Odds and Ends

PLAYERS Matchups: Leaning on History

by Josh Culp
Updated On: March 8, 2023, 1:33 pm ET

The PGA TOUR is playing close to home this week at TPC Sawgrass, host of the fifth major. 

This event offers a huge payday and also offers a lot of variance, with water lurking around every corner. It comes into play on 17 holes at TPC Sawgrass. 

The designer, Pete Dye, was known for being tricky and deceptive. It just doesn't fit the eye on partiular golfers, so with that in mind I will consider course history a bit more this week when looking at the betting board. Here are a few matchups that stand out. 

Jon Rahm over Rory McIlroy - Tournament Matchup (+105)

This has been my favorite matchup in 2023 but I'm taking the other side this week, after leaning on Rory in past matchups. 

Rahm is getting the plus-money side of the matchup this week but think those odds should be reversed. 

Looking at March performance at THE PLAYERS, Rahm has gained at least 2.4 strokes over the field in seven (of 12) rounds while McIlroy has just 3-of-10, despite having the 2019 win in that stretch. I will side with the plus-money and consistent course history and lean on Rahm here. 

Jason Day over Patrick Cantlay - Tournament Matchup (+105)

At first glance this may look like a lopsided matchup in favor of Cantlay, if you are looking form a long-term lens. 

I would agree with that sentiment but I can't ignore their course history. 

For Cantlay, he's lost strokes to the field in five of six rounds when playing TPC Sawgrass in March, gaining a measly 0.35 strokes in the other round. 

On the flip side, Day has gained in seven of 10 March rounds while also winning the 2016 edition (played in May). The Aussie arrives with four straight top 10s and I'm expecting another strong showing this week.

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.