The first big golf event of the 2023 season gets underway on Thursday. If the past few weeks on the PGA Tour are anything to go by, the Players Championship from Sawgrass promises to be another golfing spectacular. After a strong end to the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, Rory McIlroy heads to Sawgrass as the betting favorite. Can he go one better this week and win the competition? Let’s take a closer look at our latest golf betting picks.
Last year’s winner was Cameron Smith. But after he defects to LIV Golf, the Australian isn’t eligible to defend his title. No one has ever successfully defended this title in its history, anyway. So the chances are that Smith may have fallen short. Previous high-profile winners in the field who have won the event – also referred to as the fifth major – are Justin Thomas (2021), Rory McIlroy (2019), Jason Day (2016), and Rickie Fowler (2015).
The Players Championship could hardly have come at a better time. Currently, we have Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, and Rory McIlroy all fighting it out for the number one world ranking. At the moment, Jon Rahm has the top spot. But such is the closeness in rankings points between the three players; the top position can change hands any week.
Over the last month, the competition between the three has heated up. Victory at the Phoenix Open early in February saw Scottie Scheffler replace Rory McIlroy at the top of the golf world rankings.
A certain Jon Rahm also finished third at the Phoenix Open. He followed that up with a win at the Genesis Open the following week. Those two top-three finishes saw the Spaniard go top of the rankings, replacing Scheffler, who was top for just one week. All this saw Rory McIlroy – world number one at the turn of the year – drop down to third.
But McIlroy struck back last weekend, finishing joint second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. McIlroy pushed eventual winner Kurt Kitayama all the way. Already in the clubhouse on -8, McIlroy was waiting for Kitayama to finish his round. The 30-year-old Californian needed a par at the 18th, and after a wayward tee shot, the pressure was on. The American held his nerve, though, and after rolling a 48-foot putt to within millimeters of the hole, he saved his par and held off the challenge of McIlroy.
And while McIlroy’s strong showing at Bay Hill over the weekend hasn’t resulted in him returning to the top of the golf world rankings, it has seen the Northern Irishman go to the top of the betting to win the Players Championship.
Before the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Jon Rahm led the betting to win the Players Championship at +800. Rahm has been in sensational form this season, having already won three competitions since the turn of the year.
Rahm was favored to win the Arnold Palmer. And after an opening round 65, he looked on course to add a fourth win of the year to his name. But he fell away badly in the end. Shooting 76, 76, and 72, eventually finishing in a tie for 39th place. This and McIlroy’s strong finish have seen the two players swap places in the betting. McIlroy is now the favorite at +900, with Rahm dropping to +1000, just ahead of the third man in this crowded marriage, Scottie Scheffler, who is +1100.
More 2023 Players Championship odds from the best Las Vegas sportsbooks can be found in our odds table below.
|2023 Players Championship Winner Betting|
We will do a bit of hedging our bets with our golf picks for the Players Championship. At their current Vegas golf odds, there is an argument for picking all three of McIlroy (+900), Rahm (+1000), and Scheffler (+1100), and we wouldn’t try to persuade anybody against placing those bets.
In the lead-up to the event, some of the top Vegas betting sites may flip odds, and it could be that all three players can be priced up at +1000 or more, somewhere. We’re leaning more towards Rahm here, but as we said, all three could be worth backing if good odds can be found or even in-running.
But we’re also going to throw in a couple of longer shot left field bets. First up, Jason Day. The Australian has won here before and has been in decent form in recent weeks. He is also heading back up the world rankings. The 35-year-old Australian finished T10 at the Arnold Palmer. And is now up to 43rd in golf’s world rankings (he was 112 at the end of 2022). At +3000, we think Jason Day is a good each-way pick.
We’re basing our picks this week on form, and another man who has hit a bit of form lately is Jordan Spieth. The 3-times major winner managed a T4 finish at Bay Hill last week, finishing just two shots behind the eventual winner. Spieth is +3300 and, on current form, is also a good each-way bet.
Finally, in the head-to-head market with BetOnline, Rory McIlroy is +100 to beat Scottie Scheffler. Yes, this pick is probably a bit of a toss of a coin. But we think McIlroy showed he’s back to near his best last weekend, and that makes him good value to beat Scheffler over the four days.
Dean has a strong affinity for the English Premier League and cricket, but his extensive understanding of sports allows him to discuss a wide range of athletic topics. Previously, Dean has explored the world to attend events such as the FIFA World Cup and Ashes cricket matches, but currently, he prefers to enjoy sports from the coziness of his home.