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The Players Championship: Best Sleepers and Longshots to Bet

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in Golf

Updated Mar 8, 2023 · 1:18 AM PST

Will Zalatoris gets some work in on the range
Will Zalatoris hits balls on the driving range at The American Express at PGA West in La Quinta, Jan. 18, 2023. Amex Tues 3
  • The Players Championship tees off Thursday (March 9) at TPC Sawgrass
  • Will Zalatoris ranks fourth in the field in ball striking and sixth in scoring over the past 50 rounds
  • Read below for our favorite sleepers and longshots in the outright, T10 and T20 betting markets

The crown jewel of the PGA Tour’s Florida swing goes down this week at TPC Sawgrass. The Players Championship is widely considered one of the top-five trophies to win in golf, and a star-studded field is in Ponte Vedra Beach searching for their share of the $25 million purse.

One of those players is Will Zalatoris, who’s seen his place on the oddsboard drop thanks to two poor starts in his last three tournaments. Sandwiched in between was a fourth place result at the Genesis, though, and that form is good enough for me to want to buy the dip.

The Players Championship Odds

Golfer Odds to Win Top-10 Odds Top-20 Odds
Will Zalatoris +3500 +320 +150
Shane Lowry +5000 +450 +200
Chris Kirk +8000 +650 +280
Webb Simpson +18000 +1200 +500

Zalatoris checks in with juicy +3500 odds to win The Players Championship this week, and it just so happens he has the exact skillset we are looking to target at TPC Sawgrass.



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Odds as of March 7th at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Buy the Dip on Zalatoris

No single metric is more important at this course than strokes gained approach. It’s been proven to be three times more predictive of success than either strokes gained off the tee or putting among the top-10 finishers over the past handful of years, and Zalatoris is one of the best iron players in the game.

He ranks eighth in the field in strokes gained approach over the past 50 rounds, and fourth in ball striking. Last week’s 53rd place showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was discouraging, but it was largely the result of his putter. Zalatoris lost over 3 strokes on the greens, which overshadowed the 5.6 strokes he gained ball striking.


Another reason to love Zalatoris at TPC Sawgrass is that the tournament plays like a Major. Zalatoris is still looking for his first career Major victory, but he does own six top-six finishes in Majors, including three runner-ups.

He routinely shows up near the top of the leaderboard in tough events, as evident not only by his performance in the Majors, but his FedEx St. Jude victory and his second place finish at Torrey Pines.

Zalatoris boasts odds of +3000 or lower at all four Majors as it stands right now, so grab the extra five points of value to win in a field that is just as strong.

Pick: Will Zalatoris to Win (+3500)

Shane Lowry a Standout T10 Play

Another solid iron player to target is Shane Lowry. The Irishman ranks 11th in the field in strokes gained approach over the past 50 rounds, and is one start removed from a fifth place finish at the Honda Classic.

Lowry gained 5.1 strokes on approach that week, and would have likely won if not for a cold putter. Also working in his favor, is a tremendous track record at Pete Dye tracks, which includes TPC Sawgrass.

Over the last 24 rounds, no player has gained more strokes on Pete Dye courses than Lowry. He was eighth at The Players Championship two years ago, and is a solid bet to get back into the top-10 in 2023.

Pick: Shane Lowry T10 (+450)

The Players Championship Top-20 Finish Value Picks

  1.  Chris Kirk (+280): Enters the tournament in tremendous form, ranking 16th in strokes gained approach and second in scoring over the last 12 rounds. Kirk won two weeks ago at the Honda Classic, and has fared very well at TPC Sawgrass in the past. He’s made the weekend in eight of 11 trips, finishing inside the top-15 three times in his past seven appearances.
  2. Webb Simpson (+500): A great buy low spot on a player who’s been turning his game around. Simpson played spectacularly for three of the four rounds at the API last week, gaining 6.7 strokes on approach. That followed up a Phoenix Open where he gained over 4 strokes with his irons, and he too owns nice course history at TPC Sawgrass. He’s finished inside the top-20 four times, winning The Players Championship in 2018.


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