -13, -14, -16, -18
  • Recent Cut Lines: +2, +2, Even, -1, -1

TPC Sawgrass Course Key Stats

One of the most interesting aspects of THE PLAYERS Championship is the winning margins.

Last year, Scottie Scheffler won by five shots. Prior to that, the three champions won by a single stroke. Before that, the margins were four, three, and four shots.

It's definitely possible for someone to run away with this event.

Statistically speaking, driving accuracy is a key stat more this week than almost any on Tour. A big reason for that is tighter fairways, yes, but also water being in play on 18 holes.

Last year, 12 golfers finished T6 or better overall in the tournament. Of those 12, nine of them were top-30 in driving accuracy, and four of them were in the top 10.

There also aren't a ton of approach shots from 150 to 225 by comparison to the Tour average at TPC Sawgrass.

There is more to playing well here than hitting it far. That also brings more volatility not only because of penalty potential but also because shorter hitters are very much in play.

Best Golfers at TPC Sawgrass

These golfers have the best strokes gained numbers in recent years at this course. Note: the 2020 event was canceled, so only the past four full events in the last five years are included here.

Golfer
FanDuel Salary
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Course SG:T/Rd
Course SG:T
Starts
Wins
Top-10s
Top 25s
Missed Cuts
Tom Hoge$9,100+60001.5124.1140120
Brian Harman$8,600+55001.4423.1140220
Tommy Fleetwood$10,500+50001.6022.4440121
Justin Thomas$11,100+20001.3822.1141110
Keegan Bradley$9,000+90001.5321.3940121
Hideki Matsuyama$10,400+30002.0120.0630221
Jason Day$10,100+50001.3619.0840121
View Full Table

THE PLAYERS Championship Win Simulations

Here's what my model -- based on long-term scoring trends, recency adjustments, and field-strength weighting -- has to say about this week's event.

Golfer
FanDuel Salary
Win%
Top-10%
Top-20%
Made Cut%
Scottie Scheffler$12,00013.59%50.34%66.01%87.10%
Xander Schauffele$11,8004.00%26.96%42.42%75.81%
Collin Morikawa$11,4003.55%24.47%39.18%73.21%
Rory McIlroy$11,9003.12%22.69%37.67%72.54%
Patrick Cantlay$11,5002.84%21.23%35.92%71.36%
Viktor Hovland$11,6002.71%20.70%34.96%70.76%
Russell Henley$9,5002.68%20.42%34.85%70.86%
View Full Table

THE PLAYERS Championship Betting Picks to Target

These picks stand out relative to their FanDuel Sportsbook golf betting odds based on my win simulation model and/or my overall stats model, which accounts for the most important stats for this week's event. All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds unless otherwise noted.

Scottie Scheffler

Leader After Round 1 (+1800)

There is a huge question mark looming this week, and his name is Scottie Scheffler.

Scheffler won THE PLAYERS last year by five shots and is coming off of a five-shot win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this past week after switching putters. Scheffler's putting stats from within 10 feet spiked up in a huge way with the mallet putter, and while that may not stick around forever, a neutral putter with his tee-to-green play is incredibly scary for the rest of the field.

His outright win odds are very short at +550 (suggesting a 15.4% probability). My model doesn't quite have him there.

However, his odds are +1800 to be the leader after round one, and with the chance he blitzes the field, that's intriguing.

My first-round sims show 18/1 to be a value, so I'm okay getting exposure to Scheffler this way.

Justin Thomas

To Win (+2000)

To Finish Top 10 (+250)

Thomas' long-term splits are going to take a while to stabilize because of his injuries.

But over the past 20 rounds, he ranks second in the field in true strokes gained behind just Scheffler. He's also top-15 in all three tee-to-green stats in that recent split.

We've seen an abrupt uptick in Thomas' play, which is appealing for a golfer who won THE PLAYERS in 2021 and is coming off of a T12 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Collin Morikawa

To Win (+2800)

To Finish Top 10 (+280)

I'm okay going back to Collin Morikawa after he missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week at Bay Hill. The wheels fell off, sure, but the form was there leading into the API.

Morikawa, over the last 50 rounds, ranks fourth in total ball-striking and fourth in accuracy among this field, and that's a great recipe for TPC Sawgrass.

Morikawa finished T13 here a year ago while leading the field in strokes gained: approach and ranking 27th in driving accuracy. He didn't putt well last year but is right at the PGA Tour average in putting from inside 10 feet this season.

Russell Henley

To Win (+5000)

To Finish Top 20 (+190)

The +5000 number on Henley is appealing.

He's an accurate driver (7th in the field) as well as a top-25 iron player in the field by strokes gained: approach over the last 50 rounds. Henley's pretty solid across the board and actually ranks top-10 (9th) in true strokes gained in that 50-round sample.

He's fresh off a T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and has consecutive top-20 finishes at TPC Sawgrass to his name, as well.

Si Woo Kim

To Win (+5500)

To Finish Top 20 (+210)

Kim won THE PLAYERS back in 2017 and has made every cut in completed iterations of this event (he withdrew in 2022).

Last year, he finished T27 at TPC Sawgrass while ranking 6th in approach. Over the past four starts here, Kim ranks fifth in strokes gained: approach among this field, as well.

His accuracy (third) benefits him, and the volatility helps, too.

Kim's putting splits from within 10 feet this year are below average -- but not egregiously so.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Top South African (+150)

Bezuidenhout is up against Erik van Rooyen (+140) and Garrick Higgo (+260) in this market, and over the past 12 months, Bezuidenhout is averaging +0.75 true strokes gained per round while playing a lot of courses that don't necessarily suit his lack of distance.

van Rooyen's number is +0.17 with Higgo at -0.12.

Both EVR and Higgo are longer hitters than Bezuidenhout, but that shouldn't factor in too much this week.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.