Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, July 11 at 3:45 PM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is July 12 at 8:00 AM EST.
The John Deere Classic
With winning scores ranging from -19 to -22 in the past five years, it becomes apparent that TPC Deere Run is a rather agreeable layout. Measuring 7,268 yards for its Par 71, this stretch in Silvis, Illinois was designed by former five-time PGA TOUR winner D.A. Weibring, who was clearly in a generous mood when drawing up the plans. The fairways are receptive and a decent size, while the Bentgrass greens are also easy enough to find – Zach Johnson hit 86% GIR last year. There have been rounds of 59 (Paul Goydos) and 60 (Steve Stricker) compiled here, and with the weather forecast suggesting benign conditions, there’s even some rain around which will soften the surface, one should expect some low scores to go in once more.
Typically, 13 or more of the holes average under par, and with little danger off the tee – guys like Chez Reavie found 91% of fairways - the main premise this week is to hit the ball closer than your opponents and/or make plenty of putts. Length off the tee doesn’t appear to be too much of an advantage. Steve Stricker is a three-time winner at Deere Run while Zach Johnson is a regular on the leaderboards here but neither could be construed as a bomber.
If you like to correlate two or more courses, the roll-call of winners and runners-up suggests Colonial, host of the Fort Worth Invitational, might be worth a look. Spieth, Stricker, Johnson and Kenny Penny have won this and that event, Tim Clark has finished second at both venues while Sean O’Hair is a Deere Run champion and a Colonial runner-up.
What we’re looking for this week:
It would be fair to say that our notes on the John Deere Classic are less than comprehensive. This is, for lack of a better term, a birdie-fest, with the players unlikely to get into much trouble from tee to green. So realistically, this is an event where proximity to the hole on approach, or a steaming hot putter, will win the day. As ever, current form is a strong guide – Bryson had banked two top-20s in his prior three starts to lifting the trophy, and we’re happy to make a case for the form horses too. Look at last year’s GIR stats and top of the tree you will see a trio of former Deere Run champions, namely Zach Johnson, Brian Harman and Jonathan Byrd. We’ve had a nice stack of events on Bentgrass in recent weeks, and given that the layout here is fairly straightforward there is no reason why a hot putter – in addition to simple tee-to-green striking, won’t get the job done. It’s not a difficult course to navigate through but it’s very difficult to try and predict who will get hot but we welcome the challenge because a bomb has just as good a shot of winning as a low priced favorite.
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at BET365 because of their cash-out option during the event:
To Win outright:
Keith Mitchell 70-1
It was an excellent week at The Old White for Mitchell, who finished T30 but who actually ranked fourth for SG: Approach and 13th for SG: Tee-to-Green. His prodigious length off the tee should grant him shorter approaches to the hole this week, and a player who ranks 10th on Tour for Total Birdies is always going to catch the eye in a shootout. Mitchell’s form is solid and enhanced when considering birdie-fests: his T3 at Byron Nelson in which he finished at -19 is a testament to that. We can’t imagine him being off his game this week and he’s therefore worth a bet in a weaker field like this one (Risking 0.2 units to win 14 units).
Norman Xiong 300-1
We ran a piece on Norman Xiong last week at 300-1 and even though he missed the cut in his first pro event, it’s not going to deter us from coming right back on him here. Dude has his feet wet and we’ll continue to play him until he inevitably breaks his PGA maiden. For those that missed it, here is that exact same piece on him here:
We urge you to write down this kid’s name and bet him every time he’s entered into a tournament because there is a great chance that he’s going to win an event or two sometime over the next 12 months. He’ll remain at big prices until he becomes known or until he wins and that could happen quickly.
He is 19, a University of Oregon sophomore who recently was named winner of the Nicklaus Award as Division-I National Player of the Year and is expected to take the Haskins Award as the Most Outstanding College Golfer in the U.S. Xiong is also the latest young talent to turn professional and be designated with labels of others’ choosing. Only they are a little loftier for Xiong, stuff like “the next best thing” or “the best player since Tiger Woods.” This kid has quite a story to tell. It’s a heart-warming journey from Tecate, Mexico, to the Ivy League and Silicon Valley to Guam to the University of Oregon and possible PGA TOUR stardom. This kid is humble as can be but he was born with the gift of golf.
Xiong’s play over the past year has been so awe-inspiring that coaches and players are whispering that they’re competing against a future world No. 1. Blessed with a unique combination of power and touch, humbleness and swagger, he’s the most tantalizing 19-year-old prospect in golf since … well, that’s up for debate.
