The concluding round of THE PLAYERS, Selection Sunday, The Oscars, The Last Of Us season finale, Daylight Savings. There’s a lot going on this Sunday and you’ve found the time anyway to open up this 2023 Valspar Championship tournament odds preview. Bless your soul.
The fourth and final leg of the Florida Swing, the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, is yet another demanding course from tee-to-green that tests the field’s total ball-striking and short game around pure Bermuda greens. With many tight doglegs and some of the most challenging par-3s on the PGA TOUR, Innisbrook Resort is a course where long iron and Bermuda putting Specialists thrive.
Here’s a full look at everything to expect from the 2023 Valspar Championship.
2023 OPENING VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS: THE FAVORITES
Scroll to the bottom of this article to compare complete Valspar Championship outright odds across legal U.S. sportsbooks. Find the favorites in Florida this week here with odds shorter than 20-to-1.
THE FIELD AT A GLANCE
Expectations were fairly low for the field strength of the Valspar Championship. It sits in an unenviable position on the schedule between back-to-back Designated events and the WGC Dell Match Play’s Wednesday start in Austin. The event lost regulars like Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, and Sungjae Im due to the revamped Designated event schedule. Some additional depth is lost from defected LIV players like Paul Casey, Jason Kokrak, and Joaquin Niemann as well. They’d become annual favorites in this event in their own rights.
Still, we have a much improved field compared to the Honda Classic several weeks ago. The Valspar Championship benefits from being only a short trip from Ponte Vedra Beach, home of THE PLAYERS. This field of 144 players includes five inside the OWGR top-20 and a total of 10 players inside the OWGR top-50. Not too shabby for an average PGA TOUR event.
Justin Thomas is your favorite this week. He’s gone as far as to skip the WGC Dell Match Play in order to fit the Valspar Championship on his schedule. We can assume that he likes his chances to pick up his first career Valspar win after leading the field in SG: T2G in each of the last two years at the event. Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, and Keegan Bradley join Thomas to round out the list of projected favorites. Tommy Fleetwood, Brian Harman, Justin Rose, KH Lee, and Kevin Kisner round out the list of OWGR top-20 players in this week’s field.
Sam Burns is back and has been dominant here on the greens. In addition to Burns, the list of past champions returning includes Adam Hadwin, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Streelman, Luke Donald, and Gary Woodland.
INTRODUCTION TO THE COPPERHEAD COURSE AT INNISBROOK RESORT
Innisbrook is a bit of a hidden gem on the Florida swing, often overshadowed by Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass. Those courses typically attract stronger fields. Despite a short week looming ahead for the WGC Match Play, the Valspar Championship attracted a solid field, with two 2022 Major champions headlining and plenty of depth from OWGR top-100 players. It takes patience and a strong all around game to compete here.
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) is a treelined, positional golf course that forces many layups off the tee. Players must work the ball in both directions at this course. It’s a shot-maker’s course with significant elevation changes, opening up the playing field to bombers and short plotters alike.
It’s one of the most difficult courses on TOUR to gain strokes off the tee. Fairways are narrow and difficult to hold, even when laying up with less-than driver. Innisbrook yields below average ranks in both driving accuracy and driving distance.
Only twice since 2013 has the winning score pushed lower than -10. Course History has proven repeatable at this event, as Burns and Casey have both gone back-to-back here over the last five years. The Valspar Championship historically mitigates advantage off the tee and favored the top players in Approach, Scrambling, and Par-5 Scoring. These pure greens have also proven to be a dream for Bermuda putting specialists, as Burns, for example, gained 5+ strokes putting at this event in each of his first four appearances.
For Innisbrook Resort course specs, hole-by-hole breakdown with yardages, and past Valspar winners with their pre-tournament odds, visit our Valspar Championship odds page.Editor’s Note
EVENT HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS
The Copperhead Course forces many layups to the same 175+ yardage. Any time we see a course funnel approach shots from the field to the same yardage range on repeat, those tend to be the courses that breed the stickiest course history.
Looking at that history, eight players have multiple T20 finishes over the last five years: Sam Burns, Adam Hadwin, Justin Thomas, Matthew NeSmith, Rory Sabbatini, Luke Donald, Brian Stuard, and Kevin Streelman. These players share similar traits as strong approach players with reliable accuracy off the tee.
Six players made it through the cut in each appearance over the last five years (min. three starts): Burns, Denny McCarthy, Wesley Bryan, Bill Haas, Lucas Glover, and Kramer Hickok.
