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The Players Championship First-Round Leader Odds & Picks

Michael Harrison

by Michael Harrison in Golf

Updated Mar 8, 2023 · 8:01 AM PST

Max Homa watches his drive
Mar 5, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Max Homa hits his drive on the on the first hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Players Championship from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida tees off Thursday, March 9th
  • Rory McIlroy is the +2200 favorite over Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler to be atop the leaderboard after day one
  • See the best bets and Players Championship first-round leader odds in the article below

The PGA Tour’s crown jewel is set to tee off Thursday, with the best players competing for the coveted Players Championship title. The winner will earn a whopping $4.5 million dollars, with Jon Rahm favored in The Players Championship odds.

This tournament is always difficult to project with quirky TPC Sawgrass ready to swallow up errant shots. The challenging three-hole stretch that includes the famed island green par-3, 17th hole can prove costly. Last season, Cameron Smith took the trophy, but he won’t compete because he’s at LIV golf. Major champions Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are the top-three favorites to add this to their mantel. With such a deep field, there’s room for plenty of sleepers and longshots to contend. Read on for first-round leader odds and analysis.

2023 Players Championship First-Round Leader Odds

Golfers Odds Tee Time
Rory McIlroy +2200 7:56am
Jon Rahm +2500 7:56am
Scottie Scheffler +2500 7:56am
Patrick Cantlay +3500 7:34am
Justin Thomas +3500 12:56pm
Max Homa +3500 12:56pm
Collin Morikawa +4000 7:45am
Viktor Hovland +4000 12:34pm
Xander Schauffele +4000 12:45pm
Tony Finau +4500 7:34am
Jason Day +4500 12:23pm
Will Zalatoris +4500 12:45pm
Tyrrell Hatton +5000 7:23am
Sungjae Im +5000 8:18am
Jordan Spieth +5000 12:56pm

The forecast calls for it to partly cloudy all day. Temperatures will be in the mid 60’s for those teeing it up first, hitting low 70’s for those playing in the afternoon. The wind will be gusting between eight and eleven miles per hour for the duration of Thursday, so there’s no wild difference between the morning and afternoon waves.

A benefit for those teeing it up in the morning is the exact same as it is every week – less-bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up.


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Odds as of March 8th at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Max Homa a Fast Starter

Max Homa (12:56pm tee time) is an extremely fast starter, as he ranks third best on Thursday’s this season. He’s fired a round in the 60’s in three of his last four times teeing it up, co-leading at Riviera two starts ago. In that span, he’s second in total strokes gained and ball striking.

PGA Tour First Round Scoring Average Leaders This Season

Golfer Average Score Odds
1. Jon Rahm 66.86 +2500
3. Max Homa 68.13 +3500
4. Sungjae Im 68.18 +5000
5. Will Gordon 68.23 +15000
6. Scottie Scheffler 68.25 +2500
7. Xander Schauffele 68.29 +4000
8. Viktor Hovland 68.50 +4000
9. Sam Ryder 68.62 +13000
10. Andrew Novak 68.63 +20000
11. Keith Mitchell 68.64 +6500

For the season, Homa is second in total strokes gained, and first in front nine scoring average. There’s a reason he’s second on the FedEx Cup points list, so getting him at longer odds than the top-three golfers on the board is enticing.

Pick: Max Homa (+3500)

Keith Mitchell Playing Solidly

Keith Mitchell (7:23am) has been popping up on leaderboards often lately, as he was T-4th at Pebble Beach then fifth at the Genesis Invitational. That week, he was first round co-leader along with Homa.

In opening rounds, he’s been solid, posting some tremendous stats in the last four tournaments.

Keith Mitchell’s Last Four Opening Rounds

Off-The-Tee Total Ball Striking Tee-To-Green Approach Putting
1 3 3 4 32 34

Last year, Mitchell was just one stroke back after 18 holes at Sawgrass, where he eventually wound up in a tie for 13th. This season, he’s tops in total driving and SG: off-the-tee, which will be crucial to giving him plenty of opportunities to attack flags and make birdies.

Pick: Keith Mitchell (+6500)

Tommy Fleetwood Excels at This Track

Tommy Fleetwood (7:12am) has been solid in three of four spins around this course, tying for fifth in 2019, placing T-7th in 2018, and T-22nd last year. Despite not having the strongest form coming into this tournament, he’s posted some strong ‘strokes gained’ numbers at the Players.

Tommy Fleetwood’s Last Twelve Rounds At TPC Sawgrass

Total Tee-To-Green Off-The-Tee Ball Striking Around-The-Green Approach
1 1 1 4 10 14

Fleetwood is fifth on the campaign in strokes gained: around-the-green, which will come in handy if he has to get up and down around the tricky layout. He’s also third in one putt percentage, and fourth in overall putting for the season. At +7000, he has an intriguing number, given that he co-led this tournament after 18 holes in 2022.

Pick: Tommy Fleetwood (+7000)


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