2022 Valspar Championship Final Round Odds & Picks: Sunday Buys & Fades, Including Justin Thomas

2022 Valspar Championship Final Round Odds & Picks: Sunday Buys & Fades, Including Justin Thomas article feature image

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

  • Davis Riley and Matthew NeSmith top the Valspar Championship leaderboard entering the final round.
  • Reigning champion Sam Burns and Justin Thomas are not far behind the duo, though.
  • Chris Murphy makes his betting picks entering Sunday at Innisbrook.

2022 Valspar Championship Final Round Odds

Odds via PointsBet.

Davis Riley+200
Justin Thomas+200
Sam Burns+350
Matthew NeSmith+500
Adam Hadwin+2000
Matthew Fitzpatrick+5000
Xander Schauffele+5000
Brian Harman+10000
Tommy Fleetwood+12500
Troy Merritt+12500
Alexander Noren+15000
Robert Streb+20000
Tyler Duncan+40000
Brice Garnett+50000
Christiaan Bezuidenhout+50000
Greyson Sigg+50000
Kevin Streelman+50000
Mito Guillermo Pereira+50000
Ryan Brehm+50000
Shane Lowry+50000
Stewart Cink+50000

Matthew NeSmith was the story heading into the third round after his incredible 61 on Friday, and he picked up right where he left off on Saturday. He came out in a 4-under 32 to stretch his overnight two-shot lead even further, but he finally found some struggles on the back nine. NeSmith would post his first bogey of the week at the Par 4 10th and that seemed to open the floodgates a bit as he dropped three more shots down the stretch.

The former Gamecock eventually lost his lead, chased down by a former Alabama Crimson Tide player, but not the one I expected.

Davis Riley was the player who put together the low round of the day on Saturday. He beat his playing partner and fellow 'Bama alum Justin Thomas to jump into the overnight lead. Riley will sleep on a two-shot advantage after his 9-under 62 got him to 18-under for the week, and he will pair with the aforementioned NeSmith from the final group on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas and Sam Burns will get the chance to put the pressure on that final pair, as they go off right in front of them. Both players are at 15-under and three shots back, which is well within striking distance around Innisbrook Resort.

The field spreads out from there, as these two are an additional two shots ahead of Adam Hadwin, who is two more shots ahead of those tied for sixth.

While it seems likely we have a narrow group of players who could pull off the win on Sunday, the fact we have seen a 61 and 62 in consecutive days doesn't shut the door entirely on anyone that is double digits under par. Let's take a look at the data and see if we can find our winner for Sunday at the Valspar.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

I highlighted Justin Thomas yesterday and was hesitant to fully pull the trigger on him with two rounds left to play, but I'll go there fully now. JT has been the best player in the field tee-to-green and has now put together back-to-back rounds rolling the ball really well on the greens.

The combination of play from Thomas and the lack of winning experience ahead of him has me ready to buy in for the major champion to be the one to walk off with the trophy on Sunday. He will need to keep it going, but as the pressure mounts, he is a guy that I think will be ready to close the deal on Sunday afternoon.

As of 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night, the best number for Thomas is +220 at Caesars.

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When I mentioned yesterday the scenario in which I saw Xander Schauffele winning his next event, I had a feeling we may be in a spot to take advantage of it on Sunday. I was admittedly hoping that the lead would be less than seven shots, but the likely scenario for him to pull off an unlikely win may require the leaders to come back a bit anyway.

Schauffele is in a tie for sixth going into the final round and as mentioned. The way the players tied at 11-under stack up, he will be the first of those tee times, putting him a solid 40 minutes ahead of the final pairing.

This is the situation where I think Schauffele can win, without really feeling the full pressure of the round until late and possibly put something together to post a number. He will likely need something in the 8-under or better variety, but the way he is striking the ball and gaining two strokes on the field per round, the form is there for that type of result to be possible.

I really don't hate a long shot dart on Xander at +5500 on DraftKings, with the hopes he can post something for the later tee-off times to chase.

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Bernd Wiesberger is always a name that catches my eye when he comes to play in the states. He has a winning track record overseas and can be a player that makes a splash when his form is there.

Wiesberger didn't appear to have that form coming into the week off of a missed cut and a 57th-place finish in his last two events on the DP World Tour, but it seems he found something at Innisbrook.

Wiesberger charged up the leaderboard and inside of the top 20 with a 5-under round on Saturday. Wiesberger is just two shots short of the top 10 and I'll be shopping those numbers for him going into Sunday. I know there will be no nerves for a player of his experience in the final round.

Wiesberger gained more than three shots on the field with his ball striking in the third round. If he brings that play tee to green again on Sunday he will be right there for a top-10 type of finish.

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3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4

It's rare that we get to this point in the proceedings with a player at the top of the leaderboard that has struggled with his iron play the way that Davis Riley has this week. He has lost strokes to the field on approach in two of his first three rounds including Saturday, a day in which he shot 62.

That highlights just how incredible he was with his short game in the third round where he gained more than seven (7!) shots on the field. Riley was spread pretty equally between a putter that gained 3.99 strokes and his around the green game that was plus 3.72.

This is the second time I have gone to the fade on Riley this week after seeing similar short game magic in the first round on Thursday. It clearly hasn't worked out too well for me so far, but I am going back to it in the final round as he will have the added pressure of being the last group off on Sunday. I believe Riley is going to have to dial back in with his ball striking in order to have a shot to stay at or around the lead going into the back nine.

I mentioned the back nine struggles for Matthew NeSmith and the numbers reflect it too. He completely lost the impeccable iron play he had shown across the first 2 1/2 rounds, losing strokes to the field on approach in eight of his final nine holes, including each of his final seven.

While NeSmith is more experienced than Riley, they will be in a similar spot seeking that first TOUR win and there are often times where players in a group like this can trend the same direction. I see this final pairing as one that may weigh poorly on each other if one or both players get off to a slow start.

Tyler Duncan is a name this week that has surprised with his good play. He ramped it up a bit further on Saturday as he posted a 6-under round to sit just outside of the top 10 going into Sunday. Duncan's irons were a big part of that surge as he gained three shots on the field on approach.

My big concern with him going into Sunday is less about his play in Round 3, but rather that we haven't seen him in this spot in a long time. Duncan has three missed cuts in his first five events this year and no finishes inside the top 35. This will be an unfamiliar feeling for him in the final round and I am skeptical that he will be able to back it up with another solid 18 holes.

StrokesGained Data for All Players in Round 3

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