Valspar Championship: Rose the Value Pick in Weakened Field
After an intense few weeks of action on the PGA Tour, we have a slightly subdued field this week for the Valspar Championship down in Florida. Jordan Spieth is here while Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods return to action but there’s no Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas or World Number One Dustin Johnson.
The form horse and most recent tour winner Phil Mickelson is also missing but that does leave us with some top value in a 144-strong set of golfers, many of whom will feel they have good claims this week.
Out in Front
As the highest ranked player left in the field, Jordan Spieth starts as favourite to lift the trophy at best odds of 9/1 with Unibet and BetBright. We know of the American’s credentials but he’s in a barren spell at the moment and is without a win since the Open Championship last July.
With that in mind, 9/1 looks a little short although no-one would rule out a return to form.
With many top Americans sitting this one out, some of Europe’s finest will fancy their chances and we have Rory McIlroy coming in as second favourite at a top price of 29/2 with MarathonBet. Marginally behind is Sergio Garcia at a best of 18/1 with BetFred so clearly there is going to be a strong European challenge down in Florida.
Of those two, Sergio may be the better pick as he’s simply showing better form while Rory, in America at least, has yet to improve on a miserable year in 2017.
We may come back to Garcia but one price that really interests us is the 20/1 from SkyBet next to the name of Justin Rose. The Englishman closed out last season strongly and made a late surge for the Race to Dubai and while 2018 has been slow so far, he will return to form at some point.
Another key indicator is the fact that Rose appears right at the top of the Power Rankings this week. These rankings show whether a player has stats that are relevant to the tournament and the course so the fact that the former US Open Champion is number one for the Valspar backs up our pick.
Tiger’s back and just starting to show some form so it’s interesting to see his win price start to come down. Woods is available in the outrights at best odds of 33/1 with Ladbrokes and BetBright and has reached the point in his comeback where some punters will start to take interest.
Others in a similar price range include the consistent Paul Casey at a top price of 25/1 with bet365 and William Hill and our defending champion Adam Hadwin at a best of 33/1 with Coral and Black Type.
Canadian Hadwin came here as a virtual unknown 12 months ago before taking the title by one shot. He’s not really threatened to repeat that success but a Top Ten finish in Mexico at the weekend shows he’s in decent form and can mount a reasonable defence.
Elsewhere, punters may want to take a look at Webb Simpson who is at a best of 45/1 with 10Bet or Ryan Moore who is a touch shorter at a top price of 40/1 with Sun Bets and Unibet. Moving further down we have two former champions of this event. Luke Donald is available at an unlikely top price of 200/1 with SportingBet while Charl Schwartzel may seem a more logical punt at his best of 66/1 with bet365.
Course Conditions and Other Indicators
As we head down to the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort, we have one of the more testing venues on this tour. Fairways are tight and the greens are tiny targets with lots of punishments waiting for approach shots that go astray.
Added to those factors is a mixed weather forecast with wind on three of the four days so this should really favour those who can keep it tight, low and on course for the heart of the green. Friday’s conditions are set to be fairly benign so that’s where the low scoring will occur but who can capitalise over the four days?
We’re coming back to Justin Rose here for reasons that we’ve already suggested. Those Power Rankings aren’t infallible by any means but they are good indicators on a course that won’t allow anyone with wayward hitting to come through and win.
If you’re not convinced, an Each Way strategy can always be applied but we’re happy to take Rose for the win and add the in-form Sergio Garcia as the Each Way option. In other markets, Paul Casey is always good in the Top Ten section and simply because he has such a high price, Luke Donald could also offer an option for a smaller stake here.
Best Bets for the Valspar Championship 2018
- Justin Rose to win at 20/1 with SkyBet
- Sergio Garcia Each Way at 18/1 with BetFred
- Paul Casey for a Top Ten finish at 12/5 with bet365
- Luke Donald for a Top Ten finish at 20/1 with Unibet