Short and accurate hitters will have the edge when the 2019 John Deere Classic starts Thursday from Silvis, Ill. on Thursday. TPC Deere Run, which hosts the annual PGA Tour event, is a par-71 course featuring wide fairways, accessible par-5s and manageable greens. It usually gives up plenty of birdies and a healthy number of eagles. With a handful of big-name players preparing for next week’s major in Northern Ireland, bookmakers list Joaquin Niemann, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland as 18-1 co-favorites in the latest 2019 John Deere Classic odds. They’re followed by Sungjae Im and Collin Morikawa at 20-1 and Brian Harman at 22-1. Before you make any 2019 John Deere Classic picks or PGA predictions, you’ll want to see what legendary golf expert Sal Johnson has to say.

A media legend and consummate golf insider, Johnson is red-hot this year. He featured Tiger Woods in his best bets for the Masters, and Woods walked away with his fifth green jacket. Then, Johnson promoted Brooks Koepka in his PGA Championship best bets, and Koepka made a mockery of that major, building a seven-shot lead entering the weekend and cruising to victory.

Last month at the Travelers Championship, Johnson promoted 50-1 long shot Chez Reavie as a potential winner, citing Reavie’s momentum following his third place finish at the U.S. Open and noting how his game (second in fairway accuracy, eighth in proximity to hole) suited TPC River Highlands perfectly. The result: Reavie cruised to a four-stroke victory, finishing 17-under for his first PGA title in 11 years. 

And Johnson knows TPC Deere Run like the back of his hand. In 2016, Johnson promoted Ryan Moore as a potential winner, and Moore delivered a two-stroke John Deere Classic victory. Anyone who has followed Johnson has reaped huge rewards.

Now, Johnson — the first producer of “Inside the PGA Tour,” a longtime ABC Sports golf producer and the founder of the world’s biggest golf stats database — has issued his highly confident 2019 John Deere Classic picks. He made those picks, which he’s sharing at SportsLine, based on his revealing breakdown of TPC Deere Run.

“it’s one of the rare courses on tour that benefits short hitters,” Johnson told SportsLine. “Those who hit it long have no real advantage. In fact, they have to throttle back because they run out of fairway. The course plays 7,268 yards, but the fairways are always firm and get a lot of roll. In an era in which courses have six or more par-4s over 450 yards, Deere Run only has three of them. On top of that, all three par-5s are accessible in two, even for the shorter hitters, so you can see why the winners’ ranks of the last decade include short hitters like Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Sean O’Hair, Ryan Moore and last year’s champion, Michael Kim.”

Given that, we can tell you Johnson wants no part of Wolff, the 20-year-old sensation who won last week’s 3M Open and is one of the top Vegas favorites. In fact, Johnson says Wolff doesn’t even crack the top 10.

Wolff will need to come down from an emotional high. With his 26-foot eagle on the 18th hole last Sunday, Wolff not only became the ninth-youngest PGA Tour winner, he also earned a two-year PGA Tour exemption, entry to the FedEx Cup playoffs and $1.152 million. Wolff called it a “life-changing” day. Those kinds of performances are difficult to repeat the following week, and Johnson says the youngster will come back to earth at the 2019 John Deere Classic. Don’t chase his strong performance at the 3M Open. There are far better values than the 18-1 premium he’s commanding.

Instead, Johnson is high on a streaking player who’s been lights-out recently. He’s also targeting a triple-digit darkhorse who has been on fire at TPC Deere Run. Anyone who backs this underdog could hit it big.

Who wins the John Deere Classic? And which colossal long shot stuns the golf world? Check out the 2019 John Deere Classic odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson’s leaderboard, all from the consummate golf insider who was all over 50-1 long shot Chez Reavie at last month’s Travelers Championship.

Joaquin Niemann 18-1
Matthew Wolff 18-1
Viktor Hovland 18-1
Sungjae Im 20-1
Collin Morikawa 20-1
Brian Harman 22-1
Zach Johnson 27-1
Charles Howell 29-1
Daniel Berger 29-1
Lucas Glover 29-1
Ryan Moore 29-1
Sam Burns 33-1
Wyndham Clark 33-1
Kevin Tway 45-1
Bud Cauley 50-1
Cameron Tringale 50-1
Denny McCarthy 50-1
Joel Dahmen 50-1
Kyle Stanley 50-1
MacKenzie Hughes 50-1
Nate Lashley 50-1
Ryan Palmer 50-1
Sam Ryder 50-1
Danny Lee 60-1
Jason Dufner 60-1
Nick Watney 60-1
Vaughn Taylor 60-1
Brian Stuard 65-1
Bronson Burgoon 65-1
Cameron Champ 65-1
Dylan Frittelli 65-1
J.T. Poston 65-1
Jhonattan Vegas 65-1
Martin Laird 65-1
Peter Mainati 65-1
Talor Gooch 65-1
Troy Merritt 65-1
Scott Brown 70-1
Beau Hossler 80-1
Carlos Ortiz 80-1
Doc Redman 80-1
Harold Varner III 80-1
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 80-1
Pat Perez 80-1
Sepp Straka 80-1
Johnson Wagner 90-1
Nick Taylor 90-1
Austin Cook 100-1
Brice Garnett 100-1
Hank Lebioda 100-1
Joey Garber 100-1
Luke Donald 100-1
Wes Roach 100-1
Matt Jones 100-1

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