The 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass hosts golf’s 5th major in an event that should be a great spectacle for golf bettors and punters around the world. The Par 72 course plays at 7189 yards long and is 36th in par adjusted distance and 11th in fairway width, while playing in the middle of the road in difficulty. Despite average difficulty, the swings should be plentiful creating a great sweat for bettors. The course yielded the 2nd most eagles on tour last year, which combined with a Top 10 bogey rate, and the infamous 17th hole island green, should create highs and lows.
The graphic above shows that TPC Sawgrass has historically been a course that rewarded above-average driving accuracy and didn’t place quite as much importance on driving distance or putting. The one pause bettors should have is that in 2019 the PGATOUR moved The Players from a May event to being hosted in March on the calendar, with cooler temperatures. This lead to 17.5 percent of the deviation in scoring being driven by OTT play compared to a previous average of 15.5 percent. Obviously, great overall drivers who are long and accurate are optimal regardless of the venue, but I do think distance may matter more moving forward than it does historically in the data.
Players Championship Betting Odds
The favorite in the betting markets is again Rory McIlroy this week who is available anywhere from +650 to +760 across the industry. McIlroy comes in gaining 8+ strokes T2G in each of his last four events and is the defending champion at TPC Sawgrass.
Behind McIlroy, there is a two-three player cluster between Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Bryson Dechambeau who range from +1200 to +2000 across the industry. Rahm and JT have been priced similarly in most of the recent star-studded fields while Bryson opened at a higher price but has been bet down off of two consecutive Top 5 finishes at The Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC Mexico Championship.
While our betting models view the top of the field similarly, they mostly view the pricing is too short to offer bettors much value. Instead, the model likes Hideki Matsuyama as a +EV choice on William Hill which offers him at an industry-leading +3000 price. Our models make him +2800, and “Dekibot” should be a strong course fit demonstrating overall ball-striking among the 5 best in the world.
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Abraham Ancer 110/1 (+340 T20 Odds)
We are going to keep wagering on Abraham Ancer until the sportsbooks consistently juice up his price or he binks an event for us. He is again deeper than he should be at 110/1 at Fanduel for The Players Championship. Ancer has not missed a cut since the Shriners Open and is up to the 29th ranked golfer in the world. He is 32nd on tour in strokes gained: total and does not lose strokes in any area (off the tee, approach, around, putting). The layout of TPC Sawgrass is designed to give players deeper down the odds sheet a chance and Ancer is our man.
Scottie Scheffler 95/1 (+340 T20 Odds)
Scheffler is a favorite of daily fantasy golf players and for good reason. In this short season, he has already posted three separate top-five finishes, which built on an impressive debut in 2019. TPC Sawgrass is going to really reward players who gain strokes off the tee; Scheffler ranks sixth amongst PGA tour players in 2020 in strokes gained off the tee. He is also 26th on tour in strokes gained total. At 95/1 on Fanduel, Scheffler is the best bet on the board.
For the most part, the odds at DK Sportsbook appear short this week on the longer shot players. Some of our favorite bets including Ancer and Scheffler are simply found at superior prices on Fanduel. DraftKings offers slightly superior value for punters looking to wager on Jim Furyk (175-1 vs 170-1), Brian Stuard (600-1 vs 500-1) but for the most part we don’t view these as winning propositions. DraftKings does offer slightly superior odds at the top of the card including an industry best price on Rory McIlroy at +760, Dechambeau at +2200, and Sungjae Im at +3000, but we view these as negative expected value wagers.
The real differentation at DraftKings shows up in the Top 20 markets. Here you can find longshot Top 20 odds on Ryan Armour at +2500 vs just +1500 on Fanduel.
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