2016 Valspar Championship Odds and Preview
The PGA rages on in Florida this week, as the 2016 Valspar Championship goes down at the Innisbrook Resort and Spa’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor.
Adam Scott has owned Florida thus far in 2016, winning the first two of four schedule tourneys in the state. He’ll go for his third starting Thursday, March 10th, and will try to dethrone the electrifying Jordan Spieth, who took down the Valspar Championship title in 2015.
The Florida courses really haven’t been kind (or at least easy) to this point, and that doesn’t change starting on Thursday at the Innisbrook Resort and Spa’s Copperhead Course. It’s easily one of the toughest courses on the tour so far this year, while it could be even tougher due to changes (renovations and re-grassing) since last year. That could throw defending champ Spieth for a loop and potentially give someone else an edge in the field’s bid to prevent a repeat winner.
Spieth is the #1 ranked golfer in the world, won this event last year and has a win and two top-10 finishes under his belt already. If he’s going to get hot going into The Masters, this is the spot to do it, as it’s familiar territory and his skill-set demands another win in the near future. Vegas suggests it’s likely, too, as he’s pegged as the top favorite (+550 odds).
Henrik Stenson (+1400), Daniel Willett (+2000), Louis Oosthuizen (+2200), Charl Schwartzel (+2500), Patrick Reed (+2500), Branden Grace (+2800) and Justin Thomas (+3000) enter as the top favorites behind Spieth, but Stenson and Oosthizen are probably the two guys that are the legit theats of the group.
Stenson hasn’t done anything of merit in three tourneys so far this year, but is working his way to a top finish with three spots inside the top-50 in 2016. Stenson narrowly missed the playoff here last year and this fiels is not full of elites, so he could be a guy to watch.
Oosthuizen has worse odds (better for betting, of course) and has never made the cut at the Valspar Championship, but is gaining steam with a 14th place finish at last week’s WFC Cadillac Championship. Patrick Reed finished second at this event last year, so he could be back to steal what he probably feel is rightfully his.
Two guys just outside of the +3000 range that have a really good shot are Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar (both with +3300 odds). Snedeker has been cooking with gas in 2016, winning one tournament and placing inside the top-10 in three of nine appearances. He’s missed a few cuts, but he also has four top-20 finishes and three top-three runs. He doesn’t necessarily have a specific edge at this course, but he’s been playing some really good golf.
Kuchar is pretty much the opposite, as he has no wins or top-10 finishes in six tries in 2016, but has had great success at this course. Kuchar has three top-15 runs at the Valspar Championship in five appearances, and he’s also made every cut this year. He’s not a high upside play, but if you’re looking to bet on a safe guy who could place high, he’s a guy to look at.
While Spieth is the overwhelming favorite here, we need to note two things: this is a crowded field that lacks your usual go-to studs like Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson (among others), while this tournament has never seen a repeat champion.
That muddied field could go either way, as it could work to Spieth’s advantage or it could just clog things up and have someone come out of nowhere to emerge from the pack. The latter part is the thing we need to note, as this course can be tricky and new changes make it even tougher than usual. Spieth comes in as the odds on favorite to win, but history suggests actually getting it done could be a tall order.
If Spieth is to fall short, we need to consider some outside the box options in terms of odds. Some big names who are outside of the top-10 and should be regarded as sneaky sleepers to win this year’s Valspar Championship are Kevin Na (+4000), Bill Haas (+4500), K.J. Choi (+4500), Luke Donald (+4500) and Webb Simpson (+4500).
None of their odds are insane or anything, but they all are fairly big names that present enough reason to think they could stage the upset.
Na might be one of my favorite sleepers, as he’s cooled down after a blazing start, so he figures to hover under the radar a bit. We can’t forget his four top-five finishes to start 2016, however, so he could be a prime bounce back candidate here. I don’t think he wins, but he could vie for a top-10 or top-five finish.
The other guys are big names for this field and could give Spieth some trouble, but of all the sleepers, Choi is my favorite. He’s won this event twice before and two other times was in it until the end. He has worked this event quite well and he also hasn’t been half bad in 2016 (two top-five finishes).
Spieth is the obvious favorite and we can’t knock that. You’re not getting much return on your investment, though, so our vote is to target a couple sleepers you like. Spieth could very well win, but I love K.J. Choi’s history here and the 45-year old has really been all kinds of awesome this year. I’ll take Choi to place well in this one and he’s my favorite sleeper to have a real shot at taking first.
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