Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Best Bets - John Deere

PGA Tour Betting Preview
John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run – Par 71 – 7,268 yards

After another predictable birdie-fest in a new event and new location, the PGA Tour heads to a familiar spot for the John Deere Classic this week. Amidst all the schedule changes on Tour this year, the John Deere kept it's spot the week before the British Open, with the usual spot in that Open Championship available to the highest finisher here not already qualified.

Like the past two weeks, the TPC Deere run is a track that's generally lit up by birdies over the course of four days, and since so many young guns have been blistering these birdie-fest tracks the past two weeks, we've got the odd occurrence where guys who are currently in various stages of their “rookie” seasons on Tour come into this event as the favorites.

Former Oklahoma State golfer Matthew Wolff announced his presence to the Tour with his win in Minnesota last weekend, and to have a PGA Tour win and be the reigning NCAA Individual champion in the same year is quite an achievement. At +2500 this week, Wolff is among the favorites, but it's his former collegiate teammate Viktor Hovland (+1800) who does hold that honor. Behind him, it's another guy who was playing collegiate golf – Collin Morikawa (+2000) – atop the odds list, with younger guys like Sungjae Im (+2200), and Joaquin Niemann (+2200) in there as well. You'd have to look at the old vet Zach Johnson (+2500) as the only guy over the age of 21 to be priced among the favorites, as these young guys are just letting it rip and taking advantage of soft courses and even softer fields.

This field is one of the weakest all year in terms of established names given that many of those guys are already overseas preparing for the Open Championship, but just because those young names have shown up in spades the past two weeks, doesn't mean that TPC Deere Run may be best suited to them. Yes, it's a very easy course that can see guys go low in a hurry, but typically, past winners of this tournament have at least teed it up at TPC Deere Run in competition once before, and of all those young names I've already mentioned, only Niemann - 23rd in 2018 here – can boast that he has.

Experience has mattered to a degree here, as you'd better be able to hit plenty of greens in regulation and get hot with the putter to have a chance, or be Zach Johnson who's got one win, six Top 3 finishes, and seven Top 5 finishes here the last 10 years. But if Johnson is the “prototype” for the skill set you are searching for from guys here, and motivation stemming from perhaps earning that final Open Championship spot, there are other names in the field this week that you should keep an eye on.

Here are three golfers that I've got my eye on for just those reasons.

Golfers to Watch

Daniel Berger (+3000) – Berger was once a young guy that held plenty of promise on Tour, but he's fallen off quite a bit over the past 8+ months as his name very sporadically pops up on a leaderboard. He's really struggled with his approach, scrambling, and putting this year, which isn't ideal to be backing at all, but in a field like this, at a place where he's got a 5th place finish on his resume in his only start (2017), maybe this is the week that Berger starts to find his game again.

To do so, Berger better start hitting some GIR's, as he ranks 162nd on Tour in that category this year, but there have been signs of improvement lately with three Top 50 finishes in three of his last four outings. The best of the bunch was last week at the 3M Open with a T15, thanks to all four rounds being in the 60's, an dthe 23 birdies he made for the week could be a sign of things to come.

His best finishes in the 18-19 season have come at the events where you typically need to go low, and having not yet qualified for a spot overseas next week, the added motivation to be involved in that Major for the third straight year has to be playing on his mind as well. Berger's got all the talent to put it together this week, and he's shown during his career on Tour that he's no stranger to getting scorching hot for a round or two to put himself right in contention. At 30-1 odds, I'm willing to back that being the case this week.

Kevin Tway (+4000) – Tway would not fit the prototype mold of being a Zach Johnson type player, as he's about as bomber as bomber gets on Tour, but outside of some tough putting numbers – something I've said time and time again that are very fickle on a week-to-week basis – Tway has improved his game in every other aspect this season.

Tway comes into the week ranked 44th on Tour in GIR % - (68.23) – which is easily Top 20 in this week's field. His birdie average could be much better if he could find a hot putter for a few days, but TPC Deere Run does agree with him to the extent that he did have a 12th place finish here two years ago. His overall length can come in handy here if he's keeping the ball in play, and if he can use that length on the Par 5's to go low there, it'll just take some decent scoring on the Par 4's – where he'll have plenty of short clubs in his hands – to find himself among the leaders.

And like Berger, Tway is another guy who would like to make that trip overseas next week, as he's never played in an Open Championship in his career which is surprising given that his dad Bob played in the Open Championship 16 times during his days on the PGA Tour. With two Top 20's in his last four starts, all it may take for Tway to be among the leaders is to find his putting stroke over the weekend this week, and with experience reading the greens at TPC Deere Run, he's a solid candidate to do so.

Johnson Wagner (+10000) – Further down the board is where Johnson Wagner sits, as this guy is another who's yet to punch his ticket overseas next week as he's not been involved in an Open Championship since 2013. But he is coming off a T23 last week in Minnesota, and ranks third in the field behind Charles Howell and Talor Gooch in GIR % at 70.57%. You give yourself a birdie look of any length at TPC Deere Run 70% of the time and eventually the birdies will start to drop, especially when you rank 23rd in Strokes Gained: Putting on Tour like Wagner does.

