PGA Tour Picks: Valspar Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 3/11/2015
Now we're talking! While I went into November in 2014 without picking a winner on the PGA Tour (and then my only winner came in Europe), here we are in early March and I've now hit on two in the New Year. Get here Masters!
Last week at the big-money WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral's Blue Monster, Dustin Johnson proved he's all the way back from his personal problems by winning in just his fifth tournament since a return from what he and the PGA Tour called a "self-imposed" six-month leave of absence. Johnson shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 9 under, one ahead of J.B. Holmes, who led Johnson and Bubba Watson by five entering the final round. However, Holmes ballooned to a final-round 75. Even more impressive, Johnson had missed the cut the previous week at the Honda, but he contended twice on the California Swing.
It was Johnson's ninth career win, second WGC victory (2013 HSBC Champions) and extends a streak of eight straight seasons with at least one title. DJ also jumped back into the world Top 10 at No. 7. Really all that is missing from his resume now is a major championship win. Watson led after 10 holes on Sunday but then faded, bogeying the 11th, 12th and 14th holes. He finished third, his third top three at Doral in the past four years. Perhaps the biggest news out of Doral other than Johnson's win was the video of a perturbed Rory McIlroy throwing his 3-iron into a lake during the second round. McIlroy did finish T9, but his game doesn't look quite right yet in the USA. He never broke 70. Phil Mickelson continued his struggles by finishing T31 at 3 over.
Johnson was the co-fourth Bovada favorite last week at 18/1 with Jordan Spieth and was my recommendation because of previous success on the course. On the Top-10 props, I hit on all four picks: Adam Scott at +165, Johnson at +150, Watson at +125 and McIlroy at -175. I didn't even like a Top 20 for Lefty and that proved correct. Head-to-head, I hit on Johnson at even money over Jason Day, Scott at -115 over Mickelson, Matt Kuchar at -115 over Justin Rose, and Jim Furyk at -115 over Jamie Donaldson. Also won on Scott at 8/5 as the top Aussie. So indeed one of my most profitable tournaments ever.
While we had the best field in a couple of years last week, it's definitely watered down this week for the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course in Innisbrook Resort, which is north of St. Petersburg in the Tampa Bay area. World No. 3 Henrik Stenson and No. 5 Scott are the two highest-ranked players. Overall, 11 of the Top 30 are expected to go. The world's top-ranked amateur, Georgia Tech's Oliver Schniederjans, is playing on a sponsor's exemption.
The defending champion is Aussie John Senden. He chipped in for birdie from 70 feet on the 16th hole, one of only two birdies in the final round at the toughest hole on the course, breaking a three-way tie for the lead, then drained a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and parred No. 18. He claimed a one-shot win when Kevin Na missed a long birdie putt on No. 18 about 15 minutes later. It was Senden's first win since the 2006 John Deere Classic. No player has ever repeated here.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Valspar Championship Favorites
Scott is the 12/1 Bovada favorite. Last week was his first start anywhere since the Australian PGA Championship. Scott finished fourth at 4-under 284 at Doral using a short putter. Of course he formerly used the long putter anchored to his body, but that will be outlawed starting next year so he's just switching now. Scott has four straight Top-5 finishes worldwide. He hasn't played Innisbrook since a T30 two years ago.
Stenson and Spieth are 14/1 . Stenson was T4 at Doral and he plays this event for the first time. Spieth was T17 last week and has been T29 and T7 here in his two trips. Furyk (18/1), Matt Kuchar and Reed (both 22/1) round out the favorites. Furyk loves it here. He won in 2010, was part of a four-man playoff in 2012 and T7 the next year. Kuchar has had Top 15s in three of his previous three trips to Copperhead. Reed was T23 last week after a closing 75. He missed the cut in his last start here in 2013.
PGA Tour Picks: Valspar Championship Expert Predictions
On the Top-10 props, I like Scott at even money, Furyk at +135 and Kuchar at +200. On the highest-placed finisher prop, go with Luke Donald at +350 over Reed (+300), Rose (+350), Lee Westwood (+400) and Brandt Snedeker (+400). I also like Donald as the top Englishman at +200 and former two-time winner Retief Goosen at +350 as the top South African.
Head-to-head, go Scott (-135) over Spieth (+105), Furyk (-165) over Reed (+125), Kuchar (-120) over Rose (-110), Donald (-125) over Westwood (-105), and Brandt Snedeker (-130) over Harris English (even money).
I am slightly leaning Furyk to win this week, but I'm also throwing some money on Donald at 28/1. He has been struggling for a while now but totally dominates this course. He has four straight finishes in the Top 6, including a win in 2012.
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