2016 Players Championship Odds and Pick
The PGA Tour gets itself ready for a wild weekend come Thursday, when the 2016 Players Championship tees off at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. Ah, the tough life of a professional golfer.
The life of a golfer may be easy in some regards, but the par-72 course shouldn’t be a cake walk, nor should the competition. Rickie Fowler returns to defend the title he won last year, while some exceptional talent shoots for their first ever first place finish at this event.
Rory McIlory and Bubba Watson are just two huge names that have never won here, while Jordan Spieth brings us all the story-line we probably desire in his first tourney since cratering at the Masters.
This is a fully loaded group, consisting of 144 players that meet some fairly strict criteria, the least of which is having won a tourney and being ranked inside the top 125 since the last Players tourney.
Top Players Championship Odds
There is a lot to consider in this one, ranging from the top to the bottom, so let’s kick start things with a look at the top favorites with the best odds of taking this thing, per Bovada:
- Rory McIlroy (+800)
- Jordan Spieth (+900)
- Jason Day (+1100)
- Rickie Fowler (+1800)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+2500)
- Justin Rose (+2500)
- Adam Scott (+2500)
- Henrik Stenson (+2800)
- Dustin Johnson (+3000)
- Sergio Garcia (+3000)
The top is pretty self explanatory, as McIlroy, Spieth and Day are probably the three most talented players on the Tour. McIlroy and Spieth have extra motivation to win since they’ve never won the title here, plus Spieth will accept any win to get his mind off of his brutal Masters collapse.
Of course, of the three, Day has easily looked the best in 2016, placing in the top 10 four times and even notching a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He’s been pretty hot lately, too, landing inside the top-25 in six straight tourneys.
Fowler is an obvious play due to winning at this same event in 2015, while he’s enjoyed a stellar 2016 run with six top-10 finishes. He’s yet to take first in any tournament this year, however.
Everyone else listed in the favorite section deserves a nod, but pay special attention to Scott and Stenson, both of which have won at the Players Championship in the past. Scott has enjoyed a terrific 2016 season, too, and is easily one of the bigger names to fear. Garcia also won here in 2008, but has been pretty erratic on the season and has just one finish inside the top-10.
Matsuyama is one of the guys on this list that hasn’t won here but has been great in 2016 and could be due. He comes in hot, cracking the top-40 four tourneys in a row, including three straight at 11 or better. He already has a win on the year and has had success at TCP Sawgrass, too, finishing inside the top-25 in both trips.
Top Players Sleepers
- Bubba Watson (+3500)
- Phil Mickelson (+4000)
- Danny Willett (+4000)
- Patrick Reed (+4000)
- Charley Hoffman (+6600)
- Kevin Na (+6600)
This list needs little backing, but let’s run through it once over. Watson is looking for his first Players title, but has claimed the Masters tourney twice and has several big wins under his belt. He’s been pretty good this year, too, nabbing one win and placing inside the top-10 three times.
Mickelson won here back in 2007 and if he takes first again this weekend, he’d join a short list (four golfers) who have won at least two titles at the Players Championship since it started back in 1974. That may bring his true odds down a bit, but it shouldn’t be for a lack of skill or effort. Mickelson finished 4th in his last tourney and has a solid four runs inside the top-10. Even if he doesn’t win for the second time here, he could very well come close.
Willett could be an interesting play, as he did just win the Masters and has three top-five finishes in just four tourneys on the year.
The other guys have some sleeper appeal for specifics reasons. Reed is young and hasn’t won a tourney all year, but he’s been extremely active (played in 13 tournaments) and also highly competitive (top-10 in 7). Winning will be tough, but he’s got to find his way to the top spot eventually and he did just finish second as the Valero Texas Open.
Hoffman and Na may be even more interesting as sleeper picks when you consider their playable odds. Hoffman actually won the Valero Texas Open and has been solid at this course, making three of his last four cuts. We can’t brush off Na, either, who was 6th here last year and now has five top-5 runs in 2016. He doesn’t have a win yet, but got close in 2015 and could close the gap this weekend.
Most Tantalizing Bets
- Kevin Kisner (+7500)
- Martin Kaymer (+9000)
- Jim Furyk (+12500)
- Patrick Rodgers (+17500)
- Vijay Singh (+50000)
- J.J. Henry or Andres Gonzales (+100000)
There are the favorite and the sneaky sleepers worth a look, and then there are the sweet bets that might just be too tempting to pass up.
These guys have that interesting mix of talent, upside and betting payoff, and it all starts with Kisner, who has four top-10 runs and even got a win earlier this year. He’s been erratic and missed some cuts, but he’s had some good tourneys and even tied for second at this very tournament in 2015. His crazy odds could turn a $20 bet into a whopping $1,500.
Kisner is just the tip of the iceberg, as Kaymer sports even better betting odds, and the guy actually won this thing back in 2014. He’s been awful this year, but you assume some risk as the odds get steeper.
The odds get much worse with a step backward to Furyk, but let’s consider that this guy got second place at the Players Championship in 2014 and will be well rested with this being just his second tourney run of the year. Rodgers is a throw-in, as he’s incredibly young and is still fighting through inconsistency. He has some experience on the Tour with 13 events in 2016, however, and even has two top-10 finishes under his belt. He’d be a far out there dark horse, but his odds could be fun. A $20 bet on Rodgers to win it all could potentially bring back a cool $3,500.
The odds really get insane with guys like Singh, Henry and Gonzalez. Singh is certainly tough to trust, but he did take second here back in 2001 and owns a 6th place finish at the Honda Classic this year. Odds are he doesn’t bring his best stuff after seven straight finishes at 48th or worse, but you never know ($20 bet brings $10,000 upside).
Then you have the brutal odds for guys like Henry and Gonzalez, where a $20 bet could bring home a cool $20 grand. That’s a fun story, but this is surely where reality starts to sink in. These two guys are the longest of shots for a reason, as between a ridiculous 29 tourney appearances in 2016, they don’t even have a top-10 finish between the two of them – let alone a major win.
It probably isn’t a bad idea to aim high somewhere down the line, in addition to a couple of sleeper picks and a bigger bet on your favorite. You can see our sleepers above and if you aim high, Kisner looks like the best crazy bet. Truth be told, he’s not even that crazy of a bet, but depending on how much you put down, the payout could be nice.
For a more stable pick, the winner is probably coming off of our favorites section. As cliche as it sounds, we really could be headed for a duel between McIlroy and Spieth. McIlroy is the mild favorite per Bovada, but I’m not feeling it, as he just hasn’t been elite in 2016.
“I would love to win this tournament.” https://t.co/1hrYyw5DlJ
— THE PLAYERS (@THEPLAYERSChamp) May 11, 2016
He does have three straight top-10 runs at the Players Championship, but he hasn’t been able to seal the deal and everyone is going to be watching to see how Spieth responds to an epic collapse. After flaming out at the Masters, look for Spieth to rebound in a big way and move closer to taking back the #1 world ranking.
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