PGA Betting Picks: 3 Golfers to Back at John Deere Classic
Just one week until the final major championship of the year, and for the PGA Tour the last preparation is the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run. At first glance this test is not ideal preparation for the linksland of Great Britain and Ireland, and yet in recent years two players have confounded that logic.
Last year, Francesco Molinari was tied second ahead on this course before winning his first major championship, and four years ago Zach Johnson was tied third ahead of lifting the Claret Jug at St Andrews.
John Deere Classic PGA Best Bets
|Joaquin Niemann to win||+2200||View all odds|
|Sungjae Im to win||+2000||View all odds|
|Scott Stallings to win/top 10||+12500/+1200||View all odds|
All odds via 888Sport and are current as of publication and subject to change.
PICK 1: Joaquin Niemann
We live in peculiar times and golf is no different. Just a few weeks ago Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland were mere promising college golfers have fun, and now, in a few appearances, they have been thrust into the golfing limelight.
Wolff (20) won last week in just his third start as a pro; Morikawa (22) was second in his fourth; Hovland (21) has finished T13th in two of his three starts. There is no fear in these big-hitting youngsters.
Might another youngster pinch the headlines this week, however? Joaquin Niemann (pictured above) was the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur ahead of turning pro last year, and the 20-year-old then chalked up four top-10 finishes in his first eight starts on the PGA Tour.
Right after that run the Chilean carded a final round 65 to finish T23rd in this event before his form tailed off a little. But he was fifth in both the Travelers Championship and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and while T23rd last week in the 3M Open doesn’t initially stand out, his opening round of 73 left him T119th. In other words, he finished like a train. He’s +2200 with 888Sport.
RELATED CONTENT: Check out our British Open expert picks.
PICK 2: Sungjae Im
Let’s run with the theme of young guns, but also maintain the trend of steering clear of the top three who are occupying a lot of media attention this week (Hovland and Morrikawa are vying for favorite status – it’s possibly unique that two players with so few professional starts are in such a position).
Korea’s Im is a mere 21-year-old too, but in a different position to the others because he turned to the paid ranks back in 2015. He proved himself on the Japanese circuit and then announced himself in style to the Korn Ferry Tour when winning on debut at the start of 2018.
He added another win at that level and has been astonishingly consistent in his rookie year on the PGA Tour, collecting no less than 14 finishes of T21st or better.
Six of those have been top-10s, and one of them stands out, when he was tied fourth in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in March. Five of the last 10 winners at TPC Deere Run had finished top-5 in the Valspar, and only Im and Jason Kokrak play this week. Kokrak has failed to make the weekend in two appearances in this tournament, so the vote goes to Im at +2000 with 888Sport.
PICK 3: Scott Stallings
We need a joker from the pack to complete the team, and 34-year-old Stallings fits the bill. His course record is distinctly hit-or-miss, with four missed cuts and three top-25s, but I like the fact that in 2017 he thrashed two laps of 64 to sleep on a genuine chance to win before eventually collecting T-5.
He missed the cut last year, but it’s notable that he’s averaged 80% of greens in regulation for his last three visits – top finishers here thrive in that category. He was also T-9th at Innisbrook this season, and the reason the two courses are related? Both are undulating, with plenty of elevation changes. Something Pebble Beach also has in common with them and Stallings was third there in February.
His form has dropped off in recent weeks, but he has thrashed a 66 in both of his last two starts. With the course form and Innisbrook clue, he’s a great price at +12500 win and +1200 for a top-10 with 888Sport.