Action Report: Parity at The Players

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Will Gray
·3 min read
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If you're not yet convinced of how wide-open The Players is shaping up to be, just take a look at some of the bet totals.

Often times in golf betting, public attention will skew decidedly toward one or a handful of the top favorites. Such was the case last week at Bay Hill, when Rory McIlroy accounted for 17.8 percent of the pre-tournament handle at PointsBet Sportsbook. Eventual winner Bryson DeChambeau wasn't far behind, with 9.1 percent of all the pre-tournament money wagered.

But this week at TPC Sawgrass it's a bit more of a crapshoot. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is favored, but even he is all the way out to +1200 after teeing off several recent events well below +1000. The parity is also reflected in a balanced bet count heading into the opening round: while McIlroy and DeChambeau accounted for more than a quarter of the handle last week between them, this week only five players are above 2 percent and no one has received more than 2.74 percent of the handle.

The leader in the category is Tommy Fleetwood, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour but who enters off a T-10 finish last week in Orlando.

The Players top plays by handle (money wagered)

1. Tommy Fleetwood (+4000)

2. Collin Morikawa (+1800)

3. Justin Thomas (+1800)

4. Cameron Smith (+5000)

5. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+5000)

6. Webb Simpson (+2200)

7. Jordan Spieth (+3300)

8. Patrick Cantlay (+2000)

9. Dustin Johnson (+1200)

10. Rory McIlroy (+1600)

Much of the weight for the top plays came from a few select wagers. PointsBet booked a $1,500 wager on Fleetwood at +4000 that would pay $60,000. They also received similar $1,500 wagers on both Smith and Fitzpatrick, which would each net $75,000 at +5000 odds.

It's a similar story when looking at ticket count, which examines the total number of bets placed regardless of amount wagered. This time Thomas and Morikawa lead the way in a wide-open race, as they've accounted for just 2.53 and 2.51 percent, respectively, of the total tickets this week.

The Players top plays by ticket count (total bets)

1. Justin Thomas

2. Collin Morikawa

3. Jordan Spieth

4. Patrick Cantlay

5. Tony Finau (+2800)

6. Viktor Hovland (+2800)

7. Webb Simpson

8. Xander Schauffele (+2000)

9. Dustin Johnson

10. Rory McIlroy

Two notable longshot wagers have also come in on a pair of veterans. One bettor put $500 on Chris Kirk at +12500 odds, a wager that would win $62,500. Kirk has won four times on Tour but none since 2015, although he did win a Korn Ferry Tour event last summer in nearby St. Augustine.

Another $500 wager came in on Rickie Fowler, who won this event in a memorable playoff in 2015. But Fowler is winless since 2019, has slipped to 70th in the world rankings and is not currently qualified for next month's Masters. He's listed at +20000, meaning the $500 bet would turn a $100,000 profit if he recreates his heroics from six years ago.

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