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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.

With so many props on the board this week, Vegas expert Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com was asked to sort through them all and come up with the best value bets available. Before getting to the pro handicapper’s picks, take a look at the full schedule, TV and live stream coverage start times, pairings, tee times, updated odds to win and more for the 2018 Players Championship. You can also find a full list of props for the event, as well as Tiger vs. Phil at the bottom of this article:

2018 Players Championship TV And Live Stream Schedule

Date Time (ET) TV Streaming
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

Golfer Odds
Dustin Johnson +1250
Rory McIlroy +1300
Justin Thomas +1400
Jordan Spieth +1400
Jason Day +1500
Rickie Fowler +2000
Jon Rahm +2200
Justin Rose +2800
Henrik Stenson +2800
Sergio Garcia +3000
Hideki Matsuyama +3300
Patrick Reed +3300
Paul Casey +3300
Phil Mickelson +3300
Tiger Woods +3500

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.

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Mickelson told ESPN that no one has ever played golf as well as Tiger did during his peak:

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:

No one is arguing that Lefty was the better player when these Hall of Famers were in their primes, but right now the Arizona State product is clearly performing at a higher level than his counterpart. Mickelson is coming off a respectable fifth-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship after shooting seven-under during the tourney, including a 69 on Sunday. Woods finished 50 places behind him, carding a two-over across four mostly mediocre rounds. Mickelson also outperformed Tiger at the Genesis Open, finishing sixth in an event that Woods missed the cut in. The only other mutual tourney these veterans entered was the Masters, where both were underwhelming and finished above par.

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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)


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.


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.

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In addition to avenging that shortcoming, the 25-year-old should have some extra motivation to perform well in this tourney. Thomas narrowly missed a chance to become the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer for the first time in his career at the Wells Fargo Championship last week, failing to overtake Johnson. The Kentucky native has a good chance of snagging that title from Johnson this week, although there is some potential competition from three other competitors in the field at the Players Championship. Here’s a look at what Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Thomas must accomplish at TPC Sawgrass to become the world’s top ranked golfer next week courtesy of an OWGR expert:

As long as Thomas continues to mash off the tee and can dial in with his putter, he has a good a shot as anyone in the field at excelling at the Players. He’s the type of elite ball striker that is near the top of the list in greens in regulation. Don’t sleep on him cashing in on a nearly $2 million prize bounty as the victor on Sunday.

2018 Players Championship Prop Betting List

Tiger Woods makes the cut

Yes -130

No +100

Tiger Woods hits a tee shot into water on No. 17

Yes +200

No -240

Dustin Johnson hits a tee shot into water on No. 17

Yes +450

No -800

Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot into water on No. 17

Yes +550

No -1000

Jordan Spieth hits a tee shot into water on No. 17

Yes +500

No -900

Justin Thomas hits a tee shot into water on No. 17

Yes +575

No -1200

Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot into water on No. 17

Yes +550

No -1000

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

Yes +450

No -800

Total birdies by winner on No. 17

Over 1.5 (-105)

Under 1.5 (-125)

Hole-in-one recorded on No. 17

Yes +350

No -500

Hole-in-one on No. 12

Yes +6500

No -20000

Will anyone break the single-round course record of 63?

Yes +900

No -2000

Will there be a playoff?

Yes +350

No -500

Total score by winner over first three holes of playoff (playoff must occur for action)

9 or fewer +1100

10 +650

11 +180

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)

Yes +800

No -2000

Side bet amount between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson (dollar amount must be made public)

Over $100,000 (-150)

Under $100,000 (+120)