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THE PLAYERS Championship Prediction: Scottie’s a Hottie

Written by: Matt Cooper
Updated March 13, 2024
8 min read
  • Defending champion Scottie Scheffler won in sensational style last week

  • Tournament takes place at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida

  • The field is the strongest so far in 2024

THE PLAYERS Championship Odds

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Player Odds 
Scottie Scheffler +550
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Rory McIlroy +1400
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Justin Thomas +2200
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Xander Schauffele +2200
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Collin Morikawa +2500
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Patrick Cantlay +2500
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Viktor Hovland  +2500
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Will Zalatoris +2500
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Hideki Matsuyama +2800
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Max Homa +2800
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THE PLAYERS Championship Picks and Predictions

The Players Championship Predictions

THE PLAYERS Championship Intro

Something a little unusual happened last week on the PGA Tour.

No, it was not that there were two events in the same week.

Rather, it was the more simple truth there was finally a short-priced winner in 2024 in the shape of Scottie Scheffler at +750.

Because, incredibly, there have been 11 tournaments this year and only Scheffler was remotely close to being the pre-tournament favorite.

Jake Knapp won the Mexico Open at +40000 but every other winner was available at +8000 or considerably bigger odds.

This week’s THE PLAYERS Championship has not been without shocks over the years.

Webb Simpson in 2018 and Martin Kaymer in 2014 were both available at +8000 before the first round and Si Woo Kim in 2017 was +15000.

But in the last four years, the winners started the week at +1200, +1900, +3300, and +1100.

Who will take the honors this week? Let’s find out.

TPC Sawgrass Winners

YearChampion and Winning Score
2023Scottie Scheffler (U.S.A.) -17
2022Cameron Smith (Australia) -13
2021Justin Thomas (U.S.A.) -14
2019Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) -16
2018Webb Simpson (U.S.A.) -18
2017Si Woo Kim (South Korea) -10
2016Jason Day (Australia) -15
2015Rickie Fowler (U.S.A.) -12 (Playoff)
2014Martin Kaymer (Germany) -13
2013Tiger Woods (U.S.A.) -13

TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course Notes

  • The Stadium Course is a par 72 that plays to 7,275 yards

  • It was designed by Pete Dye

  • Dye specialists thrive at Sawgrass

  • It’s essentially a ball-strikers course

  • However, Cameron Smith and Webb Simpson both won thanks to short-game excellence

  • Many high-quality drivers believe everyone hits to the same spots from the tee

Favorites to Win THE PLAYERS Championship

Scottie Scheffler (+550) at BetMGM

The World No. 1 has had only one weakness in the last 12 months: His putting. Because, while his tee-to-green stats have been relentlessly outstanding, he has produced terrible numbers with his flat stick and looked dreadful in the process. But last week at Bay Hill he ranked fifth in the field for Strokes Gained Putting and left the field trailing by fully five shots.

Rory McIlroy (+1400) at BetMGM

There’s no doubting the qualities of the Northern Irishman but, since winning three times in seven starts on either side of New Year 2022, he has won just two more times in 26 attempts. More concerning is that since winning the Dubai Desert Classic in January he’s gone four starts without a top 20. He won this event in 2019 but it is his only top 30 in his last six visits.

Justin Thomas (+2200) at BetMGM

JT is more consistent than most at Sawgrass, missing just one cut in eight visits. He’s also had plenty of experience competing at the sharp end. He was two blows back of the 54-hole lead on debut in 2015, third in 2016, and the winner in 2021. He’s also finished top 12 in seven of his last eight appearances but hasn’t landed a win since the PGA Championship in May 2022.

Scottie’s a Hottie

Last year’s victory in this championship was Scottie Scheffler’s sixth in 27 starts and he would have won many times in the last 12 months with even half-decent putting performances.

Indeed, after he won last week the reigning U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark said: “It would be borderline unfair if he starts putting well. I never want to wish ill on anybody, but if he starts putting positive (Strokes Gained) each week it’s going to be really hard to beat.”

He’s won three times in his last five visits to Florida and he’s also finished first, second, and fourth at another Pete Dye course, Austin CC in Texas.

Add in the difficulty McIlroy and Thomas find in closing out the wins and Scheffler is worth supporting.

Back him with FanDuel Sportsbook offering +550.

XS Can Go XL

Xander Schauffele finished second on course debut at TPC Sawgrass in 2018 and he’s been dynamite on Dye designs in recent years.

In fact, in his last nine starts on them, he has won twice (at TPC Louisiana and TPC River Highlands) and finished in the top five on another five occasions.

All the pieces have been there this year. He’s regularly been superb from the tee, solid with approaches, putted well in The American Express and no one was better than him from tee to green in the Farmers Insurance Open.

He can put them all together in style this week.

Back him each way at +2200 with bet365 paying eight places.

Little Can Best Large

Brian Harman and Tony Finau have both had their difficulties with Sawgrass but lefty Harman has had much the better of it.

In fact, he’s registered three top 10s in 11 appearances.

Finau has played Sawgrass seven times, made the top 50 twice, and has a best of 19th.

In the head-to-head count, Harman leads 5-2.

He also leads at many other Dye tracks the pair have played multiple times.

He’s 3-1 up at Harbour Town, 5-3 up at River Highlands, and 2-0 up at Austin.

Take Harman to come out on top again at +100 with DraftKings Sportsbook.

How to Watch THE PLAYERS Championship

  • Tournament: THE PLAYERS Championship

  • Location: Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra, Florida

  • Date: Thursday, March 14 - Sunday, March 17

  • How to Watch: Thursday & Friday 1-7 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday 2-7 p.m. (NBC). Sunday 1-6 p.m. (NBC). And all four days on ESPN+ and Sky Sports.

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AUTHOR

Matt Cooper

69 Articles

Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]

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