Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, July 10 at 3:15 PM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is July 11th at 7:00 AM EST.
John Deere Classic
With all due respect to the tournament and those involved, this has the feel of an alternate event this week, which is beautiful because for the purpose of wagering, the chances of a longshot coming through is as good as it gets. When the favorite to win is Viktor Hovland, it’s an event that must be bet if you’re looking for a bomb.
The most decorated player in the field is Zach Johnson but it is names like Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, and Matt Wolff that are the future of golf and it will be exciting to see them going at it. Indeed, Wolff can compare his idiosyncratic swing of the club to that of YouTube sensation Ho Sung Choi, the rubber-limbed Korean who has been invited over by the sponsors.
It is a picturesque slice of eye candy, but in many ways there is absolutely nothing that distinguishes TPC Deere Run from any other municipal parkland track. It’s simply too easy – with all due respect, if Michael Kim can take you for -27 in 72 holes something has gone wrong in the set-up, and winning scores down the years have generally been topside of -20. And with rounds of 59 (Paul Goydos) and 60 made here in recent memory, you know straight off the bat that there is nothing to fear. It’s no big surprise, really, given that the real estate features just 78 bunkers – the vast majority of which are avoidable, and that water is in play on just five holes.
The Bentgrass greens, which are a decent size, are fairly flat and run at a smooth 11 on the stimpmeter. Indeed, the only thing that could put the players off their stride is if a freak weather situation descended on Silvis, Illinois. In a typical year at Deere Run, 13 of the holes play at an average of under par, and so really we are once again looking at a birdie-fest putting contest: it’s no wonder that Kim ranked first for SG: Putting 12 months ago.
The weather is the chief form of defense at TPC Deere Run, and there is absolutely nothing for the players to worry about on that front this week according to the forecast. The temperatures are up – averaging 80-91°F across the week, and the sun is expected to shine across all four days to help deliver some glorious conditions. The wind looks set to be a minimal factor elsewhere. From a high of 13 mph on Thursday, the breeze looks set to drop to 8 mph by Sunday. All in all, these are premium conditions for the field to take this stretch to the cleaners.
What We’re Looking For This Week:
Quite simply, we’re expecting the player with the hottest putter to prevail this week. There is nothing in the stats historically to separate the field. You can be long and wayward off the tee or short and accurate, it really doesn’t seem to make a difference. The fairways are generous enough and the rough is typically scorched by the hot weather at this time of year. The greens are a good size too, so we’re expecting high GIR numbers with few dancefloors missed by even the most errant of approaches.
The flat-stick is key this week. Whoever putts the best from inside 20 feet will surely seal the deal and that makes picking a winner a complete crapshoot but the odds are too good not to at least give it a shot. The likes of Jordan Spieth (back then at least), Ryan Moore and Brian Harman – all former winners here – are or were excellent putters, and we know that Bryson DeChambeau, the 2017 champion, can get hot on the greens. Michael Kim ranked first for Strokes Gained: Putting in the rarest and most unpredictable of victories.
That’s about your lot, really. We’re expecting form to carry over from TPC Twin Cities last week, another Bentgrass-laid track where the birdies were flying in, and that is perhaps the key narrative. Normally in birdie-fests we’d say that current form is key, but as Michael Kim proved 12 months ago sometimes when it’s your week, anything can happen regardless of what’s gone on before.
To Win Outright:
Joey Garber 110-1
There’s been a string of good form from Joey Garber of late – he has certainly outperformed his often-meager salary – and so he is worth a look this week as a sleeper option. Top 30s at the Byron Nelson, Canadian Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic were followed by T7 at the 3M Open last week, where he closed out with a trio of 65s. In this company, that is eye-catching form. His fourth round putting stats were particularly exciting, and if he can carry that hot flat stick to Illinois then the chances of him being on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday is certainly a possibility (Risking 0.2 units to win 22 units).
Ryan Armour 125-1
Another under-the-radar sort is Ryan Armour, whose recent formline of 42-46-54 does not have ‘winner’ written large and in bold type. However, he continues to shoot red numbers, ranking 23rd on Tour for Total Birdies, and the genesis of that – particularly lately – has been some red-hot putting. Armour will find lots of fairways and make plenty of putts at Deere Run this week, which is a combination we’d like to think will serve him very nicely indeed. At this price, he’s worth a shot. (Risking 0.2 units to win 25 units).
Denny McCarthy 60-1
Statistically, the best putter on the PGA TOUR is rounding up into some nice form. McCarthy tops the billing for Strokes Gained: Putting, and while clearly that is the highlight of his game at tracks like Deere Run, it’s a trait that really comes into its own. He drove the ball nicely too at TPC Twin Cities, so as long as he can hit his approaches within range then McCarthy will be only too happy to let his putter do the talking.
Talor Gooch 70-1
To many esteemed judges, this 27-year-old looks to be the real deal and could breakthrough at any time. Indeed, if he could tidy up his occasionally errant driving then his approach play – which is outstanding – really could come to the fore. The occasional errant drive at this course shouldn’t hurt him too badly. Gooch ranks 12th on Tour for Birdie Average – this guy can hang – and a healthy return of five top-25 finishes from 14 starts this season lets you know this is a player who appears to be on the cusp of breaking through. Talor Gooch ranks 6th ON TOUR in Greens in Regulation, 7th ON TOUR in SG: Approach and 12th in Birdie Average. It’s not our first time playing Gooch and it won’t be our last.
