Founded in 2000 as the Tampa Bay Classic, the Valspar Championship has given us some unlikely winners over the years but in 2018 we have one of the strongest fields to contest this event since its inception.
There are 144 golfers heading to Florida for the renewal with some star names at the top of the leaderboard and, having continued a good run of returns courtesy of Phil Mickelson at +170 last week, let’s get straight on and look at our latest contenders.
Jordan Spieth (+850 with Bovada) is some way out in front at the top of the market and he’s a former winner here, having claimed the Valspar Championship in 2015. Spieth has a run of top 20s and has strong, relevant stats and as the highest ranked golfer here is an obvious favorite.
However, we have to keep in mind that he remains winless since that Open Championship trophy last July and the favorite looks uncomfortably short in the Valspar Championship betting odds for us.
Many bookmakers have Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia down as joint second favorites (circa +1400) and either of the two Europeans could have a claim over the four days. Rory took a break last week and his 2018 form is all over the place but a strong showing on the European Tour at the start of the year means that there will be some interest.
As for Sergio, things look more positive following a strong tie for seventh in Mexico as he returns to the Valspar for the first time since 2013. Marginally further back is Justin Rose (+1800) who has yet really to fire in 2018 but if you bet with the Power Rankings, the Englishman sits right at the top this week.
Henrik Stenson (+2000) is also nicely placed in those rankings but hasn’t played in a month and like McIlroy, the Swede has very contrasting form with good finishes in Europe and poor campaigns on the PGA Tour.
Gaps start to open up in the betting lines beyond the top five and the first of the outside bets is Paul Casey (+2500). The Englishman has given us consistent Top Ten profits and he comes here on the back of a tie for 12th at the WGC Mexico. In a weaker field, Casey can push back up to a single figure finish.
Tony Finau is highly rated this week and then we come to our defending champion. Canadian Adam Hadwin won by one stroke from Patrick Cantlay last year and while he’s gone under the radar since, two recent Top Tens including a tie for ninth on Sunday suggest that he can’t be discounted.
Tiger Woods (+2500) also returns to action this week and continues to shorten in the Valspar Championship outright winner betting markets. With brief glimpses of the old Tiger in 2018, there could be some interest in the 14 time Major Champion.
Other interesting names at longer prices with the best USA sportsbooks include previous champions Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel while Byeong-Hun An, Webb Simpson, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Branden Grace all have the stats to make strong cases in Florida.
Our Preview’s Valspar Championship Predictions, Betting Picks & Course Trends
The Innisbrook Resort at Palm Harbor offers a par 71 course at a fraction above 7,300 yards and it is vital to pick up strokes at the four par 5s here.
Last year’s winner Adam Hadwin ticked all the right boxed in terms of Driving Accuracy, Greens in Regulation and Birdies or Better Percentage. Tight fairways and small targets mean that you are unlikely to win if you are wayward on any part of the course.
This week, wind is forecast for three of the four days with potential for stormy conditions on Sunday so the weather makes that accuracy from tee to green even more crucial.
We have had just two multiple winners since 2000 through KJ Choi and Retief Goosen and can’t really see that situation changing this week. Jordan Spieth might argue with that theory but form suggests otherwise and there are plenty of golfers in much better touch than the tournament favorite.
It might be a week to go for place and top ten bets but if pushed for a winner, I would say that Garcia is peaking nicely for a Masters defence and is worth a wager as second favorite. Meanwhile, regular readers will know that I’m no fan of Tiger’s media roadshow but I really sense he’s ready to break into that Top Ten this week. So this golf preview’s Valspar Championship predictions and picks are as follows: