Betting Preview for the 2021 PLAYERS Championship

| March 8, 2021 10:57 am PDT

The greatest field in golf has assembled TPC Sawgrass for the 2021 PLAYERS Championship. Brooks Koepka and Matthew Wolff are the only two missing from OWGR’s top-50 – a set of rankings that experienced a bit of shakeup this week.

Not only is Phil Mickelson outside of the top 100 for the first time in 28 years, but Rory McIlroy is out of the top 10 for the first time in 3 years. Lefty is hanging out at a distant +25000 to hoist the hardware on Sunday, but McIlroy is among the favorites to be the last man standing.

Before revealing any PLAYERS Championship predictions, let’s check in with the pricing.

THE PLAYERS Championship Odds 2021

Despite showing a chink in his armor at The Concession, Dustin Johnson warrants his position atop THE PLAYERS Championship odds sheet. DJ’s 54th-place showing two weeks ago at the WGC was his first finish outside of the top-12 in eight months. He’s also shown plenty of potential in his last three trips to Ponte Vedra Beach (12th-17th-5th).

Rory arrives as the “defending champion,” Bryson is coming off a demonstrative performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and Jordan Spieth looks to continue his ascension. And don’t forget that Hideki Matsuyama has some unfinished business at the Stadium Course after opening with a course-record-tying 63 here in 2020. That was before all of the players were sent home.

Past Winners of THE PLAYERS Championship

Some can remember where they were and what they were doing when the 2020 PLAYERS Championship was officially canceled. As far as who has won here recently, what they shot, and how much they won by, that’s where this table comes in handy.

THE PLAYERS Championship Winners Since 2013
Year Winner Scores Winning Margin
2019 Francesco Molinari 67-65-70-70 (-16) 1
2018 Webb Simpson 66-63-68-73 (-18) 4
2017 Si Woo Kim 69-72-68-69 (-10) 3
2016 Jason Day 63-66-73-71 (-15) 4
2015 Rickie Fowler 69-69-71-67 (-12) Playoff
2014 Martin Kaymer 63-69-72-71 (-13) 1
2013 Tiger Woods 67-67-71-70 (-13) 2

Interestingly enough, there have only been three playoffs at THE PLAYERS since 1988. Sergio Garcia was involved in two of those, defeating Paul Goydos in 2008 and losing to Rickie Fowler in 2015. Fowler is one of four Americans to emerge at THE PLAYERS since Garcia won in ’08.

THE PLAYERS Championship Pick to Win

Some may be cautious about backing Patrick Cantlay, given he WD’d from the WGC at the eleventh hour. Frankly, an upset stomach/dehydration two weeks doesn’t concern me in the least. If anything, the 28-year-old North Palm Beach resident will be even hungrier to compete on Thursday.

Cantlay’s track record at the Stadium Course includes top-25s in each of his first two appearances, and he fired 67 to kick things off in 2020 before play was halted. In terms of Patrick’s recent form, that’s where I really start to perk up.

Patrick Cantlay’s Last Six Starts
Date Tournament Score in Relation to Par Result
10/25/20 Zozo Championship -23 1st
11/15/20 Masters -7 17th
1/10/21 Sentry Tournament of Champions -17 13th
1/24/21 The American Express -22 2nd
2/14/21 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am -15 3rd
2/21/21 The Genesis Invitational -4 T15

Since winning at Sherwood the weekend before Halloween, Cantlay has rung up five straight top-17s. He toppled $3.5 million in season earnings before February had even come to a close.

It takes a calm demeanor and exquisite ball-striking to contend at TPC Sawgrass, and of course, you need a reliable short game. Enter Cantlay – currently ranked 7th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 2nd in Scrambling.

  • Patrick Cantlay

Best Bets for THE PLAYERS Championship in 2021

Let’s get to some more betting picks for THE PLAYERS Championship.

Viktor Hovland to Finish Top 10 (+275)

So he’s human, after all. Hovland’s T49 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ended his heroic stretch of golf, and my guess is the casual fans are ready to hop off his train and find another bandwagon.

Not me, though.

+275 to land inside the top 10 is way too juicy to pass, considering what the Norwegian golfer has been up to. A six-pack of top-6 finishes among his last eight starts, and it won’t take him long getting to know the Stadium Course. Hovland poured in five birdies and an eagle in his only competitive round here – back when he had a lot less mojo than he’s got right now.

Jason Day to Finish Top 20 (+185)

Lurking at +185 to bag a top-20 this week, this is one of THE PLAYERS predictions I’m all over. Day’s fabulous short game is a big reason he was able to triumph here in 2016, and it’s a big reason he cracked the top-10 in each of the last two editions. (5th in 2018, 8th in 2019).

Perhaps most importantly, Jason is quietly rounding into solid form. The former #1 went 7th-18th at Pebble Beach and The Concession, and he was tied for 11th going into Sunday last week at Bay Hill (T31).

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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