2023 PGA Championship predictions, expert picks by Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica

“Bear Bets” are real wagers that Chris “The Bear” Fallica is actually making.

PGA Championship weekend is finally here! It’s time to get back into the swing of things and make some winning wagers on some of the best golfers in the world.

Jon Rahm is the current favorite to win the tournament, +750 at FOX Bet.

Speaking of favorites, it’s been 31 majors since Rory McIlroy’s last major win in the 2014 PGA Championship, yet he is the third choice on the odds board this week. Personally, I will steer clear of Rory this week and opt for the following plays.

Let’s dive into the wagers I’m making for the event.

Scottie Scheffler: +750 to win, -115 top 10

Scheffler and Rahm are 1A and 1B right now when it comes to the best players in the world. Scheffler posted a Top 10 at Augusta despite seemingly not making a putt all week. That’s how strong his tee-to-green game is. 

He also shockingly missed the cut at Southern Hills last year on the heels of his Masters win, and a result like that this week would be another stunner. But I don’t expect that from someone who, since the start of 2020, has a win and three top-five, top-seven and top-10 finishes from 11 majors. 

I’m not getting cute in terms of pre-tourney outrights. I’ve chosen my fighter, and its Scheffler. Betting him to both win and finish in the top 10 this week.

Tom Kim: +8000 to win, +650 top 10

If you are looking for a long-shot bet, I have you covered. This major has provided some mammoth prices, and this course has offered Jason Dufner and Shaun Micheel as the winners in the last two majors held there, so I’ll throw this one out there as a flier pick.

Some of the buzz has come off Kim since the start of the year, but a look inside the numbers shows a pretty solid year, as he is top-15 SG: Tee-to-Green, fourth in driving accuracy and third in scrambling. These metrics are important on a course with this type of rough. He posted a T-16 finish in Augusta and, after an opening round 71 last week, went 66-69-65 over the final three rounds. Kim is going to make a run at one of these majors sooner than later, and this could be the one.

Xander Schauffele: +175 top 10
Xander Schauffele: -164 vs. Justin Thomas 

Schauffele is a model of consistency in majors, as evidenced by his last four outings, which feature finishes of T-10, T-15, T-14 and T-13. Maybe we should be playing him to finish in the top 20 instead of top 10, but I like the number. Over his career, Schauffele has played 23 majors. He’s got six top-fives, ten top-10s and 16 top-20 finishes. That’s a pretty good run of cashing derivatives and likely head-to-heads. 

He’s also in form right, with his last three-stroke play events being a runner-up at Wells Fargo, a fourth at RBC and a T-10 at the Masters. And don’t forget about his T-5th in the Match Play event and a T-4th in the Zurich team event. 

Schauffele may not get his name off the “best players not to win a major” list this week, but he should again post a solid finish. I’ll take him in a head-to-head vs. reigning PGA champ Justin Thomas, whose game hasn’t seemingly been clicking. Thomas missed the cut at the Masters and finished 60th at THE PLAYERS, the two biggest events he’s played this year. 

Sahith Theegala: +300 top 20

Theegala has seven Top 10s from 18 events, including the Masters. He’s not the best driver statistically, but he’s one of the better putters around, ranking ninth in putting average. I’ll take a little piece of a top-20 finish this weekend. 

Rickie Fowler: +250 top 20 

If you haven’t been paying attention, Fowler has been outside the top 20 just once in his last nine events. He’s 11th on TOUR in SG: Total and appears to be in a great place physically and mentally with his game. This will be his first major of the year after he did not earn a spot into the Masters field. 

Phil Mickelson to miss cut -180

Mickelson’s runner-up finish at the Masters was incredible but also an anomaly. He had missed the cut in each of the previous three majors, and there was nothing in his form entering Augusta to make anyone think he would contend as he did. I’m guessing familiarity with Augusta National and a shorter field helped him get around well that weekend, but this course is a different animal. I’d expect the rough to be a spot we’ll find Michelson often, which will probably send him home for the weekend. 

Brooks Koepka to miss cut +300

Every major seems to have a couple of names that miss the cut and raise one’s eyebrows. Koepka could be a candidate here for that honor. He was great at the Masters in rounds one and two, and then we saw a decline on the weekend. He also missed cuts in two of the four majors last year. Yes, he’s healthier now, but there may be a little bit of “LIV regression” here, as many of their players that played so well on the familiar Augusta National course may not fare as well this week. 

Justin Thomas to miss cut +275

As mentioned earlier, the reigning champ hasn’t been at his best this year on the biggest stages, and he hasn’t been great off the tee this year, ranking 118th in driving accuracy. That could lead to a lot of difficult second shots and put a lot of pressure on a putter that has been bad, too — 138th in SG: Putting. 

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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