Valspar Championship betting guide: 5 picks our gambling expert loves

Justin Thomas of the United States plays a shot from the 13th tee during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship at Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 15, 2024 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Our expert likes Justin Thomas' prospects this week.

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Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from’s expert prognosticator Brady Kannon. A seasoned golf bettor and commentator, Kannon is a regular guest on SportsGrid, a syndicated audio network devoted to sports and sport betting. You can follow on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer, and you can read his picks below for the Valspar Championship, which gets underway Thursday in Palm Harbor, Fla. Along with Kannon’s recommended plays, you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that features a range of games with enticing prizes, giving fans all kinds of ways to engage in the action without risking any money.

The final stop on the PGA Tour’s 2024 Florida Swing takes place this week in Palm Harbor in what will be the 24th edition of the Valspar Championship. As in every year of its existence, the Valspar will once again be played at the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, famous for its three finishing holes, known as “The Snake Pit.”

It has been two straight weeks on Tour now that the shortest-priced player on the odds board (Scottie Scheffler) has gone on to win. But 16-1 is the shortest price I’m taking this week, as maybe we are due for a longer-shot winner again, like we saw in the first nine weeks of the season.

2024 Valspar Championship odds: Defending champion is our long-shot pick
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The Copperhead Course is a very challenging par 71 that stretches to over 7,300 yards. It really does not have the look of a “Florida course” as it features narrow fairways lined with pine trees, undulation, and elevation changes. Similar to last week at The Players, ball-striking, precision iron play, hitting greens in regulation, and the short game will be key to success this week. Over the last eight editions of the Valspar Championship, the average winning score has been less than 12 under par.

Players will use a number of different clubs off the tee this week because accuracy and position off the tee is crucial. There are five par 3s with distances ranging from 190 to more than 200 yards. This boils down to over half of the approach shots taken this week coming from the neighborhood of 175-200 yards. Hole Proximity from this distance was a key area of focus for me this week as well as Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Around the Green, Good Drives Gained, Greens in Regulation Gained, Scrambling, and SG: Putting (Bermudagrass). 

Courses with similar layouts and skill set requirements to the Copperhead Course are: Sea Island, where they play the RSM Classic, Muirfield Village (the Memorial), TPC Twin Cities (3M Open), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), TPC Southwind, which now holds a leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and Harbour Town, where they play the RBC Heritage.

I’ve landed on five players this week and played them each for both an outright win and a top-20 finish. It was in this column last season that we correctly tipped Taylor Moore. Let’s see if the Valspar Championship can be kind to us once again in 2024.

Justin Thomas (16-1)

I feel like we are maybe getting a little better price here than we would normally, off of Thomas’ missed cut last week at the Players. What is lost in that however, is the fact that JT was gaining over 4.5 strokes on the field last week for SG: Approach before packing his bags for the weekend. It was the short game that let him down. He’s always been excellent around the greens and in fact, ranks 11th in this field over the last 36 rounds for SG: Around the Green. If his iron play continues to be on point, I believe he’ll contend here once again — at an event in which he owns three top-10 finishes and two top-20s. Leading up to the Players, his form was quite good, with four top-12 finishes in five starts. As far as the correlated courses, he has a win at TPC Southwind and a runner up at Muirfield Village, as well as top-10 finishes at Harbour Town and TPC Deere Run.

Doug Ghim (46-1)

The former star at University of Texas continues to pop in the stats when it comes to ball-striking courses and it has paid off for Ghim, specifically at the Players, where he now has three top-30 finishes in four tries, including a 16th-place finish last week. For example, Ghim’s rank in the field this week over the last 36 rounds is eighth for SG: Off the Tee and SG: Approach. He’s 12th in Greens in Regulation Gained and 23rd in SG: Around the Green. He’s top-30 in just about every stat I considered this week. The form is on too as he comes into this week with five straight top-16 finishes this season.

Doug Ghim played to the crowd at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open. Getty Images

Andrew Putnam (70-1)

Off of his eighth-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, we were on Putnam last week at TPC Sawgrass where he got off to a good start but faded over the weekend into a 53rd place finish. Oddly enough, it was with the putter where he lost over three strokes to the field last week — but yet is ranked 14th in this field over the last 36 rounds for SG: Putting (Bermudagrass). So I am going to back him again at another course that makes sense for his strengths. Putnam is No. 1 in this field for Greens in Regulation Gained and is second in Good Drives Gained. He ranks 10th in Scrambling and 20th for SG: Approach — all over the last 36 rounds. He owns top-5 finishes at TPC Southwind and Muirfield Village and top-12 finishes at Sea Island and TPC Southwind. Despite last week being somewhat disappointing, he has still only missed one cut in eight starts this season. 

Sam Ryder (95-1)

Like Ghim, Ryder also recorded a 16th place finish last week at TPC Sawgrass, where he gained strokes on the field in nearly every category. He began the Florida Swing with a 21st-place finish at the Cognizant Classic. Ryder has finished seventh at both Muirfield Village and TPC Twin Cities. He has a runner-up finish at the John Deere Classic, a 13th at Sea Island, and has a top-20 to his name here at the Valspar Championship. Over the last 36-rounds, he ranks fourth in this field for SG: Approach and is second in Hole Proximity from 175-200 yards.

Lee Hodges (125-1)

What impresses me about Hodges is how he has done on ball-striking type courses this season and done so against “Signature” status fields. He finished 24th at the Genesis Invitational, 12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and 35th last week at the Players. Against a field much lighter in star-power this week, I like his chances to shine. Growing up in Alabama and playing collegiately for the Crimson Tide, he is very familiar with the Bermudagrass surfaces and that showed up last week where he gained nearly four strokes on the field with the putter. He won last season at TPC Twin Cities, has a 13th-place finish at TPC Southwind, and a 12th-place finish at the Memorial. The timing might be right for Hodges to win on Tour again.

Who Chirp users like this week

Chirp users’ picks for the Valspar Championship. Chirp

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