|2022 Players Championship Latest Odds & Tournament Info|
|When||Friday, March 11 – Monday, March 14|
|Where||TPC Sawgrass – Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida|
|Watch Live||Fox Sports, Kayo|
The early weeks of the PGA Tour golf season have thrown up a series of first-time winners including Tom Hoge, Luke List, Sepp Straka and also Scottie Scheffler, who nabbed a second title quickly after shedding his maiden status. Most of these tournaments have featured a smattering of the world’s best ball-strikers, but all the big guns will assemble when the Players Championship kicks off on Friday morning – the US$20 million prize pool guarantees it.
Jon Rahm, the world no.1, has had a fruitless start to the season, despite playing his fair share of events. Ireland’s Rory McIlroy has shown glimpses of brilliance but has struggled to string together the four solid rounds required to win a tournament. Justin Thomas has been thereabouts without winning, as has Patrick Cantlay. Dustin Johnson has struggled, missing several cuts, and Collin Morikawa has made selective appearances, almost pinching the Genesis Invitational with some last-round heroics. Brooks Koepka has been hot and cold, particularly with the all-important short irons, while his former nemesis Bryson DeChambeau has struggled with hand numbness and other niggling injuries. Jordan Spieth is another who has looked solid on occasion without winning, and this pattern of top-tier mediocrity has opened the door for the journeymen to slide through and grab the big bucks.
Punters who have found the first-time winners have been well rewarded for their efforts, with the presence of Rahm, Cantlay, and other top-liners ensuring juicier odds for the rest of the field. Big odds can be secured right up until the final putt when a newcomer threatens, as prevailing market sentiment skews heavily toward proven winners.
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Norwegian wonderkid Viktor Hovland has been on fire of late, and the 24-year-old appears to have the skills and temperament required to dominate the game. He came agonisingly close at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the PGA’s most recent outing, and lines up against the big boys at the Players Championship ranked sixth on the FedEx standings. The only chink in his armour appears to be an ability to successfully get out of the sand. He drives the ball long and straight, sinks six-foot par putts with monotonous regularity, and appears unfazed by spotlight pressure.
So, what’s the betting strategy at the Players? TPC Sawgrass can be a tricky par-72 that favours accuracy, but that doesn’t really narrow the list and there is no shortage of winning chances. Any one of 40 players could conceivably lift the trophy. So, the smart play is to wait. Place small bets after rounds one and two on players that are within striking distance but still showing decent odds with online bookmakers. The goal is to have multiple live chances come round three. And round four is trading day; we want to liquidate earlier bets on players that have shortened in price and focus on the top handful of players. There will still be value away from the biggest names, and there will be wild price fluctuations.
This PGA season, multiple fourth-round leaders have blown four- and five-stroke leads when the pressure really took hold. The -250 chances lose, and hot streaks catapult backmarkers up the leaderboard. Trading the final round of a closely contested golf tournament is not for the faint of heart.
Golf is a psychological game driven by fortitude and the ability to reset following adversity. Watch the body language of the players. Are they striding out confidently, or sagging in the middle? Do they appear rushed and under pressure when standing over tricky par putts? Do they look happy to finish in the top 10 for a solid payday, or do they have the winner’s gleam in their eye? Are they chatting easily with their caddy, or staging mini arguments before every shot? These are the tells we look for.
So, boil the pre-dawn coffee, get comfy on the couch, and enjoy what should be a hotly contested edition of the Players Championship.