The 2018 Players Championship begins on Thursday, starting off the year’s most important non-major tournament. The field at TPC Sawgrass is absolutely loaded with premier players, a group that features odds-on favorites such as Dustin Johnson (12.5-1 odds), Rory McIlroy (13-1), Justin Thomas (14-1), Jordan Spieth (14-1), Jason Day (15-1) and Rickie Fowler (20-1). There’s also a number of veterans that have won here before, including Henrik Stenson (28-1), Sergio Garcia (30-1), Phil Mickelson (33-1) and two-time Players champion Tiger Woods (35-1). With $11 million at stake this year—behind only the U.S. Open for golf’s richest prize pool—the Players should be nothing short of thrilling in 2018.
There will be plenty of excitement on the course at Ponte Vedra Beach, but viewers at home can make things even more interesting by placing a wager down on the action. Fans can bet on everything from the winner of the tournament to whether or not there will be a hole-in-one. There are also a variety of props related to No. 17, which is the famous island par-three at TPC Sawgrass that doubles as one of the most notorious holes on the PGA Tour. It’s picturesque in its beauty, but also a spot where many golfers have seen their chances of winning this event evaporate. Bettors can wager on the over/under for the highest score for the hole, the number of birdies it will see and even if certain notable participants will have a tee shot land in the water during the Players Championship.
One book is also offering fans a chance to capitalize on the hype of the first Woods-Mickelson pairing since 2014. The two traded barbs in the media during the lead-up to this tournament, culminating with Lefty admitting he’d be open to a high-stake, winner-take-all showdown with his longtime rival. Woods said he isn’t against it, quipping that he’d stake “whatever makes [Mickelson] uncomfortable.” BetDSI Sportsbook capitalized on this by releasing head-to-head odds for the two stars, giving Phil a slight edge in the clash. They also placed an over/under on the pot of a potential side bet between the pair at $100,000, but don’t count on this information being made public. The shop has a prop where you can actually wager on if the details of this currently hypothetical side bet will be publicly announced, with the “No” side an overwhelming favorite at -2000. That means bettors would have to risk $20 to win $1, while those that think the information will come to light with a dollar figure attached can return $8 for every $1 risked.
2018 Players Championship TV And Live Stream Schedule
|Thursday, May 10||1p – 7p||GOLF||PGATourLive|
|Friday, May 11||1p – 7p||GOLF||PGATourLive|
|Saturday, May 12||2p – 7p||NBC||NBC Sports Live|
|Sunday, May 13||2p – 7p||NBC||NBC Sports Live|
Featured group live stream coverage begins at 7:30 a.m. ET on Thursday/Friday. Fans can watch free on Twitter from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. ET during this time. Weekend coverage begins at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The Players Championship 2018 – Odds To Win
Full list of odds for each participant can be found here
Players Championship 2018 Groups And Start Times
|Grouping||Round 1||Round 2|
|Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood||7:54 a.m.||1:19 p.m.|
|Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka||8:05 a.m.||1:30 p.m.|
|Si Woo Kim, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer||8:16 a.m.||1:41 p.m.|
|Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth||8:27 a.m.||1:52 p.m.|
|Paul Casey, Russell Knox, Alex Noren||9:49 a.m.||2:14 p.m.|
|Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar||1:19 p.m.||7:54 a.m.|
|Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, Charl Schwartzel||1:19 p.m.||7:54 a.m.|
|Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama||1:30 p.m.||8:05 a.m|
|Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia||1:41 p.m.||8:16 a.m|
|Patrick Cantlay, James Hahn, Louis Oosthuizen||1:41 p.m.||8:16 a.m.|
|Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler||1:52 p.m.||8:27 a.m|
Best Bets For The Players Championship 2018
Tiger vs. Phil Full Tournament Match Play Winner: Phil Mickelson (-145)
The marquee group of the first two days at the Players Championship will feature Tiger, Phil and Rickie Fowler. While all three have won this tourney previously and have the talent to win it again, all eyes will be on the two aging veterans that have a long history battling it out in prestigious competitions. They’ve been paired together 35 other times since their first grouping over 20 years ago, but have only shared one round at the Players Championship—which came all the way back in 2001.
Tiger dominated that third-round pairing at TPC Sawgrass, shooting a 66 against Mickelson’s 72. Woods would go on to win with a score of 14-under, one shot ahead of runner-up Vijay Singh and 16 ahead of Lefty, who wound up with a two-over after carding an abysmal 77 on Sunday. It wasn’t a surprise result, as Tiger bested not only Phil in those early career meetings, but everyone else in the field as well.
ESPN that no one has ever played golf as well as Tiger did during his peak:Mickelson told
I don’t think anybody today who wasn’t there to witness it, and I don’t think anybody before, will ever see that level of play again. It was the most remarkable golf in the history of the game, and I think unrepeatable. I think it was that good. I look at 2000 as being kind of the benchmark at the U.S. Open and being the greatest golf I’ve ever witnessed and I believe has ever been played.
And it sucked to have to play against him. It really did. You look at it and say, ‘How am I going to beat this?’ There was a stretch there for a number of years that it was so impressive that it was hard to imagine that it was actually happening, that he was hitting some of the shots that he was hitting and playing that well. The guys today look back and they say, ‘Come on, how much better could he have been?’ and so forth. And it goes to show you that they weren’t there to witness it.
The rivalry has leveled out in recent years as Woods struggled greatly with injury. Tiger still holds the slightest of edges in all-time showdowns with Lefty, going 16-15-4 since their first pairing in 1997. He’s also shot just a tad better, with a scoring average of 69.60 against Mickelson’s 69.91. It’s extremely close, however, and Mickelson is favored to pull even with the 14-time major winner after the Players concludes this weekend.
