John Deere Classic betting preview and tips from Ben Coley

Check out selections for the John Deere Classic
Check out selections for the John Deere Classic

The PGA Tour heads to Illinois for a shootout at the John Deere Classic - and we have selections ranging from 70/1 to 200/1.

Recommended bets

1pt e.w. Scott Brown at 70/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

1pt e.w. Denny McCarthy at 70/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Troy Merritt at 80/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Sam Ryder at 80/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Robert Streb at 175/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

1pt e.w. Chase Wright at 200/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

Five of the biggest young talents in the sport take up five of the top spots in the market for the John Deere Classic. Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, Joaquin Niemann, Viktor Hovland and Sungjae Im are all priced between 20/1 and 28/1, numbers which roughly match with their respective ages. These are the times.

Wolff's victory over Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday was jaw-dropping, and when the dust had settled we were left to analyse a performance which was almost without precedent in its immediacy. Yet there had been clues through Hovland and Morikawa that this wave of graduates are out of the ordinary, and to that extent nobody could claim surprise.

As for Niemann and Im, they're grizzled veterans by comparison having earned PGA Tour cards way back in 2018. What a year it was! Both have outstanding potential and in Niemann's case, he's starting to show it now that the putter behaves itself. Im, notoriously hard-working, has been a regular on leaderboards ever since his fast start to the season. The John Deere Classic makes up for its lack of current stars with the very best of the (near) future.

Yet this is not an event which has been particularly kind to players of this profile. Yes, Jordan Spieth and DeChambeau both won their first PGA Tour titles here, but neither was making their debut at TPC Deere Run. More to the point, the course itself might requires a heap of birdies, but it isn't one which can be attacked without strategy, and there's not all that much to be gained here by hitting the ball a mile.

That's in stark contrast to TPC Whateveritwascalled last week, where soft conditions and wide fairways made for a point-and-shoot exercise which saw Wolff and Morikawa produce two incredible displays of approach play. And it tempers enthusiasm in the market leaders, although it could be said that Morikawa's style will prove better suited to this type of challenge.

Brian Harman's return to form has come at an ideal time, likewise Daniel Berger's, while Kevin Streelman is perfect for Deere Run if the putter behaves, but there looks to be mileage in speculating here - if not quite to the extent which would've been necessary to find Michael Kim at this time last year.

Top of my list is Troy Merritt, who has all the necessary tools for a shootout on a short course.

Merritt is 23rd in birdie average, 21st in proximity to the hole and 43rd in driving accuracy, and the fact that he's 16th in the all-around tells you how well he's playing.

That all-around ranking is a little antiquated, as a collective measurement of the old-school stats like total putting and greens hit, but the 15 players above Merritt are all high-class. Plus, the all-around has always been a reliable guide to the John Deere Classic, and there's no reason that should change.

The primary case against is a modest course record, but he's made five cuts in seven visits and the Iowa-born, Idaho-living Merritt can definitely contend here if he putts well - which is exactly what he did last week in Minnesota when finishing seventh.

Two PGA Tour victories in 18- and 23-under tell us what we're getting with Merritt and both came in summer, while his performance at Hilton Head earlier this year, where he's been third before, is another tick in the box as form between the two courses correlates nicely.

Sam Ryder sits just beneath Merritt in that all-around ranking and he is worth getting back on-side after further encouragement in the 3M Open.

Second here on his first look at Deere Run last year, a performance which sealed his playing rights for 2019, Ryder looks to have timed things just right for his return having caught the eye more than once since recovering from a mid-season injury.

In each of his last five starts, Ryder has produced quality iron play and as one of the best putters in the field - he's 31st for the season - that's an ideal combination with which to make the six birdies per round which will likely be required here.

On that note, Ryder is 37th in birdie average and with his card locked up for 2020 already, he can show that Deere Run is ideal for his game and add to what's an excellent record in this part of the US.

Kim's victory last year came courtesy of a remarkable display on the greens, which is usually behind those results which would've been virtually impossible to predict beforehand.

Any time we're looking at 20-under as a competitive total, it's clear that a decent week on the greens is likely to be required and that's been true here with the exception of Harman's victory.

Predicting putting is difficult, but Denny McCarthy is certainly among the best on show here and he's played well over the last fortnight.

Having been seventh after round one and through 54 holes on his Deere Run debut, McCarthy has hinted that he's nicely suited to this course and his sole win on the Web.com Tour came in 23-under-par.

McCarthy is another whose status for next year is in the bag already and this looks a good opportunity to confirm that he's not all that far off that quintet at the head of the betting.

Seamus Power and Richy Werenski have some nice course form and that's worth something in an event which throws up similar leaderboards year upon year, so both are considered.

Power carded a second-round 66 in Ireland last week to make the cut, which will have boosted confidence, and this sharp putter has shown signs of improvement since switching coaches earlier in the campaign.

He also has a little work to do to keep his card for 2020 and having been in a similar situation both in 2017 and 2018, with contrasting results, he's used to playing under the unique pressure attached to this time of year.

Power is hard to leave out but there's a course specialist who is in better shape so Scott Brown is much preferred.

Six top-25 finishes in seven starts is a display of remarkable consistency at the course and it dates right back to 2012, when Brown teed off for his course debut having just become a father - and rode the wave to finish seventh.

A round of 61 when fifth in 2014 further underlined the suitability of a short, tree-lined course similar to those he grew up playing, and Brown is sure to see this as an excellent opportunity to collect his second PGA Tour title.

"It really fits my eye well for some reason," he said. "I feel like I'm going to play good here because I know I have in the past.

"I've never played practice rounds the first year here because I had my little girl the year before, and I didn't get in till Wednesday night. So the first time I saw it was Thursday and I fell in love with it."

Like a couple of those above, Brown's game might have turned a corner in time. He contended to a point in Canada, then produced his best display of iron play since when 15th in the 3M Open last week.

Brown is second in scoring average at Deere Run of those who've played this event more than once and he looks a rock-solid each-way player.

Finally, two at big prices starting with Robert Streb.

This one-time PGA Tour winner is 128th in FedEx Cup points and his singular focus between now and the Wyndham Championship will be to lock-up a card for next year.

He's good enough to do it in style, too, and having played well on each of his first three visits to Deere Run this looks a nice opportunity for him.

Streb has made three of his last four cuts, his ball-striking has been very solid, and the putter behaved nicely at both the Travelers and the 3M Open, where he was 34th.

This shorter course suits far better and at 175/1 he's good value for an each-way bet.

Finally, Chase Wright could be the one to make a big leap from down at 151st in the FedEx Cup with a performance similar to that of Ryder and Bronson Burgoon last year.

Wright is an excellent putter who ranks 17th this season, and over the last two weeks he's progressed from 46th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic to 23rd in the 3M Open.

On both occasions, his iron play was good enough to make him a contender here should he continue to putt well, and it's encouraging that last year he finished first and fifth in two starts in Illinois.

Wright is from neighbouring Indiana and will enjoy plenty of support again this week. Coupled with a more suitable course, it could help him find the handful of shots required to go from just outside the top 20 to well inside the top 10.

Posted at 0920 BST on 09/07/19.

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