PGA Golf Picks: The John Deere Classic
Event: The John Deere Classic
Date: July 12-15, 2018
Course: TPC Deere Run – Silvis, IL
TV: The GOLF Channel/CBS
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
The summer temps are hot, and so is the race to the end of the PGA season. Most of the big dogs are already prepping for Carnoustie, but the Tour heads to the Midwest this week for the John Deere Classic. The Deere has been one of the biggest birdie-fests on Tour in recent years with several shootouts taking place at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Bryson DeChambeau broke through to win the 2017 Deere, and he is back to defend his title against a mid-level but highly motivated field. Exemptions for the British Open are still out there, and there are only a few regular season events left before the cut is made for the playoffs. Francesco Molinari, fresh off a win at the Quicken Loans National, leads the list of favorites with former champs Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker among those seeing a lot of betting action. There have been multiple two-time winners of the Deere, including Jordan Spieth, so watch for DeChambeau to have a solid chance to make it back-to-back victories.
TPC Deere Run is a relative newcomer to the Tour, but the Land of Lincoln gem has hosted this event since 2000. The 7,268 yard, par-71 course is an aesthetical masterpiece with the design highlighting the natural state of the rolling property. There are plenty of trees lining the fairways and a fair share of sand and water to play around, but this course has little defense against Tour-level competitors. Paul Goydos fired a course record 59 here in 2010, and every winner of the Deere has hit the 16-under mark with most winning totals closer to 20-under par. The tournament record is 26-under, and there is not much chance that anything is different this year. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s through tournament week with storms potentially moving through on the weekend. The course will need to be kept watered to handle that heat, leading to receptive greens and any rain only adding to soft conditions. Without traditionally tough roughs or demanding length, Deere Run will be under fire, and the end result may be more of a putting contest than anything else.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best values on the board. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and break down a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at any golf betting outlet. Here are our picks to win the 2018 John Deere Classic.
Ryan Moore (20 to 1 odds to win)
Moore has been relatively quiet this season, but he does have eight top-25 finishes and four top-10s in just sixteen starts. He has been inside the top-15 in two of the last three weeks and had a T7 at Deere Run in 2014 to go along with his 2016 win here. Moore enters the week third in fairways hit and is 13th in overall tee-to-green performance. He isn’t a world class putter but has done well enough on the greens to produce the 17th ranked scoring average despite being outside the top-100 in birdies per round. He limits mistakes well as a top-5 scrambler and simply gets the most out of his rounds. That is an important factor in a shootout as trading birdies and bogeys is a lousy way to go about trying to keep up when that pace quickens. He has the general and course-specific experience to do well and should be a factor if his putting is on point.
Wesley Bryan (40 to 1)
I think the books missed Bryan this week and this might be the very best value on the board as Wes has T8 and T3 finishes in his two career Deere starts. Bryan has only been on Tour for two seasons, so his immediate success at this event is a clear sign that he is comfortable at Deere Run. Half of his rounds here have been at 67 or better, and that shouldn’t be ignored. Bryan has not missed a cut since May, and his 23rd ranked proximity stat (distance from the hole after approach) leaves him makeable putts. The putter has come through most of the season with top-20 marks in putting average on greens hit, overall putting average and one-putts. There is no chance to do well here without a strong week on the greens, and that should be Bryan’s most significant advantage over the field.
Joel Dahmen (80 to 1)
Dahmen is just figuring out how to be a pro on Tour, but he really impressed me with his ability to keep things together at the Quicken Loans while paired with Tiger Woods on the weekend. He is a solid ball striker and has six top-25 finishes since the start of May, including a T5 last week. There are not a lot of standout stats for Joel, but he sneaks in the top-40 in fairways and scrambling. He is top-60 in greens and scoring so while nothing jumps off the page at you from strokes gained perspective, he is not specifically weak in any category either. He will need an improved week on the greens if he is going to push for his first win but he has been putting well over the last month, and there is nothing about the Deere Run greens that should push him off that positive trend.
Picks to win based on the predicted score after all four rounds. Check with BetOnline for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Francesco Molinari v. Zach Johnson (pick to win: Johnson)
Molinari is fresh on everyone’s mind after winning his first PGA event in the states at the high profile Quicken Loans National. That recognition will carry him to the favorite status in many of his head-to-heads this week, but Zach Johnson has nearly owned this event in recent years. He has a win here in 2012 as part of seven career top-5 Deere finishes, and he has broken par in each of his last 37 rounds at Deere Run. Molinari is 2nd in tee-to-green performance, but Johnson is strong there as well. Zach is the better putter of the two and has a lot more course-specific knowledge here, and that is huge. Franky is going to be a trendy pick through the late going, but Zach is 2-0 head-to-head against Molinari in the last two events where they both played. If they both put up a B+ effort, Johnson should win a close one based on his record at this event.
Brian Gay v. Chris Kirk (pick to win: Kirk)
Gay is an obvious fit for this course, but Kirk is as well in a much more low-key way. There is a lot about Kirk’s game that is low-key, and that is one of the main reasons he goes overlooked as a potential money-maker in week-to-week betting. Kirk is coming off a bit of a break, but he entered his vacation well with a T6 at the St. Judes. Gay is a little more accurate off the tee and statistically stronger on the greens, but both players arrive at nearly the same scoring average. A more in-depth look at that has Kirk ranked higher in overall performance off the tee and from tee-to-green. Both are strong recovery players, but Chris makes fewer mistakes as his scoring average is better than his raw birdie rate would suggest. I like guys that grind out every stroke of every round in head-to-heads as they never beat themselves. This one should be close, but Kirk has the higher ceiling with roughly the same floor.
Good luck and good golf!