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2024 Players Championship tips, picks, field by Chris 'The Bear' Flicker


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

The Players Championship may be viewed by some as the “fifth major,” but I find it to be one of the toughest golf events for handicappers.

Elite players — and major champions — have won each of the last three editions of the tournament. Justin Thomas, Cam Smith and Scotty Scheffler are taking on those events. But non-household names like Fred Funk, Tim Clark and KJ Choi have also triumphed at the TPC Sawgrass.

Although the 2022 winner, Cam Smith, did not defend his title last year after joining the LIV Tour, Scotty Scheffler returns as the odds-on favorite to take home the trophy again in 2024.

Remember, no golfer has ever won The Players.

I'm not going to go into depth with a ton of picks, but here are a few bets for one of the biggest tournaments of the year.

Colin Morikawa +2800 to win (bet $10 to win $290 total)

Morikawa has three top 20s from five starts this year but missed the cut with second-round 80s at the Farmers Insurance Open and last week at Bay Hill.

His putting numbers haven't improved at all from last year — 135th at the SGP — but his approach numbers are strong and putting is the most random part of the game, so maybe there will be a week when he warms up and makes it all.

He posted a top 15 here last year, and if you're looking for an alternative to Scottie Scheffler, he's as good of a number one option as any.

Wyndham Clarke +4500 (bet $10 to win $550 total), +450 Top 10 (bet $10 to win $55 total)

Clark had some average results after her US Open win last year, but she's started this year in good form, winning at Pebble and then putting together a winning tournament at Bay Hill last week.

The problem for him and the rest of the field was that Scotty Scheffler was in no mood to give anyone a chance last week.

But there is little disrespect for Clarke's price where he has set the price and is behind some of the cheaper players.

Tom Hoge +240 Top 20 (Bet $10 to win $34 total)

He leads the Tour in SG Approach and is top 20 in SG Total.

Hoge was third here last year and has strung together five consecutive top 30 finishes, including four in the top 17.

He may not threaten to win, but he should cut in and put together another solid weekend.

Doug is relaxing +9000 to win (bet $10 to win $910 total); +320 Top 20 (Bet $10 to win $42 total)

He is a dart throw to win this week.

His stat profile is one of the best on tour – 3rd SG Total, 12th SG Approach, 34th SG Off the Tee, 49th SG Putting.

Despite that profile and four straight top 20 finishes, he certainly hasn't been priced as one of the tour's strongest players. Here too he has done well.

In 2021, he tied for third in the final round before stumbling to a 78. In 2022, he finished sixth and finished second in the final round. Last year, he missed the cut, but that seems to be a bit of an outlier.

I think he survived a tough weekend.

Cameron Young +5000 to win (bet $10 to win a total of $510); +450 Top 10 (bet $10 to win $55 total)

Young is one of those all-or-nothing types.

So far he hasn't done much in two starts at Sawgrass, but he posted a top 5 at Cognizant two weeks ago and, like Morikawa, while his putting numbers aren't great, he's still very good off the tee and in approach.

He's still looking for that first win but has four top ten majors in the last two years, so in this year's long shot, maybe that number can happen at this big event.

Chris “The Bear” Falica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football is his focus, he enjoys NFL, soccer, golf, tennis, MLB, NHL and horse racing, placing “occasional” bets on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Competition He is 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 @chrysphalica.


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