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Betting Analysis

John Deere Classic picks 2023: The obvious choice at TPC Deere Run

July 05, 2023
Adam Schenk of Vincennes, Indiana walks off the first green after putting during the third round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Country Club on Saturday, July 1, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Despite getting the "weak field" label, the Rocket Mortgage Classic delivered the goods, with Rickie Fowler claiming a comeback victory in a playoff over Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin. Our own Pat Mayo cashed in on that Fowler win, hitting him outright at 14-1 for his first victory of the season. 

This week's John Deere Classic field features just one player inside of the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking (Cameron Young), making it an extremely difficult event to bet on. But this is a collection of folks who don't take weeks off, so we roll on as we look to go back-to-back. 

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2023 John Deere Classic.

John Deere Classic picks 2023: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Denny McCarthy (16-1, DraftKings) — Captain Zach Johnson might have a tough time leaving Denny McCarthy off his Ryder Cup team if Denny wins this week and continues to make noise the rest of the season. His results in 2023 have been ultra-consistent, and he continues to threaten for victories–which should happen again this week.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Adam Schenk (30-1, DraftKings) — Let’s just go with the most obvious choice in Adam Schenk. Is he the best player in this field? Hardly. But he’s been plenty close to winning this season with double silver medals at the Valspar and Colonial. Schenk has struggled against the elevated fields, no shocker. However, the JDC is far from a designated event. After a pair of MCs at the U.S. Open and Travelers, he rebounded nicely in Detroit with a T-7; it seems like his game is trending to the point where he may be able to build off his T-6/T-4 finishes in his last two JDC starts.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Russell Henley (14-1, FanDuel) — Henley has finished top 25 in seven of his past eight stroke play events, missing the cut only at the PGA Championship when he putted poorly but striped the irons. He’s the best golfer in the field and is the most likely winner in my simulation model by a good margin.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Emiliano Grillo (30-1, DraftKings) — Grillo’s success has always been strongly tied to his putter, for better or worse. Since the Players Championship, Grillo is the fifth-best putter in this field, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Finding those gains with the flatstick has led to a win and four more top-25s in his past 11 starts. He’s played this event once, finishing T-2 last year.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Eric Cole (35-1, DraftKings) — I swore this was an off-week for me, but I can’t pass up an Eric Cole community win. The former mini-tour star is too perfect of a course fit here: He’s first in Birdies or Better, seventh in SG/putting and 13th in SG/approach over the past 36 rounds, per FantasyNational.com.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Eric Cole (35-1, DraftKings) — I can’t believe we’re doing this, but, yeah, we’re doing this. Cole has simply been one of the most consistent golfers on tour since his Honda runner-up, with six top-25 finishes in his last nine starts. He’s gained on approach in nearly all of those starts and he continues to have a hot putter week after week. It’s time to prove the Honda was no fluke.

Andy Lack, RickRunGood.com and Inside Golf podcast: Stephan Jaeger (35-1, BetMGM) — Stephan Jaeger has been playing some fantastic golf this year, and he now travels to a golf course that should be a perfect fit for his game. The German already boasts a strong track record of success on easier Bentgrass courses, including a ninth last week at the Rocket Mortgage where he gained four strokes on approach. I love capitalizing on players that improve as the week goes on and are carrying a ton of momentum, and with a course-record-tying 63 on Sunday, Jaeger certainly fits the bill.

Past results: As we head into summer, the panel remains as hot as ever, with 12 outright victories on the year as a group. Pat Mayo just picked up his first of the season, nailing Rickie Fowler’s comeback win at the Rocket Mortgage at 14-1. Rick Gehman was on Fowler, too, giving him two outright hits on the year. Brandon Gdula leads the way with SIX of his own, his most recent coming at the U.S. Open where Gdula touted Wyndham Clark at 85-1 (!!).

John Deere Classic picks 2023: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Dylan Wu (66-1, BetMGM) — The Northwestern grad can make birdies in bunches—he’s third in birdies or better over the past 36 rounds. You need a hot putter and ability to get hot with the approach play here, and that’s what Wu brings.

