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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:54 PM

PGA Weekly Props Picks - The PLAYERS Championship from TPC Sawgrass

The PLAYERS Championship
Betting Props Preview

The great thing about The PLAYERS Championship is that because of it's defacto Major status on Tour, sportsbooks like the Westgate have no problem expanding their secondary markets for the event outside of head-to-head matchups and include plenty more props available to wager on.

Yesterday I discussed a few names that I expect to at least tempt the waters of victory this week, but that doesn't mean that's the only way to get significant action down supporting them. For example, Dustin Johnson still offers plus-money prices on Top 10 (+250) and Top 20 finishes (+140), and considering those are always desirable prices to connect on in other sports – say a NBA or NHL ML play – it never hurts to have a bigger margin for error.

With that being the case, let's take a look at a few of these prop bets offered at the Westgate that should be considered.

Prop Bet #1
Will Jordan Spieth Make the Cut? - No (+100)

It was about the middle of the summer last season when my perspective on Spieth's struggles began to shift from simply being struggles to believing he may just not be that good any more. Spieth had some great years in the 2014-16 range, but that's getting further and further in the rearview mirror now, and he's STILL searching for his game. He's not the first guy on Tour to have a promising start to a career and then fall off the map – a younger Henrik Stenson comes to mind – and he won't be the last, but Spieth's days of being mentioned anywhere near the game's best are long gone in my view. I hope for his sake that one day he finds his past form, but I don't believe it will be this week at TPC Sawgrass.

For one, this has never really been a course Spieth has preferred, as he's missed the cut in four of the past five years here, and finished 41st when he did reach the weekend. His desire to gain distance off the tee in recent months has come at the price of sacrificing his accuracy – 47.95% in driving accuracy this year, and a GIR percentage of just 61.3% currently ranks 221st on Tour this season. He's also got a negative sign beside all his Strokes Gained categories (Off the tee, approach, around the green, putting, tee to green, total) except for around the green and putting, which suggests to me that he's scrambling just to save himself from big numbers nearly always, and should that start to falter, who knows how bad it becomes.

At a place like TPC Sawgrass though, scrambling can only take you so far when you aren't hitting fairways or greens prior. With all the water and sand in play here, big numbers can be made in a hurry if you aren't accurate in the long game, and that's been a problem for Spieth for the better part of 18 months now. Combine that with his inability to stay at TPC Sawgrass for the weekend in recent years – even in years when he was playing his best – and a +100 price tag looks awful short for him to be sent home early again this week.

Prop Bet #2
Winning Score Under 275.5 (-110)

A score of 275 by the winner this week equates to -13 or better in conventional scoring, and given that that number has been posted by eight of the last 10 winners overall, I like the chances of that occurring again. In fact, in the 38 years this tournament has been played at TPC Sawgrass – started in 1982 – 20 past winners have finished with a score of 275 or better.

That 52% clip may not warrant a huge wager on this prop bet, but considering all the nuances this track has, it was always going to take a few years for guys to get comfortable in knowing how to properly attack this place. The first three winners here failed to reach that mark, and when conditions are soft as they are reported to be this week, guys have much less fear in being ultra-aggressive when they can be. Remember, Pete Dye designed this course to test all aspects of one's game, but if guys execute their shots and know where to miss, it can be a very generous venue as well, especially when it's soft.

Finally, I do feel like the last two weeks on Tour in the Florida swing of tough, windy weather conditions and winning scores being -6 and -4 are playing a bit too much into the perception of this event. It's hard for some to see those grinding scores the past two weeks and not to expect more of the same – especially at a place like TPC Sawgrass – but that isn't necessarily the case. With all the best players in the world in this field, you've got to expect at least a handful of them will be on top of their games for four days, and if so, hopefully one can put together strong rounds each day. For a course that's known to give up plenty of birdies in soft conditions, a four-round score of 69, 69, 69, 68 (-13) is far from unreasonable to expect.

After all, the prop for lowest round scored by anyone this week is O/U 64.5 with the 'under' juiced at -160.

Prop Bet #3
Will Jon Rahm Finish in the Top 20? - No (+105)

I assure you I'm not trying to be Captain Buzzkill with these fundamentally negative prop plays on Rahm and Spieth, but I've already discussed the latter's overall issues with his game, and regarding Rahm, it's more of a historical approach where the plus-money appears too attractive to pass up.

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm is getting a ton of hype this week at TPC Sawgrass and one expert isn't buying him.
Spanish golfer Jon Rahm is getting a ton of hype this week at TPC Sawgrass and one expert isn't buying him. (AP)

Because of all the nuances and potential swings this course brings, patience and levelheadedness is a key component to finding success at TPC Sawgrass. Rahm has made big strides in improving on those factors in his game the past 12+ months, but generally speaking, this is not a venue that's treated guys in the sub-25 age range all that well. Outside of Si Woo Kim's surprising victory here in 2017, guys 25 and under have not tore this place up.

Rahm is obviously a much different talent then most of those in the past, and he did finish 12th here a year ago. He very well could build on that performance, and given that his last five professional starts worldwide have all resulted in Top 17 or better finishes, this play may feel like spitting into the wind for some.

But form like that doesn't last forever within a season for guys, and this field is a heck of a lot deeper then any of those tournaments – two of which were no cut events – Rahm put up those great finishes in . A couple of early baths for his golf ball will severely test that patience he's been working on, and should he go into ultra-aggressive mode on the weekend trying to make a late push, forcing things at TPC Sawgrass tends to only lead to bad scores.

Rahm's recent form may suggest that Top 20's for him are rather easy, but generally speaking on Tour they aren't for anyone, and this may be the week we see his current form take a minor step back. At +105 to do so, it's an outcome I'm willing to support.


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