Golf

2024 PGA Players Championship Preview and Best Bets

A look at the favorites and some under-the-radar betting options for The Players Championship.

March 12, 2024

Though it may not come with the fanfare of The Masters, US Open, or other formal major event, the PGA has attempted to market the Players Championship as the “fifth major.” The event is set to tee off Thursday, and as has been the case since 1982, TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida will play host. As a way to boost the profile of the event, there’s a substantial purse that includes $4.5 million to the winner and a $25 million total purse.

The course itself is known for being balanced, so there’s not necessarily one style of play that will have a built-in advantage. That’s played out over the history of the event, as there’s been no repeat winner of the event and only six golfers have multiple wins throughout its history. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most recent player to achieve the feat was Tiger Woods in 2013.

The Favorites

That leads us right into our odds for the winner of the event. Scottie Scheffler (+520 on Tipico Sportsbook) is the favorite, but he’d have to defy the course’s lengthy history as the winner of the event in 2023. He’s also coming off a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last weekend and remains the top-ranked golfer in the world. As is usually the case, he’ll need his putter to come through – the one flaw in his game – to defend his title.

We also have the traditional big names of Rory McIlroy (+1200) and Justin Thomas (+2000). Both have won here before (2019 and 2020, respectively). McIlroy has been slow out of the gate, struggling particularly with his short game. With relatively short odds, this may not be the time to bet him outright, but we know he remains one of the most talented golfers in the world. Thomas offers a bit more value.

Moving down from the shortest odds, Viktor Hovland (+2500) is a name worth mentioning. He’s the reigning FedEx champion and has top 10 finishes in each of the last two years at this course. The start of the 2024 calendar hasn’t been particularly kind to him, as he has just one top 20 finish in the first four events. He has particularly struggled in the approach game but has shown better ability in that area in the past, and if things click, he’ll pay off big. This could be the longest odds we see on Hovland for the rest of the season.

We may have an emerging star in Ludvig Aberg (+3000). He’s launched up to 10th in the world rankings and has two top-10 finishes to his name already this season. This is Aberg’s first crack at this course, so it may be a bit premature to bet on him as the outright winner. At the same odds, we can pivot to Hideki Matsuyama (+3000). He’s currently fourth in FedEx points and was in the hunt last year at this event with a fifth-place finish.

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Other Props and Best Bets

Correctly projecting the winner of any tournament can be difficult, but luckily Tipico has plenty of other offerings to choose from for those who are looking for some less risky wagers. Head-to-head matchups are an interesting way to get action down, as is group betting. We’ll do a quick hit on some of our favorites:

Aberg (+102) to beat Jordan Spieth head-to-head

Spieth has a poor history at TPC Sawgrass (best finish of fourth in 2014), primarily missing the cut or finishing in the 40s. Aberg has a challenge in his first go at the course, but he’s in better overall form. Take the plus odds.

Shane Lowry (-109) to beat Wyndham Clark head-to-head

This is a tricky one, as it pits current form against course history. Clark has had a strong start to the season. However, where Lowry really stands out is having the better history at TPC Sawgrass, and he also finished fourth in the Cognizant Classic and third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Group B – Hideki Matsuyama (+420)

We’ve already covered Matsuyama’s record and the case for him. He’s admittedly in a tough group that includes Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, and Max Homa, but he’s tied for the longest odds. There’s some value here.

There are also some specials available on Tipico, specifically tailored for the tournament. That’s another fun way to get a sweat without betting on any specific golfer. Those choices include: whether there will be a playoff, whether there will be a hole in one, and the winning margin.

As the odds indicate, it’s very unlikely that we’ll have a playoff (yes +300, no -490). The case to be made for a playoff is that the course often keeps the field closely bunched. In the last 10 years, there has been one playoff and the tournament has been decided by one stroke on four occasions.

There’s also the option of betting the winning margin. One stroke (+250) or two strokes (+400) are both interesting values based on the course history.

Dale Weber
Dale began working at RotoWire in 2017 writing MLB game wraps. He now covers primarily MLB, NFL and racing, but also has experience writing in a wide range of sports, including MMA, golf and soccer.
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