This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
John Deere Classic Betting Preview
The PGA Tour moves to the Midwest for this week's John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in the Quad Cities.
This tournament typically precedes The Open Championship alongside the Scottish Open, but this year it will be played two weeks in advance, as next week's event in Scotland will be considered a PGA Tour stop this time around. The change will not affect the field for the John Deere Classic, though, as this week's tournament follows a stretch of notable events. The group of players on hand is headlined by tournament favorite Adam Hadwin – who checks in at 10-1 odds – and world No. 58 Webb Simpson. Last year, Lucas Glover – at 40-1 – birdied five of the last seven holes to beat Ryan Moore and Kevin Na by two strokes and pick up his fourth Tour victory.
The John Deere Classic is close to home for me, and one I attend yearly. As such, TPC Deere Run is a course I know well. The track plays as a traditional par-71 at around 7,200 yards and mainly sets up as a second shot golf course. There are only a few long par-4s – Nos. 9, 15 and 18 – that require driver and four of the par-4s forced layups off the tee.
While the event is generally a birdie-fest, bogeys lurk if errant tee shots leave the competitors out of position. Many approach shots will come in the 100-150 yard range, so I will look to target strong wedge players and accurate drivers. Putting also tends to be a bigger factor here than at a typical Tour stop, so I'll lean toward those who roll it well on bentgrass greens.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 1:00 PM ET Tuesday.
Deft at Deere Run
The following golfers, with a minimum of three appearances, have averaged the most birdies or better per round at TPC Deere Run since 2016.
Last year's champion, Glover, tops this list, and he also owns the lowest scoring average (67.3) over his last three appearances at Deere Run. Although this is a weaker field, Glover comes in with the same odds he held last year, as he has not notched a top-15 since the Sony Open in January. Nonetheless, he's difficult to overlook him at a place where he's played so well. Meanwhile, midwest native Schenk has posted a couple of his best results on Tour here, notching a T4 and a T6 in his last two appearances. After struggling early in the year he's righted the ship, having made 5-of-7 cuts and recording a T9 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Considering he's gaining strokes both on approach and on the greens this season, it's no wonder he has played well at this course. He's undervalued this week at 60-1.
Awesome on Approach
These five players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds.
Stallings comes in hot after firing a Sunday 63 at the Travelers Championship, and he has been by far the best iron player in the field of late. That comes as part of a resurgent season for the 37-year-old, who ranks 64th in Strokes Gained: Total this season and has racked up four top-10 results. With a T5 finish at this event in 2017, all signs point to him having a good week, and he enters as the eighth choice on the board at 35-1. Also in contention last week was Hodges, but the rookie faded on the final day en route to a T25 finish. He's gaining strokes in the ball striking department but has been let down by his short game. Hodges has found a couple top-10s this year in weaker fields, making him a sneaky low-cost option in daily fantasy sports contests.
John Deere Classic Bets: Outright Picks
Denny McCarthy (22-1)
McCarthy jumped into the top 100 in the world for the first time after notching his first top-10 in a major at the U.S. Open. It would be fitting for arguably the best putter on Tour to pick up his maiden win at a place that emphasizes it. His precision off the tee will set him up for success at Deere Run.
Chez Reavie (45-1)
Also trending in the right direction is Reavie, who posted a top-15 finish in three of his last four starts, including his second top-10 of the season at TPC River Highlands. Although his lack of distance puts him behind the eight ball most weeks, this isn't one of those. Reavie was just two back of the lead heading into the weekend last year before finishing tied for 18th.
Anirban Lahiri (70-1)
How quickly we forget that Lahiri nearly took down the Tour's flagship event at TPC Sawgrass in March. He wound up second at THE PLAYERS Championship and has put up three other top-15s since. The oddsmakers have soured on him after three straight missed cuts, but he lost strokes on the greens in each of those tournaments. He should contend if he can find his stroke on the putting surface.
John Deere Classic Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Martin Laird (6-1)
Sahith Theegala won me a top-10 bet last week, and I'll look to keep the momentum going with Laird, who himself was just a shot away from a top-10 at the Travelers Championship. Laird's strengths are his iron play – he is 31st in SG: Approach – and driving accuracy – a category he ranks 11th in – making him a good fit for this track.
Vaughn Taylor (8-1)
If you like the course history angle, Taylor is a great target. He made his last four cuts here and has picked up a pair of top-10s since 2010. Much like Laird, Taylor fits the accurate driver/strong iron player model. He has been held back by his putter this season, ranking a woeful 190th in SG: Putting.
Brandt Snedeker (12-1)
Snedeker's last trip to Deere Run came in 2009. He finished T2, so hopefully the veteran will have some good vibes. Snedeker has struggled quite a bit this season, but I'm banking on him taking advantage of a weak field at a course that suits his strengths.
John Deere Classic Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
After a strong start to the season McNealy has cooled off, failing to record a top-25 finish in a stroke play event since February and missing his last two cuts. Long, on the other hand, has been trending upward, and his game is predicated on hitting fairways and putting it well.
Huh has quietly played some solid golf this year, ranking 76th in SG: Tee-to-Green. The only real weakness in his game is his lack of distance off the tee. That shouldn't hurt him much this week, and he has made three straight cuts, including last week when he finished T13. Taylor seems like a risky play in this format, having missed the cut in 4-of-5 PGA Tour starts before playing the weekend in each of his last three appearances.