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Valspar Championship expert picks and predictions with our PGA Pro’s best bets for the 2024 golf tournament

In this betting preview:

 If you read my newsletter, then you know we were heavily invested in Wyndham Clark last week. It’s tough to put Sunday’s emotional rollercoaster into words. Clark gave us hope on the 72nd hole. The 36-hole leader played the weekend five under par with a four stroke lead and lost by one. I’m still not over it, but the PGA TOUR rolls on, and we have another tournament to win. Of our five pre-tournament outright picks to win, three have finished in the top nine.

We have one last stop on the Florida swing: the Valspar Championship. A field of 156 players will compete for $8.4 million. The top 65 and ties get to play the weekend, with a chance to take home the Copperhead Trophy and $1.5 million for first place. The Tampa Bay Classic was once a schedule nomad. Played in May, September, October, and now March, this spot in the lead-up to Augusta National has brought better than average talent to Palm Harbor, near Tampa Bay. Ten of the top 30 in the world will be on hand to stop Taylor Moore from defending his title.

Our best bet of the week for THE PLAYERS was Scottie Scheffler to finish top 5 (+150). It cashed pretty easily when he won. For a complete list of my betting predictions covering the Valspar Championship winners, placements, and H2H matchups, please go to Read The Line and subscribe.

 Valspar Championship expert picks and predictions

Best bet to win: Brian Harman (+2200 FanDuel)

Fresh off a second place at the PLAYERS, Brian Harman is playing incredible golf. Harman gained five strokes on approach at API and nine strokes with his iron game at TPC Sawgrass. Valspar is a definite approach week to gain an edge. There’s no doubt Brian has found his ball-striking, and keep in mind, he has the Claret Jug. With five par-3s, this course is a better fit than last week.

Doug Ghim top 20 finish (+188 BetMGM)

Doug Ghim has finished inside the top 16 in each of his past five starts. Scottie Scheffler’s college teammate is golfing his ball. Never known to be a good putter, Ghim has gained positive strokes in four of his past five events with the flat-stick. He tied 27th at Valspar last year, so we like Ghim to compete for the win this year in Tampa.

Sam Ryder top 40 finish (+140 FanDuel)

Florida native Sam Ryder just finished 16th at THE PLAYERS. The ball-striking fiend has found some confidence with his putter. Since coming back to Florida, Ryder has gained an average of five strokes per start on the greens. Combine that with his usual stellar full-swing play and Sam has a chance to do something special. He reads the greens well on the Copperhead course, gaining eight strokes with his putter on this course last year.

 Valspar Championship live odds to win

Odds (shorter than +10000) courtesy of BetMGM.

Golfer Odds
Xander Schauffele +800
Sam Burns +1100
Jordan Spieth +1400
Justin Thomas +1400
Brian Harman +2000
Cameron Young +2200
Sungjae Im +2200
Tony Finau +2200
Min Woo Lee +3000
Nick Taylor +3500
Doug Ghim +4000
Eric Cole +4000
Keegan Bradley +4000
Keith Mitchell +4000
Adam Hadwin +4500
Beau Hossler +4500
Christian Bezuidenhout +4500
Sepp Straka +4500
Aaron Rai +5000
Maverick McNealy +5000
Thorbjorn Olesen +6000
Adam Schenk +6500
Lucas Glover +6600
Patrick Rodgers +6600
Taylor Moore +6600
Andrew Putnam +6600
Billy Horschel +6600
Brendon Todd +6600
Daniel Berger +6600
Taylor Montgomery +6600
Akshay Bhatia +8000
Davis Thompson +8000
Sam Ryder +8000
Ryan Fox +8000
Victor Perez +8000

 Valspar Championship past winners betting trends

There have been three winners of the Valspar over the past five years. Paul Casey and Sam Burns won back to back, and then Taylor Moore last year. Researching their wins and the leaderboards just behind them, I see a couple of very specific trends.

The first is iron play.

Those same three winners gained over five strokes (average) on the field with their approach game. There’s a definite lean toward mid and long iron play to consider. When you analyze proximity to the hole, those same winners gained more from 200+ yards than any other range. This really makes sense when you consider the five par 3s and three par 5s. The 5s are reachable and the average par 3 length is 212 yards. Hit it close from long range and you’ll be in position to win on Sunday.

