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2021 Valspar Championship matchups, placings and first-round leader PGA Tour picks

Apr 11, 2021; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Corey Conners plays from the fairway on the first hole during the final round of The Masters golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) in Palm Harbor, Florida, once again hosts the Valspar Championship after the event was skipped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, we’ll look for the best value prop bets in the 2021 Valspar Championship odds, with matchups, placings and first-round leader PGA Tour picks and predictions.

Paul Casey, who’s ranked No. 25 in the Golfweek/Sagarin world rankings, returns as the two-time defending champ looking for a third straight title at Copperhead. He’ll be challenged by a strong field fronted by Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.

The 2021 PGA Championship is just three weeks away as the second major of the calendar year.

2021 Valspar Championship: Matchups

Odds provided by BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Tuesday at 6:39 p.m. ET.

Justin Thomas vs. Dustin Johnson (-105)

This is a bargain to get Johnson as a slight underdog in the 72-hole matchup. He ranks third in the Golfweek rankings to Thomas’ seventh.

Thomas has the better course history at Copperhead with 1.11 strokes gained per round to Johnson’s 0.43, but Johnson tied for sixth in 2019 and Thomas hasn’t played since missing the cut in 2017.

Also see:

Viktor Hovland vs. Paul Casey (-105)

The reigning champ is an underdog against Hovland, who’s making his tournament debut at Copperhead this week.

Trust in the Englishman’s stronger short game and experience at one of the Tour’s most difficult recurring stops.

Both golfers have four top-10 finishes through nine international events this year, but Casey also won the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

2021 Valspar Championship: Placings

Top 5: Max Homa (+1200)

Homa has climbed to No. 41 in the Official World Golf Ranking this year with a win at The Genesis Invitational and two other top-10 placings at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He has a poor six-round sample of experience at Copperhead but has played here just once since 2015. His iron play has been excellent all year, and he has had success at other difficult courses with his PGA Tour wins at Quail Hollow and Riviera.

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Top South American: Joaquin Niemann (+110)

This may be the strongest play on the board this week. Niemann is the top-ranked player in the four-man group at No. 11 in the Golfweek rankings, with Emiliano Grillo (+160) next at No. 47.

The Chilean tied for 37th in his debut at Copperhead in 2019 and leads this group in both SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Tee-to-Green per round for the 2020-21 PGA Tour season.

2021 Valspar Championship: First-round leader

Corey Conners +3000

Conners comes into this event as one of the hottest players in the field. He has four top-10 finishes in 2021, and each of those came within his last six events, including a third-place showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a T-8 finish at the Masters.

He tied for 16th in his lone appearance to date at the Valspar Championship in 2018. He was in contention until a Sunday round of 77.

Conners tees off Thursday morning at 7:39 a.m. ET and will hit the course in ideal conditions.

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