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Valspar Championship: Odds, Picks, and Prop Bets

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The PGA Tour heads back to Florida this week for the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort. Four of the top-15 players in the world are in the field including Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson.

This will be Stenson’s first PGA Tour appearance in the U.S. since the FedEx Cup playoffs back in September. Stenson withdrew last week with a stomach virus after going 3-over par through 11 holes, but he should be fully recovered this week. Defending champ Charl Schwartzel is also in the field and is looking to rebound after a T38 at last week’s WGC–Mexico Championship and a missed cut at the Genesis Open.

Vijay Singh holds the tournament record at the Valspar Championship with a 266 in 2004, and Padraig Harrington holds the 18-hole record with a 61.

The Course

The par-71, 7,340-yard Copperhead Course is a player favorite on the PGA Tour. It’s highly demanding off the tee. Any stray tee shot will end up among the trees and, with plenty of double doglegs, driving accuracy and positioning will be a key to success. The Copperhead Course is also home to one of the toughest finishing stretches in all of golf. Dubbed “The Snake Pit,” the three finishing holes played an average of 0.598 strokes over par last year.

Odds

Past Champs in the field:

  • KJ Choi: +20000
  • Retief Goosen: +28000
  • Vijay Singh: +30000
  • Carl Pettersson: +40000
  • Sean O’Hair: +6600
  • Jim Furyk: +5000
  • Gary Woodland: +2800
  • Luke Donald: +4500
  • Kevin Streelman: +10000
  • John Senden: +15000
  • Charl Schwartzel: +3300

Favorites:

  • Justin Thomas +800
  • Henrik Stenson +1000
  • Matt Kuchar +2500
  • Patrick Reed +2500
  • Ryan Moore +2500
  • Bill Haas +2800
  • Daniel Berger +2800
  • Gary Woodland +2800
  • Charl Schwartzel +3300
  • Charles Howell III +3500

Picks

My Pick: This is a tough one. I’ve been torn between Justin Thomas (+800) and Henrik Stenson (+1000). They had two very different weeks at the WGC. Thomas finished T5 and Stenson withdrew. It seems as though Thomas has broken out of his mini-slump, but I’m picking Stenson again this week. At a course this demanding, I expect Stenson to stripe 3-wood off the tee and put himself in great scoring position. Last week notwithstanding, Stenson hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since the Deutsche Bank in Boston.

Value Pick: I’m going with Gary Woodland here at +2800. If Woodland can find the fairway this week, I think he can overpower this course. He won here back in 2011, so he obviously loves the course, and he’s grown into a much better all-around player since then. Woodland should be contending on Sunday afternoon with a real chance to finish atop the leaderboard.

Long Shot: I’m going with Jim Furyk (+5000) as my longshot this week. He hasn’t had a great season thus far; one MC in five starts and only one top-10 finish. With that said, Furyk has as much experience as anyone in the field and he’s won here before. He ranks 2nd in Driving Accuracy, but he definitely lacks distance. If he continues to hit fairways and put himself in the right spots, this could be the week he breaks out of his slump.

Who to stay away from: Charl Schwartzel (+3300): He’s one of the favorites this week and he’s the reigning champ, but he hasn’t played great golf as of late. On top of his recent form, the Valspar has never had a winner defend his title and only three have ever finished inside the top-10.

Props

Will there be a playoff Yes (+300) No (-450): I’m going with “No” here. There have been three playoffs in the last five years, including back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. Other than the playoffs, the winner usually pulls away with a two- or three-shot victory and I can’t see there being a playoff three years in a row. 

Winning Margin Playoff (+300) 1 Stroke (+250) 2 Strokes (+350) 3 Strokes (+500) 4+ Strokes (+325): Like I said, there’s usually a two- or three-shot margin at the Valspar. My initial thought was three, but I think Stenson and Thomas are going to battle it out and keep things close. Chances are, someone will falter in the Snake Pit while the other makes a birdie or two. I’m going with two strokes (+350).

Hole-in-One Yes (+135) No (-175): I’m going with “No” this week. Every par-3 plays above par at the Copperhead Course, and the only one that doesn’t exceed 200 yards is the 4th hole at 195. It’s wide and shallow with bunkers protecting the front. I expect to see players taking a safe route to the green here, two putting and hurrying to the next tee box.

Justin Thomas and Henrik Stenson (+400) vs. the Field (-1200): I’m taking Thomas and Stenson at +400. I’m picking Stenson to win outright and Thomas is the clear favorite. They should be battling each other for the win on Sunday afternoon. With these odds, it’s too hard to pass up.

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Twitter @NickRitaccoGolf

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dave R

    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:11 am

    So much for all your picks boys

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