2023 John Deere Classic Round 3 Odds & Picks: Higgo Has Value Entering 3rd Round
Pictured: Garrick Higgo. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Cameron Young is the biggest name that teed it up this week and he's surged to the front with a 13-under through two rounds. It hasn't been the season many expected from the 2021-2022 Rookie of the Year, but a win this week could do wonders in vaulting him forward as the season enters the home stretch.
The big difference this week is a hot putter, which Young has lacked this season (he ranks 177th on TOUR in SG: Putting). His more than four strokes gained on the greens this week is far and away his best performance in quite some time. However, it also has me wondering if he can keep it up. We know there will be scoring opportunities Saturday and I'll be looking for some betting value in Round 3.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the Tour calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field. Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility. You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but aren’t getting putts to drop.
Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
2023 John Deere Classic Round 3 Best Bets: 3 Golfers to Bet
The most proven winner at the top of the leaderboard is ironically the one who also has a touch of betting value. Garrick Higgo has won six times internationally as a professional and is the only player near the top with a PGA Tour win to his name. It has been a little bit since we've seen this level of play from the South African, but he has a tendency to run a bit streaky with his game.
Higgo seems to be on the good side of that streak this week and is just two shots back of Young. Higgo ranks second in the field in SG: Tee to Green and is gaining in every metric. I love to see a player who has every club in the bag working the way that Higgo does and while +1200 feels a bit hard to swallow on a player who doesn't have a top-25 finish since February, I will take it now as his play may be setting him up as one of the favorites going into Sunday.
If you look at the top of the SG: Tee-to-Green category, you'll find a familiar name. Keith Mitchell is playing some of his best golf tee-to-green this week, but is struggling on the greens and has lost almost four strokes to the field with his putter. Well, I'll look for that to take a turn over the weekend.
Mitchell ranks 59th in SG: Putting this season and I expect he'll get things going Saturday. He will need to put together a really low weekend to contend as he sits seven shots back of the lead with 17 players ahead of him. We know many of those players will also have good rounds going, so it may take something special to truly put Mitchell in the mix.
Still, I think he has it in him as he was one bad swing off the tee Friday from making that deficit more manageable. His 1.89 strokes lost off the 11th tee were more than he lost across the whole round with his driver. At +6600, it doesn't cost us much to take a shot and see if he can put his name in contention before the final round.
Troy Merritt left the course with a salty taste in his mouth on Friday as a three-putt from 36 feet on his final hole resulted in his second bogey in an otherwise solid round. He lost more than a stroke to the field during that putting sequence, but I expect him to jump right back on the birdie train on Saturday. He has gained more than six shots on the field tee-to-green and if he can keep that up, I expect him to rise up the board. He will now get a paycheck in consecutive weeks and the thing I liked most about what he did last week is that he turned his opportunity into a top-20 finish. I expect he'll do similar with his chance this weekend at the John Deere Classic.