“Bear Bets” are real wagers that Chris “The Bear” Fallica is actually making.
The fourth and final major tournament of the season is here, as the top golfers in the world will tee it up for the 151st Open Championship, Thursday through Sunday at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Merseyside, England.
The Open Championship is the oldest golf tournament in the world and one of the most prestigious, with the winner presented the Claret Jug.
Cameron Smith captured his first major at last year’s Open Championship.
Who will hoist the Claret Jug after the final round this year? I have you covered with my best bets.
Let’s dive into the wagers I’m making for the event.
Rory McIlroy: Top-10 finish -105 (bet $10 to win $19.52 total)
Have you heard McIlroy won the Open the last time it was at Royal Liverpool? That was a joke, in case you missed that.
McIlroy’s price to win the tournament is way too low for my liking, especially for someone who hasn’t won a major in nine years and has to deal with Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka and others. But a top-10 finish? Now we’re talking, as Rory has ripped off six straight top-10s, capped by his win at the Scottish Open last week.
Scottie Scheffler: Top-10 finish +100 (bet $10 to win $20 total)
In his past 13 majors, Scheffler has nine top-10 finishes and 11 top-20s. He’s about as sure of a thing as there is in the sport right now and very easily could have won the past two majors. His putting has let him down at times, but historically, greens are not as fast at The Open, so that might help him here — as if he needs it. Oh, by the way, he’s only finished in the top 5 in seven straight and 10 of the past 12 events he’s played and has 15 top-10s in 19 events this year. He represents the best thing about golf betting: You don’t have to bet outright winners to make money.
Koepka made no bones about his dislike for Los Angeles Country Club during the U.S. Open, and we like an angry Brooks. I have always felt this was a major Koepka would win, and I feel no differently today. He easily could have added the Masters to his PGA win on his 2023 slate, and in an event where he’s got four top-10s already, and he’s playing second or third billing to McIlroy and Scheffler, expect him to be dialed in for a great chance at career major win No. 6.
Viktor Hovland: Top-10 finish +220 (bet $10 to win $32 total)
Hovland is finally at the point of contending on a regular basis in majors, as evidenced by his T-4, T-7, T-2 and 19 run in majors since St. Andrews last year. He’s wobbled a little on Sunday in a couple of them, but he’s been in the 60s in the opening round all four times to put himself in the mix. He’s been at his best this year in the bigger events, as he’s also added a win in the Memorial and a T-3 in The Players Championship to his success in majors. He’ll be heard from again this week.
Shane Lowry: Top-20 finish +140 (bet $10 to win $24 total)
Lowry has been in the top 20 in five of his past six events — including the PGA and U.S. Open — and has gone win, T-12 and T-21 in the past three Open Championships. Remember, he also played very well at Royal Liverpool in 2014 when the Open was last here, finishing T-9 despite a second-round 75. I expect Lowry to have a good showing again.
Are we really doing this again, with people expecting Cantlay to contend seriously in a major? The defending champ already has two top-10s in majors this year and should best Cantlay on this track.
Im hasn’t really played well in majors outside the fall 2020 Masters and then a top-10 at Augusta in 2022. His two Open Championships have resulted in a missed cut and a T-81 finish. He’s missed the cut in eight of his 16 career majors and is matched up against Lee, who posted a top-5 at the U.S. Open and has a couple of good finishes in Europe since.
Fox has missed only one cut this year, so he’s the type of guy you like to have in a matchup because you expect him to play the weekend. He also posted top-30 finishes in both the Masters and PGA while finishing T-12 in Scotland last week. Yes, he’s posted just one top-20 in a major (the 2019 Open Championship), but it’s not as if Henley has been the strongest player in this major (four missed cuts in eight events).
Chris “The Bear” Fallica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football has been his focus, he also enjoys the NFL, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, MLB, NHL and Horse Racing, with an “occasional” wager on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He’s a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, “The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!” Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica.
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