“Bear Bets” are real wagers that Chris “The Bear” Fallica is actually making.
The Los Angeles area will be the site of a major for the first time since 1995 as the 123rd U.S. Open tees it up Thursday through Sunday at the Los Angeles Country Club.
Since this is one of the year’s biggest tournaments, I have you covered with my best bets. Let’s dive into the wagers I’m making for the event.
I’m not going to place a pretournament win wager on Scheffler as I’ve found there have been better in-tourney prices on him, as there were with Jon Rahm at Augusta as well. But the Top-10 price is attractive for a player who has been the best player on the Tour statistically tee-to-green.
Since the calendar flipped to 2023, his worst finish is tied for 12th, with eight top-five finishes. Add in seven Top 10s in his past nine majors, and you have to be willing to lose this bet. I’ll wait for a spot to jump in live in terms of a win bet, but count me in on this top-10 wager.
I haven’t been on him in a major since the 2019 Masters, where he was in the mix on Sunday. Since then, he’s burned a lot of money in majors, but he’s worked himself into some nice checks lately — T-9, T-14, T-8, T-14 in his past four majors.
He took a bit to get comfortable with new equipment this year, but outside a final-round 78 at the Memorial, he’s been solid the past few months with two finishes outside the top 20 since missing the cut at the Phoenix Open in February.
Only Scheffler has been a better driver of the ball this year in terms of Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee, and that’s vital for success here. I think he will be in the mix come Sunday.
It seemed like DeChambeau turned a corner at the PGA Championship, where he finished T-4. He finally looks healthy and as if he’s playing without a lot of outside stress (the first time in a long time).
Remember, he’s a major champion, winning this event at Winged Foot on a par 70, as LACC is. There will be some par 4s he can certainly get after and pick up strokes on the field.
I’m told he’s spent a good bit of time at LACC prepping, and I think he has a huge chance this week at a nice price.
Schauffele is as solid and dependable as they come on U.S. Open-style courses. He hasn’t won — and I’m sure he will have win backers this week in Southern California – but I’ll just stick to what’s worked well in betting on him, Top 10 and Top 20.
His record at the U.S. Open is T-5, T-6, T-3, fifth, T-7, T-14. Not to mention he’s also playing pretty well right now. He’s been out of the Top 20 just once since the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in early March and is his usual solid self tee-to-green (ranked eighth).
LACC has drawn some comparisons to both Shinnecock and Erin Hills. Common theme? That’s where Koepka won his U.S. Open titles in 2017 and ’18.
Koepka could have easily won both majors this season, and it would surprise me if he isn’t in the mix again this week. I’ll play the Top 10 and 20 markets and look for a spot to hop in live for the win if warranted.
It’s a good bit of juice, and some may not want to lay it, but this is essentially a head-to-head between Rahm and Sergio Garcia. Rahm would have to implode, and one of the other Spaniards would have to have the tourney of their lives, to walk out of this bet a loser.
In case you couldn’t tell, these bets are fades of Im, who has played 11 majors outside of Augusta – he’s posted one Top 20 and missed the cut in six of them.
Im is not entering the week in good form either, having missed the cut at the PGA Championship and the Charles Schwab and finishing outside the Top 40 at the Memorial (T-41).
Homa has one Top-30 finish (T-13 at 2022 PGA Championship) and nine missed cuts in 15 career majors. He’s made one cut in four tries on U.S. Open courses, so don’t weigh in that “California” factor too much, despite him playing his best golf earlier this year in California.
Beginning with a runner-up finish at Riviera in February, he’s been outside the Top 15 twice (not counting missed cuts) — however, both came in majors. He’s also below the Tour average in Greens in Regulation, and finding the rough in a U.S. Open is never a good thing.
Finau is coming off a missed cut at the Schwab Challenge and a poor PGA Championship (T-72).
This has been the one major that Finau really hasn’t handled with regular success. He’s missed the Open cut the past two years and in four of his past six outings.
However, when he has made the cut, he’s posted top-15 finishes — fifth in 2018 and T-8 in 2020. So if he does make the cut, there could be some money to be made. Look for a potential live wagering opportunity if he starts hot.
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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