Nobody has ever won back-to-back Players Championships. Then again, few golfers have ever played at the level Rory McIlroy currently is. McIlroy is coming into this week's Players at TPC Sawgrass as last year's champion and on a heater that includes seven straight top-five finishes (including two wins). Last time McIlroy finished outside the top five in a PGA Tour event, LSU was 0-0 and the 2019 college football season had yet to start.

So it's easy to see why he's the favorite coming into this week, where he shot 67-65-70-70 to defeat Jim Furyk (!!) by a stroke and take home his first Players Championship. Here's a look at the favorites for this week, according to William Hill Sportsbook.

• Rory McIlroy: 7-1
• Jon Rahm: 12-1
• Justin Thomas: 16-1

Those are your three heavy favorites, with McIlroy at the top of the class by a healthy margin. Rahm has played five events in 2020 and finished in the top 20 in all of them. He crushed at last year's Players until a 76 in the final round sank him. Thomas has also played five events in 2020, and he has three top-six finishes but also two missed cuts. 

Here are the rest of the big-name odds.

• Bryson DeChambeau: 22-1
• Tommy Fleetwood: 25-1
• Patrick Cantlay: 28-1
• Dustin Johnson: 28-1
• Sungjae Im: 28-1
• Hideki Matsuyama: 30-1
• Xander Schauffele: 30-1
• Webb Simpson: 30-1
• Adam Scott: 33-1
• Patrick Reed: 33-1
• Rickie Fowler: 35-1
• Brooks Koepka: 40-1
• Tyrrell Hatton: 45-1
• Marc Leishman: 45-1

Some of these numbers, while they make sense, are still astonishing. Koepka with higher odds than Sungjae Im?! Fowler behind Webb Simpson?! Yep, Im and Simpson are arguably two of the five hottest players in the world, and Koepka and Fowler (but more so Koepka) have both struggled to start the year.

There's value to be had though. I love Reed at 33-1. I love Schauffele at 30-1. I love Fleetwood at 25-1, even coming off his missed cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Fleetwood and McIlroy were tied at 132 at the halfway point last year in a ball-striker's dream Saturday duo, and while McIlroy got the better of him, Fleetwood still posted a top-five finish. He also nearly won the Honda Classic two weeks ago. His game travels well, and it sets up well for TPC Sawgrass.

We'll dive deeper into some of these numbers as the week wears on, but it's an interesting cursory look at the first big event (with the first massive favorite) of the year. With McIlroy as the huge favorite, and everybody else sort of lagging behind, it makes you wonder whether there's a ton of value to be had or if the No. 1 player in the world is going to run away and hide as the first back-to-back champ of this tournament.