2021 Valspar Championship Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
The PGA Tour returns to “every man for himself” competition this week when they play at the Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course for the Valspar Championship.
This course has hosted this championship since the inaugural 2000 edition. The scorecard reads 7,340 yards while playing as a par-71 layout. There are the normal four par-5s. However, there are five par-3’s, and all of them are at least 195 yards in length. If the wind is up, this gets tricky, for this tight tree-lined layout.
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The field has some of the top names in the sport, but it is not an elite field. Yet there are plenty of players like the defending champion Paul Casey (from 2019) who want to get their game ready for the next major, the PGA Championship, in three weeks.
A Look at the Field
Here is a look at the Top 12 in this Florida field and the golf odds to win it all.
Justin Thomas +900 - Dustin Johnson +1200 - Patrick Reed +1800 - Corey Conners +2000
Viktor Hovland +2000 - Paul Casey +2500 - Tyrrell Hatton +2500 - Louis Oosthuizen +2800
Russell Henley +2800 - Scottie Scheffler +2800 - Sungjae Im +2800 - Abraham Ancer +3000
Thomas returns for the first time since 2017 when he missed the cut. However, that was primarily due to a stomach ailment. His previous two starts were Top 20s, but that won’t make him a popular pick, though his game is perfectly suited for this course with long iron placement mandatory.
Johnson gets back to action as a Top 5 player after being the best golfer on the planet for months after the Tour’s summer return in 2020. After a couple of 50ish finishes, DJ was T13th at Harbour Town. However, his low golf odds make him an iffy pick.
Im had not played well since January. However, at the Heritage, his familiar strong iron play returned with 3.5 strokes gained on approach. If his confidence is back, he could be a factor in Florida.
Casey is not only the defending champ; he also won this tourney the year prior in 2018 and he seems to have figured out an excellent play plan.
Conners seems a true threat, playing excellent golf. Three years ago he was the leader each of the first three rounds.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
The Copperhead course forces the field to think birdies, not eagles, on its par 5’s by limiting the usage of drivers and making placement the key. With greens on the smaller side, the metric – par breakers – only average 11 over four days of 72 holes of golf.
With this in mind, this setup is more for those with patience, who are willing to use the right club to get to the right location and fire at the pins from the best possible locations. Some like Bubba Watson have described this track as “boring”, which any long bomber would have you believe.
With having to hit longer irons to greens with a great deal of slope, without being terribly fast, understanding hole locations and avoiding putts that have slopes where the golfer has to understand the speed will vary in his strokes is very important.
For making golf picks, find players known for greens in regulation and good putting stats from 8-to-20 feet.
One final thing. Closing holes 16, 17 and 18 are among the most difficult three-hole stretches played annually and are known as the “Snake Pit”. No Valspar winner has ever played the Snake Pit at better than even par.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
Let’s start with Jason Kokrak, who had three straight Top 10 finishes in February and March, before a final round 77 at the Masters sent him plummeting in his last four stroke-play events. Kokrak has a good profile for this tournament as he is ranked 24th in greens in regulation and 22nd in birdies. The Canadian native has good options for Top 10 and Top 20 wagers at sportsbooks.
Im was T4 the last time this tournament was played. His game is not as strong as last year, nonetheless, but recently he was T8 at Honda and T13 at RBC Heritage, which shows an upwards trend. Since he’s 11th in driving accuracy and 30th in greens in regulation, which is a good combination, he, like Kokrak, is a solid play for Top 10 and Top 20 action.
Corey Conners is the hottest player few are paying attention to. Since missing the Genesis cut in Los Angeles, here are his finishes: in order, Conners is 3rd, 7th, T14, T8 and T4. His strokes gained lead the Tour in this stretch, and his game fits the course. Consider for everything from win to Top 20 and in the right value head-to-head matchup.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports was in the golf business for over 20+ years and understands the ins and outs of what it takes to find winners on the Tour. Doug is 2-1-1 overall in his last four events, settling for a Push by one stroke but did have winners Smith/Leishman on his ticket last week.