The top 10 players in terms of SG: TOT at the Valspar Championship are Sam Burns, Justin Rose, Jonathan Byrd, Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner, Matthew NeSmith, Bill Haas, and Davis Riley.
In four career appearances at the Valspar Championship, Burns finished T12, T30, 1st, and 1st. Those Valspar finishes begin to paint a compelling picture of course dominance, however a closer look suggests there may be some smoke behind those finishes.
It’s no secret that Burns putts his best on Bermuda greens. So the fact that four of his 15 best career putting displays have come at this event is not shocking or something that’s due for massive regression. Still, it’s unusual to see the No. 1 player in total course history rank outside the top 20 in terms of SG: T2G. As Jesse Pinkman would say, “He can’t keep getting away with this!”
The two-time defending champion will come with short odds this week. I’ll be looking elsewhere, at least from a betting perspective.
This is not a Pete Dye course, but it does bare similarities to some of Dye’s most famous positional courses like TPC River Highlands, Harbour Town, and TPC Sawgrass. Each of these courses mitigate any advantage from driving distance and force strategic shots with driver or less off the tee. With the Copperhead Course’s added length, it produces more of a challenge than comp courses and places a slightly stronger emphasis on total driving.
Colonial CC stands out as the best comp course in my eyes. Burns won at both of these demanding, positional courses last season. Jordan Spieth has also won at both courses, and Davis Riley, Jason Kokrak, Justin Rose, and Louis Oosthuizen have all recorded top-five finishes at both venues since 2018.
The Copperhead Course’s five par-3s are a unique characteristic shared with only Accordia Golf Narashino, host of the ZOZO Championship. Both are courses that reward accuracy off the tee to avoid penal rough.
For the Bermuda specialists like Burns, TPC Southwind, CC of Jackson, and Sedgefield CC are solid recent comp courses worth referencing. Riviera CC and TPC Twin Cities have also rewarded a similar style of play from tee to green.
The top 10 players in comp course history this week are: Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Keegan Bradley, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jordan Spieth, Maverick McNealy, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Matthew NeSmith, and Ben Griffin.
KEY STATS TO CONSIDER FOR 2023 VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
- SG: APP
- Good Drives Gained / SG: OTT
- SG: ARG / Scrambling
- Prox 175+
- Par-3 Scoring
- Par-5 Scoring
- SG: Putting (L36, Bermuda)
- Course & Comp Course History
A difficult par-71 with four par-5s, Par-5 Scoring told the most consistent story in terms of winning trends. Players who take advantage of those four scoring opportunities should position themselves well to contend this week. The top 10 players in par-5 scoring entering this week are: Garrick Higgo, Wyndham Clark, Kyle Westmoreland, Justin Thomas, Eric Cole, Jhonattan Vegas, Adam Hadwin, Matt Fitzpatrick, Alex Smalley, and Dylan Frittelli.
With a bonus of five par-3s this week, it’s a good time to identify the most comfortable par-3 scorers in the field. There aren’t many birdie opportunities to be had on the par-3s, but keeping a clean card throughout the week across them may be the difference in the determining the winner. The top 10 par-3 scorers in the field are Justin Suh, Chesson Hadley, Matthew NeSmith, Adam Hadwin, Ben Taylor, Ryan Armour, Nick Hardy, Luke Donald, Patrick Rodgers, and Keegan Bradley.
Approach And Short Game
This is one of the most crucial courses on TOUR for SG: APP. Many drives funnel to the same layup areas and several elevation changes must be navigated. The top-10 players SG: APP entering this week are Russell Knox, David Lipsky, Mark Hubbard, Tommy Fleetwood, Robby Shelton, Wyndham Clark, Jhonattan Vegas, Alex Smalley, Erik van Rooyen, and Webb Simpson. Over 50% of approaches come from beyond 175 yards and the top 10 best long iron players in the field are: Kevin Roy, Nick Hardy, Keegan Bradley, Davis Riley, Austin Eckroat, Austin Smotherman, Gary Woodland, Justin Suh, Matthias Schmid, and Brent Grant.
With players hitting both the fairways and greens well below TOUR average, it’s also a crucial week for short game. Eight players rank top 40 in Scrambling, SG: ARG, and SG: Short Game, and SG: P (Bermuda): Ben Taylor, Ben Griffin, Beau Hossler, Peter Malnati, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Aaron Baddeley, and Adam Schenk.