Head-to-head Matchup for John Deere Classic
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUP below is for 72 holes:
#7002 Sepp Straka +114 over Dylan Fritelli
Who the f**k is Dylan Fritelli to be priced in this range over a superior golfer? Seriously. Fritelli is 29-years-old and has zero MAIN TOUR victories. His best finish this year was back in late March when he finished T18th at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, a second-tier event to be sure. Fritelli ranks 161st in SG: Putting and 123rd in Driving Accuracy. His other best finishes this year were 24th and 25th at the Wells Fargo Championship and the Safeway Open, respectively. Dude is not horrible but he’s a European Tour player that rarely does well on the PGA tour. He played in 11 events last year on the MAIN TOUR and missed the cut in six of those, which included some easy challenges like the Houston Open for instance. This year, Fritelli is trying his best to make a name for himself on the MAIN TOUR with 20 events played so far with 14 cuts made but this will be his fourth consecutive week of competing and he’s finished CUT, T46th, and T46th in the previous three. Fritelli may be pushing just a bit too hard and surely is in danger of being way off this week.
While Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Matt Wolff are getting all the attention for being future stars, Sepp Straka is being left out of the conversation and that provides us with this great opportunity. This has the feeling of one of those tournaments where somebody will enjoy a breakout win and we would not be a bit surprised to see Straka emerge.The Austrian’s all-round game is very good, and he has the length off the tee to really make a difference at layouts like this. A prolific Par 4 birdie maker, Straka has performed well in weak field events and compiled three rounds of 68 or better at the Rocket Mortgage Classic just two weeks ago. Straka finished 28th at the U.S. Open and we love the fact that he missed the cut last week in Minnesota after a bad opening round did him in. However, Straka came back with a 68 on Friday and missed the cut by one stroke. That gave him an extra two days rest and two-day head start over Fritelli who played four long days in the heat last week and looked awfully tired on Sunday after shooting 73 (Risking 2.5 units to win 2.85 units).
Others to consider for DFS or to win outright:
Vaughn Taylor 70-1
There are just some ‘unfashionable’ players out there who rarely get any love from DFS gamers and bettors but Vaughn Taylor often brings excellent value for one’s money; especially in daily fantasy, thanks to 16 cuts made from 23 starts at routinely sub $7,000 prices. Taylor tends to be at his best in easy birdie-fests – unsurprising for a guy who ranks fourth on Tour for most rounds in the 60s – and he’ll need a few more of those this week to contend. It could happen too, as he has previous form at Deere Run, and was solo fourth in his penultimate start in the Travelers Championship, where he compiled rounds of 65 and 66. Taylor ranks 5th ON TOUR in SG: Putting, 12th in Total Birdies and 28th in Driving Accuracy.
Joel Dahmen 55-1
Dahmen courted controversy at the Quicken Loans National when he ‘called out’ playing partner Sung Kang for a possibly contentious hazard call, but he didn’t seem to let it affect him at the Greenbrier. He finished T5, ranked second for SG: Tee-to-Green and only two players found more greens in regulation, and so he can reflect upon the best week of his PGA TOUR career to date. The 30-year-old has collected six top-25 finishes in his last eight starts, and you wonder if that consistency will be rewarded at an easy TPC Deere Run this week. Dahmen is an interesting guy that is 400-1 next week at the British Open and is one of the few guys that will play this week in the U.S and next week overseas. We are 100% putting something on him at 400-1 next week and perhaps he’s looking ahead but he’s a strong player that has overcome so much (we’ll get you caught up next week in his story) and therefore may not be looking ahead to anything. Dude is dangerous and could very well win it this week.
Johnson Wagner 140-1
There aren’t many players in the field with consistently good form year on year at Deere Run. Wagner is unmistakably one of them, with a formline that reads 16-MC-5-5-7 in the past five years alone. It’s curious consistency from one of the PGA TOUR’s journeymen, but the layout clearly suits his eye and the fact he’s an outstanding putter is clearly an advantage here. Form has come and gone this season, as is often the case for Wagner, but he posted a 64 in among a trio of 69s at the 3M Open, and his putting stats were once again at an elite level.
Joaquin Niemann 28-1
We would never play Niemann at 28-1 to win outright but FANTASY players may want to use him as your HORSE. Considered one of the most talented youngsters in world golf last season, Niemann has gone somewhat under the radar this time around. However, the Tour’s venture north has coincided with a return to his best golf, and that’s no coincidence: the Chilean has made a habit of playing his best on these Bentgrass surfaces. Consecutive T5s at the Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic were backed by T23 at the 3M Open last week; the meat in his four-round sandwich there being 63-65. Five of his last 12 rounds have been 66 or better – a staggering achievement – and so going low will present no problems for the 20-year-old. No doubt spurred on by Wolff’s efforts last week, Niemann could finally land his long-awaited maiden title in Illinois.
Mix and match any or all of the above with your own to create a DFS roster
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PGA Wagers (Risking 3.3 units - To Win: 0.00)