Players Championship Tips: Our experts' best bets for this week's 'Fifth Major' at Sawgrass

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
PGA Tour golf at TPC Sawgrass with Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler is the defending champion at the Players Championship

The Players Championship is the biggest event of the golfing year so far and - from outright winner tips to an outsider to back at maximum odds - our experts have got the best bets for the action that starts on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass...

  • 28/129.00 worth taking on Schauffele says Steve Rawlings

  • 50/151.00 Theegala gets the nod from Dave Tindall

  • 999/11000.00 shot among this week's outsiders to back

  • Players Championship Tips and Predictions

    Schauffele and Burns chanced at Sawgrass

    Steve Rawlings: "Other than putting averagely, Scottie Scheffler did almost everything well last year, ranking first for Driving Distance, Greens In Regulation and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, as well as 14th for Driving Accuracy and fourth for Scrambling. It's perhaps no surprise to see he won by five and he can arguably be considered an anomaly of excellence.

    "Sawgrass allows for all player types to prosper so the Players is a magnificent but very open tournament as a rule...

    "Xander Schauffele isn't someone I back often as he's not the most reliable in-contention (given how short he is in the betting most weeks) as he proved at the Genesis Invitational two starts ago when he never got going on Sunday having begun the day in second and just two off the lead.

    "This is one of a few venues that I'm prepared to overlook players in-contention record though as we've seen lots of players win here that weren't always the most resolute in-the-mix and I think that's down to just how tough the finish is.

    "Schauffele eventually finished fourth at Riviera three weeks ago and that followed a tenth at The Sentry, a third at The American Express and a ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open so he's played well on numerous occasions this year already.

    "He was never in the hunt last week, finished 25th, and he has a mixed bag of results here too but I thought he was worth chancing at 29.0."

    Back Xander Schauffele @ 29.0

    Bet here

    Each-way Tips: Picks from 50/1 to 66/1

    Dave Tindall: "A huge reason for Sahith Theegala's leap in current form which includes a victory at the Fortinet Championship last September is his improved driving.

    "He talks about it a lot, we see it with our own eyes and the numbers back it up. Scroll back through his Strokes Gained: Off The Tee stats over the last couple of seasons and it's an obvious weakness. It was costing him.

    But this season Theegala was ranked 13th for OTT at The Sentry, 4th at Torrey Pines, 16th in Phoenix, 25th at Riviera and 5th at Bay Hill last week.

    On the season-long stats he's now 29th, a massive jump from 134th in the previous campaign. And it's that improvement with the driver which will stand him in good stead for a third crack at TPC Sawgrass

    Theegala has positive figures in all Strokes Gained categories this season and ranks 12th for SG: Total. That's the sort of robust package you want for this course.

    Some extras? He has a second (2022 Travelers Championship) and a fifth (2023 Heritage) on two other Pete Dye layouts, River Highlands and Harbour Town, while his three big finishes this year (second, fifth and sixth) all came on Bermuda greens.

    A final note on Theegala's MC-MC course form. Cam Davis was sixth last year after missing his first two cuts here while, sticking with Florida, Shane Lowry was third at Bay Hill last week after previous course form there of MC-MC-MC-MC-67.

    If you're in form, course history can be ripped up. Back Theegala at 50s.

    Back Sahith Theegala each-way @ 50/1

    Bet here

    Find Me a 100 Winner: Outsiders to back up to 999/1

    Steve Rawlings: "Canada's Nick Taylor ticks all the above boxes and he also has the sort of course form figures that closely matches many a winner of the Players Championship (see preview), reading 73-MC-MC-16-48-MC.

    "There's nothing spectacular there but his 16th placed finish in 2019 is eye-catching, given he sat tied for 86th after round one, so we know he can play Sawgrass.

    "He has a couple of top-10 finishes at the aforementioned Sedgefield, he's ranked 21st, 24th and 15th for DA and first, 18th and sixth for Scrambling on each of his last three starts, and he arrives in very decent form.

    "Having become the first Canadian to win his national open in 69 years in June last year, and having won the Phoenix Open as recently as last month, Taylor has won two of his last 17 starts on the PGA Tour. His 12th placed finish in last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational demonstrated his current wellbeing."

    Back Nick Taylor (2 Us) @ 160.0

    Bet here

    First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 66/1 to 150/1

    Dave Tindall: "I'm putting plenty of faith in Tom Hoge this week and have backed him in my outright preview at 66s. At the same price he's also a good bet here to flourish from his morning tee-time of 08.13.

    "Hoge says he expects to play well at TPC Sawgrass as it suits him and he certainly showed that last year when shooting a course-record 62 on day three and finishing third.

    "As for fast starts, he has those too. Hoge had a piece of the first-round lead here in 2022 thanks to a 66. Opening 69s in the previous two years put him sixth and 13th respectively.

    "With five finishes of 17th or better in his last seven outings, Hoge has made an excellent start to the season and he's carded two 65s and four 66s in that run. One of those 66s put him fifth after day one of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera so there's lots to like about the 2022 Pebble Beach winner."

    Back Tom Hoge each-way @ 66/1

    Bet here

    Course and current form stats

    Andy Swales: "Laid out just one mile from the Atlantic Ocean, the Stadium Course is one of golf's most iconic venues. The architect of TPC Sawgrass, Pete Dye, was instructed to design a layout that would not suit any one particular type of golfer.

    "Its putting surfaces are slightly smaller than the Tour average, along with narrower than normal fairways. Since changes were made to the course in 2016, water comes into play on 16 holes, although the hazards vary in size considerably...

    "Adam Hadwin is an unlikely winner in such a strong field but offers value as an each-way shout. In seven outings during 2024 the Canadian has posted a brace of T6s."

    Back Adam Hadwin @ 25/126.00

    Bet here

    Read The Punter's in-play blog for the latest from The Players Championship from Thursday to Sunday

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