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John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run – Par 71 – 7,268 yards

The PGA Tour has arrived at another stop that's a week before a Major is played and that means the best of the best on Tour aren't teeing it up. That statement is really only half-true this week though as plenty of golf's biggest names are playing, just over on the Euro Tour in the Scottish Open. That event has long been a favorite of guys looking to acclimate themselves to the conditions in the UK ahead of The Open, and with the year's 3rd Major already on the minds of many, if you're looking for the superstars in this game, early morning Euro coverage is where they'll be at.

Instead, if you are looking for guys to go low, like -20 and beyond low, it's the John Deere Classic you'll be interested in, as even with a very weak field overall, we will still see plenty of these pros put up very low numbers over the course of four days at TPC Deere Run. This is a course that's familiar to many having been on Tour for so long, and it's one where you've got to go low to have a chance. Each of the last nine winners of this event have shot -18 or better, and seven of those nine hit -20 or better. Also, given it's place on the schedule and most international players already overseas, it's not too surprising to see each of the last 11 winners have have been American-born. That might not be the case this week with Italian Francesco Molinari atop the odds board as a co-favorite with defending champ Bryson DeChambeau at +1000 each. Beyond that, there are the likes of Joaquin Niemann (+1600), David Lingmerth (+4000), and Danny Lee (+5000) as the next non-US players favored to win this week, so maybe that run of 11 straight Americans isn't quite done yet.

Regarding the course, the TPC Deere Run is one of the easiest tracks on Tour for a variety of reasons. You don't need to be long to play well here – in fact, shorter hitters like Ryan Moore, Jordan Spieth (twice), Zach Johnson, and Steve Stricker own seven of the last nine titles here – and accuracy issues off the tee can be mitigated with some very forgiving fairways. But like most events where a low winning score is needed, this is a second shot course with Strokes Gained: Approach easily being the most important stat to look at this week. Birdie or better percentages, Par 4 and 5 scoring, and even some putting statistics should be considered as well, but if guys aren't giving themselves 10+ quality looks at birdie chances every day, then a T30 finish is where they probably top out this week.

With it being such a weak field overall, there are some great “value” plays further down the betting board, so let's take a look at a few of them.

Odds per -

Golfers to Watch

Aaron Wise (+4000) – Wise is a guy that's seemingly fallen off the map since winning the Byron Nelson back in mid-May. In four starts since then, Wise has yet to make it to a weekend and has only shot under 70 once in those eight rounds. But thankfully that sub-70 round came in his last outing (Round 2 at The Greenbrier) and I think we see Wise start to turn things up again. For one, he's in the upper-echelon in terms of talent in this field, we've already seen him go low to win this year – won with a -23 score – and recent form for Wise has pumped up his number to this +4000 range where he probably wouldn't be had the last month of play gone much better for Wise.

Statistically Wise doesn't jump off the board with many numbers, but he does everything pretty well, including on the greens. It's been his approach game that has suffered since that victory which isn't ideal coming into the John Deere, but he's among the leaders in this field in birdie or better numbers on Par 4's (7th on Tour) and Par 5's (31st on Tour) with his overall birdie or better percentage coming in at 23.35%, good for 12 on the entire Tour. That's easily Top 5 for this specific field, and for a guy that we know can go low and that's possibly getting overlooked and undervalued because of recent form, I'm willing to take a chance that Wise can find it again for four rounds this weekend.

Chez Reavie (+5000) – Reavie is another guy who's recent form has been awful as he's missed the cut in three of his last four starts. There was a T6 thrown in there at the St Jude Classic about a month ago, but while all those missed cuts may have some worried, in this caliber of field, Reavie should be able to find his way to a weekend tee off time at worst.

Reavie is a guy who's not long off the tee and that can hold him back at some tracks, but that won't be the case this week at TPC Deere Run. Reavie is also among the Tour leaders in birdie or better percentage on both Par 3's and 4's, and while his percentage on Par 5's is rather low compared to others (166th on Tour), that's mostly a lack of length issue for Reavie and that will be mitigated here as well.

Finally, with Reavie being one of the better guys in this field in terms of Strokes Gained: Approach (32nd on Tour), this is just the type of place where Reavie can get back on track and maybe even qualify for a trip to Carnoustie next week with a quality finish this week.

Scott Piercy (+6600) – Piercy is a guy that got back on Tour for the first time since the US Open last week at The Greenbrier and his T74 finish wasn't exactly what he was looking for. But being rested and excited to be back out competing again is always a positive when backing a guy in his 2nd or 3rd start back simply because all the kinks and rust have been worked off and now it's all about climbing those leaderboards and getting FedEx Cup points, wins, etc. It was a rough stretch prior to the US Open for Piercy – four missed cuts in five starts – so taking some time off there was probably a good thing.

Yet, even with those relatively recent poor results, Piercy still enters the week as the 5th best guy on Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach and that can't be ignored. His horrible putting numbers (199th in Strokes Gained: Putting) are a big reason why his results have been as poor as they have, and while you do have to putt well at TPC Deere Run, I'm willing to risk Piercy's bad numbers with hopes of him catching fire for a week. He was 14th here back in 2015 when he teed it up here last, and at this price with a guy who should see plenty of quality birdie looks thanks to his phenomenal long game, the reward is worth the risk.

2018 John Deere Classic - per
Bryson DeChambeau 10/1
Francesco Molinari 10/1
Zach Johnson 12/1
Joaquin Niemann 16/1
Ryan Moore 16/1
Kyle Stanley 20/1
Steve Stricker 20/1
Chesson Hadley 28/1
Austin Cook 33/1
Wesley Bryan 33/1
Aaron Wise 40/1
Andrew Landry 40/1
Brian Gay 40/1
David Lingmerth 40/1
Chez Reavie 50/1
Chris Kirk 50/1
Danny Lee 50/1
Patrick Rodgers 50/1
Andrew Putnam 66/1
C.T. Pan 66/1
Johnson Wagner 66/1
Keith Mitchell 66/1
Kelly Kraft 66/1
Kevin Streelman 66/1
Kevin Tway 66/1
Nick Watney 66/1
Ryan Blaum 66/1
Scott Piercy 66/1
Si Woo Kim 66/1
Sung Kang 66/1
Bronson Burgoon 80/1
J.T. Poston 80/1
Joel Dahmen 80/1
Scott Stallings 80/1
Tyler Duncan 80/1
Bill Haas 100/1
Rory Sabbatini 100/1
Ryan Palmer 100/1
Patton Kizzire 200/1

Odds Subject to Change

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