Another tough test awaits the best golfers on the PGA Tour as they head to TPC Sawgrass for the 2023 Players Championship, which tees off Thursday. The iconic Pete Dye design in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. has hosted the Players Championship since 1982. Hazards everywhere create drama and make for a volatile leaderboard, but 43 of the world's top 50 golfers are ready for the challenge. They include Jon Rahm, who will try to hold off Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy for another week as the trio continue their fight for the No. 1 ranking. Justin Thomas is the most recent Players champion in the field, and all 14 tour winners this season are set to compete. In addition to McIlroy, other past winners in the 2023 Players Championship field include Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Adam Scott.         

Caesars Sportsbook lists Rahm and McIlroy as 17-2 co-favorites in its latest 2023 Players Championship odds. Scheffler is the 10-1 third choice, followed by Patrick Cantlay (19-1), Thomas (19-1) and Max Homa (19-1). Xander Schauffele (25-1) and Viktor Hovland (27-1) are among the other favorites in the Players Championship 2023 field. Before making any 2023 Players Championship picks, be sure you check out the PGA Tour predictions and best bets from SportsLine golf insider Patrick McDonald.

After spending time at FanSided and NBC Sports EDGE, McDonald joined CBS Sports as a golf writer in the spring of 2022. Now covering the sport from a broader perspective, McDonald still likes to dip his toes into the betting pools on a weekly basis on the PGA Tour. McDonald takes a measured approach to his outright selections and is having a profitable 2022-23 season. He is up almost 19 units this season, meaning a profit of over $1,900 for $100 bettors.

McDonald nailed the Farmers Insurance Open, backing Homa (25-1) as his top choice. The expert also just missed a massive 130-1 score at the Sony Open when Hayden Buckley finished as runner-up. He hit another 25-1 shot at the Houston Open, taking Tony Finau to win. The expert finished the 2021-22 season up 42 units on his outrights, including a monster 250-1 payout on Hudson Swafford at The American Express. Anyone who follows McDonald's advice has been cashing in.

Now, McDonald has studied the 2023 Players Championship field and has locked in his best bets, top sleepers and favorites to avoid. You can head to SportsLine now to see all of McDonald's PGA picks and analysis.  

Top 2023 Players Championship expert picks

One of the most shocking picks from McDonald: The expert is fading Thomas, who is among the favorites and one of the few previous winners in the field. But as the expert notes, the two-time major champion is "a shell of his 2021 self." And that victory was one of two top-10 finishes in eight appearances at TPC Sawgrass. The other was in 2016, and he tied for 33rd last year. Thomas is 76th on tour in scoring average this season. He also is 74th in strokes gained approach and 113th putting, so he lacks the well-rounded game that will be needed to contend this week.    

Meanwhile, Rahm's game has been strong in every area, and McDonald is eager to see how he responds to adversity. The Spaniard tied for 39th at Bay Hill, his first finish outside the top 10 in his past 11 worldwide events. He won five times during that span, including the Genesis less than a month ago. Rahm opened with 65 last week, and he continues to lead the tour in scoring average (68.855). The 28-year-old had two top-12 finishes at TPC Sawgrass before tying for 55th in last year's weather-marred event. See who he is backing at SportsLine.

How to make 2023 Players Championship golf picks

McDonald has locked in his best bets for the 2023 Players Championship and has tabbed several longshots, including two who come in higher than 30-1. One of these golfers continues to find his form and "showed flashes of brilliance" last week at Bay Hill. You can only see the picks at SportsLine.

So which 2023 Players Championship players should you target or avoid? And which golfer in the Players Championship 2023 field could bring a huge payday of around 40-1? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Patrick McDonald's top prop picks for Players Championship 2023, all from the expert who is up nearly $1,900 on his PGA Tour picks this season.

2023 Players Championship odds, field, top contenders

See McDonald's picks, best bets and predictions here.

Jon Rahm +850
Rory McIlroy +850
Scottie Scheffler +1000
Patrick Cantlay +1900
Max Homa +1900
Justin Thomas +1900
Xander Schauffele +2500
Viktor Hovland +2700
Tony Finau +2800
Collin Morikawa +2800
Will Zalatoris +3200
Jordan Spieth +3200
Matt Fitzpatrick +3400
Tyrrell Hatton +3400
Cameron Young +3600
Jason Day +3600
Sungjae Im +3700
Joohyung Kim +4100
Shane Lowry +4800
Keegan Bradley +5000
Rickie Fowler +5000
Keith Mitchell +5500
Corey Conners +6500
Si Woo Kim +7000
Sam Burns +7000
Sahith Theegala +7000
Chris Kirk +7500
Tommy Fleetwood +8500
Hideki Matsuyama +8500
Kurt Kitayama +9000
Justin Rose +10000
Adam Scott +10000
Tom Hoge +10000
Francesco Molinari +10000
Harris English +10000
Webb Simpson +14000
Aaron Wise +14000
Brian Harman +15000
Wyndham Clark +15000
Seamus Power +15000
Russell Henley +15000
Gary Woodland +17000
Alex Noren +17000
Billy Horschel +18000
Ryan Fox +18000
Davis Riley +18000
Taylor Montgomery +18000
Sepp Straka +19000
Adam Hadwin +19000
Min Woo Lee +19000
Maverick McNealy +21000
Patton Kizzire +21000
Justin Suh +21000
Taylor Pendrith +22000
K.H. Lee +23000
Lucas Herbert +23000
Danny Willett +23000