PLAYERS Championship In-Tournament Picks: Look for Corey Conners and Alex Noren to Make Runs

The PLAYERS Championship live betting picks and predictions. Andy gives us his in-tournament picks and analysis for the PLAYERS Championship. Find out who presents the most value at the halfway point.
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PLAYERS Championship In-Tournament Picks: Look for Corey Conners and Alex Noren to Make Runs

  • Current Leader: Tom Hoge, Tommy Fleetwood (-6)
  • Round 3 Start Time: 8:15 am ET
  • Course: TPC Sawgrass
  • Purse: $20,000,000

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PLAYERS Championship In-Tournament Picks

It's been quite a chaotic couple of days at the PGA Tour's flagship event. As I write this on Saturday evening, nearly half the field hasn't even started their second round. For this reason, I found it far more logical to post this on Sunday morning, instead of its usual release on Saturday. There is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty regarding how the rest of this tournament will play out, and predicting the weather thus far has been a fool's errand. With that being said, it appears the worst of the conditions are behind us, and we'll do our best to find value on the betting board.

Jon Rahm is the betting favorite across the board, and he can be found as high as +750 on FanDuel Sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid. The defending U.S. Open champion sits at 3-under par, three strokes back of leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge. He is only one shot into his 2nd round. I bet Rahm pre-tournament at 14/1, and I am still incredibly high on his chances this week, but I have a hard time endorsing him at such a short number when there are still 22 players tied or ahead of him on the leaderboard.

When navigating through the odds board, the biggest question we have to ask ourselves is how we think the course will play tomorrow morning. Based on the current forecast, we are expected to see far less wind than today, with gusts in the 13-21 mph range. It will definitely be cold, with temperatures ranging between 45 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit all throughout the morning. These are obviously less than ideal conditions, but the way I see it, someone is still going to be able to shoot a number out there. Bubba Watson shot four-under par today in 50 mph winds. Justin Thomas shot three-under par. The course is still playing soft and the greens are receptive. If scores were out there today, someone, probably multiple players will shoot four under par or better.

While I strongly considered Dustin Johnson at 28/1, who is in the clubhouse at two-under par, I'm keener on players with more holes left to play. If I had to guess, the course will still play over par tomorrow morning, and many players will fall down the leaderboard. Yet of the 31 players sitting at two-under par or better, someone, maybe multiple players, will shoot 67 or better and push the lead to seven-under or lower. I'd rather attempt to figure out who that player is than select someone who I know will be at least five strokes back heading into his final 36 holes.

In the spirit of cold weather, I'll head north of the border and ride with Corey Conners, who can be found at 45/1 on FanDuel Sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid. Conners was another player that I bet pre-tournament, and after watching him in round 1, I feel even stronger now about his staying power. The former Valero Texas Open champion gained 1.6 strokes off the tee, 1.49 strokes on approach, and 0.97 strokes around green, ranking third in tee to green. Unfortunately, a faulty putter (-2.15 strokes) held him back from a really special round. Conners' struggles with the flat-stick are well-documented and built into his price. It's far from a sure thing that the putter will improve, but in cold and windy conditions, I need a player with a tee-to-green game I can trust. I expect many to struggle from a ball-striking perspective tomorrow morning in cold weather, and as one of the best iron players in the world, Conners should be able to separate himself from the pack. For what it's worth, Conners has found some magic on these greens before, gaining 3.5 strokes putting at this tournament last year. His lone PGA Tour win also came on similar over-seeded Bermuda-grass greens. If he can at least putt to field average tomorrow, I am certain he will be relevant down the stretch.

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For my next selection, I'll stick with another cold weather country and back Sweden's own Alex Noren at 40/1 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Noren was another player who was on my pre-tournament card, and just like Conners, I feel even better about him now than I did prior to round 1. The 10-time European Tour winner sits at three-under par and has yet to hit his 1st tee shot in round two. Normally known for his short game and putting, Noren led the field in strokes gained approach by nearly half a shot. While this is one of Noren's best recorded approach rounds of his career, his putter was unable to cooperate. While he doesn't have the ball-striking pedigree of Conners, I am far more confident in Noren's ability to flip his putter in round two. I was so high on Noren pre-tournament for the same reason I loved Billy Horschel last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. When players such as Noren and Horschel, who are known for their short game and putting, suddenly catch fire with their irons, it's only a matter of time before the putter catches up. In his last start, Noren gained 6.9 strokes ball-striking, good for his best recorded ball-striking week since the 2019 Open Championship.

Many forget that in 2017, Noren had a real opportunity to win this tournament. He gained a whopping 14.8 strokes ball-striking, best in the field by a comfortable margin. Unfortunately, he paired that up with one of the worst putting weeks of his career. There's something about TPC Sawgrass that really seems to fit Noren's eye, and I have zero concern about how we will hold up in sub-optimal weather. Noren's European Tour resume is lined with elite performances in colder climates. Tomorrow should be a walk in the park for the Stockholm native.

PLAYERS Championship Picks

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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