2023 Valspar Championship Betting Picks and Predictions
After watching Scottie Scheffler dominate another loaded field at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, we’ll see the PGA Tour shift from the northern shores of Jacksonville to the Gulf Coast for the 2023 Valspar Championship. Players will spend four rounds competing at the Innisbrook Golf Resort Copperhead Course, which is a par 71 that runs roughly 7,300 yards in length. Like most of the golf courses we see during the Florida leg, it’s abundant with water hazards, sand bunkers, and doglegged fairways that are narrow and flanked by tall rough and sand. Accuracy with driver and irons will remain at a premium toward staying atop the leaderboard at Copperhead, per usual. Still, it doesn’t have nearly as many undulations in its fairways and greens, creating a slightly easier surface for players to stay at or below par.
We haven’t seen a new winner at Valspar, excluding Paul Casey and Sam Burns, since 2017, when Adam Hadwin went -14-under-par to win by one stroke over Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay and many other notable players will be absent from the field, including Scheffler, Jon Rahm, and Max Homa, which creates ample opportunities for other players heating up as of late to make a push at securing an outright win. Burns has won back-to-back events at Valspar in 2021 and 2022, but he’s looked out of sorts lately, going T35 at TPC Sawgrass and missing the cut in two previous events, making him far from a lock to bet on at a course he’s historically dominated.
Don’t fret about the field. It’s still loaded with talent that includes outright betting favorite Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Keegan Bradley, alongside many other players who have been close to hoisting the winning hardware and collecting the champion purse in previous events this season. We’ll get into one of my high-value prospects during the outright winner prediction section, along with previewing the course and a couple of key stats to stay ahead of the field at Copperhead.
Valspar Championship Course Preview
Innisbrook Golf Resort Copperhead Course
Designed by Larry Packard back in the 1970s, Copperhead is a course that prominently features an abundance of water hazards and sand bunkers. It’s comprised of Bermudagrass fairways and greens, which tend to run slower on the Stimpmeter than Bentgrass surfaces, so players will need to find a balance between their normal putting stroke and the reduced velocity of the greens. Weather will play a big factor in determining the speed as well, with drier conditions creating faster surfaces, while rainfall can reduce putting speeds even more.
Valspar opens with either a par 5, 558-yarder on the front nine or a challenging par 4, 446-yarder on its back nine. It ends the back-nine with a three-hole segment referred to as the “Snake Pit,” which is two par 4s that book-end a difficult par 3 that stretches over 200 yards with four hefty sand bunkers flanking its green. The 18th hole doesn’t have water hazards, but it's a slight dogleg left and will require a strong tee shot and approach shot to avoid a bogey. The 16th hole is the only one in the Snake pit that features a water hazard, eating into the fairway from the right and jutting into the fairway closer to the small Bermudagrass green.
There are four par 5s at Copperhead, evenly distributed on the front and back-nine; however, there are five par 3s, with three of them occurring between holes 13-18. 13 and 15 both feature water hazards, along with greens that are small but lengthy, which means finding the green in regulation does not necessarily equate to setting up for an easy birdie attempt. Strokes gained tee-to-green will be a massive piece to solving the puzzle, along with maintaining an accurate driver or tee shot. Of course, scrambling remains a premium at Copperhead, too, as there will be plenty of approach shots that wind up in any of the sand bunkers or tall rough that flank the greens.
Driving strength will be nearly as important as accuracy, as two of the par 5s at Copperhead run 590 yards and 611 yards, respectively. Power is important, but this will inevitably lead to errant lies, which is why scrambling and sand save percentages are key statistics toward staying under par. Putting velocity will be reduced a bit, but without a lot of wet conditions forecasted, they should gain some speed, at least during the first two rounds prior to the cut being enforced. This narrows down the field quite a bit, especially without as many big names as we’re accustomed to seeing lately. However, there is still plenty of value to acquire when finding players who match these criteria entering the first round at the Valspar Championship.
