With a record $20 million purse ($3.6 million going to the winner) on the line, the 2022 Players Championship will be the biggest event yet with 48 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking scheduled to play. TPC Sawgrass was created to host this event and its emphasis on risk vs. reward has made it one of the most exciting courses on the PGA Tour. The last two Players Championships have been decided by just one stroke with superstars Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy adding illustrious wins to their already-incredible resumes.

Thomas is listed as a 14-1 co-favorite in the latest 2022 Players Championship odds from Caesars Sportsbook along with Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa. Meanwhile, McIlroy is listed at 18-1 in this week's PGA Tour odds coming off a disappointing weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he shot back-to-back 76s to fall out of the top 10 after shooting a first-round 65. Before making any 2022 Players Championship picks, be sure to check out the PGA Tour predictions and betting advice from proven golf insider Sal Johnson.

The esteemed golf insider has been around the game for many years and knows what it takes to win on the PGA Tour. Johnson has been on a strong run this season. Before the Mayakoba event in Mexico, Johnson had Hovland among his players to watch, while he predicted Brooks Koepka would miss the cut. Koepka went home early, while Hovland shot 23-under to cruise to a four-stroke victory. Johnson also nailed Hideki Matsuyama's victory at the Zozo Championship, and Sam Burns' win at the Sanderson Farms. Anyone who has followed Johnson's advice has cashed in huge.

Now Johnson, a longtime ABC Sports golf producer who worked closely with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, has released his highly confident 2022 Players Championship picks. The picks from the founder of GOLFstats.com, the world's top golf stats database, will definitely surprise you. Johnson's Players Championship picks, predictions, and expert analysis are only available at SportsLine.

Top 2022 Players Championship expert picks

One shocking choice from Johnson: The golf expert is fading defending champion Thomas this week. The No. 8 player in the Official World Golf Ranking has six top-10 finishes in his last eight starts and he continues to be one of the best ball strikers on tour, ranking inside the top 10 in strokes gained: tee-to-green the last six seasons. However, he's always been a streaky putter, ranking outside the top 100 in strokes-gained: putting the last four seasons. And no player in history has ever won back-to-back Players Championships.

On the other hand, the expert is very high on Morikawa this week at TPC Sawgrass. Morikawa has ascended to No. 2 in the OWGR and he'll have a chance to overtake Jon Rahm to go to No. 1 for the first time in his career this week. And TPC Sawgrass should be an exceptional fit for the 25-year-old who is challenging Thomas as arguably the best ball striker on tour. Morikawa finished second in strokes-gained: on approach in 2019-20, first in 2020-21 and is fourth in 2021-22. 

Johnson can't wait to see which version of McIlroy shows up at Sawgrass this week, because he knows the course can be perfect for him. It was in 2019, when the Northern Irishman won the Players, but he missed the cut last year. His inconsistency has been maddening, for him and for bettors, but McIlroy has been posting solid finishes. He has been no worse than 14th in nine straight events, including a victory at October's CJ Cup. He is the tour's best driver, hitting it more than 319 yards and ranking second in strokes gained. He also is seventh in strokes gained putting. 

How to make 2022 Players Championship golf picks

Johnson is backing a huge long shot among his picks who comes in at well over 60-1. This player has come through with a major surprise in a similar situation before, and the expert believes he can do it again. "If he has a great putting week, he will win," Johnson says. Anyone who backs this underdog at the Players Championship could cash in big. You can only see who it is, and get the rest of Johnson's Players Championship picks at SportsLine.

Who wins the 2022 Players Championship this week at TPC Sawgrass? Where do Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy finish? And which long shot is a must-back? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson's full leaderboard, picks and analysis for the 2022 Players Championship, all from the insider who knows what it takes to win on the PGA Tour, and find out.

2022 Players Championship odds, field, top contenders

Justin Thomas +1400
Collin Morikawa +1400
Jon Rahm +1400
Rory McIlroy +1800
Viktor Hovland +2000
Scottie Scheffler +2500
Patrick Cantlay +2500
Xander Schauffele +2800
Hideki Matsuyama +3000
Dustin Johnson +3000
Daniel Berger +3000
Cameron Smith +3300
Brooks Koepka +3500
Shane Lowry +3500
Matt Fitzpatrick +3500
Jordan Spieth +4000
Sungjae Im +4000
Sam Burns +4000
Will Zalatoris +4000
Billy Horschel +4000
Joaquin Niemann +4500
Tyrrell Hatton +4500
Louis Oosthuizen +5000
Corey Conners +5000
Adam Scott +5000
Talor Gooch +5000
Tony Finau +5500
Paul Casey +6000
Webb Simpson +6600
Max Homa +6600
Cameron Young +6600
Tommy Fleetwood +6600
Abraham Ancer +6600
Gary Woodland +6600
Marc Leishman +6600
Sergio Garcia +7000
Chris Kirk +7000
Russell Henley +8000
Si-Woo Kim +8000
Jason Kokrak +8000
Jason Day +8000
Justin Rose +9000
Alex Noren +10000
Brian Harman +10000
Keith Mitchell +10000
Harold Varner +12500
Seamus Power +12500
Lee Westwood +12500
Patrick Reed +12500
Bubba Watson +12500
Cameron Tringale +12500
Maverick McNealy +12500
Thomas Pieters +12500
Ian Poulter +12500
Aaron Wise +15000
Lanto Griffin +15000
Sebastian Munoz +15000
Jhonattan Vegas +15000
Lucas Herbert +15000
Francesco Molinari +15000
Tom Hoge +15000
Mito Pereira +15000
Ryan Palmer +15000
Mackenzie Hughes +15000
Erik Van Rooyen +15000
Kevin Na +15000
Kevin Kisner +15000
Matthew Wolff +15000
Keegan Bradley +15000
Matt Jones +15000
Luke List +15000
Sepp Straka +17500 
Cam Davis +20000
Dylan Frittelli +20000
Martin Laird +20000
Kyoung-Hoon Lee +20000
Emiliano Grillo +20000
Patton Kizzire +20000
Brendon Todd +20000
Andrew Putnam +20000
Joel Dahmen +20000
Sahith Theegala +20000
Cameron Champ +20000
Russell Knox +20000
Denny McCarthy +20000
Matt Kuchar +20000
Adam Hadwin +20000
Charley Hoffman +20000
C.T. Pan +20000
Doug Ghim +25000
Stewart Cink +25000
Brendan Steele +25000
Wyndham Clark +25000
Lucas Glover +25000
Matthew NeSmith +25000
Pat Perez +25000
Chez Reavie +25000
Troy Merritt +25000
J.T. Poston +25000
Carlos Ortiz +25000
Henrik Stenson +25000
Beau Hossler +25000
Garrick Higgo +25000
Taylor Pendrith +25000
Matt Wallace +25000
Zach Johnson +25000
Charl Schwartzel +30000
Adam Long +30000
Hayden Buckley +30000
Sam Ryder +30000
Adam Schenk +30000
Hudson Swafford +30000
Doc Redman +30000
J.J. Spaun +30000
Lee Hodges +30000
Kevin Streelman +30000
Harry Higgs +30000
Brian Stuard +30000
Branden Grace +30000
Kramer Hickok +30000
Henrik Norlander +30000
Brandt Snedeker +30000
Ryan Brehm +30000