We make our first of two scheduled trips to Illinois for the John Deere Classic, which is providing us with arguably our weakest field of the year. While this week may not draw in the casual fans who enjoy names they’re familiar with, this is a wonderful week for the bettors given that the favorite is coming in at +1800 odds. Pick the winner this week, and you’re walking away with a nice payday no matter who it is. So, let’s get to work.
Here are five golfers to consider throwing on your card this week.
Zach Johnson, +2500 - Zach Johnson has missed the cut in two of his last five events and has finished outside of the top-50 in five of his last seven. Johnson has just two top-25 finishes since the Sony Open, so the struggle is truly real. The positives is that Johnson owns the John Deere Classic, finishing fifth or better in seven of his last 10 appearances, which includes three runner-up finishes and a victory in 2012. Struggles with current form or not, you can’t put a card together this week without including Johnson.
Joaquin Niemann, +2200 - Joaquin Niemann has six straight top-35 finishes, which includes fifth place finishes at the Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic. Last week, Niemann was -13 at the 3M Open and finishes just inside the top-25. He’s gone from struggling to make the cut consistently to knocking on the leaderboard time and time again. In his only appearance at the John Deere Classic last year, Niemann produced a top-25 finish. Expect this hot streak to continue.
Sungjae Im, +2200 - Sungjae Im will make his debut at this event this week, but I’ll still take my chances considering he’s strung together four straight top-25 finishes and is coming off a strong -14 at the 3M Open. Im has made us quickly forget about that rough patch he had earlier in the year, and you can make a case he’s the hottest golfer in this field. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the 21-year-old ends up winning his first PGA tour event this week with a watered down field.
Daniel Berger, +3000 - Daniel Berger finished the 3M strong last week and had his first top-20 finish since finishing runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open back in February. Welcome back, Berger. If he’s able to carry any of that momentum with him to the TPC Deere Run, Berger has a legit chance to compete for a title. Consistently finding the fairways and finishing with a strong short game, Berger may have found his game at the right time, especially with him finishing fifth in his only appearance here back in 2017.
Bud Cauley, +5500 - It’s been a rough go for Bud Cauley, as he’s missed the cut nine times since the RSM Classic and three times in his last six events overall. The good news is Cauley had his moments last week in Minnesota, finishing with a -12, and he’s averaging a 10th place finish in his last two appearances at the John Deere Classic. Cauley also seems to put together a strong performance out of nowhere, so watch out if he gets off to a fast start.