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  • Writer's pictureJake Friedman (@THEJakeFriedman)

2024 John Deere Classic DFS & Outright Betting Guide

By: Jake Friedman



Introduction

The PGA Tour heads to TPC Deere Run in Illinois for this weeks John Deere Classic. The par 71, 7,258 yard course was designed by D.A. Weibring and has been the host of this event since 2000. Sepp Straka, who is in the field this week, is the defending champion. Other previous winners in this weeks field include J.T. Poston (2022), Lucas Glover (2021), Michael Kim (2018), Ryan Moore (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015, 2013), and Zach Johnson (2012).


This is another weak field event as many of the PGA Tour stars are preparing to head over the pond for the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship. Recent notable withdrawals include Patrick Cantlay and last weeks winner Cameron Davis. With an even weaker field this week than last, and Scottie Scheffler remaining on the sidelines, there's another opportunity to capitalize in both the DFS and outright markets.


DFS Guide

10k Range

Jordan Spieth ($10,500) - I'm willing to look past his poor form this entire 2024 season in hopes of a significant discount in ownership. He's in this range with 3 other players that are in great form, yet he is the highest priced of the bunch. We haven't seen Spieth here in a while but sandwiched between his wins in 2015 and 2013, he had a T7. This season on the PGA Tour, Spieth ranks 16th in strokes gained off the tee, 110th in approach, 78th in around the green, and 80th in putting. I believe Spieth is teeing it up this week in hopes to find some form, at a place he's had success at in the past, before making the trip over the pond. I'm not all that at the moment that Spieth will win this tournament, but I'm projecting the ownership to be low which makes him a play in DFS this week.


Sungjae Im ($10,300) - With my projected ownership in this range being spread almost evenly between the bottom 3 players, I'm picking my favorite in the bunch. I believe Sungjae is the most talented golfer of the bunch and has some very promising lead in form. Taking majors out of the equation as this is a weak field event (and he's missed the cut at all 3 so far this season), Sungjae's lead in form is T12, win, T4, T9, T8, and T3. This season on the PGA Tour, Im ranks 27th in strokes gained off the tee, 102nd in approach, 47th in around the green, and 88th in putting. These numbers are watered down from the beginning of the year when he got over to a slow start. He's made the cut in all 6 appearences at the John Deere and which includes 2 top 25 finishes and 1 top 10 finish. I'll be curious to see where the ownership comes in, but regardless I like Sungjae's chances this week.


9k Range

Maverick McNealy ($9,800) - Going back to the well with McNealy after a very disappointing week last week. In his last 4 starts, McNealy has finished T23, T17, T7, and T44. If I thought McNealy was going to have a good finish last week, I can't think otherwise this week. I'm willing to throw out one bad week, which wasn't even that bad. This season on the PGA Tour, McNealy ranks 19th in strokes gained off the tee, 109th in approach, 12th in around the green, and 28th in putting. As I mentioned last week, these numbers are extremely impressive. In 7 appearences at this event, he's made the cut in 6 and has 1 top 25 finish, 1 top 20 finish, and 2 top 10 finishes. The course history, the current form, and the weak field combine to make McNealy one of my favorite options in both the outright and DFS markets this week.


Davis Thompson ($9,600) - Another player trending towards the winners circle over his past few starts, I think Thompson will be a popular pick in this price range. I'm willing to try and diversify my lineups elsewhere to get him in. In his last 6 starts, Thompson has 1 top 20 and 3 top 10 finishes including a runner up last week. This season on the PGA Tour, Thompson ranks 66th in strokes gained off the tee, 25th in approach, 13th in around the green, and 84th in putting. In his only appearence at this tournament, which was last year, Thompson finished T31. Playing some of the best golf of his career and continuing to trend in the right direction, Thompson is a great option in both the outright and DFS markets this week.


8k Range

Nick Dunlap ($8,900) - It seems like Nick Dunlap is settling into his professional PGA Tour career and I'm going to look to him this week in DFS. In his last 10 starts, Dunlap has 1 top 25 finish and 3 top 15 finishes. That includes 3 missed cuts at the 3 majors this year. This also includes a T10 last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This season on the PGA Tour, Dunlap ranks 139th in strokes gained off the tee, 92nd in approach, 132nd in around the green, and 71st in putting. In Dunlap's case being thrusted onto the scene of the PGA Tour, I'm more interested in the recent numbers. From our limited data, Dunlap looks to be long off the tee and a solid approach player. In his last 5 starts, he's gained on the field in accuracy off the tee and has shown the ability to spike with the putter. He's won already this year on the PGA Tour in a much stronger field than this one and his recent numbers look more than good enough to justify him as a DFS play this week.


