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John Deere Classic Betting Picks + Fantasy Golf Deep Dive (Core Plays, Bets, Lineup Process, Value Plays, Ownership Leverage, and Player Pool)

Breaking down my step-by-step process to give you the top picks, plays and bets for the John Deere Classic.

Quick Updates Made to the Website for Golf: Added in Head to Head Betting Picks Tool, this can be found under the betting tool. This will be for both the tournament and the round. This will compare the specific book, against the average sportsbook odds from several different sources to see if we are gaining an edge on a bet. Another way we can gain an edge is by comparing the NineToFive Odds against the Book odds. Below is an example using the tournament only market. (I will have a video breaking down how to use this tool at some point)

*Please note I always publish the rough draft version of this writeup, and then come back and edit it / correct it later that day. If there are grammatical errors that is why.


I have started a golf specific content on YouTube where I will be posting all of my golf content. Below is a link to subscribe to the channel. Please make sure to do so.

Below is a breakdown of the key data points we will be analyzing to identify the top golfers for this week and the reasoning behind it. The NineToFive Data provides curated insights to help us understand why a golfer is a strong or weak choice for the upcoming tournament. I will review the NineToFive Data's assessments and share my own analysis on these selections. To access this valuable data and more from NineToFive, simply click the 'join now' button below and sign up for just $10 a month.


Key Stats:

*Based off of which key stats led to golfers winning but also making the cut in previous years at the course tournament. When no course history is available I will difficult to compare course history. I look for which one or two Strokes Gained stats matter the most. Look to see whether this is a wedge fest or a long iron event. (175-125 stats don't really matter in terms of predicting who will play well in a given week) Find out which scoring stat matters the most (BOB, B2B, or BA). Find if this is a course in which accuracy or distance matters the most.

  • Birdie or Better % (BOB)

  • Ball Striking (BS)

  • Strokes Gained Putting (SG P)

  • Effective Scoring (ESCR) - NineToFive Stat

  • Par 5 Scoring (Par5)

  • Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SGT2G)

This tournament is all about scoring, and looking at stats that point to scoring. This is also when we see this be such a hit or miss week.

Course History:

Going forward Course History for an event with go by H1, H2, H3, and H4. For most weeks that will simply be 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 course history. (Last 4 years is course history is when the data is the most significant)

  • Course History Last 4 Years


Slate confidence rating is a way of looking at the slate in terms of predictability. Red will be a week in which I am reducing my units bet. Typically this will mean entering the same amount of lineups but in a contest where the entry $ amount is less. A Yellow week is a standard week. Green is a week that appears to be very easy to predict, these are weeks in which we typically have a full field event that is loaded. (Majors) thus it should be very easy to make a good profitable lineup. **Note for betting my strategy does not change per week.

This week we should see a little less variance than last week, but there still will be some random bad results, just not as much as last week. We are getting too many options that are slightly too cheap, which will make the player pool harder to have prop exposures on these golfers.



Betting Picks

First Round Leader

AM Tee Times

I will be targeting AM Tee Times that rank out top 7 for FRL betting using the NineToFive betting sheet until further notice (basically if weather tells us not to)

3 Ball Bets:

Available by clicking on either the Ownership Leverage, or Props page on NineToFive, then click on the 3 person Icon.

Outright Bets:

Picture 1 = Golfers that are the statical best Outright Bets. This is determined by looking at which data points were the most predictable in regards to players that won the past two seasons. These golfers meet at least 80% or more of the statical thresholds used to determine winners.

  • Davis Thompson

  • Mark Hubbard

  • Aaron Rai

  • Sungjae Im

  • Sam Stevens

  • Andrew Novak

  • Maverick McNealy

Core Plays + Outright Bets

Core Plays are the golfers that I am prioritizing the most


Aaron Rai and Davis Thompson were both some of the best plays last week, and they are two of the best plays this week. A lot of what makes a great golf play last week will again make a great play this week. So with those two it is lather rinse repeat, but they are priced that way this week.

McNealy had a disappointing week last week finishing 44th, but that was his 5th made cut in a row, and now we are getting him on a course where he has finished 8th, and 18th.

