2010 John Deere Classic Preview and Picks to Win – Betting Odds

This Week’s Tournament: The John Deere Classic
Dates: July 8th-11th, 2010
Location: TPC Deere Run – Silvis, IL
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Professional Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com

With only one week remaining before the British Open, many PGA pros are already overseas to get some in some prep work but the rest are in Illinois for the John Deere Classic. Steve Stricker is back to defend his 2009 Deere crown against a field that is missing most star players but will feature popular vets like Zach Johnson and rising youngsters like Rickie Fowler. A win at the Deere will punch a ticket for St. Andrews for anyone not already qualified and there will be plenty of shots of the charter flight on the tarmac awaiting the final players making the late trip across the pond.

The TPC Deere Run is Midwest golf at its best with a mixture of winding, tree-lined fairways and mounded greens that are often guarded by a slew of bunkers. Ballstriking is important on this 7,258 yard, par-71 course with accurate players typically faring better than the bombers on Tour. Deere Run isn’t exactly the toughest test in the PGA rotation, ranking near the bottom in terms of difficulty, but correct positioning on the fairways and greens is necessary to make birdies.

Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think will contend for the win. We’ll make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our predictions for the 2010 John Deere Classic.

Short Favorite: Zach Johnson (16 to 1 odds to win)
Its hard to get much better than Johnson when you’re looking for accuracy. Zach is 9th in fairways hit coming into the week and is solid across the board with top-40 ranks in total driving, putting and birdie average and overall ballstriking. There hasn’t been much of note for Zach other than his win at the Crowne Plaza, but he has only missed two cuts and his T2 at last year’s Deere is a good sign that Deere Run is in his wheelhouse.

Middle of the Road: Tim Clark (18 to 1 odds to win)
The PLAYERS Champ is one of the most talented ballstrikers in the field this week and has done well here before with a runner-up finish in 2007. Clark ranks third in fairways hit and bookends that well with a 4th ranked putting average so birdies shouldn’t be a problem this week. Tim’s scoring average is much better than his birdie average so he knows how to avoid the big mistake which comes in handy on a course with one less par-5 than usual. Clarkwas solid enough across the board to win the PLAYERS but also ran T2 at the shootout Hope Classic, so there really isn’t anywhere he can’t contend.

Longshot: Bubba Watson (28 to 1 odds to win)
Bubba is only two weeks removed from his breakout win at the Travelers which gave him three top-3 finishes on the 2010 season. Bubba is nearly the longest driver on Tour and while he doesn’t hit many fairways, Deere Run can be had with the bomb and gouge philosophy. Watson is currently 1st in birdie average, par breakers and birdie or better percentage so it looks like avoiding the big mistake will be the key for Bubba here. For being such a big hitter, Watson mixes in a strong overall game with top-10 ranks in GIR% and putting average so a run of a few wins could be in the near future.

Head to Head Matches (our pick) *matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite offshore book for single round matches and prop bets.

Jeff Overton (-115) v. Rickie Fowler (-115) (Overton)
Fowler is the likely rookie of the year for 2010 but Overton is the pick here based on a hot putter. Overton is a top-10 putter while Fowler has dipped outside the top-120 in that category with Overton also owning an edge in birdie and scoring averages.

Chad Campbell (-115) v. Charlie Wi (-115) (Wi)
Neither player has had the type of statistical year that they would have hoped, but Wi has managed to log the 27th best scoring average on Tour while Campbell is outside the top-60. Charlie makes the most ground with the putter as Chad has really struggled on the greens and comes into the week at 156th for putting average. When in doubt, take the better putter, period.

Good Luck!