That’s the sound PGA Tour players are hearing as time winds down on the 2022-2023 wraparound season. Before we get to John Deere Classic odds and predictions, let’s take a look at what remains prior to the FedEx Cup playoffs.
There are just six weeks remaining (and seven events including an off-field tournament) before the top-70 will qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
That’s right, it’s now just the top-70 moving on to the playoff round rather than the top-125 in years past. That’s going to put more pressure on those who hope to keep their season going.
That goal of making the FedEx Cup playoff field brings us back to this week’s event: the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
This week’s event has only nine players in the top 50 in the world rankings in the field. That’s bad news for golf fans attending the event and bettors. But it’s great news for Tour pros, as there are 53 of the top 100 players in the field fighting for points to get in–or stay in–the top 70 as the playoffs approach.
Now while the purse is one of the smallest around at $7.4 million, there are plenty of perks up for grabs. First, there’s the 500 FedEx Cup points. Right now, those may turn out to be more valuable than the cash players earn.
Second, if the winner hasn’t qualified for the Open Championship across the pond, this is his last chance to do so. There are three exemptions into the Open Championship available for top finishers not already eligible.
After the Tour’s final regular-season event, the Wyndham Championship, which will be held the first week of August, the top-70 players will be playing for a boatload of cash the following three weeks.
We’re talking about a pair of $20 million purses in the FedEx St. Jude Championship (top 70) and the BMW Championship the following week (the top 50 players).
That sets the stage for golf’s biggest payday: The Tour Championship. This will be the one everyone’s got their eyes set on. It’s a $75 million purse with $18 million going to the winner.
Not bad work if you can find it. But first, let’s see who just might get in the winner’s circle and who might get the chance to play in one of golf’s most historic events: The Open Championship.
Season’s Last Major: Open Championship Odds 2023 & Futures Betting Guide
Odds to Win John Deere Classic
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We list odds from FanDuel, but shop around at other top-rated sportsbooks to find the best prices on your plays.
A Tough Field to Handicap
With most tournaments, there’s a clear-cut favorite or two.
Not this week. The John Deere used to be the week right before the Open Championship, and players who qualified jumped on a charter jet and were whisked away across the pond to play one of golf’s biggest events.
Now, the Open Championship ($14 million purse) is two weeks away with the Scottish Open ($9 million purse) and the off-field Barbasol Championship ($3.8 million off-field event in Kentucky) on next week’s schedule.
With a purse of $7.4 million (up $300,000 from last year), this week’s John Deere event is not a must-play event — especially if you’re already qualified for the Open Championship or way up on the FedEx Cup points ladder.
Hence, the tee sheets that show us plenty of the names of players scrambling to get into that top-70 category as we close in on the playoffs.
It’s not often the favorites are +1600, but this week the trio of Denny McCarthy, Cameron Young, and Russell Henley are just that. Usually, if the top players are in the field, they can certainly lead the way in betting odds at under +1000.
For a few players this week, it’s going to be a good–but not a great–payday with the top prize a little over $1.3 million. It’s still not a bad paycheck if you win, but it’s the other perks that make this a must-play event for those looking to move up the FedEx Cup standings.
One more interesting fact: Five of the last 11 John Deere winners picked up their first victory here.
Keep an Eye on Emiliano Grillo
Emiliano Grillo, who is a robust +3100 this week, wound up T-2 here one year ago.
It’s already been a stellar year for Grillo, as he won the Charles Schwab Challenge to snap a seven-year winless streak. His only other PGA Tour victory came at the 2016 Frys.com Open, so that win this season has to have him licking his chops coming into an event he was close to winning last year.
He’s 41st in the world rankings and safely in the playoff hunt in the 20th spot in the FedEx Cup standings, so he’s got only one thing on his mind: Winning again.
He comes in with good form off a T-16 at the Travelers Championship.
Having those memories of 2022 will certainly have him in a positive frame of mind.
Chez Reavie on the Move
Here’s a golfer who flies so low under the radar he might as well be in a submarine as a blip on sonar. But all Chez Reavie, at a bet-inducing +6500 this week, has done in the last month is improve.
He’s made the cut in five straight events and comes into this week off an impressive T-4 at the Travelers. Impressive? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it’s put him in a positive frame of mind coming into this week.
No, when you consider the fact he fired a final-round 71 that saw him slip down the leaderboard. He didn’t make the cut here last year, but his T-4 a couple of weeks ago should have him as confident as he’s been in awhile.
Reavie’s 76th in the world golf rankings, which has him on the move, but he’s 95th in the FedEx Cup race and way out of the playoff picture for now.
Matt Kuchar has Big Name & Big Odds
Sure, Matt Kuchar hasn’t had the best of seasons. In fact, he’s got just four top-10s in this wraparound season.
Add in the fact he’s coming off back-to-back missed cuts, and there’s no reason we should be backing him at +4500. After all, he’s 51st in the FedEx Cup standings, so he’s at least in the first playoff event right now. He’s 57th in the world rankings –and going the wrong direction–and would love to turn that around.
Remember, this is Matt Kuchar, and he’s in a field that doesn’t have great star power. He owns nine PGA Tour wins and has earned more than $56 million in his career.
If there’s ever been a week for Kuchar to get back into a positive frame of mind and win again, this is it.