Mayo: Chez Reavie (60-1, DraftKings) — Chez led the field in approach in Detroit, by more than a stroke over Rickie Fowler. He just happened to bleed strokes with the putter. A lot of them. It was for the first time in 10 starts he lost on the greens, though. He doesn’t need to be as sharp with his irons if he can just make a few more 5-footers.

Gdula: Beau Hossler (55-1, FanDuel) — I don’t ever really love going in on golfers with iffy irons, but Hossler does everything else really well and is at a course where he can get by without being precise with the approach play. He’s also putted these greens well in two starts.

Gehman: Callum Tarren (70-1, DraftKings) — The bad news is that Tarren was dead last in putting in Detroit. The good news is that he was first in ball-striking. He’s never really been a great putter but there’s certainly little chance that he loses another eight strokes in that department. His driving has been splendid and he’s giving himself plenty of birdie changes – a strategy that resulted in a T-6 at this event last year.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (66-1, PointsBet) — OK, if I were to make a second outright bet, it would be to continue chasing a Mark Hubbard win.

Powers, Golf Digest: Sam Ryder (110-1, PointsBet) — Ryder has seemingly righted the ship after hitting a mini rut, making two of his last three cuts and throwing in a first-round 65 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He’s still searching for his first PGA Tour win, though he’s come close on two occasions this season. The JDC should serve as a prime spot for that, as Ryder owns a runner-up here from 2018 and a top 20 the following year.

Lack: Mark Hubbard (66-1, BetMGM) — This is a great time to buy on a player that has missed back to back cuts on the number as a popular option, and now heads to a golf course that remains an awesome fit for his style of play. Hubbard’s lack of distance will not hurt him at TPC Deere Run, and he remains the number one approach player in this field over the past two months. Hubbard also ranks fourth in this field in easy scoring conditions, and he has gained over 2.5 strokes ball-striking in his last two appearances in the Quad Cities.

John Deere Classic picks 2023: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Cameron Young (16-1, DraftKings) — I love the kid’s game, of course, but he’s been struggling—and this feels like a lot to expect out of his cold putter.

Mayo: Denny McCarthy (16-1, DraftKings) — Nothing against Denny, but this is a field of Denny McCarthys at better prices.

Gdula: Adam Hadwin (28-1, FanDuel) — Hadwin’s irons are uncharacteristically good at the moment, and a way-too-hot putter carried him to a T-2 last week at the Rocket Mortgage. He should regress soon.

Gehman: Cameron Young (16-1, DraftKings) — There is a time and place to deploy Young this week, but it will be in game theory situations like DFS and potentially one-and-done contests. Betting him outright at this number seems a bit ill-advised. He hasn’t cracked the top 30 since the Masters—eight starts ago. He’s starting to show better ball-striking numbers but his putter continues to be a nuisance. This event will likely turn into a putting contest so it’ll be difficult to hitch your wagon to someone who is lost on the greens right now.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Russell Henley (14-1, DraftKings) — Another great course fit for Russell Henley, but it’s another number way too short to consider.

Powers, Golf Digest: Taylor Moore (28-1, BetMGM) — I’m with Andy here. Gaining almost 10 strokes with the putter doesn’t seem sustainable.

Lack: Taylor Moore (28-1, BetMGM) — I’ve certainly been impressed by what I’ve seen out of Taylor Moore this season, but his fourth-place finish last week at the Rocket Mortgage was a bit misleading. The recent Valspar Championship winner gained nearly 10 strokes putting, while barely gaining off the tee and even being a slight loser on approach. While it’s undeniable that Moore can score and take advantage of easy conditions, I trust his ball-striking far less than many of his peers in this price range.

John Deere Classic picks 2023: Matchups

Caddie: Adam Hadwin (+105) over Cameron Young (DraftKings) — Two vastly different ceilings, but right now, Young’s floor seems to be lower than Hadwin—who has been real consistent in 2023.

Mayo: Chris Kirk (+100) over Emiliano Grillo (DraftKings) — Kirk and Grillo are very similar, except sometimes Kirk can putt.

Gdula: Stephan Jaeger (-118) over Seamus Power (FOX Bet) — These two have a big gap in tee-to-green stats with a big edge on Jaeger. Power is the better putter, but I’ll always side with the more stable ball-striking stats.

