Valspar Championship In-Tournament Picks: Look for Two Ryder Cup Teammates to Make a Charge

Valspar Championship live betting picks and predictions. Andy gives us his in-tournament picks and analysis for the Valspar Championship. Find out who presents the most value at the halfway point.
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Valspar Championship In-Tournament Picks: Look for Two Ryder Cup Teammates to Make a Charge

  • Current Leader: Matthew NeSmith (-14)
  • Round 3 Start Time: 7:55 AM ET
  • Course: The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook
  • Purse: $7,800,000

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Valspar Championship In-Tournament Picks

We've officially reached the midway point of the Valspar Championship, and while this tournament has featured far less chaos than last week, we still have a fascinating leaderboard to dissect. The only place to start is with Matthew NeSmith, who sits atop at 14-under par after firing a second-round 61, tying the tournament record. NeSmith is the only player to make his way through 36 holes at Innisbrook bogey free, and he leads the field in both strokes gained approach and strokes gained tee to green. He can currently be found as high as +500 at BetMGM via the OddsChecker golf grid.

Despite holding a two-stroke lead, oddsmakers are less keen on NeSmith's chances. The current betting favorite is Justin Thomas, who is four strokes back at 10-under par after a second round 66. The 14-time PGA Tour winner can be currently found as high as +350 via the OddsChecker golf grid. We would be remiss not to mention the defending champion, Sam Burns, who is right ahead of Thomas at 11-under par on the leaderboard, and yet just behind him on the odds board. Burns can be found as high as +450 via the OddsChecker golf grid. 201 7 Valspar Champion Adam Hadwin (-12) and three-time PGA Tour winner Scott Stallings (-11) round out the top-five.

Justin Thomas is currently the betting favorite at the Valspar Championship and is one of the best players in the world. He is one to keep an eye on when looking to bet on the first major of the season at Augusta coming this April”.

With great respect to NeSmith and his immaculate play over the last two days, my belief is that Sam Burns still holds the "real lead" at 11-under par. I don't necessarily believe that NeSmith or Hadwin will fully eject, as their charge to the top of the leaderboard was far from a smoke and mirrors performance. NeSmith and Hadwin rank first and second in this field in strokes gained tee to green, and both sit outside of the top-10 in strokes gained putting. Both have both putted well, but their ball-striking is the foundation of their current position. With that being said, NeSmith is still waiting for his first top-five ever on the PGA Tour, and we rarely see a player in his position for the first time close the door.

Hadwin certainly offers more concern, but the 2017 Valspar remains his lone victory, and it's been nearly two years since the Canadian possessed a legitimate chance to win a golf tournament on Sunday. A simple glance at Hadwin's resume displays that he is not the class of player as many in the chase pack. Hadwin's strongest performances include the Fortinet Championship, Rocket Mortgage Classic, Shriner's Hospitals for Childrens Open, 3M Open, and multiple top-fives at the American Express. Yet over the weekend, he will have to contend with the likes of Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen, and Tyrrell Hatton, who have combined for a whopping 59 world-wide wins and four major championships.

The winner will undoubtedly come from that aforementioned group, and every single one of those players are viable options to wager on at the halfway point. In the spirit of this article, I will turn my attention to the players that I believe present the most value, beginning with Tommy Fleetwood. After a second-round 68, the Englishman sits at seven-under par heading into the weekend, and he can be found as high as 50/1 at DraftKings Sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid. I was extremely bullish on Fleetwood's chances pre-tournament, and I feel even better about them now. The five-time European Tour winner is still searching for his first illustrious win on American soil, but back-to-back top-25 finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and PLAYERS Championship lead me to believe he's as close as ever. Since moving full time to Florida, he's continuously thrived during this spot in the schedule. After months of mediocre ball-striking, Fleetwood finally put together his best ball-striking week on American soil since the 2020 Honda Classic. He's been able to carry that form over to this week, ranking seventh in strokes gained approach through 36 holes. When Fleetwood was contending in major championships, he was buoyed by accurate driving and elite long iron play. This is exactly what Innisbrook asks you to do, and I have always felt his best chance for a PGA Tour breakthrough would come on one of these more challenging Florida courses.

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Fleetwood's Ryder Cup teammate and countryman, Tyrrell Hatton, is also on my radar. The seven-time worldwide winner sits at six-under par after back-to-back rounds of 68. The fiery Englishman is also coming off back-to-back strong finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and PLAYERS Championship, and unlike Fleetwood, Hatton possessed a legitimate chance on both Sundays. I was hesitant to back Hatton pre-tournament as the reason for his recent success had everything to do a scorching hot putter. Over the last two weeks, Hatton has gained over 16 strokes putting! While that was certainly an unsustainable pace, the strongest aspect of Hatton's game seems to have returned this week. Through 36 holes, the former Arnold Palmer Invitational winner ranks third in strokes gained approach. Hatton will undeniably need to putt better than field average to play a factor this weekend, but he shouldn't need to rely on it with his approach game firing once again. Hatton can be found as high as 60/1 at DraftKings Sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid.

Valspar Championship Picks

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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