Combining the key stats together, nine players rank above average in Par-5 Scoring, Prox: 175+, and each of the Short Game stats: Adam Hadwin, Erik Barnes, John VanDerLaan, Stephan Jaeger, Robby Shelton, Taylor Moore, Matt Wallace, Trey Mullinax, and Harry Hall. A more simplistic view of the top-40 Ball-Strikers and Bermuda Putters produces just five names: Ben Griffin, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew NeSmith, Justin Rose, and Justin Suh.
Correlation And Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)
Looking at the stat correlations this week for Innisbrook, some notable shifts surface compared to TOUR average. Here, P4: 450-500, Par-3 Scoring, and SG: OTT each fall outside the top 10. Instead, Par-5 Scoring, SG: APP, and Good Drives Gained make the most notable jumps in importance. Just outside the top 10, we also see notable jumps this week in the importance of P5: 600-650, Fairways Gained, and SG: ARG.
14 players rank above average in each of the above top-10 stat categories for Innisbrook: Ben Griffin, Wyndham Clark, Adam Hadwin, Keegan Bradley, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Stephan Jaeger, KH Lee, Robby Shelton, Joseph Bramlett, Davis Riley, Alex Smalley, Brian Harman, and Will Gordon.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: WYNDHAM CLARK
Making his Spotlight feature debut this week is Wyndham Clark! I’m late on the Clark bandwagon in 2023, trying to understand if his ascendance since being No. 72 on the FedEx Cup standings last season is temporary or here to stay. Now on a streak of 10 consecutive top-50 finishes, I’m comfortable saying that he has finally arrived on TOUR.
Clark always stood out as a player with elite distance and short game, but an equipment change from PXG to Titleist seem to have paid immediate dividends for approach play. Clark entered THE PLAYERS Championship on a streak of three consecutive events in which he gained over 3.5 strokes on approach. Those are the four best approach performances of his career. Averaging over three strokes gained on approach over his last five events, Clark has never entered the Valspar Championship as a positive approach player.
Similar to Max Homa, Clark picked up a reputation for being a West Coast specialist with his best results coming on Poa greens. In reality, his Bermuda stats have been just as strong in 2023, gaining strokes putting in four of his last five Bermuda events.
This week, Clark ranks No. 3 in my model and top 10 in the key stat categories of SG: APP, SG: ARG, Par-5 Scoring, and Prox 175+. With four top 10 finishes over the last nine months, Clark continues to trend towards his first career PGA TOUR victory. He will be on my betting card when odds are released on Monday.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT 2023 VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP
At last year’s Valspar, I went all-in on Justin Thomas on a short card as the odds-on favorite. In true JT fashion, he led the field from tee to green, but a cold putter held him one stroke short of the playoff between Burns and Riley. With no signs of improvement with the putter a year later, Thomas will likely be left off my card in 2023. It’ll be interesting to track whether Sam Burns can pull off the three-peat this year for the first time since Steve Stricker at the 2011 John Deere Classic.
With all the course fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool for DFS. Naturally, I’m looking their way in Valspar Championship odds, as well. It’s broken down by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings:
For my model in Fantasy National this week, I’m prioritizing SG: APP, SG: ARG, Comp Course History, Par-5 Scoring, and Prox 175+, followed by a more balanced mix of SG: P (L36, Bermuda), Par-3 Scoring, Good Drives Gained, SG: OTT, and Scrambling Gained.
Ben Griffin continues to appear in my week-to-week modeling. After yet another top showing at THE PLAYERS, he claims the No. 1 overall spot in my model. Griffin has been solid across the board his rookie season, but has looked especially strong on positional Bermuda courses. He has three top-15 finishes already at the Wyndham Championship, Bermuda Championship, and Sony Open. Top 10 in Comp Course History, SG: T2G, Bermuda Putting, and Scrambling Gained, Griffin will be a name to consider when Valspar Championship odds open Monday.
After Griffin, my model’s top 10 is rounded out by: Tommy Fleetwood, Wyndham Clark, Matthew NeSmith, Adam Hadwin, Keegan Bradley, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Erik Barnes.
When odds open Monday, I’ll be eying Wyndham Clark, Adam Hadwin, Ben Griffin, and Tommy Fleetwood. Thanks for reading and good luck with your 2023 Valspar Championship bets!