First-Round Leader Odds & Betting Guide for THE PLAYERS Championship: Six Longshot Bets for Round 1 at TPC Sawgrass (Wednesday, March 10)

First-Round Leader Odds & Betting Guide for THE PLAYERS Championship: Six Longshot Bets for Round 1 at TPC Sawgrass (Wednesday, March 10) article feature image
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Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Byeong-hun An

  • Round 1 of THE PLAYERS Championship begins in the early morning of Thursday, March 11.
  • Check out the first-round leader odds and see who we're betting to lead the field after play on Thursday.

Perhaps the most entertaining bet in all of sports, the first-round leader (FRL) play is a wager on which golfer will be atop the leaderboard after Round 1.

The reason that FRLs are quite fun is that one round of golf is so volatile that it incentivizes bettors to take some shots on players down the board. Not every player on the oddsboard can win a tournament, but practically every competitor can get hot enough to lead one for 18 holes.

Here are our favorite first-round leader bets for the 2021 PLAYERS Championship:

Jason Sobel

Chris Kirk (+9000) | Tee time: 2:06 p.m. ET

It’s always fun to play a few longer numbers for FRL, though that hasn’t been a very profitable strategy in recent years at this event.

Last year, it was Hideki Matsuyama who held the lead before it was wiped away. The year before, it was shared by Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley. Before that, it was a six-some that included Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Alex Noren and Chesson Hadley.

Kirk has been playing well, owns a nice record at this one and could bring some solid momentum into the opening round, considering he’s broken par in each of his last six Thursday rounds.

Even if you don’t like him for FRL, he should be able to cash some props/matchups and nicely fill out a DFS roster.

[Bet THE PLAYERS at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Josh Perry

Tom Hoge (+15000) | Tee time: 6:56 a.m. ET

When I play first-round leaders, I generally look for players at large numbers with early tee times so they can take advantage of fresh greens and calmer weather conditions. Hoge fits that bill and has the strong approach game I’m looking for at Sawgrass. He’s also shown he’s got the ability to fire the random 63 or 64 out as well.

Hoge has gained with the approach and on the greens in both of his appearances at THE PLAYERS, so even if the overall results haven’t been there, the two main aspects of the game have been fine here. So couple that with a good tee draw and he’s capable of shooting a low round.

[Bet THE PLAYERS at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Chris Murphy

Brendan Steele (+12000) | Tee time: 1:22 p.m. ET

Only two players have more opening-round scores in the 60s in the last five years at TPC Sawgrass than Brendan Steele, as he has done it three times in that span. One of those was a 7-under 65 in 2015, which is the type of round needed to pay off a longshot bet like this.

Steele comes in showing some good form with an 18th-place finish at Bay Hill, where he gained nearly seven strokes on the field ball striking and I look for him to carry that momentum into this week. He has just the type of history at The Players that I am looking for to grab a quick payout with him as the leader after 18 holes at TPC Sawgrass.

[Bet THE PLAYERS at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matt Vincenzi

Jhonattan Vegas (+15000) | Tee time: 2:17 p.m. ET

Vegas has been playing some good golf of late, as evidenced by his runner-up finish at The Puerto Rico Open in his most recent start. He’s a pretty poor putter overall, but Bermuda grass is his best surface by a wide margin where he putts pretty close to field average.

In addition to his current form, Vegas also has some great finishes in Florida. In the most recent PLAYERS Championship, the 36-year-old wound up solo third and gained 6.8 strokes from tee to green. He also finished fourth (2017) and 16th (2019) at Honda Classic in Florida.

I am high on Vegas this week and think the first-round leader market is a good place to start.

[Bet THE PLAYERS at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Landon Silinsky

Alex Noren (+12500) | Tee time: 6:45 a.m. ET

Noren has opened two of his past three PLAYERS Championships with top-five, opening-round scores. He’s been really hot with the putter of late, ranking 13th in this field over his past four rounds in SG: Putting. He’s also coming off a strong showing at the Genesis, and had it not been for a final round 79, he would’ve finished inside the top 20 at the API.

Noren has shown a liking for this course, finishing 17th and 10th in 2018 and 2017, respectively. He is certainly worth a look in the FRL market at this price.

[Bet THE PLAYERS at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Michael Leboff

Byeong-hun An (+12500) | Tee time: 8:35 a.m. ET

Perhaps no player typifies the First-Round Leader Bet quite like Byeong-hun An. The affable South Korean can strike the ball with the best of them, but he’s such a wildly bad putter he can make a meal of some of the most exquisite approach shots. It’s all part of the Byeong-hun An experience.

