This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
John Deere Classic Betting Preview
After a year off, the PGA Tour heads back to the Quad Cities for one of my most-anticipated events of the year – the John Deere Classic. It's the closest Tour stop to my residence in Madison, WI and one I've traveled to for the last several editions, so hopefully some local knowledge will benefit bettors. The timing of the event draws a below average field, with many players heading overseas a week early to prepare for next week's Open Championship. Dylan Frittelli serves as the defending champion after coming through as a long shot in 2019 to pick up his only PGA Tour victory.
TPC Deere Run is no stranger to low scores, with the winner finishing at least 20-under-par five of the last six times this event was held. That includes Michael Kim's 27-under winning score in 2018. The course lacks much of a defense unless you're spraying it off the tee, and it really sets up best for those that are dialed in with their short irons and putter. Layups are often forced with the tee balls, and driver is only necessary on the three longer par-4s – Nos. 9, 15 and 18 – with two of the three par-5s – Nos. 2 and 17 – being reachable in two for just about everyone in the field.
Much like the last two tournaments, driving accuracy, approach play and the ability to make birdies in bunches are stats to focus on this week.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 5:30 PM ET Tuesday.
Show me the Birdies
The following golfers, with a minimum of two appearances, have averaged the most birdies per round at TPC Deere Run since 2015:
Martin has poured in birdies in his two trips to the Quad Cities since 2015, and after seeing the list above it should come as no surprise that he finished runner-up in 2016. His putter has been hot on Deere Run's bentgrass greens, as he has gained 2.05 strokes putting per round in the same stretch. After struggling last season he has been playing better, and he posted a T11at the Wells Fargo Championship four starts ago. Despite his success he is considered a long shot to win at 150-1 odds. Johnson, an Iowa native, has a tremendous track history at the course, using his home-field advantage to record a win in 2012 and a pair of runner-ups, the most recent coming in 2014. He has been unable to find the winner's circle since his victory at The Open Championship in 2015, but the drought could end this week, and he provides ample value at 33-1.
Approach at Will
These five golfers gained the most strokes on approach, on a per-round basis, over their last 20 rounds:
Stanley has been more dialed in with his approach shots than anyone in the field, but he's been hampered on the greens, where he's lost strokes putting in nine of his last 10 tournaments. Nonetheless, he has still made six cuts in a row and notched a top-10 during that stretch. A runner-up here in 2011, Stanley is capable of breaking his four-year winless stretch this week. Meanwhile, Berger is the lone player to pop up on both lists, and he's understandably the betting favorite. He's been as consistent as they come, missing only two cuts this season while ranking top-35 in three of the four primary Strokes Gained categories. His biggest weakness – around-the-green play – shouldn't be much of a factor at a course that yields so many birdies.
Aaron Wise (33-1)
Wise burst onto the scene as a rookie but fell to his lowest ranking in the OWGR last fall. He's had quite the resurgence since, posting five top-15s and a runner-up. Much like Stanley, his results could be even better if not for his putter, as he ranks 190th on the greens this season. He's underpriced in this type of field and is one of the best ball-strikers teeing it up at Deere Run.
Lucas Glover (40-1)
Glover ranked third in SG: Tee-to-Green in his last trip here, and he is one of the best players in a field that contains only has five of the top 50 players in the OWGR. We've seen a handful of golfers break multipl-eyear winless droughts this season, and Glover is a candidate to join the list, particularly with him recording a pair of top-10s in stronger fields over the past few weeks.
Ryan Armour (100-1)
Armour's lack of distance makes it difficult for him to compete on most tracks, but that shouldn't put him behind the eight ball much this week. He's one of the most accurate drivers on Tour – he currently ranks second in that department – and has notched four top-10s since the restart last summer. A long shot won here in each of the past two editions, so it's not a bad week to target a guy or two that could give you a bigger payout.
Ryan Moore (6-1)
Moore's results over the last year have been mediocre at best, and that's because he's having the worst putting season of his career. He hasn't contended enough for me to like his chances to win, but this is a generous price for a golfer who did just that in 2016. A return to a comfortable course will hopefully help him turn the tide on the greens.
Martin Laird (8-1)
Laird made his first start at the event since 2008 two years ago and struck the ball well, finishing sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green. He has struggled since winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last fall, but a return trip to another TPC venue that requires low scoring could be what he needs to buck the trend.
Tyler Duncan (12-1)
Duncan has played solid golf in his two trips to the Quad Cities, notching finishes of T26 and T12 and gaining a whopping 1.7 strokes per round on approach. His short game has really held him back this season, but his ball striking and accuracy off the tee make him a dark horse to land a spot among the top 10 finishers.
It may seem strange to fade Lebioda considering his form is excellent, but he could be drained coming off back-to-back top-5s, as he has not found himself in that position often and blew a golden opportunity down the stretch to get into last week's playoff. Munoz is gaining strokes off the tee and on approach, and he ranks 45th in birdie percentage this season.
Norlander has upside if he can improve his short game, as he's a great ball striker and ranks 34th in SG: Approach this season. His last trip to Deere Run in 2016 resulted in a T27 finish, and he's a good target in a one-on-one matchup having made four of his last five cuts. Straka, on the other hand, made only one of his last five cuts, and his wayward tee balls could be problematic this week.