Valspar Championship odds, preview, and course notes
With the PGA Championship looming in May, some of the top golfers in the world will head to Innisbrook Resort for the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and No. 2 Justin Thomas headline as the +1000 co-favorites of this 20-year-old tournament, while 2018 runner-up Patrick Reed and Canadian Corey Conners boast +1600 odds.
2021 Valspar Championship Odds
Two-time defending champion Paul Casey (+2000) comes in off a missed cut at the RBC Heritage earlier this month. Before struggling at Harbour Town, the 43-year-old had posted a 26th-place finish at The Masters and four straight top 10s at The American Express, Pebble Beach, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and The Players Championship.
If he can bounce back for a victory at Innisbrook, Casey would enter elite status as one of just a few players in the past 40 years who have won a PGA Tour event three consecutive times.
Casey beat Reed and Tiger Woods by one stroke at the Valspar Championship in 2018, and defeated Jason Kokrak and Louis Oosthuizen by a stroke in 2019. The 2020 edition of the tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19.
Valspar Championship course layout and relevant statistics
The Valspar Championship's Copperhead Course is a unique Par 71 that features five par 3s, four of which measure between 200 and 225 yards, and four par 5s along the 7,340-yard layout.
In 2013, Copperhead was ranked the most difficult non-Major par 71, and the 16th hole is considered one of the toughest par 4s on Tour.
Hole 16 is part of the final three-hole stretch known as the "Snake Pit," which challenges players with tight tree-lined fairways, abundant water, and a handful of the course's 74 bunkers.
The 156-player field must also tackle multiple doglegs, significant elevation changes, three-inch Celebration rough and TifEagle Bermuda grass greens.
Strokes gained: tee to green, strokes gained approach, par 5 scoring, and birdie or better percentage are all statistics to consider at this course, where the average winning score is 9-under par since 2014.
Shorter, more accurate drivers often fare better than the bombers.
Each of the last 13 winners also ranked in the top 60 on Tour in scoring average, while 11 of the last 13 winners ranked in the top 60 in strokes gained tee to green, and 10 of the last 13 were top 60 in par 5 scoring.
Best bets for Valspar Championship
Thomas is a solid bet this weekend, as one of the best on Tour in strokes gained: tee to green, strokes gained approaching the green, and birdie or better conversion percentage.
However, for better value, look to Oosthuizen (+3300). The 38-year-old South African ranks 15th in scoring average, 27th in strokes gained: tee to green, top 60 in strokes gained approaching the green, and is tied for 19th in par 5 scoring.
In his last three appearances at the Valspar Championship, he has finished second (2019), 16th (2018), and seventh (2016).
Another player to eye for a high finish is Kokrak (+3300). The 35-year-old Canadian landed three straight top 10s at the WGC-Workday Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and The Players, before his 49th-place finish at The Masters.
In 2019, he finished second at Valspar, after coming in eighth the year prior.
How to watch the Valspar Championship
The winner of the Valspar Championship will receive $1.242 million of a $6.9 million purse and 500 FedEx Cup points.
You can catch the action Thursday and Friday, from 2-6 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday, from 1-3 p.m. ET, on the Golf Channel. CBS will provide live coverage from 3-6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.