Jon Rahm is popular pick to win The Players Championship

Updated May 10, 2017 - 6:41 pm

No word if Dustin Johnson rented a single-story home near the TPC Sawgrass golf course for The Players Championship. Providing he doesn’t suffer another freak injury falling down stairs as he did on the eve of the Masters, the world’s No. 1 golfer will tee off Thursday as the 7-1 favorite to win golf’s unofficial fifth major.

“The way that he’s playing right now, he’s the favorite every time he steps on the course, whether it translates to his style of play or not,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “He’s a long bomber, and this is a shot maker’s course, so it’s a different type of game than just bombing away off the tee.”

After Johnson, coming off a tie for second at the Wells Fargo Championship, is Rory McIlroy (10-1), Jordan Spieth (12-1) and Sergio Garcia (15-1), playing in his first event since winning his first major at the Masters in April.

Garcia won TPC in 2008, took third in 2014 and was runner-up in 2015 at Sawgrass, which features the iconic island green on the par-3 17th hole and suits his game well.

“It’s a ball striker’s course, and someone like Sergio Garcia fits the mold of that type of golfer,” Sherman said. “As solid as Garcia’s history here and solid play, he’s never been in a better place on the course, coming off a major win, or just mentally. He’s in the best place he’s been in his career.”

Defending TPC champion Jason Day and 2015 TPC winner Rickie Fowler are each listed at 20-1. So is 22-year-old Spanish phenom Jon Rahm, who has generated the most tickets at the Westgate and William Hill sports books.

Rahm won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California, in January and has since compiled five top-1o finishes. He finished fourth at the Wells Fargo, a stroke behind Johnson.

“He’s playing as solid as anybody. He’s a guy, in the 20-1 range, that offers value. I expect him to be there Sunday,” Sherman said. “He’s so consistent, it’s not going to be too long that you’re going to see his odds right up at 10-1 or less on a weekly basis. He’s ready to ascend to that next level as a favorite on a weekly basis.”

More money has been bet on Spieth at William Hill than on any other golfer, and Justin Thomas has attracted plenty of support at the Westgate, where Sherman moved his odds from 30-1 to 25-1.

“There are a lot of guys you can make cases for this week,” he said.

For sleepers, Sherman likes Brooks Koepka (30-1) and Francesco Molinari (50-1).

“Koepka’s from Florida, and he’s been playing solid golf recently,” Sherman said. “Molinari has a few solid top 10s on this course, and he’s had a pretty solid season so far.”

Justin Rose, who lost the Masters in a playoff to Garcia, is listed at 20-1. In one of the myriad player matchups posted at the Westgate and William Hill, Fowler is a minus-135 favorite over Rose (plus-115).

The Westgate also has posted group matchups and will update the odds after each of the first three rounds to win the event, which boasts the strongest field in golf and generates an above-average handle.

“Outside of the majors, our handle on this is equivalent to those other World Golf Championships where they have really stellar fields,” Sherman said. “We do at least twice what we do on a normal weekend. It’s a classic course, everyone knows about the 17th hole island green, and the strength of the field is just second to none.”

Follow all of our sports betting coverage online at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-266-6080. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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