5 Potential PGA TOUR Golf Sleeper Picks: 2022 John Deere Classic

Written By John Haslbauer on June 28, 2022
john deere classic picks

In a stark contrast to the star-studded fields we’ve gotten accustomed to seeing on the PGA TOUR consistently over the last couple months, 2022 John Deere Classic odds present a new opportunity to back young up-and-comers and seasoned veterans to pick up a fleeting victory against a beatable field. While pricing for potential John Deere Classic picks will be difficult to stomach, everything remains relative.

Without the presence of an imposing elite at the top of the board, it’s a great week to go value hunting, even if the term “value” has to be used loosely.

Below we’ll look at potential John Deere Classic picks and dig in deep as we look for sleepers in this week’s golf oddsClick on the odds to bet now. 

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COURSE INTRODUCTION

TPC Deere Run continues where TPC River Highlands left off last week, as another positional Bentgrass course that rewards precise ball strikers and aggressive birdie-makers on risk-reward holes. The John Deere Classic will, in all likelihood, produce a winning score beyond 20-under par, so this is a good time to look back on Fall Swing performance to see which players had caught their stride on the easiest stretch of the golf season. While Course History has proven to stick at this event, first-timers can pick this course up quickly, as Dylan Frittelli displayed when winning in his John Deere Classic debut in 2019.

For a deeper dive into the course, read my John Deere Classic preview. Without any further delay, let’s get to our John Deere Classic picks with a look at longshots and sleepers for your DFS lineups.

POTENTIAL SLEEPER JOHN DEERE CLASSIC PICKS

From a golf betting perspective, we were treated to a tight window of value at the top of the board when the prohibitive favorite, Daniel Berger, withdrew Monday morning. After odds adjusted, the players beyond 70-1 odds still remained relatively in tact, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to jump on some value, even days after the dust has settled from the Berger WD. The 70 to 100-1 odds range is full of players we’d typically expect to see at well over 150-1 odds in a standard field strength event, but without any resistance from elite players in this field, it’s open season to hoist some longshots.

In terms of DFS, the natural tendency will be to construct a balanced build, concentrated in the $8K and $7K pricing range, without any obvious players worth paying up for at the top of the board, and a frightening lack of viable options below $6K. When the overall field is weak, that typically means the very bottom of the field is relatively unplayable, so it’s crucial to get the low-$7K range correct this week.

Below is a look at my favorite value leverage plays and longshots for the 2022 John Deere Classic! Stats pulled across Last 36 Rounds unless otherwise noted.

Alex Smalley (, $7,600)

Alex Smalley was the first bet I placed on Monday morning, opening at 80-1 odds. The 25-year-old has had an up-and-down rookie season, as we would expect from a young player just getting his footing on the professional circuit, but we’ve started to see a trend in when he performs best. Smalley has thrived in Easy Scoring conditions against weaker fields; his three best finishes on the 2022 season have come against three of the weakest fields we’ve seen all year between the Corales Puntacana Championship (T2), Mexico Open (T6), and Bermuda Championship (T12). Smalley’s already picked up seven T25 finishes in his first full season, suggesting he has an attainably high ceiling for this price. While the MC at last week’s Travelers is not ideal, he’s bounced back with a top-30 finish after each of his last three missed cuts. Smalley ranks top-20 in the key categories of Par-4 Scoring, SG: Ball Striking, Good Drives Gained, and SG: T2G, which set him up well to make another top-30 push.

David Lipsky (, $7,400)

Lipsky will be making his John Deere Classic debut this week, and that mystery of course history has helped keep his pricing in check, despite an ideal stat profile for what this course demands. Lipsky ranks top-10 in Good Drives Gained and SG: APP, as well as top-25 in SG: T2G and Birdies or Better Gained. At the 2021 John Deere Classic, I narrowed down SG: Ball Striking, Birdie or Better Gained, Good Drives Gained, SG: P (weighting TOT and Bent), and SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions) as the key pre-requisite stats for this event. Eventual winner Lucas Glover emerged from a short list of five players to rank above-average in each of those stat categories. This year, it’s Lipsky who falls under a list of just five players who are above-average in each, and he’s the only one from that list available in the $7K range on Draft Kings. At No. 15 in my model this week, Lipsky makes for a great DFS salary-saver and placement bet option.

Nate Lashley (, $7,200)

Another name that jumped to the top of my model in the low $7K range is Nate Lashley, falling just outside my top-10 at No. 11 overall. Lashley has flown under the radar over the last few months with some backdoor high finishes, but that’s built him up to a stat profile which includes top-10 ranks in Par-4 Scoring, Birdies or Better Gained, and Good Drives Gained. He’s currently on an incredibly consistent run of seven top-30 finishes over his last 10 starts, highlighted by a T7 at the Puerto Rico Open and T11 at the Mexico Open. Lashley’s one career win came at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic in very similar positional birdie fest conditions as well.

By removing all top-tier players from this field, Lashley looks poised to add to the top-30 streak; he finished T26 in his only prior appearance at this event in 2019.

Chesson Hadley (, $7,200)

One player you will not see much of in any stat modeling you run this week is Chesson Hadley, and while I’m not interested from a betting perspective, he makes for a very appealing DFS ownership leverage play. I’ll never forget his birdie on the 18th hole Thursday at the 2021 John Deere Classic, as it meant shared First Round Leader honors with Sebastian Munoz, chopping my ticket in half. But grudge aside, he’s proven he can go low on this course without much preceding form, and has made it through the cut here in three straight appearances. It’s been a disastrous 2022 season for Hadley, but he comes in hot off of a T5 finish at the Travelers last week. With TPC River Highlands being one of the top comp courses to TPC Deere Run, there’s room for optimism that Hadley can parlay the recent course and comp course success into another top-40 finish.

Chris Stroud (, $6,500)

I’m going to do my best to avoid the $6K range entirely in DFS this week, as it gets very ugly very quickly down here, but if there’s one complete longshot who has the stat profile to succeed at TPC Deere Run, it’s Chris Stroud. The case for Stroud lies primarily in his course history, as he ranks No. 9 in SG: TOT at TPC Deere Run. Over his last seven appearances, Stroud has missed the cut just once with two career top-5 finishes and top-30’s in each of his last three trips here. His best finish came in 2019 where he finished T4. Stroud has not played a PGA TOUR event since the Honda Classic in February, which makes the data a bit stale, but he still ranks an impressive No. 14 in SG: APP over his last 36 rounds and top-15 in both Comp Course and Easy Scoring Conditions. There’s plenty of risk considering his 4-month layoff, but if you’re searching deep for $6K value, Stroud has a path to pay his price off.

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John Haslbauer Avatar
Written by
John Haslbauer

John Haslbauer writes about golf betting and advanced golf metrics for TheLines.com. He is a passionate golf fan, golf writer, and (casual) golfer. A graduate at Syracuse University, John works out of Jersey City as a Director of Media Strategy for HBO and HBO Max. He created the website thepgatout.com at the start of 2021 and is active on Twitter (@PGATout). No, he is not a tout. The Twitter handle is a joke. Touts are lame. We hate touts.

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