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2023 Players Championship picks, predictions, field, odds: Golf expert fading Justin Thomas at TPC Sawgrass

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The PGA Tour heads a couple of hours north this week as the Florida Swing continues with the 2023 Players Championship, which tees off Thursday at TPC Sawgrass. Dubbed the fifth major by the PGA Tour, the tournament features most of the best golfers in the world, and Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy will continue their fight for No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking. They are part of a Players Championship 2023 field that includes 43 of the world’s top 50 golfers. A record $4.5 million payday and 600 FedEx Cup points go to the winner. Rahm stumbled at Bay Hill, but McIlroy and Scheffler finished in the top five. So did Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, and they are among the many stars who come in at the top of their games.

Caesars Sportsbook lists Rahm and McIlroy as 17-2 co-favorites, with Scheffler right behind at 10-1, in its latest 2023 Players Championship odds. Only three other golfers are shorter than 20-1 — Cantlay (19-1), Justin Thomas (19-1) and Max Homa (19-1). Xander Schauffele (25-1) and Viktor Hovland (27-1) also are among the favorites in the Players Championship 2023 field, while Spieth is priced at 32-1. Before making any 2023 Players Championship picks, be sure you check out the PGA Tour predictions and best bets from SportsLine golf insider Patrick McDonald.

After spending time at FanSided and NBC Sports EDGE, McDonald joined CBS Sports as a golf writer in the spring of 2022. Now covering the sport from a broader perspective, McDonald still likes to dip his toes into the betting pools on a weekly basis on the PGA Tour. McDonald takes a measured approach to his outright selections and is having a profitable 2022-23 season. He is up almost 19 units this season, meaning a profit of over $1,900 for $100 bettors.

McDonald nailed the Farmers Insurance Open, backing Homa (25-1) as his top choice. The expert also just missed a massive 130-1 score at the Sony Open when Hayden Buckley finished as runner-up. He hit another 25-1 shot at the Houston Open, taking Tony Finau to win. The expert finished the 2021-22 season up 42 units on his outrights, including a monster 250-1 payout on Hudson Swafford at The American Express. Anyone who follows McDonald’s advice has been cashing in.

Now, McDonald has studied the 2023 Players Championship field and has locked in his best bets, top sleepers and favorites to avoid. You can head to SportsLine now to see all of McDonald’s PGA picks and analysis.  

Top 2023 Players Championship expert picks

One shocking pick from McDonald: He is fading Thomas, even though he won this event in 2021. The 29-year-old is also a two-time major champion and former world No. 1, but he hasn’t been contending much this year. Thomas has finished in the top 25 in five of his six events in 2022-23, but only one of those was a top-10. He tied for 33rd at Sawgrass last year and has one other top-10 finish in seven tries. He also ranks 202nd in proximity to the hole and 113th in strokes gained putting, so scoring low is going to take some significant improvement on form.

On the other hand, McDonald will be eager to see how Rahm rebounds after tying for 39th last week. The Spaniard has 10 victories in six-plus seasons on tour and eight more worldwide. Five of those 18 have come since October, and Rahm opened with 65 before back-to-back 76’s at Bay Hill. He has played five times at Sawgrass, finishing in the top 12 twice but outside the top 50 in the other three. Rahm remains in the top 35 in all major strokes gained categories, leading in strokes gained total. He also is No. 1 in scoring average and third in greens in regulation. See who he is backing at SportsLine.

How to make 2023 Players Championship golf picks

McDonald has locked in his best bets for the 2023 Players Championship and has tabbed several longshots, including two who come in at more than 30-1. One of these golfers continues to find his form and “showed flashes of brilliance” last week at Bay Hill. You can only see the picks at SportsLine.

So which 2023 Players Championship players should you target or avoid? And which golfer in the Players Championship 2023 field could bring a huge payday of around 40-1? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Patrick McDonald’s top prop picks for Players Championship 2023, all from the expert who is up nearly $1,900 on his PGA Tour picks this season.

2023 Players Championship odds, field, top contenders

See McDonald’s picks, best bets and predictions here.

Jon Rahm +850
Rory McIlroy +850
Scottie Scheffler +1000
Patrick Cantlay +1900
Max Homa +1900
Justin Thomas +1900
Xander Schauffele +2500
Viktor Hovland +2700
Tony Finau +2800
Collin Morikawa +2800
Will Zalatoris +3200
Jordan Spieth +3200
Matt Fitzpatrick +3400
Tyrrell Hatton +3400
Cameron Young +3600
Jason Day +3600
Sungjae Im +3700
Joohyung Kim +4100
Shane Lowry +4800
Keegan Bradley +5000
Rickie Fowler +5000
Keith Mitchell +5500
Corey Conners +6500
Si Woo Kim +7000
Sam Burns +7000
Sahith Theegala +7000
Chris Kirk +7500
Tommy Fleetwood +8500
Hideki Matsuyama +8500
Kurt Kitayama +9000
Justin Rose +10000
Adam Scott +10000
Tom Hoge +10000
Francesco Molinari +10000
Harris English +10000
Webb Simpson +14000
Aaron Wise +14000
Brian Harman +15000
Wyndham Clark +15000
Seamus Power +15000
Russell Henley +15000
Gary Woodland +17000
Alex Noren +17000
Billy Horschel +18000
Ryan Fox +18000
Davis Riley +18000
Taylor Montgomery +18000
Sepp Straka +19000
Adam Hadwin +19000
Min Woo Lee +19000
Maverick McNealy +21000
Patton Kizzire +21000
Justin Suh +21000
Taylor Pendrith +22000
K.H. Lee +23000
Lucas Herbert +23000
Danny Willett +23000

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