Brad Galli found that these two longtime rivals became friends after Mickelson lent support to Woods during his struggles:
Bettors should ride the hot hand and go with a surging Lefty to beat out Woods at the 2018 Players Championship. The 47-year-old has simply been playing better leading up to this week and should continue his strong showing with another quality finish at TPC Sawgrass this week. Mickelson is a good bet to be in the hunt on Sunday, while Woods is an underdog to even make the cut. The value on Phil at -145 to beat Woods in the mano-a-mano showdown is just too good to pass up.
Winning Pick: Justin Thomas (+1400)
MORE ON TIGER WOODS:
Eldrick Tont Woods (born December 30, 1975) better known as Tiger Woods, is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.
Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur career, Woods was 20 years old when he turned professional at the end of summer in 1996. By the end of April 1997, he had won three PGA Tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters. Woods won this tournament by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance and earned $486,000. He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf—he won the 2000 U.S. Open by a record 15-shot margin. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks).
He has ranked number one for a total of 683 weeks, more than any other player in history. He ended a career-high winless streak of 107 weeks when he triumphed in the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again, holding the top spot until May 2014.
Woods has broken numerous golf records. He has been World Number One for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times, the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in ten different seasons. He has won 14 professional major golf championships, where he trails only Jack Nicklaus who leads with 18, and 79 PGA Tour events, second all-time behind Sam Snead(82). Woods leads all active golfers in career major wins and career PGA Tour wins. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer (after Nicklaus) to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999. Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only golfers to win both The Silver Medal and The Gold Medal at The Open Championship.
MORE ON PHIL MICKELSON:
Philip Alfred Mickelson (born June 16, 1970), nicknamed Lefty, is an American professional golfer. He has won 43 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters titles (2004, 2006, 2010), a PGA Championship (2005), and an Open Championship (2013).
Mickelson is one of 16 players in the history of golf to win at least three of the four majors. He has won every major except the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up a record six times.
Mickelson has spent over 700 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, has reached a career-high world ranking of No. 2 several times and is a life member of the PGA Tour. Known for his left-handed swing, even though otherwise right-handed, he learned by mirroring his right-handed father’s swing. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.
At 14-1, Justin Thomas represents a strong value-to-realistic chance of winning ratio for backers. He’s not the odds-on favorite—that honor currently belongs to Dustin Johnson—but he’s close enough that there isn’t too notable a difference. Given the way odds shift in the final run-up to these big events, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas’ line rising and fall slightly based on the action that oddsmakers are receiving. Due to this predictable behavior, it’s advisable to wait until you get the best possible betting line before placing a wager.
It’s worth noting that Thomas said he recently reached out to caddie Jimmy Johnson for advice on how to improve. He was told to “wait for good things to happen”, which has helped him get off to a strong start this season and is sage wisdom for the Players. As long as last year’s PGA Championship winner doesn’t try to force things and avoids mistakes, he should be in prime position to make a run during Sunday’s final round. Thomas has a history of playing well at TPC Sawgrass, shooting a 65 twice during the 11 total rounds he’s participated in for this event. He’s been one of the top participants here during last three years, although his seven-over score (T-75 and a victim of the secondary cut after 54 holes) a year ago left a lot to be desired, especially since it followed up a promising 65 on the final round that led to a T-3 showing in 2016.
2018 Players Championship Prop Betting List
Tiger Woods makes the cut
Tiger Woods hits a tee shot into water on No. 17
Dustin Johnson hits a tee shot into water on No. 17
Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot into water on No. 17
Jordan Spieth hits a tee shot into water on No. 17
Justin Thomas hits a tee shot into water on No. 17
Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot into water on No. 17
Total tee shots hit into the water on No. 17
Over 42.5 (-115)
Under 42.5 (-115)
Total tee shots hit into the water on No. 17 during Round 4
Over 9.5 (+100)
Under 9.5 (-130)
Highest score on No. 17 during any round
Over 8 (-115)
Under 8 (-115)
Winner hits a tee shot into the water on No. 17 during any round
Total birdies by winner on No. 17
Over 1.5 (-105)
Under 1.5 (-125)
Hole-in-one recorded on No. 17
Hole-in-one on No. 12
Will anyone break the single-round course record of 63?
Will there be a playoff?
Total score by winner over first three holes of playoff (playoff must occur for action)
9 or fewer +1100
12 or more +100
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson Props
Head-to-head matchup – Round 1
Phil Mickelson -120
Tiger Woods -110
Head-to-head matchup – Round 2
Phil Mickelson -130
Tiger Woods +100
Head-to-head matchup – Round 3 (both must make cut for action)
Phil Mickelson -115
Tiger Woods -115
Head-to-head matchup – Round 4 (both must make cut for action)
Phil Mickelson -140
Tiger Woods +110
Match play winner (Rounds 1 and 2)
Phil Mickelson -125
Tiger Woods -105
Match play winner (full tournament)
Phil Mickelson -145
Tiger Woods +115
Most birdies during tournament
Phil Mickelson -150
Tiger Woods +120
Most bogeys or worse during tournament
Phil Mickelson +145
Tiger Woods -180
First to miss fairway with tee shot
Phil Mickelson -115
Tiger Woods -115
First to three-putt
Phil Mickelson +145
Tiger Woods -170
Details of side bet between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson released before June 14, 2018 (dollar amount must be made public)
Side bet amount between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson (dollar amount must be made public)
Over $100,000 (-150)
Under $100,000 (+120)