Best Bets for the 2021 Valspar Championship

| April 27, 2021 3:28 am PDT

The top two players in the world headline the field as the PGA Tour stops in the Sunshine State for the final time of the year. Axed from the schedule in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort is among the toughest tests in the annual rotation.

Only once since 2013 has the winning score been lower than 10-under-par.

Valspar Championship – Winners & Winning Scores Since 2013
Year Winner Winning Score (To Par) Winning Margin
2019 Paul Casey -8 1
2018 Paul Casey -10 1
2017 Adam Hadwin -14 1
2016 Charl Schwartzel -7 Playoff
2015 Jordan Spieth -10 Playoff
2014 John Senden -7 1
2013 Kevin Streelman -10 2

Expect lots of miscues once again in Palm Harbor – specifically when the players close in on the final stretch. Dubbed the “Snake Pit,” holes 16-18 at the Copperhead Course are a nightmare waiting to happen. #16 is on the shortlist of the hardest holes on the PGA Tour.

With that out of the way, let’s start keying in on Valspar Championship picks in 2021.

Valspar Championship Sleeper Picks in 2021

You don’t have to bomb it to excel at this venue, but you better strike your golf ball solidly and have a short game that’s intact. Looking at the three players who have won this event multiple times (K.J. Choi, Retief Goosen, Paul Casey), all three men are technicians on the golf course.

If you plan on going off the radar and backing a few sleeper picks for the Valspar Championship, think about sound ball-strikers who can be trusted on and around the greens.

Chris Kirk (+5500)

Arriving in Tampa with six top-16 finishes among his last nine starts, Chris Kirk quietly plays some of the most dependable golf on TOUR. The former standout at Georgia ranks 22nd on the PGA Tour in par-3 scoring and 6th in par-4 scoring – there are no weaknesses to speak of.

Seeking his first victory on the big stage since Colonial in 2015, Kirk’s persistence in 2021 could be on the verge of paying off. Chris has registered four top-10s in the calendar year, including in each of his last two solo-starts (T6 at the Valero Texas Open, T7 at the RBC Heritage).

Denny McCarthy (+9000)

Scrolling a bit further down the Valspar Championship odds sheet landed me on Denny McCarthy at +9000. Posting three rounds in the 60s en route to a T9 during his debut at Innisbrook (2019) gives me comfort knowing Denny can succeed at this layout.

A study of his recent form is where I really start to perk up.

McCarthy has connected on five straight cuts and has some good vibes going in the state of Florida (T3 at the 2021 Honda Classic). Last time out, Denny parlayed nine birdies on Saturday into a bogey-free 67 on Sunday that included a hole-in-one. It all added up to a T13 at the RBC Heritage. 

Matchup Bet – Sungjae Im (+105) Over Scottie Scheffler

The pricing for the Valspar Championship matchup bets is tight across the top golf betting sites. However, uncovering Sungjae Im in plus-money territory against a man who has never competed at the Copperhead Course is quite compelling.

Not only has Sungjae been here before – he finished 4th at the last Valspar Championship thanks to being one of three men to record four rounds of par or better. Given his monotonous routine and boring trajectory, it’s no surprise that Im was able to prosper at this track.

It’s okay to recognize Scheffler’s talent and still understand the value backed into snagging Sungjae in this spot.

Justin Rose to Finish Inside the Top 20

With a solo 7th at the Masters and a T11 at the Zurich Classic, Justin Rose is slowly but surely emerging out of a longstanding rut. One of my Valspar Championship predictions is that the 40-year-old Englishman continues his resurgence at a golf course that he’s been terrific at in the past.

Rose hung a top-5 on the board the last time he was here (2018) – one of five top-15s he’s collected in Palm Harbor. And there’s more.

Over the last six editions of this event – Justin Rose ranks 1st in SG: Total and 2nd in SG: Tee-to-Green. 

With a setup like that, it’s no surprise that “Rosy” clocks in 3rd on the PGA Tour in putting average.

2021 Valspar Championship Pick to Win

Those searching upside for their Valspar Championship picks look no further than Emiliano Grillo. Depending on where you shop your lines, Grillo is lurking at +4500 or +5000. He has been knocking on the door to pick up his second win on TOUR.

22nd or better in five of his last six starts, Grillo has been especially sharp in his last two outings.

What Have You Done For Me Lately, Emiliano?
Date Tournament Finish
3/28/21 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship T6
4/18/21 RBC Heritage T2

One of the truly elite ball-strikers in the game, the flat-stick has been what has held Grillo back for the better part of his career. The good news?

Emiliano ranked 6th in putts per GIR in Puntacana and gained 1.699 strokes on the greens in Hilton Head.

Victory #2 seems to be on the horizon.

  • Emiliano Grillo
Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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