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Tom Jacobs is back for more PGA Tour Sleepers and Value Picks, this time for The Players Championship. Can we find a winner at +4000 and bigger for the PGA Tour's flagship event?

The Players Championship Sleepers and Value Picks: Bet on Bradley, Lowry to Contend

In recent years, The Players Championship has been the first event of the season where the strongest field would arrive to play the Tour's flagship event. Now, with the new elevated Tour events, we have seen fields of this strength three times already.

That shouldn't dampen the mood though, and if anything, we now just have a better idea of who is playing well enough to golf to win an event of this magnitude. Seeing who is playing their best golf, when pitted up against the strongest rivals, will give us a big hint as to who can win this week.

Will one of the leading three, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, or Scottie Scheffler win this week, or can we see a repeat of recent years, where sleepers and value picks shine through at The Players Championship?

Let's take a deeper dive into the recent history of this event, to learn more!

Before we get into the Sleepers and Value Picks for the 2023 Players Championship, check out this offer from DraftKings Sportsbook. With the DraftKings promo code, you will bet $5, win $150 when your first Moneyline wager wins. That means you can boost any of the favorites in the Players Championship outright market to an effective 30-1 today! Imagine that. You can bet Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, or, Scottie Scheffler at 30-1 this week, with DraftKings.

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What Skillset is Required to Succeed at the 2023 Players Championship

Here are the top statistics to look at, ahead of the 2023 Players Championship

  • SG: Approach - The last three winners of this event have ranked 6th or better in SG Approach the week they won
  • Putting Average - Each of the past four winners has ranked 14th or better in Putting Average the week they won
  • Par 5 Scoring - Two of the last four winners have led the field in Par 5 scoring, Rory McIlroy ranked 7th, and Cameron Smith Ranked 24th last year, which was an anomaly.

Players Championship Invitational Trends

To help you with your 2023 Players Championship value and sleeper picks, here are multiple trends that might help you narrow down those that can actually contend at TPC Sawgrass.

  • 10 of the last 12 winners of this event had played here at least five times before winning
  • 12 of the last 12 winners had finished T23 or better at this event at least once before
  • 11 of the last 12 winners had finished T22 or better in their most recent start
  • 10 of the last 12 winners had finished T4 or better at least once in the same calendar year, before winning the Players that year.
  • 10 of the last 12 winners ranked 50th or better in the World Rankings before their win here

These trends suggest we are looking for:

  • Someone with PLAYERS experience and a positive history
  • Someone who has posted a top 25 or better recently
  • Someone ranked inside the World's Top 50

When looking for value picks this week, you may have to surrender one of the above, as the odds are quite tight on most of the better players in the field, but I would strongly recommend that any of your picks tick off two of the three above. I do not think you want to pick someone coming in cold, or someone with a lack of experience at Sawgrass.

Do Sleeper and Value Picks Win The Players Championship?

Here are the pre-tournament odds of the last 10 winners of The Players Championship.

2022 - Cameron Smith +3000

2021 - Justin Thomas +2000

2019 - Rory McIlroy +1400

2018 - Webb Simpson +10000

2017 - Si Woo Kim +50000

2016 - Jason Day +1200

2015 - Rickie Fowler +6600

2014 - Martin Kaymer +9000

2013 - Tiger Woods +900

2012 - Matt Kuchar +5500

As you can see, value and sleep picks do prevail at The Players Championship, with five of the last ten winners starting the week at +5500 or bigger. Si Woo Kim won at a huge +50000 in 2017 and Webb Simpson was +10000 a year later, and whilst it is hard to see something like that again, it is clear long shots are in play at this shorter course.

Value and Sleeper Selections for the 2023 Players Championship

Here are my value and sleeper selections for the 2023 Players Championship. All of these plays are +4000 or bigger in the outright market, in order to qualify for the value and sleeper pick criteria!

Keegan Bradley Outright +5000 (Claim a $1000 No Sweat Bet at FanDuel)

Keegan Bradley is in great form right now, and he now returns to TPC Sawgrass, where he's finished T29 or better in each of the past four renewals.

Bradley has been inside the top-11 at some point in each of his past four starts here, and when 5th last year he did have a chance to win. That finish emulated his previous best of 7th three years prior.

The former PGA Championship winner found his way back into the Winners' Circle at the ZOZO Championship earlier this season, and for a second season in a row, Bradley is playing solid golf.

He finished 2nd at Torrey Pines, 20th at the Phoenix Open, and 10th last week, leaving a missed cut at Riviera as a minor blip in an otherwise really strong run.

You can see the confidence oozing through Bradley, whose win at the ZOZO was his first in four years, and now as the 3rd best player in the FedEx Cup behind Jon Rahm and Max Homa, Keegan can continue his form here.

At 50-1, I like Keegan's chances of making it a two-win season.

Shane Lowry Outright +5500 (Bet up to $500 Risk-Free at Unibet)

Shane Lowry made the cut last week, which isn't typically something to shout about, but three solid days at Bay Hill is a result for him, given his history at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Now he returns to a course where he has finished 8th, 13th, and 16th, and he has generally played well at, and his general form over the past month suggests he's capable of going well once more.

When 16th here on just his second start, Lowry was 2nd at the halfway stage, and he was 3rd after round one two years ago as well, so he knows what it is like to be in contention here at The Players Championship.

The Irishman is a major winner, which is a huge plus when it comes to Players Championship picks, and we are getting a discount on him this week, after a poor round last Saturday at a course he clearly dislikes.

His 14th at Riviera and 5th at the Honda are a far better indicator I think, of what to expect from Shane Lowry this week at TPC Sawgrass.

3rd at the RBC Heritage and 4th at the PGA Championship, when hosted by Kiawah Island in 2021, Lowry continues to prove he likes Pete Dye's work, and that could be a strong factor this week.

Matt Kuchar Outright +1900 (Claim a $1000 No Sweat Bet at FanDuel)

I was initially going to go with Webb Simpson in this spot, after an encouraging Top 25 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was 3rd best in the field in terms of SG Approach. At a bigger price though, Matt Kuchar simply has to be preferred, given his consistency this year.

Whereas someone like Webb Simpson has to prove last week wasn't an anomaly in 2023, Kuchar has proved all season that he's playing good golf once again, and just like Simpson, Kuchar has a win at this golf course to lean on.

Over the past 14 years, Kuchar has played here every year, and he has a win, a 3rd, and four more top-17 finishes. That is a strong return in a volatile event, and one that if you don't bring your best at, can be extremely difficult.

Kuchar ranked 7th in SG Approach and 2nd in SG Tee to Green at Riviera, and that was the second time this season he's played well at an elevated event.

The veteran finished 32nd at the Phoenix Open and 8th at the Genesis Invitational, and when you add that to a T12 finish at the Fortinet and 7th at the Sony Open, it has been a good season.

At 190-1, it is worth chancing that Kuchar can get back in the winners' circle in a big way, one more time.

Article Author


Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!


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