The great thing about a FRL bet is you only need your player to have his game together for one round and An’s ball-striking always makes that a possibility. His form may not look all that impressive, but hasn’t missed a cut in 2021 and was lurking around the FRL frontrunners at last week’s API.

An has finished inside the top-30 in his last two trips to the PLAYERS, so he also seems to be relatively comfortable on this course. This all might not sound like much, but it’s enough to get me in at 125/1 odds.

Odds to be First-Round Leader at THE PLAYERS

via DraftKings

Golfer Odds
Dustin Johnson +2500
Rory McIlroy +3300
Jon Rahm +3300
Bryson DeChambeau +3300
Collin Morikawa +4000
Xander Schauffele +4000
Webb Simpson +4000
Justin Thomas +4000
Patrick Cantlay +4000
Tony Finau +4000
Viktor Hovland +4500
Jordan Spieth +4500
Tyrrell Hatton +5000
Patrick Reed +5000
Daniel Berger +5000
Paul Casey +5000
Hideki Matsuyama +5500
Scottie Scheffler +5500
Matthew Fitzpatrick +5500
Jason Kokrak +6600
Joaquin Niemann +6600
Louis Oosthuizen +6600
Cameron Smith +6600
Sungjae Im +6600
Jason Day +6600
Tommy Fleetwood +6600
Billy Horschel +7000
Adam Scott +7000
Will Zalatoris +7000
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +8000
Harris English +8000
Emiliano Grillo +9000
Russell Henley +9000
Charley Hoffman +9000
Max Homa +9000
Chris Kirk +9000
Kevin Kisner +9000
Marc Leishman +9000
Ryan Palmer +9000
Justin Rose +9000
Si Woo Kim +9000
Cameron Tringale +9000
Harold Varner III +9000
Lee Westwood +9000
Lanto Griffin +9000
James Hahn +10000
Zach Johnson +10000
Matt Jones +10000
Russell Knox +10000
Matt Kuchar +10000
Shane Lowry +10000
Francesco Molinari +10000
Carlos Ortiz +10000
Ian Poulter +10000
Andrew Putnam +10000
Brendan Steele +10000
Kevin Streelman +10000
Brendon Todd +10000
Bubba Watson +10000
Keegan Bradley +10000
Cameron Champ +10000
Cameron Davis +10000
Rickie Fowler +10000
Talor Gooch +10000
Adam Hadwin +12500
Brian Harman +12500
Bo Hoag +12500
Charles Howell +12500
Mackenzie Hughes +12500
Luke List +12500
Robert MacIntyre +12500
Denny McCarthy +12500
Maverick McNealy +12500
Sebastian Munoz +12500
Matthew NeSmith +12500
Alexander Noren +12500
Henrik Norlander +12500
Rory Sabbatini +12500
Richy Werenski +12500
Bernd Wiesberger +12500
Gary Woodland +12500
Byeong Hun An +12500
Branden Grace +12500
Tom Hoge +15000
Mark Hubbard +15000
Patton Kizzire +15000
Kyoung-Hoon Lee +15000
Martin Laird +15000
Nate Lashley +15000
Danny Lee +15000
Tom Lewis +15000
Adam Long +15000
Peter Malnati +15000
Phil Mickelson +15000
Keith Mitchell +15000
Ryan Moore +15000
Cameron Percy +15000
Pat Perez +15000
Victor Perez +15000
Scott Piercy +15000
J.T. Poston +15000
Chez Reavie +15000
Doc Redman +15000
Charl Schwartzel +15000
Brandt Snedeker +15000
Scott Stallings +15000
Kyle Stanley +15000
Henrik Stenson +15000
Sepp Straka +15000
Brian Stuard +15000
Nick Taylor +15000
Michael Thompson +15000
Jhonattan Vegas +15000
Danny Willett +15000
Aaron Wise +15000
Wyndham Clark +15000
Dylan Frittelli +15000
Brice Garnett +15000
Doug Ghim +15000
Lucas Glover +15000
Troy Merritt +17500
Patrick Rodgers +17500
Stewart Cink +17500
Jason Dufner +17500
Tyler Duncan +17500
Sam Ryder +20000
Adam Schenk +20000
Vaughn Taylor +20000
Ryan Armour +20000
CT Pan +20000
Austin Cook +17500
Ryan Armour +20000
CT Pan +20000
Austin Cook +20000
Joel Dahmen +20000
Jim Herman +25000
Harry Higgs +25000
Beau Hossler +25000
Jerry Kelly +25000
Beau Hossler +25000
Jerry Kelly +25000
Anirban Lahiri +25000
Andrew Landry +25000
Tyler McCumber +25000
Graeme McDowell +25000
Robby Shelton +25000
Robert Streb +25000
Sung Kang +25000
Hudson Swafford +25000

Odds via DraftKings

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