2021 John Deere Classic Betting Picks and Preview: Target Zach Johnson & 3 Others at TPC Deere Run

2021 John Deere Classic Betting Picks and Preview: Target Zach Johnson & 3 Others at TPC Deere Run article feature image
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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Johnson.

Well the Rocket Mortgage was a disaster from a betting perspective. The card was basically done by Friday with only Garrick Higgo making the cut and he never threatened to contend.

Now we’ll move to the John Deere Classic, which makes its return this season after COVID forced its cancellation in 2020.

The event give players a chance to warm up for The Open Championship or one final shot at qualifying for the year’s final major.

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The Course

TPC Deere Run rarely provides much of a challenge for these guys. It checks in at a little more than 7,200 yards for a par 71. Every winner since 2009 reached at least 18-under par.

Basically, you’ll want someone who can hit the greens this week and hopefully get the putter rolling.

Scrambling isn’t too big of a factor, because if a guy is putting himself in positions where he needs to continually get up-and-down, he’s probably not generating enough birdie opportunities to win anyway.

We see guys with the same profile contend here year in and year out. Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Brian Harman and Ryan Moore all have wins here in the last 10 years. None are overly long, but they keep the ball in play, hit the greens and usually putt well.

The Favorites

With the big names taking the week off or playing in Scotland, there isn’t much star power to speak of here.

Daniel Berger opens at the top of the board at +900. Berger hasn’t played much recently, but was seventh in his most recent start at the U.S. Open and third at the Byron Nelson, which led into the PGA Championship this year. Berger also doesn’t have much of a history here, but does own a fifth-place finish in one of his two starts.

Brian Harman and Sungjae Im come in next at +1400. Harman has a win here previously in 2014, but has finished in the top 10 on only one other occasion in his sevens starts.

Im has really struggled in recent months, but finally put together a solid ball striking week at the Rocket Mortgage on his way to finishing eighth. He’s withdrawn from The Open and instead using this event as part of his Olympics preparation it appears. He’s only played here once, finishing 26th in 2019.

Russell Henley (+2000), Kevin Streelman (+2200) and last week’s winner Cameron Davis (+2800) close out this range. Henley has played solid in his past couple events, finishing inside the top 20 in the last two, which included a 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open. He was also second here in 2019.

Streelman seems to fit that style of play similar to a Stricker or Johnson, but he’s never really figured out this place. He’s got a couple solid results here, taking inside the top 10 in 2012 and 2018, but I’d want more to back him in this range.

Davis get a large reduction in his odds after his breakthrough victory. He doesn’t have much of history here, but that didn’t seem to matter last week when he got the win.

The Mid-Tier

I’ll take a chance on the aforementioned Zach Johnson at +5000 on Bet365. His irons were great the last time out at the Travelers. He gained 4.5 strokes with the approach, but the putter wasn’t good.

I really didn’t have any plans on betting him because that history here is baked in and we usually just see him under +3000. At this number though, I’ll take a chance those irons keep going in the right direction and he can find a better week on the greens on a more comfortable course.

[Bet Zach Johnson at Bet365]

I’m going with Hank Lebioda at +7000 on DraftKings. He’ll be popular this week after top-five finishes in his past two starts, but in this field, the number is probably too high. He’s been riding a really hot putter the last two weeks, but I’ll take a chance that can continue once more here.

[Bet Hank Lebioda at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus]

We’ll back another vet off a good week in Pat Perez at +9000 on Bet365. He’s been popping up recently in these weaker fields, finishing 14th last week and 10th at the Palmetto.

He hasn’t had much success recently and backing him after he just gained almost nine strokes putting will probably back fire. But he has gained on approach in seven of his last eight events, so the irons are still in good shape.

[Bet Pat Perez at Bet365]

The Longshots

We really don’t get too many people coming from out of nowhere to win this event. There isn’t a whole lot of cream in this crop each year, but what there is tends to rise up near the top of the leaderboard.

With that I’ll keep it limited down here and go with one play, Jim Herman at 150-1 at BetMGM. Herman is coming off a 25th and 26th in his last two starts, which is about as much form as we see from him. He’s also got a 10th here back in 2013, so if he’s playing well, he can fit the bill here.

[Bet Jim Herman at BetMGM]

The John Deere Card

  • Zach Johnson +5000 (.66 units)
  • Hank Lebioda +7000 (.47 units)
  • Pat Perez +9000 (.37 units)
  • Jim Herman +15000 (.22 units)

Total Stake: 1.72 units

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