Few understand hype better than Casey Martin – after all, he played alongside Tiger Woods at Stanford – so he doesn’t make statements recklessly. He knows that future success is not guaranteed. He knows that Jordan Spieth won a PGA Tour event as a teenager, and that Jon Rahm rapidly climbed the world rankings after college, and that they’re special talents on a Tour that has chewed up and spit out can’t-miss phenoms like sunflower seeds. He knows that simply invoking Woods’ name in any age comparison is blasphemous, but he also knows what he’s seen, firsthand and he genuinely believes this: “At 19 years old, I think Tiger is the only guy I would defer to as being better than Norman. I haven’t seen much better than him at that age. He’s really that good.” Xiong is making his pro debut at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier but we’re going to see and hear much more about him in the coming weeks. Bet him at these big prices before he’s a fraction of this price later on down the road. You might want to bet Xiong to finish top-5 at 60-1 too (Risking 0.2 units to win 60 units).
Aaron Wise 40-1
Only fools rush in to back a player that has missed four cuts on the spin, but when you note that his two performances prior to that resulted in 1-2 finishes you can let Aaron Wise off. He missed the weekend of the Greenbrier but only on the line at -2, which is hardly a disaster, and he was actually gaining strokes on the field from tee-to-green through 36 holes. The 22-year-old ranks seventh on Tour for Par 4 Birdie or Better Leaders and 12th for Birdie Average, and if his game is hotting up then TPC Deere Run seems like as good a venue as any for him to shine (Risking 0.2 units to win 8 units).
Corey Conners 125-1
This young Canadian’s form is travelling. Ranking third for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Conners finished T30 at the Greenbrier which could have been so much better but for an ice-cold putter. What happens if he just finds something on the greens this week? His tee-to-green game is excellent, and 18/23 cuts made this term highlight how well that travels with him. Connors ranks 14th ON TOUR in Total Birdies and the price on him is too high when compared to so many others that are lower and haver no shot (like Stricker at 20-1) for instance (Risking 0.2 units to win 25 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for The John Deere Classic
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS for The John Deere Classic
The H2H wagers below are for 72 holes:
#7027 Chesson Hadley +114 over Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker’s name is all over this event because of his great course history but we could not care less. The only thing that great course history does is provide us with a great prices when fade him. Stricker is far past his prime but priced like he’s Jon Rahm and it’s bordering on lunacy. Stricker is featured in many H2H’s so fade him in one, two or all of them but do fade him because the price to provides outstanding value. BET365 is offering Ryan Moore at -125 against Stricker, which we absolutely love but if Moore beats him, so, too, should Chesson Hadley.
With seven top-10s to his name this season, Hadley has been one of the most consistent players on Tour without getting over the winning line. A proven birdie-maker, he is most likely to triumph in a birdie shootout where accuracy off the tee isn’t so important, and so TPC Deere Run appears to be his ideal venue.
After missing the cut at the US Open and the Travelers, Hadley returned to form with T8 last time out at the Quicken Loans National; closing out his efforts 64-68-68. If he really focuses this week, he could end a long old title drought that dates back to 2014. Incidentally, he ranks 10th in Par 4 Birdie or Better Leaders, 9th in Birdie Average and 20th in SG: Putting (Risking 2 units to win 2.28 units).
#7035 Keith Mitchell +107 over Andrew Putnam
We covered Keith Mitchell in our to win outright section and if we like his chance for a strong event, we have to like him to finish ahead of Andrew Putnam. Putnam has only played this course once and missed the cut back in 2015. He also missed the cut last week at the Greenbrier. Dude has been hit and miss for years and when he goes on a cold run, he could miss five cuts in a row. After a couple of decent showings at the St. jude Classic and Quicken Loans respectively, Putnam is in his cooling off period right now (Risking 2 units to win 2.14 units).
4 golfers to win outright @ 0.2 units each = -0.8 units
Chesson Hadley +114 over Steve Stricker = - 2 units
#7035 Keith Mitchell +107 over Andrew Putnam
Therefore, 2.8 units in losses - 2.14 units in wins = a net loss for this event of 0.66 units
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They offer win-only odds in the outrights and for the PGA, European, Champions and LPGA Tours only, but they make up for this in terms of value in their matchups. They consistently offer unique tournament matchups for the PGA which at 10-20 cent lines and no ties are the best on offer in the business.
John Deere Classic (Risking 4.6 units - To Win: 0.00)