2021 Valspar Championship Best Bets: Six Outrights with Value at Copperhead
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Abraham Ancer
- The 2021 Valspar Championship begins on Thursday, April 29 at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. Known as one of the toughest tracks on the PGA TOUR, the Copperhead poses a unique challenge to golfers and bettors alike.
- While Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are formidable favorites atop the odds, Team GolfBet has looked elsewhere for their favorite outright bets at the Valspar:
The PGA TOUR heads back to Florida this week to take on the difficult Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.
Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are the betting favorites, but a course like Copperhead has a way of leveling the playing field quite a bit. With narrow fairways, challenging greens and trouble lurking seemingly around every corner, there could be quite a bit of craziness over the weekend.
Here are our favorite outright bets for the 2021 Valspar Championship:
Sungjae Im (+3100)
Other than an uncharacteristic MC at the Masters, when he shot 77-80 to finish fifth-from-last, Im has played his usual brand of quality and quantity golf this year. In a dozen starts, he owns seven top-25s, despite not seriously contending for a title yet. That’s hardly the only reason to back him outright this week, though.
Even though his ball-striking numbers are fairly mediocre this season, ranking 82nd in strokes gained on approach shots, he’s proven himself to be part of the upper tier when he’s swinging his best. He was also T-4 in his Valspar debut two years ago, part of a terrific early-career record in Florida-based tourneys, which also suggests he enjoys putting on Bermuda greens more than any others.
There’s also the fact that, in limited evidentiary proof, Im tends to be a repeater once he finds some success on a specific track. That’s a lot of signs pointing in his direction this week.
Sungjae Im (+3100)
I’m with Sobel on Sungjae Im. Im seems to play well in Florida and is a better putter on Bermuda. The irons had been a problem recently, but he gained 3.5 strokes on approach at Harbour Town, so things could be starting to turn around in that department. He was also fourth here back in 2019, which was the last time this event was held.
Abraham Ancer (+3000)
Ancer is going to break through at some point and the Valspar lines up as the perfect style of event for him to capture his first win. This course requires elite ball-striking to avoid the trouble that lurks around every turn, but it also allows for less than stellar putters to succeed. Ancer is both of those, and has been finding his form tee to green over his last several events where he has gained more than seven strokes on the field in that category in three of his last four measured tournaments.
The Mexican will not be required to be elite on the greens to win around Innisbrook, as finding greens and avoiding bogeys are valuable characteristics for this course. We will continue to get a solid number on Ancer until he finally gets it done, and this is one spot where I feel confident in taking that leap for a potential first time winner on TOUR.
Louis Oosthuizen (+3100)
With the exception of the water ball in the playoff last week at The Zurich, Louis is playing some great golf. Following a 26th in his most recent start at The Masters, Oosthuizen seemed to carry fellow South African Charl Schwartzel through much of the team event last week.
The recipe for success at Copperhead will be finding the fairways and getting dialed in with the long irons on approach shots; two areas in which Louis excels. The 38-year-old also seems to love this course; he has a 7th, 16th and a 2nd in his past three trips to Innisbrook.
This is the right time and course for Louis to finally get his first victory on American soil.
Patrick Reed (+1900)
With all due respect to Corey Conners, who’s been on an incredible tear, he should not have shorter odds than serial winner Patrick Reed, especially at a course where Reed has come close to winning at on multiple occasions.
Reed has posted a pair of runner-up finishes as well as a T-7 at Copperhead, and is coming off a T-8 his last time out at Augusta. He also tied for ninth place at the WGC Workday at Concession, which is drawing some comps to Copperhead.
We know Reed does his best work at tougher tracks, and that’s exactly what’s on tap this week. He ranks 11th in this field in total strokes gained over his past 16 rounds, and with DJ being out of form and Hatton withdrawing due to COVID, Reed should take full advantage.
He has serious final group potential and getting close to 20/1 on a player of his caliber is always worth a bet.
Justin Rose (+3500)
When there’s such a buffet of talent from which to choose and the two-time defending champion isn’t a healthy Tiger Woods, then it’s worth heeding the advice of Joshua from “WarGames.” The best option is not to play. What are you going to do – spread tenths of units around until you’ve allocated X-number of tenths? You could, but I won’t. S
o, to fulfill the duty of the assignment, I’ll take the 40-year-old Brit. If I’m going to lay even one-tenth of a unit on anyone to win, I’ll take a veteran ball-striker with a sparkling record on the course and with great form upon arrival.
When I backed him to win the Masters, he was +10000. My confidence hasn’t wavered as his odds have shortened in a lighter field.
Abraham Ancer (+3000)
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is not a track that can be overpowered with a bomb and gouge approach, thus my course regression model is placing a higher premium on driving accuracy compared to most weeks.
This means fairways and greens will be the name of the game this week, and nobody embodies that in their game more than Abraham Ancer. Over the last 50 rounds, Ancer ranks fifth in this field in Fairways Gained, and second in Good Drives gained. He’s gained over a full stroke on approach in his last nine tracked events, leading to four top-20 finishes. Those four top-20 finishes could have very well been top-5 finishes if he could have found his putter. Ancer is a break-even putter over his 107 career PGA TOUR starts, but has lost strokes putting in six of his last seven events.
He is due for some positive regression with the flat stick, and if we can get it, I love his chances to break through this week.