After our "rousing" success at the Masters (Luke broke even, I lost $25), we decided to make a few more bets ahead of the Players. We decided to give ourselves a $20 budget and make four $5 bets. In case you have $20 to burn as well, here's how we suggest doing it:
FAVORITESLuke: Zach Johnson, 33/1
It's hard to see ZJ throwing us any bad surprises. He hits a lot of fairways, is fresh off a solid showing at the Wells Fargo, and he generally does well on courses where he's played well before -- by the way, he's finished T-19, T-2 and T-12 in his last three starts at TPC Sawgrass.
Alex: Henrik Stenson, 25/1
Even with two missed cuts during his lengthy slump, Stenson has been one of the most consistent players at the Players. In addition to his win in 2009, he has three other top 10s in eight tries at TPC Sawgrass, including a T-5 last year. The reigning FedEx Cup champ is coming off a T-14 at the Masters and could take over the No. 1 ranking with a win this week.
Luke: Ryan Moore, 66/1
Moore might be one of the more underrated American golfers on tour right now. He's a three-time winner on the PGA Tour -- with one each in 2012 and 2013 -- who ranks in the top 25 of driving accuracy, and his final round 66 at the Wells Fargo was the second-best score on Sunday.
Alex: Graham DeLaet, 50/1
The Canadian leads the PGA Tour in ball-striking for the season and has five top-10 finishes, including two runner-ups at Torrey Pines and TPC Scottsdale. At TPC Sawgrass, he was T-26 last year in his second visit to one of the tour's trickiest tracks. DeLaet only finished T-29 at his last tournament, the Zurich Classic, but he hit nearly 90 percent of the greens in regulation. If he does that again this week, he could take home a big check.
Luke: Boo Weekley, 150/1
So far in 2014, Weekley is the only player on tour who ranks in the top 10 of both driving accuracy and greens in regulation. Putting has always held him back, but that hurts him most on birdie-fest courses or in tournaments with U.S. Open-like greens. The Players is somewhere in the middle, so as long as he just hangs in there, he's got a chance.
Alex: Roberto Castro, 150/1
In his debut round at TPC Sawgrass, Castro missed a 13-footer on the final hole that would have given him a course record. He shot 78 the next day and only finished T-19, but that 63 stuck in my head as I perused the names with longer odds. A pair of 71s over the weekend after he settled down is more of what I expect this year from a man coming off his best finish of the season, a T-8 at Quail Hollow.
His game doesn't really fit the course and he's not playing particularly well (there's also the looming possibility that he may walk off the course at any moment, because his wife is expecting a baby any day now), but Patrick Reed is, undeniably, a winner. He already topped one of the strongest fields in golf at the 2014 WGC-Caddilac, and don't read too much into his poor recent form; before his second PGA Tour victory at the Humana, Reed went MC, MC, T-40, T-16 in his four previous starts.
Alex: Low "Rest of the World" - John Senden, 20/1
Of the eight players ahead of Senden on this list, only Seung-Yul Noh is also a winner on the PGA Tour this year. The Australian backed up his victory at the Valspar Championship with a T-8 at the Masters. His TPC track record is disappointing, but a man of his ball-striking talents is due to be a factor in this event.
And for those in Yahoo! leagues, here's my weekly fantasy lineup:
Starters: Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, and Sergio Garcia.
Backups: Lee Westwood, Graham DeLaet, Jim Furyk, and Harris English.
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Henrik Stenson.