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Handicapping

The John Deere Classic Predictions

Event: The John Deere Classic
When: July 13-16, 2017
Where: TPC Deere Run Ė Silvis, IL
TV:The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com

Every week is a big week on the PGA Tour. Sure, some are much bigger than others, but each tournament is important in its own way, especially when you are talking about what a Tour win brings to the event champion. The John Deere Classic is on tap this week from Silvis, Illinois and the winner a cool million dollars but also gets champion status which means an invite to both Opens and next yearís Masters. A TOC invite is also a nice bonus if you think Hawaii in January sounds nice and given that this field is full of young players and greybeard vets, a win is probably a huge boost to a fledgling or expiring career. Most of the big names on Tour will be prepping for the British Open and Deere Run is not a good analog for that so the Deere Classic does feature one of the weakest fields on Tour. So, while you will not see a lot of your favorite players on TV this week, you will see a birdie-fest as this tournament features one of the fastest scoring paces of any Tour stop.

Zach Johnson along with former Deere champs Ryan Moore and Steve Stricker highlight this American heavy field. Only Vijay Singh and John Senden have won as international players since moving to Deere Run in 2000 so the chances of another U.S. winner are pretty good. Bubba Watson looks to get it going as well with Daniel Berger and Charley Hoffman also thought to contend. Watch out for a tremendous amount of birdies as Deere Run has given up a 59 in previous competition with Steve Stricker holding the tournament scoring record at 26-under par. The winning total has been as low as 16-under since moving to Deere Run but a score of at least 19-under has been necessary in 12 of the last 17 championships. The 7,268 yard, par-71 layout is an eye-catcher with some of the best use of natural features on any Midwest course but there really isnít much in the way of defense on this track. Players will have to putt well to keep pace but the entire field is going to see birdie chance after birdie chance on this benign and straightforward course.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight who we think are the best bets. We make some picks to win and break down a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at Bovada Sportsbook (50% bonus up to $250 FREE and your credit card will work there!) . Here are our picks to win the 2017 John Deere Classic.

Jamie Lovemark (33 to 1 odds to win)

Lovemark has put together a solid couple years on Tour but is still looking for that elusive Tour win. He has missed just one cut since March of this season and has fared well with a T6 at the Memorial and a T3 last week since. He is ranked in that mid-range (20th-60th) in just about everything including off-the-tee performance, tee-to-green rank, scoring average and scrambling to make for a well-rounded stat sheet, even if there are no true standout metrics. That versatility will serve him well at a course that will require a little flexibility through the week. His putting average is middle-of-the-road at 71st overall but that is probably good enough against this field to keep pace in a shootout. He will be one of the longest players in the field this week and should have an advantage in attacking a relatively short course.

Bubba Watson (40 to 1)

There is no doubt about it, Bubba is struggling. He only missed one cut in all of 2016 but has missed four this season just since March. He also has a T5 in New Orleans and a T6 at the Memorial sprinkled in so the ceiling is still there despite the floor falling out more often that he would like. Iím not sure what the catalyst will be for him to return to Major-winning form but it does not appear to be between the ears as he is certainly not pressing based on his social media posts. Maybe he is just enjoying life a little too much to grind it out on the range but I do think he can win here based on raw talent. He is 13th in driving distance, 13th in total driving and 2nd on Tour in distance off the tee on all drives, not just measure ones. He can overwhelm this course but he will need a big turnaround week with the irons and the putter if he is going to win but I think he can do that. I know he can work the ball with the best in this field and that should help him get set up with makeable putts. He will have to put it all together to win a score fest but I think he gets on a roll and keeps his name on the front page all week.

William McGirt (50 to 1)

I think it is safe to say that a player has the goods when they win at Jackís Place and that is what McGirt did last year. He is still a bit of a boom-or-bust kind of guy but I think it could be a boom week for him. He has put together nice showings at the Masters and Players this year so a weaker field really floats his boat. He is 8th in fairways hit so look for him in the short stuff and able to control the approaches. He isnít too shabby into the greens either at 29th in GIR% but he tends to lose strokes to the field with the putter. He will need a plus week with that flat stick but he is not afraid to go low and would be a nice payday should be able to net his second career Tour win.

Head-to-Head Matches

Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with 5Dimes Sportsbook for the best array of single round matches and a the best variety of prop bets.

Steve Stricker v. Kyle Stanley (pick to win: Stanley)

There is some nervousness here with this pick even though Stanley has the right kind of statistical advantages and has a recent win at the Quicken Loans Invitational. That nervousness stems from Strickerís career record at Deere Run, a record that saw him win three years in a row from 2009-2011 and set scoring records along the way. Kyle is 2nd on Tour in greens hit, 5th in tee-to-green performance and 5th in scoring average. Stricker has really nice showings at the Masters and U.S. Open to lean on and has been strong in his Champions Tour play but I am going with youth over experience in what should be a close match.

Brian Harman v. Daniel Berger (pick to win: Harman)

There is not a lot of flash in either manís game but both are rock solid competitors that should perform well this week. In the absence of that stand out statistical predictor, Harmanís performance on the greens really stands out. He owns a sizeable edge over Berger in GIR putting and overall putting average and would lay a strong claim to being the best putter in this field. Neither player is really gaining ground on the other elsewhere on the stat sheet so, when in doubt, take the better putter. Harmanís runner-up finish at the US Open should be a confidence boost to the rest of his season and he could add to his Wells Fargo win from earlier this year.

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