Rookie wave drives betting history at John Deere Classic

Viktor Hovland has been a professional golfer for less than a month, is ranked 237th in the world and does not have a top 15 PGA Tour finish on his resume.

He’s also the betting favorite entering this week’s John Deere Classic.

Viktor Hovland
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With most all of the world’s elite golfers in Europe ahead of next week’s Open Championship in Northern Ireland, sportsbooks are leaning heavily on the PGA Tour’s young guns descending upon Silvis, Ill.

PointsBet, FanDuel and William Hill each listed Hovland as the +1600 moneyline favorite on Tuesday, just ahead of fellow rookies Collin Morikawa (+1800 by PointsBet) and Im-Sung Jae (+2000), who dominated the Tour last season. Matthew Wolff, the 20-year-old coming off his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday, is tied for the fourth-lowest odds at +2200 along with Joaquin Niemann – a grizzled Tour veteran having turned pro all the way back in 2018.

Hovland was a heralded star at Oklahoma State, and the Norwegian broke Jack Nicklaus’ amateur U.S. Open scoring record at Pebble Beach last month. He turned pro after that event and hustled cross-country to Connecticut, where he tied for 54th at the Travelers Championship. Playing on sponsor exemptions, he has posted a pair of T13s with strong Sunday finishes the past two weeks.

Hovland is playing on his fourth consecutive sponsors exemption. Morikawa was riding the same train until his T2 last week secure temporary Tour member status.

According to, it’s the first time two non-members with rookie eligibility are the top two favorites in a Tour-sanctioned event.

To put it in some context, defending champion Michael Kim – who won the event by eight strokes last year – is listed at +30000. Then again, Kim has missed 17 consecutive cuts – a streak broken only by finishing last in a no-cut field to “kick off” a miserable 2019 to date.

Each of the top five betting favorites as of Tuesday are under 23 years old.

Brian Harman, coming off a T7 at the 3M Open, is the top Tour veteran on the board at +2500. Kevin Streelman, who learned this week that he secured a spot in The Open, is also +2500. Zach Johnson has posted 41 consecutive rounds at TPC Deere Run at par or better and is on the event’s board of directors, but is only +2800 by PointsBet.

Sportsbooks aren’t being shy about riding the interest in the youth movement.

PointsBet is offering a “Top 5” finish prop, with Hovland at +425, followed by Morikawa (+450), Jae (+475), Niemann (+475) and Wolff (+525). If you’re feeling extremely bullish on the youngsters, the book is also offering a +1500 moneyline on Hovland and Niemann both finishing in the top five (including ties).

FanDuel list Wolff as the +1400 favorite to be the top American finisher, followed by Morikawa (+1600) and Harman (+1800). Hovland (+135) is the top bet to finish highest among European players, followed by Martin Laird (+470) and Sepp Straka (+600).

PointsBet JDC Winner Odds:

Matthew Wolff
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Viktor Hovland: +1600
Collin Morikawa: +1800
Im-Sung Jae: +2000
Joaquin Niemann: +2200
Matthew Wolff: +2200
Brian Harman: +2500
Charles Howell III: +2500
Lucas Glover: +2500
Kevin Streelman: +2500
Zach Johnson: +2800
Daniel Berger: +2800
Ryan Moore: +3000
Kyle Stanley: +4000
Sam Burns: +4000
Wyndham Clark: +4000
Ryan Palmer: +5000
Kevin Tway: +5000
Scott Brown: +5000
Bud Cauley: +5000
Joel Dahmen: +5000
Vaughn Taylor: +6000
Jhonattan Vegas: +6000
Jason Dufner: +6000
Martin Laird: +6000
Cameron Tringale: +6000
Bronson Burgoon: +6000
Nate Lashley: +6000
Sam Ryder: +6000
Denny McCarthy: +6000
JT Poston: +6000
Cameron Champ: +6000
Troy Merritt: +6600
Peter Malnati: +6600
Mackenzie Hughes: +6600
Talor Gooch: +6600
Danny Lee: +7000
Brian Stuard: +7000
Dylan Frittelli: +7000
Harold Varner III: +7000
Pat Perez: +8000
Nick Watney: +8000
Nick Taylor: +8000
Beau Hossler: +8000
Carlos Ortiz: +8000
Sepp Straka: +8000
Johnson Wagner: +9000
Brice Garnett: +9000
Austin Cook: +9000
Joey Garber: +9000
Doc Redman: +9000
Ryan Armour: +10000
Michael Thompson: +10000
Matt Jones: +10000
Shawn Stefani: +10000
Russell Henley: +10000
Roger Sloan: +10000
Kyoung-Hoon Lee: +10000
Hank Lebioda: +10000
Luke Donald: +12500
Matt Every: +12500
Scott Stallings: +12500
Peter Uihlein: +12500
Adam Long: +12500
Andrew Landry: +12500
Kramer Hickok: +12500
David Hearn: +15000
Andrés Romero: +15000
Jonathan Byrd: +15000
Bill Haas: +15000
Fabian Gomez: +15000
Josh Teater: +15000
Alex Prugh: +15000
Zack Sucher: +15000
Sam Saunders: +15000
Roberto Castro: +15000
Robert Streb: +15000
Wes Roach: +15000
Roberto Diaz: +15000
Stephan Jaeger: +15000
Chase Wright: +15000
Seamus Power: +15000
Adam Svensson: +15000
Tyler Duncan: +15000
Trey Mullinax: +15000
Sebastian Munoz: +15000
Adam Schenk: +15000
Stewart Cink: +20000
Chad Campbell: +20000
Ryan Blaum: +20000
Anirban Lahiri: +20000
Ted Potter Jr: +20000
Justin Suh: +20000
Tom Hoge: +20000
Brandon Harkins: +20000
Dominic Bozzelli: +20000
Oliver Schniederjans: +20000
Richy Werenski: +20000
Curtis Luck: +20000
John Catlin: +20000
Ben Crane: +25000
Robert Garrigus: +25000
D.J. Trahan: +25000
Sang-Moon Bae: +25000
Chris Stroud: +25000
Scott Langley: +25000
David Lingmerth: +25000
Kelly Kraft: +25000
Jim Knous: +25000
Benjamin Silverman: +25000
Cody Gribble: +25000
Cameron Davis: +25000
J.J. Henry: +30000
Alex Cejka: +30000
Boo Weekley: +30000
Martin Piller: +30000
Tyrone van Aswegen: +30000
Brendon Todd: +30000
Jose de Jesus Rodriguez: +30000
Julian Etulain: +30000
Satoshi Kodaira: +30000
Michael Kim: +30000
Anders Albertson: +30000
Ricky Barnes: +35000
Hunter Mahan: +35000
Derek Fathauer: +35000
Brady Schnell: +35000
Whee Kim: +35000
Nicholas Lindheim: +35000
Seth Reeves: +35000
Arjun Atwal: +35000
Austin Connelly: +35000
Freddie Jacobson: +40000
John Senden: +40000
George McNeill: +40000
Billy Hurley III: +40000
Chris Thompson: +40000
Martin Trainer: +40000
Kyle Jones: +40000
Jim Herman: +40000
Tim Herron: +50000
Dicky Pride: +50000
Chad Collins: +50000
Parker McLachlin: +50000
Daniel Chopra: +50000
Ho-Sung Choi: +50000
Kris Blanks: +50000
John Chin: +50000
Will Claxton: +50000
Don Fisher: +50000
Smylie Kaufman: +50000
Tom Lovelady: +50000
Ryan Vermeer: +50000
Steve Allan: +50000
Austen Truslow: +50000
Dylan Meyer: +50000

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)

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