Valspar Championship predictions, odds 2021: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed picks from PGA expert

The PGA Tour returns to the Innisbrook Resort for the 2021 Valspar Championship on Thursday after a one-year hiatus, and the Copperhead Course is ready to strike. The course plays as one of the toughest on tour, and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and second-ranked Justin Thomas will take center stage. They are two of the elite golfers choosing this event for their preparation for the PGA Championship in three weeks, while others are opting for next week’s Wells Fargo Championship. Paul Casey has won the event the past two times, and he returns to attempt a three-peat. 

William Hill Sportsbook lists Justin Thomas as the 9-1 favorite in its latest 2021 Valspar Championship odds, followed by Dustin Johnson at 10-1. Among the other contenders in the 2021 Valspar Championship field are Corey Conners (20-1), Patrick Reed (20-1) and Casey (22-1). Before you lock in any 2021 Valspar Championship picks or PGA Tour predictions, you need to see who Sal Johnson is backing

A media legend and consummate golf insider, Johnson has a strong feel for what it takes to win on the Copperhead Course. He noted Casey among his top contenders before both of his victories, even though he had missed the cut his two previous tries and never finished higher than T-42 before 2018.

“On paper, this should be a good course for him, but he has a dismal record,” Johnson said before the 2018 event. “So the question is, can he buck the trend and play well this week.”

The Englishman went out and shot 6-under par, scorching the course with a 65 in the final round, to beat Patrick Reed by a stroke. In 2019, he went 8-under to defend his title.

The golf expert knows these players and how they fit the courses. Before Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters two weeks ago, Johnson made special mention of Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris as golfers to watch. 

He listed Spieth and Schauffele in his top three contenders and had Zalatoris as his top rookie. Zalatoris nearly caught Matsuyama and finished as runner-up, while Spieth and Schauffele tied for third. 

He also knows when surging players are poised for a breakthrough. He tabbed Sungjae Im as a top contender before his first PGA Tour win at the Honda Classic last season, then touted Tyrrell Hatton before he got his first tour victory the following week. Anyone who has followed Johnson’s advice has cashed in huge.

Now Johnson, the first producer of “Inside the PGA Tour,” a longtime ABC Sports golf producer who worked with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, and the founder of the world’s top golf stats database, has released his highly confident 2021 Valspar Championship picks, and they will surprise you. You can only see them here.

Top 2021 Valspar Championship expert picks

Shockingly, the golf expert is slightly fading Thomas, even though he is the top pick of oddsmakers. The golf expert knows the 27-year-old is playing well, but he doesn’t have a great history at Valspar and isn’t listed among Johnson’s favorites to win. There are several other players in the 2021 Valspar Championship field with the skills required to succeed at Copperhead, so Johnson is going in a different direction.

On the other hand, the golf expert knows Johnson is itching to break out of his funk before the PGA Championship. The two-time major winner hasn’t finished in the top 10 since mid-February but is tough to beat when he catches fire. From the WGC-St. Jude in August 2020 through the Genesis in February, he went 11 straight events finishing no worse than T-12. That included three runner-up finishes and two wins, including the Masters at a record 20 under. He still ranks fourth on tour in scoring average (69.805) and is sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green.    

Johnson also knows the volatile Reed is at his best when presented with a challenge, and Copperhead will oblige. The former Masters champion tied for eighth at Augusta in his last event, and he won the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He missed the cut at Innisbrook in 2019 but has two runner-up finishes and another top-10 in six tries. The 30-year-old is second in strokes gained: putting, a critical stat on the tricky greens on this course, and he is eighth in strokes gained: total. He gets off the green in one putt almost 46 percent of the time, ranking first.

How to make 2021 Valspar Championship predictions

This week, Johnson is also touting a huge long shot who is fetching triple-digit odds. This golfer has a history of streaky play and is in the midst of a red-hot run, and he could pull off a stunning victory this week. You can only see who it is here.

Who wins the Valspar Championship 2021? Where do Johnson and Thomas finish? And which long shot is a must-back? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson’s full leaderboard, picks and analysis for the 2021 Valspar Championship, all from the insider who was all over Paul Casey’s run in 2018.

2021 Valspar Championship odds 

Justin Thomas 9-1
Dustin Johnson 10-1
Corey Conners 20-1
Patrick Reed 20-1
Paul Casey 22-1
Viktor Hovland 22-1
Tyrrell Hatton 28-1
Scottie Scheffler 28-1
Russell Henley 30-1
Abraham Ancer 30-1
Sungjae Im 30-1
Louis Oosthuizen 30-1
Jason Kokrak 33-1
Joaquin Niemann 33-1
Bubba Watson 40-1
Justin Rose 40-1
Cameron Tringale 40-1
Charley Hoffman 45-1
Kevin Na 50-1
Chris Kirk 50-1
Emiliano Grillo 50-1
Ryan Palmer 50-1
Kevin Streelman 66-1
Max Homa 66-1
Kevin Kisner 66-1
Lucas Glover 70-1
Keegan Bradley 70-1
Sam Burns 70-1
Talor Gooch 70-1
Gary Woodland 70-1
Denny McCarthy 80-1
Cameron Davis 80-1
Charles Howell 80-1
Branden Grace 80-1
Erik Van Rooyen 90-1
Lanto Griffin 90-1
Ian Poulter 90-1
Adam Hadwin 90-1
Danny Willett 100-1
Brandt Snedeker 100-1
Phil Mickelson 100-1
Cameron Champ 100-1
Peter Uihlein 100-1
Matthew NeSmith 100-1
Mackenzie Hughes 100-1
Alex Noren 100-1
Doug Ghim 100-1
Charl Schwartzel 100-1
Sam Horsfield 100-1
J.T. Poston 100-1
Henrik Stenson 100-1

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