I mentioned the par 5s. Of the 3s, 4s, and 5s, winners separate by their play on the par 5s more than the other par holes. Over the past five years, those three guys have gained an average of 6.7 strokes on the field playing the par 5s. You have to play the par 3s and 4s solidly, but because they are so difficult the eventual winner makes the most birdies on the longest holes. The par 5 birdie rate is 31%. Comparatively, the collective par 3 birdie rate is 10% and the 3s have an average bogey rate of 18%. Survive those and make your move on the 5s and reasonable 4s. Thankfully six of the nine par 4s are under 450 yards.

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Speaking of birdies, with an average winning score of 12 under par in the last five events, pay attention to those same winners who generated an average of 19 sub-par scores. Players will make bogeys on the Copperhead Course. I’m weighing bogey avoidance heavily along with scrambling and around the green play. Almost every player will attempt to compete from the same spot in the fairway so the second best place to differentiate in the ball striking categories is with your short game. The last ten winners have gained an average of seven plus strokes on the field with their short game and putter. Sam Burns has an incredible resume here and his putter and creativity around the greens is why.

Last 10 Valspar Championship Winners
Year Winner To Par
2023 Taylor Moore -10
2022 Sam Burns -17
2021 Sam Burns -17
2020 Canceled due to COVID
2019 Paul Casey -8
2018 Paul Casey -10
2017 Adam Hadwin -14
2016 Charl Schwartzel -7
2015 Jordan Spieth -10
2014 John Senden -7
2013 Kevin Streelman -10

Putting on Poa trivialis doesn’t hurt either when it comes to Sam’s success. The putting surfaces at Innisbrook are some of the most difficult to read on the Florida swing. I have played this course and covered this tournament live before and I believe that’s the main reason why we get the same winners here. If you can read these greens, you have a considerable advantage on the field. The average player does not putt well here.

Five of the last 10 winners lost strokes OTT and still won. Concentrate on the players who excel from approach and in. The Copperhead has had a couple of very good finishes over the past ten years. Three playoffs, first time winners and young stars. Enjoy the iron play and stay with the hot hand. Any player that decided to jump back in the arena after last week, wants to get ready for Augusta.

For full coverage of the Valspar Championship, subscribe to our Read The Line newsletter (it’s free!) and follow us on Twitter! (will likely start adding a table of past winners, maybe just last 10)

 Valspar Championship: Copperhead Course breakdown

The wet winter that plagued all of Florida has cleared up in recent weeks. The Tampa-St. Petersburg region has seen less than an inch of rain in March. A couple storms passed through on Monday, but for the most part, tournament officials and grounds personnel have the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort ready to challenge the TOUR. The average winning score over the past decade is just 11 under par. The event has had one cutline under par in the last 20 years. It doesn’t matter what time of year you play the Copperhead, it is tough.

A par 71 layout covering 7,340 yards, the most distinguishing characteristic of this scorecard are the five par 3s. Seventy-three hundred yards and one less driver hole adds up over four days. The Valspar committee has a very stern test they continue to make more and more difficult. Nine holes have water in play, 74 bunkers and the final three holes are referred to as the “snake-pit.” A catchy name for the close to the Copperhead, the par 4 sixteenth, par 3 seventeenth, and par 4 eighteenth play to an average of .55 strokes over par. It’s not quite TPC Sawgrass, but these three will make you earn the Valspar title.

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The GCSAA report shared a couple of notes on the course preparation. The rough was increased last year by .75″ and they will keep it at the new height. Surrounding the greens, the intermediate cut of rough was squeezed from 72″ wide to just 21″. Moving the deep rough closer to the green will increase difficulty. The average green size is just 5,822 sq/ft. Similar to the Stadium Course last week, players historically struggle to reach the TOUR average for GIRs. A big reason for missing greens is the length of the approach shots. The Copperhead forces players to land in a common area off the tee. Dogleg turns, penalty areas, and fairway width makes this a positional OTT place.

By laying up off the tee, the course becomes quite longer on approach. Those iron shots become the first key to contending. A second key might just come from the clouds. Watch the forecast this week. More wet weather or storms are expected on Friday. Almost an inch of rain is in the forecast with an 80% chance as of writing this. Temperatures will be warm, but let’s hope the precipitation doesn’t become a factor. Innisbrook doesn’t sit far from the Gulf of Mexico. Early wind values are low, but the proximity to the coast could add a little to the prediction.

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