If we can hit a winner in one Midwest Birdie Fest, what’s stopping us from doing it again a week later? Coming off a high with Cam Davis’ victory at the Rocket Mortgage, we’re feeling loose again with the card at the John Deere Classic. Would I bet notorious loser Harold Varner III had I not been coming off a 20+ unit week? Unlikely! But anything can happen at the John Deere Classic, as Michael Kim showed us with his -27 score in 2018, so I’m swinging for the fences this week with my Outrights and FRLs. Here’s a look back at where I landed with my card for the week.
- Seamus Power +3500
- Zach Johnson +5000
- Doc Redman +5500
- Harold Varner III +6600
- Jhonattan Vegas +7000
- Charles Howell III +8000
- Danny Lee +19000
The week began with me talking about Brian Harman as an eventual play, and it ends with me fading everyone under 35/1 on the board. Truthfully after Daniel Berger, I don’t think there’s much of a talent gap this week between Brian Harman at 14/1 and a slew of names in the 40/1 range. If you want to pay up for Daniel Berger at the top at 11/1, I wouldn’t talk anyone out of it, he’s clearly the best player in this field and came here to win, not to tune up. But in an event that produced as many random, first time winners as this, I’d rather spread my exposure around the mid-range and hope for a couple good names to stay in the mix come Sunday.
I talked up HVIII, Jhonattan Vegas, CHIII, and Danny Lee in Bombs & Values earlier this week, and think they all have win upside against this very beatable field. I bounced back and forth between Power, Na, and McNealy at the top of the board, and ultimately landed on Power with a bit of a price premium due to his stellar recent form, course fit, and course history. Zach Johnson at 50/1 in his comfort zone at TPC Deere Run coming off a good Travelers showing and now going against a putrid field was an auto-bet number, and Doc Redman benefits from some severe over-reaction pricing after just missing the cut at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. He’s an easy course crusher and should feast on the set up this week if he can continue to keep the putter rolling.
First Round Leader
- Sebastian Munoz +7000
- Ben Martin +12500
- Anirban Lahiri +12500
- Johnson Wagner +15000
- JJ Spaun +15000
Here’s the list of players who have cashed First Round Leader tickets at the John Deere Classic over the last 5 years: Roberto Diaz, Steve Wheatcroft, Ollie Schneiderjans, Andrew Loupe, Tom Gillis, Nicholas Thompson. That’s not a joke, those are actual professional golfers that were leading the John Deere Classic through one round. The point is, there’s no way to predict who’s going to come out hot this week, so why not spread around a bunch of super long shots 100/1+? It’s also the only week you’re ever going to see both Sebastian Munoz and Anirban Lahiri in Featured Groups, so even better reason to sweat them as First Round Leaders. At over 125/1, Martin, Wagner, and Spaun all seem to fit the same profile of bad golfers who can randomly go low on this course.
- Alex Noren (-112) > Cameron Davis
- Seamus Power (+106) > Aaron Wise
I’ve taken a few months off since my last matchup bet, but this week I just really saw an opportunity to bet against Davis and Wise. I think the public is a lot higher on them than I am this week and these matchups just happen to put them up against two players who are great fits for this event in Alex Noren and Seamus Power. You can read up more on my thoughts for these matchups in Prop, Lock, & Drop It.
One and Done
- Brian Harman
I thought about whether I should still bet Brian Harman outright when he opened as low as 16/1 for about 5 minutes, which in hindsight was about 4 minutes and 57 seconds longer than any sane person should have. Just can’t do it at that number for Brian Harman. So instead the next best way for me to get exposure to my Spotlight player of the week is to take him in One And Done. I will lose absolutely no sleep if I miss out on a Brian Harman outright cash, but for all the reasons I detailed in the Tournament Preview, I’m in.
- Brian Harman ($10,400)
- Jhonattan Vegas ($8,000)
- Danny Lee ($6,700)
$10,400 is an egregious price to pay for Brian Harman, but in birdie fests, it’s always easy to find viable salary savers at the bottom of the board, so the price is still not prohibiting me from fitting in all the guys I want to. Again, if Brian Harman wins this tournament and I miss the outright but can gain ground in OAD and with my DFS lineups, you won’t hear a single complaint from me. That’s exactly how things went with Jon Rahm at the US Open, and honestly, Harman’s outright price isn’t that far away from Rahm’s. Generally speaking, nobody in the $7K range is really calling out to me this week, so instead I’m going down to Danny Lee at $6,700 so I can keep the rest of my plays in the $8Ks. Lee will not be popular this week, but I think he has great upside. His JDC history also would be better if he wasn’t always playing hurt here in the past, so I expect to see results closer to that T3 finish we saw from him in 2015. My favorite play in the $8K range is also not going to be super popular since he’s a bomber coming to a plotter’s course, but I have a really good feeling about Jhonny Vegas coming to the John Deere Classic based on how he ranks out in all the key stats I’m favoring this week.