Shorter courses fit him much better as he's not long at all off the tee (280.7 yards average), and he's just got to make sure he can assure himself that all those birdie looks are within reasonable range rather then 30+ footers that generally result in tap-in pars.

Thankfully, TPC Deere Run has always been kind to him in that recard, as his five starts here since 2014 have resulted in finishes of 16th, 5th (twice), 7th, and one missed cut. That's too good of a course history to ignore at this price, with those GIR numbers this year, and if Wagner can just get his irons dialed in for the four days, this could end up being a solid payday.

John Deere Classic Odds
Viktor Hovland 18/1
Collin Morikawa 20/1
Joaquin Niemann 25/1
Matthew Wolff 25/1
Sungjae Im 25/1
Zach Johnson 25/1
Brian Harman 28/1
Charles Howell III 28/1
Kevin Streelman 28/1
Lucas Glover 28/1
Daniel Berger 30/1
Ryan Moore 30/1
Kevin Tway 40/1
Wyndham Clark 40/1
Kyle Stanley 45/1
Sam Burns 50/1
Bud Cauley 55/1
Joel Dahmen 55/1
Ryan Palmer 55/1
Bronson Burgoon 66/1
Cameron Tringale 66/1
Jason Dufner 66/1
Mackenzie Hughes 66/1
Martin Laird 66/1
Nate Lashley 66/1
Scott Brown 66/1
Talor Gooch 66/1
Denny Mccarthy 75/1
J.T. Poston 75/1
Jhonattan Vegas 75/1
Peter Malnati 75/1
Beau Hossler 80/1
Brian Stuard 80/1
Cameron Champ 80/1
Danny Lee 80/1
Dylan Frittelli 80/1
Harold Varner III 80/1
Joey Garber 80/1
Nick Taylor 80/1
Nick Watney 80/1
Pat Perez 80/1
Sam Ryder 80/1
Sepp Straka 80/1
Troy Merritt 80/1
Vaughn Taylor 80/1
Austin Cook 100/1
Brice Garnett 100/1
Carlos Ortiz 100/1
Johnson Wagner 100/1
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 100/1
Roger Sloan 100/1
Andres Romero 125/1
Andrew Landry 125/1
Doc Redman 125/1
Hank Lebioda 125/1
Jonathan Byrd 125/1
Kramer Hickok 125/1
Luke Donald 125/1
Matt Every 125/1
Matt Jones 125/1
Michael Thompson 125/1
Peter Uihlein 125/1
Russell Henley 125/1
Ryan Armour 125/1
Shawn Stefani 125/1
Adam Long 150/1
Alex Prugh 150/1
David Hearn 150/1
Josh Teater 150/1
Robert Streb 150/1
Roberto Diaz 150/1
Scott Stallings 150/1
Seamus Power 150/1
Sebastian Munoz 150/1
Stephan Jaeger 150/1
Trey Mullinax 150/1
Tyler Duncan 150/1
Wes Roach 150/1
Zack Sucher 150/1
Adam Schenk 175/1
Bill Haas 175/1
Dominic Bozzelli 175/1
Roberto Castro 175/1
Sam Saunders 175/1
Ted Potter Jr. 175/1
Adam Svensson 200/1
Anirban Lahiri 200/1
Chad Campbell 200/1
Chase Wright 200/1
Cody Gribble 200/1
Ollie Schniederjans 200/1
Ryan Blaum 200/1
Stewart Cink 200/1
Tom Hoge 200/1
Ben Crane 225/1
Brandon Harkins 225/1
Curtis Luck 225/1
David Lingmerth 225/1
Richy Werenski 225/1
Ben Silverman 250/1
Cameron Davis 250/1
Chris Stroud 250/1
D.J. Trahan 250/1
Fabian Gomez 250/1
Jose de Jesus Rodriguez 250/1
Kelly Kraft 250/1
Robert Garrigus 250/1
Sangmoon Bae 250/1
Scott Langley 250/1
Tyrone Van Aswegen 250/1
Austin Connelly 300/1
Justin Suh 300/1
Alex Cejka 350/1
Anders Albertson 350/1
Boo Weekley 350/1
Brian Davis 350/1
Derek Fathauer 350/1
Jim Knous 350/1
Martin Piller 350/1
Michael Kim 350/1
Nicholas Lindheim 350/1
Ricky Barnes 350/1
Satoshi Kodaira 350/1
Seth Reeves 350/1
Whee Kim 350/1
Arjun Atwal 400/1
Billy Hurley III 400/1
Brady Schnell 400/1
Brendon Todd 400/1
Chris Thompson 400/1
Freddie Jacobson 400/1
Ho Sung Choi 400/1
Hunter Mahan 400/1
J.J. Henry 400/1
John Senden 400/1
Julian Etulain 400/1
Martin Trainer 400/1
Chad Collins 500/1
Daniel Chopra 500/1
George McNeill 500/1
Jim Herman 500/1
John Chin 500/1
Kris Blanks 500/1
Kyle Jones 500/1
Parker McLachlin 500/1
Ryan Vermeer 500/1
Smylie Kaufman 500/1
Tim Herron 500/1
Tom Lovelady 500/1
Darin Fisher 1000/1
Dicky Pride 1000/1
Will Claxton 1000/1

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