2020 Players Championship odds: Surprising PGA picks, predictions from top-rated model that nailed six majors

Rory McIlroy is the No. 1 golfer in the world and will defend his title at this week's 2020 Players Championship. Dubbed "The Fifth Major," the Players Championship 2020 boasts the richest check at $2.7 million as well as a five-year PGA Tour exemption for the winner. McIlroy claimed last year's Players by one stroke over Jim Furyk, and the victory was a major impetus for McIlroy eventually winning the season-long FedEx Cup points championship.

McIlroy will tee it up at the 7,189-yard, par-72 TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course along with the rest of the field, starting with the first 2020 Players Championship tee times at 7:40 a.m. ET on Thursday. He's 7-1 in the latest 2020 Players Championship odds. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are among the rest of the Players Championship 2020 field gunning for a shot at victory on Pete Dye's signature design. Before locking in any 2020 Players Championship picks of your own or entering any PGA DFS tournaments on sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, be sure to check out the predictions and projected leaderboard from the team at SportsLine.

SportsLine's prediction model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, has nailed two of the last three majors entering the weekend. It predicted Gary Woodland's first career major championship at the U.S. Open even though he wasn't the favorite entering the weekend. The result: Woodland held off a late charge from Brooks Koepka and won by three strokes. The model also called Koepka's historic victory at the 2019 PGA Championship, predicting he'd hold his lead in the home stretch.

In all, their advanced computer model has nailed a whopping six majors entering the weekend. And already this season, the model called Justin Thomas winning the CJ Cup, Rory McIlroy taking down the WGC-HSBC Champions and Viktor Hovland earning his first career PGA Tour victory at the Puerto Rico Open. Anyone who has followed it is way up.?

Now that the Players Championship 2020 field is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times, and the results were surprising. Head to SportsLine now to see the full projected leaderboard.?

The model's top 2020 Players Championship predictions?

One huge shocker the model is calling for: Justin Thomas, a 12-time PGA Tour champion and one of the top Vegas favorites, stumbles this week and barely cracks the top five.

Thomas is off to blistering start this season. The 26-year-old is coming off an impressive performance at the WGC-Mexico Championship that saw him earn a sixth-place finish. He's now finished sixth or better in five of his last eight official PGA Tour starts. However, Thomas has struggled to find consistency in recent weeks. In fact, he has missed the cut in two of his last four starts on the PGA Tour.

In addition, Thomas hasn't fared well at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, finishing 35th or worse in two of his last three starts at the Players Championship. Plus, Thomas is ranked 144th in driving accuracy percentage (58.67), which doesn't bode well for his chances to finish on top of the 2020 Players Championship leaderboard this week. He's not a strong pick to win it all and there are far better values in this loaded field.

Another surprise: Hideki Matsuyama, a massive 20-1 long shot, makes a strong run at the title. He has a much better chance to win it all than his odds imply, so he's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday.

A five-time winner on the PGA Tour to go along with 11 international victories, Matsuyama has the kind of game that plays anywhere on the globe. The 28-year-old Japanese star has finished second at the Zozo Championship, third at the CJ Cup, and fifth at the Genesis Invitational this season.?

Matsuyama has a strong history at the Players Championship, finishing eighth in 2019 and seventh in 2016 as part of making five cuts in six appearances. Matsuyama's consistent game shows in the stats, as he is third in strokes gained tee-to-green and seventh in scoring average (69.48 per round) in 2019-20. With a strong history at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course and his game as sharp as ever, the model sees Matsuyama rising up the 2020 Players Championship leaderboard.

How to make 2020 Players Championship picks

Also, the model says five other golfers with 2020 Players Championship odds of 20-1 or longer will make a strong run at the title, including a massive long shot who's higher than 35-1. Anyone who backs these underdogs could hit it big.

So who wins the 2020 Players Championship? And which long shots stun the golfing world? Check out the odds below and visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard from the model that's nailed six golf majors, and find out.

2020 Players Championship odds

Rory McIlroy 7-1
Jon Rahm 10-1
Justin Thomas 16-1
Bryson DeChambeau 18-1
Patrick Cantlay 20-1
Hideki Matsuyama 20-1
Xander Schauffele 20-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
Dustin Johnson 28-1
Sungjae Im 28-1
Webb Simpson 30-1
Rickie Fowler 33-1
Patrick Reed 33-1
Adam Scott 33-1
Brooks Koepka 40-1
Matt Kuchar 40-1
Gary Woodland 40-1
Tyrrell Hatton 45-1
Marc Leishman 45-1
Collin Morikawa 45-1
Daniel Berger 50-1
Tony Finau 55-1
Paul Casey 60-1
Byeong Hun An 66-1
Jason Day 66-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 66-1
Justin Rose 66-1
Abraham Ancer 70-1
Sergio Garcia 70-1
Louis Oosthuizen 70-1
Scottie Scheffler 70-1
Harris English 80-1
Billy Horschel 80-1
Shane Lowry 80-1
Jordan Spieth 80-1
Henrik Stenson 80-1
Viktor Hovland 90-1
Bud Cauley 100-1
Ian Poulter 100-1
Brandt Snedeker 100-1
Bubba Watson 100-1

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