Gehman: Eric Cole (-110) over Byeong Hun An (Bet365) — Cole has been splendid this year, earning five top-25 finishes in his last seven starts. He’s gained at least 2.5 strokes putting in each of his last four events and he routinely gains from tee-to-green. An, on the other hand, has struggled to make putts for the entirety of his career and hasn’t found success with his long game recently either – missing two straight cuts. These golfers are headed in different directions.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-110) over Taylor Montgomery (Bet365) — Montgomery has had one top-25 finish since the end of January, and this wouldn’t seem to be a good course fit for the Vegas native. He sprays it off the tee, and he’s likely to find himself in some of this thick, 4-inch rough. Bez, though he hasn’t been playing great, has great history here with the runner-up last year. His more target, plodding approach is a much better fit here.

Powers, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (+100) over Sepp Straka (DraftKings) — Back-to-back missed cuts might have some jumping off the Hubbard train but I expect him to turn it around at TPC Deere Run. This is a good plus-money play on a guy who is always hanging around the top 20 vs. a guy in Straka who will either finish third or 70th with very little in between.

Lack: Alex Smalley (-110) over Seamus Power (DraftKings) — This is an easy one, as Smalley is one of my favorite plays on the board, and I’m happy to get him in a coin flip against a struggling Seamus Power. I simply do not believe that Power is hitting his irons well enough to contend this week, as he has lost over 1.5 strokes on approach in four straight starts. Power is still one of the bigger names in this field, which is the only reason that he is priced against players like Smalley that are in far stronger ball-striking form. While I typically do love Power in easier scoring conditions, Smalley is a much safer bet.

Matchup Results from the Rocket Mortgage Classic: Powers: 1 for 1 (S.J. Im (+100) over Finau); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 21-13-1 (up 6.71 units); Gehman: 20-13-2 (up 5.46 units); Powers: 19-14-2 (up 4.81 units); Caddie: 17-15-3 (up 1.11 units); Lack: 13-11-1 (up 0.5 units); Gdula: 15-19-1 (down 6.23 units); Mayo: 12-20-0 (down 8.4 units)

John Deere Classic picks 2023: Top 10s

Caddie: Peter Malnati (+1200, DraftKings) — I’m surprised Malnati’s odds are this high. He had a nice week last week on a similar wedge/putting test.

Mayo: Callum Tarren (+650, DraftKings) — With this new schedule we’re getting the “wedge swing” of events right now. While the Travelers, Rocket Mortgage, and John Deere don’t appear to have much in common, they are three of the courses with the most approach shots inside 150 yards. While Tarren’s recent results haven’t been overly noteworthy (T-33/T-29), his ball-striking has been elite. The Brit is averaging over four strokes off the tee and 4.5 on approach the last two weeks. He just can’t putt at the moment. Not inspiring. However, the JDC was the site of his best 2022 finish, where he gained 4.3 on the greens.

Gdula: Sam Stevens (+550, FanDuel) — Stevens is someone my model usually likes a decent bit, and this week, he rates out really well for TPC Deere Run. He’s eighth in the field in SG/tee-to-green over his past 50 rounds, per datagolf, and the weak putting is not as much of a concern at a place where it’s easy to putt.

Gehman: Lucas Glover (+600, DraftKings) — Glover made plenty of noise last week gaining 5.42 strokes with the putter, his best performance on the greens since the 2021 Honda Classic. The timing couldn’t be better as Glover heads to TPC Deere Run, one of the best courses on the schedule for him. He won this event in 2021 and has three more top 25s in his career.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Callum Tarren (+650, DraftKings) — I’m with Pat here. Tarren switched to one of the popular Odyssey Jailbirds for the final rounds in Detroit and putted less-awful with it. The top-40 market is a better way to play Tarren here.

Powers, Golf Digest: Davis Thompson (+750, DraftKings) — Thompson has been very quiet since his second-place finish at the American Express, where he damn near clipped Jon Rahm if not for a putt that bounced off the flagstick. Finally, he showed some signs of life in Detroit again, gaining over four strokes tee-to-green, 3.9 off-the-tee and 1.8 on approach. Sitting just inside the top 70 of the FedEx Cup standings, it’s time for DT to slam his foot on the gas.