Adam Svensson ($8,200) - Another player I am going back to the well on this week after a disappointing missed cut last week. Before last weeks missed cut, Svensson had made 11 cuts in a row and had placed T16 the prior week at the Travelers Championship. Week in and week out, Svensson is an extremely accurate driver of the golf ball and gains on the field in appraoch and around the green. The putter is where the problems are generated from. This season on the PGA Tour, Svensson ranks 83rd in strokes gained off the tee, 39th in approach, 82nd in around the green, and 162nd in putting. What I love about Svensson this week, aside from getting a very solid golfer in the low 8k range, is that he has played well at TPC Deere Run each time he's teed it up. In 2019 he finished T18, in 2022 he finished T24 and last year in 2023 he finished T21. If the putter cooperates, even in the slightest, Svensson can be in for a big finish this week.


7k Range

Lee Hodges ($7,500) - One of my favorite plays of the week, and another player who fits my mold of "played bad last week but has been consistently good before". Hodges made the cut in 5 staright events before the missed cut last week which included 1 top 25 finish and 2 top 15 finishes. This season on the PGA Tour, Hodges ranks 131st in strokes gained off the tee, 38th in approach, 146th in around the green, and 86th in putting. The knock to Hodges' driving number is his lack of distance off the tee which I don't think will be too much of an issue this week. In his only appearence at this event in 2022 he placed T43. The name of the game this week is fairways, irons, and putting which align well with how Hodges has played the past few weeks.


Jhonattan Vegas ($7,200) - I might be calling my shot here, but I think Vegas is a solid option in the low 7k range this week. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster for Vegas this year but rattling off a T27 at the RBC Canadian Open and then a T25 last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This season on the PGA Tour, Vegas ranks 11th in strokes gained off the tee, 33rd in approach, 148th in around the green, and 166th in putting. As you can tell, the off the tee and approach have been stellar, but the short game has been an absolute nightmare. In his 6 appearences as the John Deere, even though they aren't recent, Vegas has made the cut in 5 of 6. He also has 1 top 5 finish and 1 top 15 finish. What I love to see is that in his 6 appearences Vegas has managed to gain with the putter in 4 of them and gain around the green in 3 of them. Hopefully Vegas can build on his recent form and not have the putter sink his hopes this week.


6k Range

Vince Whaley ($6,800) - Since April, Whaley has made the cut in 8 of his 9 including 6 in a row coming into this week. None of the finishes are all that flashy, he finished T4 in a Korn Ferry Tour event and T23 at the Corales Puntacana Championship. This season on the PGA Tour, Whaley ranks 158th in strokes gained off the tee, 149th in approach, 61st in around the green, and 63rd in putting. Opposite of Vegas this season, the off the tee and approach are a bit of a disaster while the short game is in decent order. Whaley is very long off the tee which salvages his off the tee upside in my opinion. His course history is nothing to write home about missing the cut in 2 of his 3 appearences. I'm just looking for Whaley to get across the cut line and get some weekend points at a low ownership.


Harry Higgs ($6,400) - Grinding on the Korn ferry Tour and has officially earned his PGA Tour card back for the 2025 season, Higgs has played some amazing golf recently. He is a boom or bust player with his last 6 starts consisting of 2 wins, 1 top 5, 1 top 30 and 2 missed cuts. This is the exact type of player I am looking for in a winning DFS lineup. His past history at this event are 2 missed cuts and a T57 which is pretty bad, but I'd argue Higgs is playing some of his best golf to date. What I like about Higgs's success on the Korn Ferry Tour is that most of these tournaments are extremely competitve birdie fests which is what I'm anicipating this week to shape out to be. I think his recent success might tack a few ownership percentage points on him, but at this price I still think he's worth a play.


Outright Betting Guide

Maverick McNealy +3000 0.5834U

Davis Thompson +4984* 0.3511U

Lee Hodges +8000 0.2188U

Joel Dahmen +10000 0.175U

Matt Kuchar +18000 0.0973U

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