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 longshot bets for the 2021 Valspar Championship:
Keegan Bradley (+8000)
At this price, Bradley is borderline for what I’d consider a sleeper, but it’s also too tantalizing to neglect him in this spot. Coming off a top-five alongside Brendan Steele in the Zurich Classic, he also has finishes of 23rd-30th-29th-10th in his last four individual starts. Always an elite-level ball-striker, there are reports out of Camp Keegan that his oft-balky putting stroke is much improved recently.
And if you’re playing him outright at this number, one of the best things about betting Bradley is that he knows how to win, with a major, WGC and FedEx Cup playoff event among his four career titles. I have a feeling we won’t see him at these odds for much longer, so jump on ‘em while you still can.
Tom Lewis (+19000)
I’ll take a shot on Tom Lewis at a huge number. The Englishman is a proven winner on both the European and Korn Ferry Tour, so this would be a big next step, but Lewis has been stringing cuts together as well, making five in a row, and he’s coming off an eighth-place finish last week at Zurich with Thomas Pieters.
Lewis’ approach game has been dialed in for a couple of months now and he finally gained strokes with the putter for the first time in six months at the Heritage, so maybe he can put it all together this week at Copperhead.
Doug Ghim (+10000)
I keep coming back to this spot, but I still believe we are due for a breakthrough win from Doug Ghim before this season ends. He has played fantastic golf this year, and just needs a little work closing out on the weekend.
Ghim continued that impressive play last week at the Zurich, partnering with another young player in Justin Suh, and they were able to keep pace throughout before finishing in a tie for 11th.
Ghim rates out well for me again this week at Valspar, and has shown the ability to play well on tough tracks like the one that will challenge him this week at the Copperhead Course.
He ranks as one of the top players for me in bogey avoidance, which is one of the key statistical categories this week, and lines up for a longshot that has a chance to be in contention throughout the weekend.
Gary Woodland (+7000)
A golfer who has flashed some recent signs of life after a difficult stretch, Gary Woodland has shown a propensity to play well in events where less than driver can be taken off the tee, and Copperhead is one of those courses. As we saw at the 2019 U.S. Open, Gary is extremely effective when he can take a 3 wood out of the bag and put the ball in the fairway.
Woodland showed some flashes of form at Valero where he gained 9.6 strokes from tee to green on his way to a 6th place finish. If something clicked in Texas that week, this number has extraordinary value.
Kevin Na (+6000)
Very quietly Na has now won four times in his past 55 starts, which is something not many other people on the planet can say. He’s also posted at least one win in each of the past four PGA TOUR seasons. The only other golfers to accomplish this feat are Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau, just to show what type of company he’s now finding himself in.
Na is coming off a dreadful performance at the RBC Heritage, but prior to that finished T-12 at the Masters and a T-11 at the WGC Workday at Concession. Na’s history at Innisbrook is strong as he has a T-10 and a runner-up finish to his name.
Na, much like Patrick Reed won’t show up on models or rank highly in Strokes Gained numbers too often, but they both boast elite short games and have shown to be stone cold closers when it matters most. Getting 60/1 here presents insane value.
Emiliano Grillo (+6000)
He’s as short as +4500 at DraftKings, so he’s a no-brainer at FanDuel’s value. Plain and simple, Grillo’s putting has turned a corner for which we were waiting for far too long, but he hasn’t relented with his tee-to-green proficiency.
He has a PGA TOUR victory – just one and it was way back in the fall of 2015 – but he was beaten by only one in his last start at Harbour Town, which piggybacked a T6 in his previous start at Corales.
Doug Ghim (+10000)
If golf was a game purely based on how well you could hit the ball with a full swing, Doug Ghim would be up there with the best. In the last 24 rounds, Ghim ranks ninth in Fairways gained, 11th in Good drives gained, and 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach in this field. The man is a ball-striking machine, who is set up perfectly to compete on a track like Innisbrook.
Unfortunately for Doug, putting accounts for nearly 40% of a golfer’s score in a given round, and he is a very bad putter. In the last five events, he has lost 16 strokes putting to the field… SIXTEEN! The good news is that putting is the most volatile statistic in all of golf. One little tweak here or there can totally change a golfer’s confidence on the greens in a given week.
If he can somehow find a way to gain strokes putting, he can definitely win this event. At +10000, I think that is worth a sprinkle.
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