Copperhead Key Stats
Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green
Driving Accuracy percentage
Valspar Predictions: Outright Winner
Jordan Spieth (+1200) (Bet $100 to collect $1,300) Head to FanDuel for the best odds for this pick
Jordan Spieth hasn’t competed at Valspar since 2018, but he’s had success here in the past, winning outright back in 2015 to kickstart a massively successful run that would make the Texas native a household name. While we haven’t seen that same level of success sustained in recent years, the 29-year-old has a T6, and T4 finish in two of his past four events played in much more loaded fields, including a three-under-par opening round at TPC Sawgrass last weekend. Spieth seems to always deliver creativity with his approach shots, which is why he’s ranked third in scrambling from 20-30 yards, fourth in approaches from 125-150 yards, and top-ten in approaches from 150-275 yards. Spieth is also 28th in strokes gained tee-to-green and 15th in strokes gained around the green. It’s his putter that tends to be inconsistent.
On the one hand, Spieth is 114th in strokes gained putting, which is far from ideal. However, he also ranks 15th in Round 1 putts and converts 40.8 percent of one-putt attempts, ranking 74th out of over 200 golfers on the PGA Tour. It will depend on how his flat stick handles at Copperhead, along with remaining consistent in staying under par in all four rounds, but there’s a reason why Spieth is currently second in odds for the outright winner at 12/1. I like him a lot more than Justin Thomas, who is the betting favorite at 11/1, which could be due to finishing T3 at Valspar in 2022.
Spieth hasn’t played this course in an event in half a decade, but he’s gaining momentum and has the ability to scramble, keeps his irons dialed in, and is among the strongest drivers on the Tour. It’ll definitely be a rollercoaster ride, and it’s not sweat-free, but betting Spieth to win his first outright event of the season feels good, considering the field and his recent form since returning from the holiday hiatus.
Right now, Jordan Spieth is +1200 across the board, but if the money keeps coming in on him, he is going to dip to +1100 or even +1000 in spots. Get in now whilst he is still +1200, and ensure you are comparing odds before tee off, to see if his price changes.
Tommy Fleetwood (+2500) (Bet $100 to collect $2,600) DraftKings has the best odds for this Tommy Fleetwood pick
We’ve seen flashes of greatness from 32-year-old Englishman Tommy Fleetwood this season. That includes his seven-under-par third round at TPC Sawgrass, where he seemingly couldn’t miss a putt. The statistics back this up. Fleetwood is ranked second in overall putting average, second in one-putt percentage (47.4%), and second in putts per round.
He has great touch and accuracy with his irons too, which is a vital piece of the bag that will help him climb the leaderboard at Valspar, as he’s ranked 15th in total strokes gained, including 17th in tee-to-green, 22nd approaching the green, and sixth around the green. He’s decent at scrambling, ranking 91st, but he’s a birdie machine thanks to the flat stick, converting 38.9 percent of birdies or better out of 236 greens hit this season.
Fleetwood particularly shows his putting prowess in the second and fourth rounds, ranking inside the top 20 in both metrics while being second-best in delivering one-putts. He’s collected 96 birdies or eagles on 396 holes played across only six events this season, meaning Fleetwood is fresh and prepped to make a run in a slightly lighter field than the one he’s been competing in since missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open a month ago.
Fleetwood imploded with a four-over-par final round at TPC Sawgrass last weekend, erasing how impressive he fared during the third round, but he’s hungry and seeking his first outright win on the PGA Tour. That has to account for something, and in this case, I believe possessing one of the best putters on the Tour will give Fleetwood an edge that few other players have to enter Valspar’s opening round. Last year, Fleetwood logged a T16 finish at Copperhead, which was his debut at the course. The key will be whether or not Fleetwood can improve his final-round scoring average, which currently sits at 70.6 on the year, as he tends to deliver strong performances in the middle rounds.
Despite never winning on the PGA Tour, 25/1 is great value to acquire from a player who has accurate irons, a red-hot putter, along with six finishes inside of the top three since becoming a professional in 2010. Oddsmakers believe in Fleetwood enough to designate him as the fifth most likely player to win outright at Valspar during his second stint at the course, tied with Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose at 25/1. The flat stick is humming, and Fleetwood is extremely accurate with his approach shots, so on a course filled with holes that test a player’s accuracy, let’s invest in Fleetwood to deliver a healthy outright winner payout at +2500 and enjoy watching his ascent up the leaderboard throughout the weekend.
As you can see from our odds comparison table above, it is important to take the +2500 odds on Fleetwood at DraftKings or BetMGM, rather than at Bet365, where he is +2200. There is a $300 difference on your return, based on where you bet on Fleetwood this week.