2024 Masters predictions, expert picks, insights from Chris 'The Bear' Falika

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

The week that golf fans and bettors have been waiting for all year is finally here. It's Masters week!

Scotty Scheffler Current betting favorites at +400, last year's champions, John Rahm, is currently third on the betting board at +1200. Last player to win back-to-back championships at the Masters Tiger Woods In 2001 and 2002.

Speaking of Woods, you know Augusta is dear to his heart. Tiger has won the event six times, including his improbable win in 2019. His winning odds currently sit at +13000.

Since this is the biggest tournament of the year, let's dive into the bets I'm making for this event.

Will Zalatoris +115 vs Patrick Cantley
Will Zalatoris +138 Vs Victor Hovland
Zalatoris to win 40-1; Top 20 +125

Zalatoris hasn't played well in his previous two events leading up to the Masters, but the Players is an odd event where some people don't like the course. And Houston whatever. Zalatoris' two visits to Augusta resulted in a runner-up finish and a sixth-place finish. A year removed from back surgery, he's finally healthy, and if his putt goes well, as it did at Bay Hill, the Genesis and the Farmers Insurance Open, he'll be a big factor here.

Hovland's price seems bad to me, especially since he's had a top-20 in the last five tournaments and his play around the greens has been very poor recently. Cantle is another man who seems to have broken into a large part of man, but the evidence suggests otherwise, due to his erratic seasons.

Cam Smith +105 vs Dustin Johnson
Cam Smith +138 vs Bryson DeChambeau
Cam Smith to win 45-1; Top 20 +160

Smith had to pull out of the LIV event in Doral last week due to food poisoning, so that's dampening his chances in many people's minds, but his track record here is very tempting. He didn't play well a year ago, but three top-5s in a five-year span, along with his putting ability, make him a contender in my mind. Certainly more than his fellow LIV players Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. As good as Bryson is, he has more missed the top-20 (0) or top-25 (1) at Augusta (2).

Sergio Garcia -120 vs Tom Kim

Sergio has missed a bunch of cuts here since winning the Green Jacket — four to be exact in five years — but he's been in contention on the LIV Tour lately, and I like the matchup here with Kim, who's been doing some wrangling since joining the PGA Tour with such high hopes. Whether it's injuries, poor driving or a caddy change, Kim doesn't seem to be getting back on track anytime soon.

Shane Lowry +115 vs Tommy Fleetwood

Lowry has finally carved out this spot with four straight top-25s and may get some weather, which should help his chances. Fleetwood is hit or miss here, so I'll go with Lowry, who has been great with the irons lately.

Xander Schauffele Top 20 -165

Count me in when it comes to Xander in the market for wins, but count me out when we're talking top-10s and top-20s, as he's posted top-20s in seven majors and four of the last five Masters.

Jordan Spieth 25-1 to win; Top 20 -125

It will be a fun rollercoaster ride, but I'm willing to walk with Spieth, who has a green jacket, and maybe one or two more. Not many handled this course better than Spieth, with the occasional hiccup at Amen Corner. Hopefully, for Spieth and his fans, his approach shots will improve this week, allowing him to put that lethal putter to work.

Make cut pearls +108

Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama.

Bear Bite to remember:

  • In the past five years, Rory McIlroy has missed the cut twice and the three times he has made the cut, he entered the weekend outside the top 20. So it's been a while since being in the mix after 36 holes.
  • All five players in the Masters era who have completed a career Grand Slam have needed three or fewer starts in the majors needed to win and complete the Slam since winning a third different major. McIlroy's tenth attempt at a career Grand Slam will come at the Masters. So, while Rory seemingly has many more shots to complete the career slam, history says that if you don't finish it fast, you never will.
  • Max Homer finished nine of 12 rounds at the Masters.
  • Outside of the Fall Masters in 2020, only once has Justin Thomas broken par in the first round.
  • None of the last seven winners of the traditional April Masters finished better than 13th the previous year. Last April's Masters winner was Spieth in 2015 to post a top-10 finish last year. Some potential winners this year who finished outside the top 10 last year are Joaquin Niemann (T-16), Hideki Matsuyama (T-16), Cam Smith (T-34), Rory McIlroy (MC), Justin Thomas ( MC), Will Zalatoris (DNS), Wyndham Clark (DNS) and Ludwig Aberg (DNS).
  • As for Aberg and Clarke, this is their first Masters. No one has won their first Masters since Fuzzy Zoller in 1979. Aberg is 30-1 and Clark is 45-1 to break that drought.
  • Bryson DeChambeau has shot 74 or worse in his last six rounds at Augusta. He has opened 74-76-76 in the last three years.

Last Seven April Masters Winners — Previous Year's Results

John Rahm: 27th
Scotty Scheffler: 18th
Hideki Matsuyama: 13th
Tiger Woods: 32nd
Patrick Reed: MC
Sergio Garcia: 34th
Danny Willett: 38th

Chris “The Bear” Falica 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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