In a better field event Andrew Novak would not be a Core Play, but he is someone that makes a lot of sense this week. He has made two straight cuts at this event, he had made 6 out of the past 7 cuts, with his only missed cut being a missed cut on the number. Stat Fit wise there is nothing bad in his game.

All 4 golfers rank top 25 or better in the 4 key metrics that we look at for predictability.

High Exposure

Players that I am still going out of my way to roster, but have a slight pause for whether that be course history, recent form, stat fit, safety, upside or price. (*This is based off of the the NineToFive Data Tag, which accurately marks a slight flaw in a great play thus why they would only be high exposure plays)


All these plays I think have tremendous upside, but they are all plays that I could see missing the cut.

Straka, Im, Steven, and Kevin Yu have all been a little bit too hit or miss this year but they all have tremendous upside, but they are all priced that way and that is also part of the risk.

JT Poston is a former winner at this event, that was able to follow up that win with a 6th place finish here last year. He has made 4 straight cuts now, and should be a safe play to use in fair and balanced builds.

Mark Hubbard has been great at this track getting better in each start, he is a great stat fit, and great specialist my biggest concern with him as a play is that he has not had any upside finishes lately. But he is too good of a play at too good of a price to pass up on.

Mid Exposure

Players that are still good plays but have more than one flaw to them as a play this week. This could be due to recent form, stat fit, course history, injury uncertainly or just due to the fact that their are better plays around their price tag.


I was a little bit surprised to see Zach Johnson at this cheap price tag as this is a course that he has dominated at, as this is a "home" tournament for him. He has been playing solid enough golf this year, and I think he makes for a great cash play. (mostly due to price).

I do think the good play that we have seen from Neal Shipley, and Luke Clanton will continue this week. Now I do not think that we should treat Clanton as a top 10 play, but for sure a top 20 play. Given the price between the two I would rather get to Shipley though.

Low Exposure

Risk/Reward Plays, Plays to get a made cut, Shoulder Shrug Plays, or Fomo Plays


Rico Hoey is a very interesting play, as he ranks top top in the field in Par 5 Scoring, Ball Striking, and top 20 in BOB %. He struggle is putting, if he can get hot with the putter I actually could see him winning this week, which is almost what he did last week finishing top 6. He is a play that we could be targeting to capture some upside.

I could say the same for David Skinns who has 3 top 25 finishes over his past 4 starts on tour. Skinns is also a top 20 stat fit, and it would not be shocking to get a top 25 finish out of him this week as well.

      Lower Exposure

High priced golfers that I will be underweight on from the field but still want exposure to, and more GPP only plays.


I think you could make an arguement that I should be Kizzire, Silverman, and Bridgeman more than I currently am, and that is the issue with this week is that it is very hard to rank golfers and give out proper exposures on goflers.


Player Pool

Player Pool Breakdown:

Player Pool is rank in order of how I am prioritizing a golfer as a play this week. (This is based off of 20 entry max lineups. For 150 entry lineups I will open up the player pool slightly more but this will be determined by the lineup optimizer)


(Finalized on Tuesday Member Writeup)

Cash Play: Highest Likelihood to make the cut.

GPP Play: Reduced Likelihood to make the cut, but if they do they have a high likelihood to exceed their salary.

Cash: Core, Hubbard, Poston, ZJ, Clanton, Shipley

GPP: Sungjae, Spieth, Mitchell, Yu, Stevens, Straka


*This is a sample lineup for you to use as a reference tool. This is typically the first look lineup that I get onto for the week. Most of the time my main lineup will be adjusted throughout the week as I do a deeper dive.

In terms of trying to make a fair and balanced build this is a build that I like. Now I don't mind the idea of doing studs and duds as well.

Ownership Leverage

Taking a look at the players that are under-owned, and too high owned. Talking about why.

*Tool Update Alert* New to 925s Ownership Leverage Tool - Return Value for Finishing Position: Measuring where a golfer needs to finish to return value based on their current ownership projection at their price point.

Too early to ownership leverage as of right now. (Tuesday Morning)


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establish in 2018

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