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Handicapping

John Deere Classic Picks

John Deere Classic
When: Aug 11-14, 2016
Where: TPC Deere Run Ė Silvis, IL
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com

As the season draws nearer to the playoffs, the PGA takes on a now-or-never personality for those players looking to make it in the final four weeks. We saw plenty of movers at last weekís Travelers Championship and we should see even more upward mobility at this weekís John Deere Classic. The top-notch Tour names are taking their usual post-Major rests so you get opportunities for the rank-and-file players to rise to the occasion of winning a Tour title. With the Olympics taking even more big names away from the Tour than usual, this event is especially wide open. Jordan Spieth splashed onto the scene with a win here in 2013 and won again last year. He made the decision to not play in the Olympics and has also decided to skip the Deere, essentially to not confuse the reasoning behind the withdrawal from the Rio games. Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson return to Silvis as past champions and they highlight a field ready to put on one of the best scoring shows of the year.

The TPC at Deere Run provides one of the friendliest scoring environments in the entire Tour rotation. The 7,257 yard, par-71 layout is a beautiful piece of Midwest golf architecture but there are basically fourteen birdie opportunities per round. The remaining four holes are brute-strength par-4ís but they serve as mere speedbumps to the birdie-fest that we typically see. Since moving to Deere Run, the winning score has not been less than 16-under par, topping out at 26-under in 2010 as part of Steve Strickerís three-peat. The course is relatively short by Tour standards so most can forget the driver in favor of accurately navigating the winding and tree-lined layout. The greens are receptive and roll true so donít be surprised to see players dropping putts left and right. Donít expect a run-away winner either as thirteen of the last sixteen championships have been decided by a playoff or one-stroke in regulation. Winners can come from deep in the field as well with Spieth carding a 61 on Saturday last year to vault into contention.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best bets. We make some picks to win the tournament and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matchups. Here are our picks to win the 2016 John Deere Classic.

Ryan Moore (22 to 1)
Moore has had a nice year with five top-10 finishes but he is still looking for a win and could get it this week at a place where he is very comfortable. Ryan has made the weekend in his last seven Deere starts and managed a T7 last year. He is 20th in fairways so he should be playing from the short stuff all week and his total putting ranks just outside the top-20, making him one of the better players in the field in terms of those two stats. Winning here is about giving yourself chances often and cashing them in as much as possible and Moore is that kind of player.

Jerry Kelly (40 to 1)
Kelly is a favorite of many Midwest golf fans and should have the crowd support at one of his favorite events. He has three top-10 finishes in his Deere career and is coming off a season-best second place finish at the Travelers. Kelly has talked openly about thinking he can still win on Tour but knows a win is most likely to come at an event like this. He is energized and looking forward to competing on the Senior Tour next season so he has been ramping up his game and it appears to be helping him out on the regular Tour. Kelly is 2nd in fairways, 3rd in scrambling and remains a good putter, especially on familiar grounds. His 93rd ranked scoring average is nothing to write home about but he seldom makes mistakes so he wonít give many back this week and there will be an uptick in birdies for everyone. He thinks he can win here and has been around the block long enough to know how to make the most of good opportunities.

Jamie Lovemark (60 to 1)
To be quite honest, the field for this event is the weakest of 2016. Thatís good for the chances of any one player winning but there are a lot of dart throw picks you can make. Donít sweat it too much though and looking at Lovemarkís season, there is some good reason why he is a little bit better of a dart throw than most. He has five top-10ís on the season and was a playoff runner-up in New Orleans so I think he has enough contending experience to not automatically fold if put in the final group come Sunday. He is one of the longest players in the field and is top-25 in birdie average so this course is at his mercy if he is striping it. Jamie is a good scrambler and is top-30 in overall birdie or better percentage on all holes so he can score no matter the course. Those are all positives in my mind and I think this tournament is going to produce an out-of-the-box winner so Iím loving me some Lovemark.

Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on predicted score for all four rounds. Check with the 5Dimes site for single round matches and prop bets.

Zach Johnson v. Jon Rahm (pick to win: Johnson)
For most fans, Rahm has been an unfamiliar name on leaderboards but one that has been seen quite a bit over the summer. The 21-year old spent most of the last year as the #1 ranked amateur and turned pro after a solid showing at the U.S. Open. He has T2 and T25 finishes in his two professional starts and twice finished in the top-10 playing as an amateur in early season events. He is clearly talented but Iím pumping the breaks on him this week as he is up against one of the best control players on Tour on a control players course. Rahm is longer than Johnson by far and has shown enough in limited action to suggest he can win on Tour but Zach is so much more proven at this point and is a former champ of this event. Deere Run is a course that will tempt the longer players to attack but the better approach is just to play the easiest shot and putt your way to a good score. Heck, Jim Furyk found out you can go insanely low using that formula. I think Johnson knows exactly how to get around here and it is going to be more of a learning experience for Rahm.

Robert Streb v. Brian Harman (pick to win: Harman)
Streb is riding high after a top-10 finish last week but that was his first top-10 of the year and his season has been pretty disappointing overall. Harman isnít killing it either but he returns to the site of his only PGA Tour victory and faces Streb who has zero top-10 finishes on his Deere record. Harman has the edge in fairways hit and putting, producing a better birdie average than Streb. That is the exact formula for this course and Brian is the steadier player as well with the advantage in scrambling. Iím not sure either of these guys is going to be relevant come Sunday afternoon but Harman has the better chance to win this match.

Good luck and good golf!

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