Lack: Alex Smalley (+400, DraftKings) — Alex Smalley has been a player I’ve been high on all season, and I expect him to continue his ascent this week in the Quad Cities. The former Duke standout is coming off a 47th at the Rocket Mortgage where he gained over seven strokes on approach, and he is now returning to a golf course where he gained over six strokes ball-striking last year. One of the strongest iron players in the field, who also ranks second in easy scoring conditions, I have little doubt that Smalley will find his way onto the first page of the leaderboard by week’s end.

Top-10 results from the Rocket Mortgage Classic: Everybody: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 10 for 35 (up 14.1 units); Hennessey: 7 for 35 (up 7.95 units); Gdula: 9 for 35 (up 7.2 units); Lack: 7 for 25 (up 2.4 units); Mayo: 7 for 32 (down 0.3 units); Caddie: 8 for 35 (down 1.4 units); Powers: 4 for 35 (down 8.9 units)

John Deere Classic picks 2023: One and Done

Gehman: Denny McCarthy — When in doubt, take the favorite. McCarthy has been splendid this year and boasts nine top-20 finishes in his last 14 starts – highlighted by a runner-up at the Memorial. He’s routinely gaining multiple strokes to the field with his putter but now he’s also gained on approach in four of his last five. McCarthy is playing the best golf of his career and is ready to make noise in Silvis.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Aaron Wise. RSM Classic: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Cameron Young. Sony Open: Hideki Matsuyama. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Jason Day. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Scottie Scheffler. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Sungjae Im. API: Rory McIlroy. Players: Jon Rahm. Valspar: Justin Rose. WGC-Match Play: Cameron Young. Valero: Rickie Fowler. Masters: Jordan Spieth. RBC Heritage: Collin Morikawa. Zurich: Kurt Kitayama. Mexico Open: Ben Martin. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: K.H. Lee. PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele. Charles Schwab Challenge: Min Woo Lee. Memorial: Patrick Cantlay. RBC Canadian Open: Tyrrell Hatton. U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka. Travelers: Tony Finau. Rocket Mortgage: Cameron Davis.

Hennessey: Adam Schenk — The putting and approach play have been immaculate, and his course history is just as good.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Jason Day. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Patrick Cantlay. Sony Open: Matt Kuchar. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Will Zalatoris. AT&T Pebble Beach: Seamus Power. WMPO: Collin Morikawa. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Keith Mitchell. Players: Rory McIlroy. Valspar: Adam Hadwin. WGC-Match Play: Tyrrell Hatton. Valero: Nick Taylor. Masters: Scottie Scheffler. RBC Heritage: Jordan Spieth. Zurich: Sahith Theegala. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Xander Schauffele. Byron Nelson: Tyrrell Hatton. PGA Championship: Jon Rahm. Charles Schwab Challenge: Justin Rose. Memorial: Corey Conners. RBC Canadian Open: Tommy Fleetwood. U.S. Open: Max Homa. Travelers: Tom Kim. Rocket Mortgage: Rickie Fowler.

Powers: Denny McCarthy — Just like last week with Rickie Fowler, it’s an “if not now, when?” week for Denny, who can seriously thrust himself into the Ryder Cup conversation with a win one of these weeks.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry. Houston Open: Sepp Straka. RSM Classic: Davis Riley. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Gary Woodland. American Express: Cameron Young. Farmers: Taylor Montgomery. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Sungjae Im. Genesis: Collin Morikawa. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Will Zalatoris. Players: Patrick Cantlay. Valspar: Justin Suh. WGC-Match Play: Tom Kim. Valero: Matt Kuchar. Masters: Tony Finau. RBC Heritage: Rickie Fowler. Zurich: Robby Shelton. Mexico Open: Luke List. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: Tom Hoge. PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. Memorial: Shane Lowry. RBC Canadian Open: Justin Rose. U.S. Open: Dustin Johnson. Travelers: Tom Kim. Rocket Mortgage: Ludvig Aberg.

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13.

Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for RickRunGood.com, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports