Valspar Final-Round Betting: What to do with Tiger?
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a long time, but a Tiger Sunday is upon us.
Woods heads into the final round of the Valspar Championship as the +200 favorite despite trailing rookie Corey Conners by a stroke.
There goes that man! ?
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 10, 2018
Justin Rose and Brandt Snedeker are tied for second with Woods and head into the last round at +250 and +500, respectively. Conners checks in at +600 to win the tournament despite being atop the leaderboard.
Given Conners’ inexperience — he’s played just 20 tour events and never finished in the top 25 — I’d expect one of those three (Woods, Rose or Snedeker) to track him down.
That quartet has separated itself from the field a bit. Patrick Reed (+1600) and Sam Burns (+2500) are the only other players being offered at less than +5000. So the books have decided that this is likely a six-player tournament at best.
I tend to agree with that. Copperhead course isn’t a place where players can come from way off the pace with one low round. The best one can usually shoot is about a 4-under 67. That’s the score Charl Schwartzel posted when he came from five shots back to win in a playoff two years ago. Schwartzel, however, was trying to track down Bill Haas and Graham DeLaet, not Woods, Rose and Snedeker.
It’s tough to think Woods, Rose and Snedeker would all struggle and hover around par. I’d expect one of them to shoot a round of 2- or 3-under and get to 10- or 11-under. That would basically wipe out the chances of anyone below Reed and Burns.
There’s a case to be made for Rose and Snedeker at their numbers. Rose was the hottest player on the planet a couple of months ago and has won three of his last nine tournaments around the world. So getting him at +250 when he’s been closing out tournaments pretty well is justifiable.
Snedeker may have the most to gain from the win. After an injury-plagued 2017 season, he didn’t meet the FedEx Cup or World Ranking requirements to qualify for the Masters. So he’s basically in a spot where he has to win a tournament or he won’t be at Augusta in a month. Snedeker has been a fixture in that field, playing nine of the last 10 years and finishing in the top 10 three times. So he’ll have a little extra motivation to get back there.
As for Tiger, we all know his ability to close out a tournament. If this was four or five years ago, we’d see him as the odds-on favorite rather than getting a plus number. Judging by how quickly he’s worked himself into contention this season, it’s safe to say his game is pretty much back, so this may be the only occasion he’s at a plus number while legitimately close to winning a title.
My money is already on Tiger, so that’s what I’ll be rooting for Sunday.
As for the matchups, I’ll be sitting Sunday out. But I’d look to back Reed and Ryan Palmer, and I’d try to fade Schwartzel and Branden Grace, if you’re interested in some action outside of the tournament winner.
Top Photo: Tiger Woods via Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
All odds via Bovada on March 10