PGA Hot Picks for the Valspar Championship 2021

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The Zurich Classic saw the Aussie tandem of Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman defeat the South African duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a playoff last Sunday evening in the PGA Tour’s only team event. Now the Tour returns to Florida for the first Valspar Classic in over two years and two months after the COVID-19 pandemic caused cancellation of last year’s tournamnett. Paul Casey has won the last two Valspar Championships and is looking to three-peat this week.

He won in 2019 with a score of 8-under par, defeating Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Kokrak by one shot.

Course Breakdown and Weather
The Valspar Championship is played at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course right outside of Tampa Bay. The Copperhead layout is a par-71 and measures out at just over 7,300 yards. The course puts an emphasis on those with great iron play with small and fast greens. This event sees similar names at the top of the leaderboard every year and with 10 players in the field this week with at least two top-25 finishes in the last three editions in this event. The weather just outside of Tampa this week is going to be clear skies and sunshine with a consistent breeze of 10 miles per hour throughout the course of the tournament.

The Favorites

This event sees two big names at the top of the odds board in Justin Thomas (+800) and Dustin Johnson (+1000).

While both of these golfers are more than capable of winning every tournament they enter, little value is offered on Justin Thomas at 8-1.

Dustin Johnson meanwhile, showed improvement in his most recent start with a 13th-place finish at the RBC Heritage, a venue where he often has struggled in the past. There is no value on Johnson at this number when looking at his recent form despite his solid weekend at Harbour Town.

Patrick Reed (+1600) is next on the odds board, but he has displayed lackluster recent form.

So the first name worth a bet is Corey Conners (+2000), the one-time PGA Tour winner who  has finished in the top eight in four of his last six tournaments. Conners is one of the best iron players on the Tour, ranking 11th in shots gained on approach in the 2021 season, according to pgatour.com. Conners finished tied for 16th in this event three years ago and was not playing nearly as well then as he is now. Conners is due for his second win on Tour and the Copperhead Course fits right into what he does really well.

Next on the odds board are Viktor Hovland (+2200) and Casey (+2200). Bother are playing decent right now, but Hovland’s short game needs to show improvement before he can win at a course like this and the odds are against Casey to complete a three-peat of this event.

Sungjae Im (+2800) is worth a bet based on his success in Florida the past couple years including a tie for fourth in his first start in this event back in 2019. At 28-1, Im is the best outright bet to make this week.

MyBookie Pick:
Corey Conners
+2000
Sungjae Im
+2800

Best Value Plays

The first golfer worth a bet in the middle of the odds board in is Justin Rose, the former No. 1 player in the world who recently seems to have rediscovered his form. Rose (+4500) parlayed a 7-under first round at the Masters into a seventh-place finish after an underwhelming final round 74. Rose was partnered with Henrik Stenson at the Zurich Classic last week where they finished tied for 11th. Stenson is far from in form and Rose was able to carry him and have them in contention entering the weekend.

Please Note:
Rose has 22 international victories, including 10 wins on the PGA Tour, so he will be far from rattled if he finds himself near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon. At 45-1, Justin Rose offers far too much value to pass up for this event.

The next name worth a bet is Chris Kirk (+5000), who has posted two top-10 finishes in his last two starts. Kirk finished tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage two weeks ago at a venue in Harbour Town that also places an emphasis on elite iron play. Kirk continues to find himself in contention and is due to break through with a win in the 2021 season. Grabbing him at 50-1 will be the most favorable odds you can get if he keeps collecting top-10 finishes.

MyBookie Pick:
Justin Rose
+4500
Chris Kirk
+5000

The Longshots

The first longshot worth a bet this week is Keegan Bradley (+7500). Bradley has been one of the best ball strikers on the Tour recently, and has five top-30 finishes in his last six individual events to show for it. Bradley has four wins on Tour and with a major, a WGC title and a FedEx Cup playoff event win, he is never one to shy away from the big moments even when up against the best players the game has to offer.

Please Note:
The golfers around Bradley on the odds board are not in the same recent form and at 75-1 he is worth a wager to score an upset victory this weekend.

The next longshot to consider is Gary Woodland (+8000), who has struggled since earning his 2019 U.S. Open title. Woodland has not hit his driver well since that win back in 2019, but he has flashed potential for success at courses that allow him to keep the driver in his bag and just place the ball in the fairway, relying then on precise approach shots with his irons to score well. This is just such a venue. Woodland finished sixth at the Valero Texas Open earlier this season and could find himself in contention once again this weekend if he can get hot with his putter. At 75-1 and 80-1 odds, respectively, these two former major champions are good bets to pair together as one of them should be in contention entering the weekend.

MyBookie Pick:
Keegan Bradley
+7500
Gary Woodland
+8000

The Matchup Play of the Week

The matchup play of the week for the Valspar Championship is Chase Seiffert (-130) over Adam Long. Seiffert has made five consecutive cuts, including three top-20 finishes. On the flip side, Long has missed the cut in seven of the last nine events he’s played in this season. Seiffert is playing significantly more consistent golf than Long at the moment and his iron play is suited to make the cut again this weekend, with solid potential to finish inside the top 30. Expect Long to miss the cut this week and if he makes it, he will likely stay at the back of the pack on the weekend.

MyBookie Pick:
Chase Seiffert Over Adam Long
-130

Top-10 Play

The best value bet for a top-10 finish this week is the one that makes the most sense. Paul Casey to finish in the top 10 (+200) is plenty of value for the back-to-back winner who clearly loves playing the Copperhead Course.

Casey has displayed the elite iron play that it takes to win at this track and although it is unlikely he wins the event for a third straight time, his confidence at this venue should prevent him from making many mistakes. Look for him to play solid golf for four consecutive days, which should earn him a top-10 finish.

Bovada Pick:
Paul Casey Top Ten Finish
+200

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie and Bovada.

Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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