Mar 16, 2022
Valspar Championship Predictions, Picks Odds
Our VI PGA handicapping experts have compiled their best bets for the the Valspar Championship, which is set to take place on Thursday, March 17 and ends on Sunday, March 20 at the Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.
This event is a little different than your traditional Florida stops like The Honda Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational, etc. The course setup plays a little more like a northern course, with plenty of doglegs, as well as a thicker rough than what you might be used to seeing down south. You don't necessarily need big bangers off the tee, but rather guys who place the ball with accuracy. Strokes Gained: Approach is very important, too. And, as always, putting is a key factor on the rock-hard TifEagle Bermudagrass dance floors at Copperhead.
- Brian Stuard Top 40 Finish (+200)
- Viktor Hovland over Justin Thomas (-120)
- Russell Knox over Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-110)
BRIAN STUARD TOP 40 FINISH (+200)
Stuard is a value play for a Top 40, as he gives you a chance to double up your initial wager. Yes, he missed the cut at The PLAYERS Championship last weekend, but he had made the cut in his previous five events, including a 22nd-place showing at the less-pressure Puerto Rico Open, and a strong 9th-place finish at The Honda Classic, also in Florida.
The reason to key on Stuard is the fact he is a very accurate driver. In fact, he ranks No. 2 on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy Percentage, hitting 71.36% of his fairways across 47 measured rounds. That's 466 fairways hit out of a possible 653. That puts him behind only Ryan Armour in the category on the Tour, and the latter isn't in the field for this weekend's event.
This play does come with risk, as he missed the cut last season at the Valspar, but in his previous trip to Copperhead he was 18th in 2019, and would have been even higher if not for a final road egg-laying, shooting 2-over 73.
VIKTOR HOVLAND OVER JUSTIN THOMAS (-120)
Hovland is favored over Thomas in the tournament matchup, and there is good reason - Hovland is tremendous in the approach category which is so very important at Copperhead.
Hovland ranks third on the PGA Tour in SG: Approach the Green, and he is first among the active players in the field, since Russell Henley (1.105) and Will Zalatoris (1.048) are not participating this week. To be fair, Justin Thomas isn't that far off at ninth (.740) in his 23 measured rounds, but Hovland is still decisively better in the category than anyone in the field.
The Norwegian golfer Hovland is playing with a lot of confidence right now, too, posting a ninth at The PLAYERS, a runner-up finish at Bay Hill and a fourth-place showing at The Genesis Invitational. He is on fire, with just three rounds over par in the previous 15. He burned up the course with a 13-under 271, good for third place at the Valspar Championship in 2021, too.
RUSSELL KNOX OVER CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT (-110)
Knox hooked me up on a prop last week, edging out Martin Laird for the top Scottish finisher at The PLAYERS Championship, so let's go to the well again, shall we?
Knox is a tremendous option because of that SG: Approach the Green category, ranking eighth, just ahead of Thomas. He has a .762 number across 38 measured rounds, while Bezuidenhout is a rather pedestrian 65th in the category at just .240 across his 23 measured rounds.
Knox turned in a 21st-place finish last season at this event, posting a very steady 69-70-70-70, good for 5-under 279. He was a steady 24th in 2019, and 16th in 2018, so his past three visits to Copperhead have gone well since a missed cut in the 2017 installment.