- The Players Championship tees off Thursday, March 12th from TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
- Tournament favorite Rory McIlroy is heavily favored to grab the first round lead
- See the best bets for matchup plays and Top 10’s for the weekend
The deepest field in golf is set to tee it up at the coveted ‘fifth major’ for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. All the big names are competing, with the exception of Tiger Woods who is taking the week off to rest his ailing back.
While we have you covered on who are the best value picks to win the tournament, who stands a strong chance to be the first round leader, who might finish in the top ten and what’s a good head-to-head matchup to bet on this week?
2020 Players Championship First Round Leader Odds
Odds taken March 10th
The forecast will be almost identical the entire day, with only a little bit more wind popping up in the afternoon, but not enough to really make a huge difference.
The only potential benefit from playing in the morning is the exact same as it is every week – less bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up with less traffic.
Rory McIlroy Playing Inspired Golf
Even though he’s the favorite to lead after day one, you really can’t go wrong with defending champion Rory McIlroy at still decent +1600 odds. Last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational he led the whole first round before a late flurry by Matt Every wrestled the lead away from him.
Rory McIlroy asked about making a couple big putts down the stretch of last year's Players:
"I like big putts and I cannot lie." ???
— Daniel Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) March 10, 2020
He’s been on an incredible worldwide tear, racking up seven straight top-five finishes between the PGA and European Tours and he has ten top-10’s in his last eleven tournaments. Unsurprisingly, McIlroy has also started events off very well, ranking first in opening round scoring average on tour.
Pick: Rory McIlroy (+1600)
2020 Players Championship First Round Leader Best Value Picks
- Bryson DeChambeau (+3300): Tees off in the early morning, where he can build off his fantastic play of late – three straight top-5 finishes, including a runner-up at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Ninth in first round scoring average this season, with five rounds of 68 or better in seven events.
- Sungjae Im (+4000): Won the Honda Classic for his first career PGA Tour event two weeks ago – then followed that up with a third place result last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Sixth in first round scoring average, with no round worse than 72 in his 14 tournaments this season.
- Matt Kuchar (+5000): The 2012 champion of this tournament, Kuchar was the first round leader at the Genesis Invitational last month, before finishing second. Also won in Singapore this year and was T-3rd at the Players in 2016.
Rickie Fowler vs Brooks Koepka Players Championship Matchup Odds
|Rickie Fowler||-1.5 (-105)||-137|
|Brooks Koepka||+1.5 (-125)||+114|
The last two weeks we’ve suggested betting against Brooks Koepka in a head-to-head matchup, first with Tommy Fleetwood at the Honda Classic and then with Patrick Reed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That has turned out to be profitable, with Koepka failing to beat both of those golfers. While he’s been battling a balky knee, Koepka is famous for coming up huge in big time events, as evidenced by his four major titles.
Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka’s Last Five Players Championships
After Fowler won this event in 2015, he’s had a much spottier record at TPC Sawgrass than Koepka, with nothing better than a 47th place and two missed cuts, while Brooks hasn’t missed one and has a pair of top-16’s.
Jump on the better odds for Koepka to come up large in a big event yet again.
Pick: Brooks Koepka +1.5 strokes (-125) and Moneyline (+114)
Sungjae Im Finishing Odds at 2020 Players Championship
|Top 5 Odds||Top 10 Odds||Top 20 Odds|
Honda Classic champ Sungjae Im is a machine, playing pretty well every single event with 14 under his belt already this season. He’s been straight fire recently with that victory and a third place finish, and has just one missed cut in his last 19 tournaments.
Im still doesn’t quite have the star power of the top players on the board so he still sports pretty juicy odds at +600 to finish in the top-five. Go all-in on Im this week to get the job done.
Pick: Sungjae Im for Top 5 (+600), Top 10 (+300) and Top 20 (+165)
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