John Deere Classic Predictions
Dates: July 9-12, 2015
Course: TPC Deere Run Silvis, IL
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Betting Handiacpper, Predictem.com
It has been an interesting week in the world of golf. Tiger is good again, sort of. Bubba is re-painting the General Lee and Rory hurt himself playing soccer of all things, further proving that nothing good comes from futbol. Jordan Spieth is primed to take over the #1 player rank and the British Open is right around the corner. An interesting week, indeed. Before the PGA Tour heads across the pond however, there is one more stop to make here in the states.
The John Deere Classic is the final tournament before St. Andrews takes center stage and this plucky little Tour event doesnt even seem to mind its rather unenviable spot on the PGA schedule. TPC Deere Run has been involved with the Tour since the early 1970s but it has only been since 1999 that those little tractors have been used as tee blocks. This event is always light on star power as the top pros understandably head to Europe rather than play a low-level stop in mid-America. That lack of big names aside, this tournament has proven to be great theater over the years and John Deere even charters a jet to the British Open for those that are willing to stay and play. Jordan Spieth is one of those that will take on Deere Run, a nod to his first PGA win coming here in 2013. Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker and defending champ Brian Harman also tangle in search of another Deere crown and one seat is reserved on that jet if someone who isnt Open qualified comes out of this field with a win.
TPC Deere Run isnt a typical PGA Tour monster course, in fact, the 7,268-yard, par-71 can play even shorter than the listed yardage. No matter how long or short this course plays, there will be birdies, and lots of them. Deere Run is routinely one of the fastest scoring tournaments on the schedule and you have to go back to 1996 to find a winning total of less than 16-under par. The winner has been at least 20-under on six occasions since then and Steve Stricker finished a record 26-under during his 2010 win. Paul Goydos fired a 59 during that year but couldnt turn that into a win and Stricker claimed his second of three consecutive Deere victories. The course is pretty straightforward, even as it winds and meanders through a scenic Midwest river valley. Players will need straight drives instead of long ones and a hot putter is necessary to keep with the scoring pace. A three or four-under par day might be nice during other Tour weeks but players will routinely need to be around 65 to hang in this one.
Each week, we take a look at the wagering opportunities and highlight the players that we think are good bets to win. We make some picks to win the event and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at 5Dimes. Here are our picks to win the 2015 John Deere Classic.
Kevin Kisner (14 to 1 odds to win)
Spieth is a low-value 3 to 1 to win and betting the favorite in golf is essentially a hedge bet so we are taking Kisner as our lead dog for the second week in a row. He nearly paid last week but fell to 0-3 in playoffs for this season alone and broke some betting hearts in the process. Hes clearly coming on of late with four top-5 finishes in his last eight starts and another weak field should make for an easier path to cashing in a win. Kisner is 18thin fairways hit, 36thin overall ballstriking and 12thin scrambling. He has the tools to be in position to score and his 30thranked total putter should be good enough to hang with the scoring pace. The winner here is often the guy that gets hot for four days. No one has been hotter than Kisner over the last few weeks outside of Spieth so there really isnt a negative to point to.
Steve Stricker (30 to 1)
Stricker is a three-time champ here, winning from 2009-2011 and he went about 1000-under par over that run. He has played sparingly this year after early back issues but he is playing for the second week in a row so the health must be in good order to allow that. He did miss the cut at the Greenbrier but did not play poorly, going 1-under and just missing the weekend. I doubt anyone knows this course, especially these greens, as well as Stricker and he will have plenty of goodwill as an Illini alum. Even with limited starts, Strick has managed to hit both fairways and greens at a 65% or better clip and that combo stat is one of the better predictors of scoring than any on Tour. He is averaging nearly 3.5 birdies per round on courses much tougher than this and he is averaging a one-putt on 40% of his holes. He can putt and no one has more Deere street-cred than Stricker.
Jhonatton Vegas (110 to 1)
In the interest of full disclosure, I feelJhonny V should be bet every week provided you are actually in Las Vegas for the course of the tournament. Superstitions aside, you would have had a fun scare with that tactic last year as Vegas was T3 here and he is the type of player that can make noise in any week provided he is streaking in the right direction.There is no doubt of his hit-or-miss ways, just see the 66/65 start to last week that he followed up with a 76. He came back to fire a 67 on Sunday, so you get the picture. Vegas is one of the longest players on Tour and one of the few that still averages 300 yards on all drives, not just the handpicked ones the PGA uses to establish driving averages. That length has helped him to a top-10 in eagles this season and his putting is better from a lagging perspective but he can score with the best when he is making birdies. He is a longshot for sure but this event has been kind to relative unknowns for a long time.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds, check out Bovada Sportsbook for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Jordan Spieth v. Zach Johnson (pick to win: Johnson)
Spieth is the clear favorite to win every match-up but there is a case to be made that he isnt a great play this week. Does he really want to be here? Maybe. Im sure he has tremendous feelings towards the home of his first PGA Tour win but human nature dictates he is looking past this week to the British Open and a potential third straight Major title. Zach is a former Deere champ and has the no-nonsense game to tackle Deere Run. Johnson owns a fairways hit advantage and his putter is way better than advertised, especially on a favored course. Spieth is special but Johnson is the tireless grinder that wants every week just as bad as the next. Youll find Zach at even money or better so the value is with him as well.
Ryan Moore v. Robert Streb (pick to win: Streb)
Under many circumstances this week, you should take the more accurate driver in a head to head as length means nothing but Im taking Streb this week even though Moore has the fairway advantage. Streb is in the rough more but still finds the greens at a higher clip and has better ballstriking and putting numbers. Strebs wedge-putting showed how pure his stroke is and he is the better scorer of these two despite Moore making slightly more birdies per round. Strebs length advantage wont likely count for much this week but I do expect his superior ballstriking to pay dividends and put him ahead in this match.
Good luck and good golf!