The PGA Tour is between a rock and a hard place this week.
The Tour’s biggest names teed it up last week at The Players Championship. Next week, the top 64 in the world battle in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play event.
With that being said, one would think this week’s event, the Valspar Championship, would be lacking star power as the big names might skip for a break between huge tournaments.
One would be wrong.
The Players Championship had a purse of $20,000,000 while next week’s WGC Match Play offers up a purse of $12,000,000. This week’s purse at the Valspar comes in at $7,800,000. Not bad and it’s intriguing enough that there’s plenty of firepower in this week’s fourth straight stop in Florida.
The Valspar will be held on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor. While some big names are taking the week off between the huge paydays, there will still be plenty of stars in the field.
Names like Collin Morikawa (No. 2), Dustin Johnson (No. 4) and Xander Schauffele (No. 7) will be on hand to strengthen the field.
And Sam Burns, all the way up to No. 13 in the world and last year’s champion here, will be back to defend his title which was his first on the PGA Tour.
So let’s look over the picks this week as the Tour wraps up a month-long visit to Florida before heading to Texas for two weeks before the Masters.
One other note to keep in mind: Last week’s Monday finish because of horrid weather at The Players Championship could really throw a monkey wrench into this week’s event. One casualty already is two-time champ Paul Casey withdrawing. Keep in mind that if your favorite golfer (or golfers) missed the cut last week or finished up early on Monday because they weren’t in the hunt, it might be an edge.
Odds To Win The Valspar Championship (BetMGM)
Justin Thomas +1000
Collin Morikawa +1100
Viktor Hovland +1100
Dustin Johnson +1400
Xander Schauffele +1800
Louie Oosthuizen +2000
Sam Burns +2000
Tyrrell Hatton +2200
As always, shop around the betting market for the best odds on your plays.
Stars In The Field May Be Question Marks
Like we said, the field strength is still very good as five of the top 10 in the world rankings are on hand. But while there are stars, one question arises for us: How much concentration will they have this week?
Granted, it’s a great payday for winning ($1,244,000) but there’s also the factor of most of them having grinded it out through the weather woes of last week’s Players Championship as well as looking ahead at next week’s WGC Match Play marathon (five days of play rather then just a four-day tournament).
Let’s get dialed in for week No. 4 in Florida.
Can Sam Burns Repeat As Champ?
Defending a title is never easy and a couple of weeks ago we would have said no way will Sam Burns, +2000 this week, hoist the trophy this week. After all, he had just missed three straight cuts.
But then something clicked in his game and he wound up T-9 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and followed that up last week with an impressive T-26 in the weather-delayed Players Championship. He was right in the hunt until he stumbled out of the gate starting his final round on Monday and fell down the leaderboard.
But despite his rough finish on Monday, never bet against a guy who’s had great success on a course and one who has seen his game get back on track.
And he’s the one who still has the trophy from last year right now.
One Of The Big Guns Gets Hot
That smoke you saw on Monday was Dustin Johnson, +1400 this week, heating up big-time.
After a third-round 76 that saw him near the bottom of those who made the cut, Johnson found something…or some things…in his game and fired a final-round 63 on Monday. The round included an eagle, eight birdies and a lone bogey.
Sure, he was out of the running and there was no pressure on him to perform. But, looking at the other side of the equation, he could have mailed it in and simply headed to the Valspar.
But he didn’t. He got focused and had an outstanding round. And he did it from the wrong side of the draw as his group faced the worst weather and he survived, and actually thrived, in the end.
He’s down to No. 9 in the world golf rankings and all the way down to 142nd in the FedEx Cup rankings. There’s no better time than the present to start the ascent we all know is coming.
A Look At Prop Action
To get started, we’re going to ride the hot hand of the winner not coming out of the last group on Sunday. It’s paid off two straight weeks and at +175 it’s still a great value. Even with threesomes in the final round at The Players, this one paid off. When there are twosomes in the final pairing, it certainly helps our odds.
We also like Viktor Hovland to be in the top five at +225. Since a missed cut at the WM Phoenix Open he’s gone T-4, T-2, and T-9 to keep his name on the first page of the leaderboard.
His final-round three-under-par 69 may not look that great but considering he bogeyed two of his final four holes it was one of those ‘rounds-that-could-have-been’ that we’ve all seen.
As for longer shots in the props department, we’re going to look at Harold Varner III to finish in the top 10 at +400. He missed two straight cuts coming into last week’s Players Championship before putting together four solid rounds despite some horrid weather and ended up T-6. Varner is +7500 to win the Valspar Championship at FanDuel, but we like him for a top-10 finish.
He won the 2022 PIF Saudi International in early February for his second world-wide victory but he’s still on the hunt for his first PGA Tour title.
It may come sooner rather than later.
Also read: Masters Odds 2022