Every tournament has its favorites to win. Some look at local pros as the favorites. Others go by past performances. Yet others simply go on hunches.
We go by numbers, and we have plenty of them. Hence the series “Data Overload.”
Before every Majors event, we want to use our database of stats to figure out who really are the favorites at any given event. We want to know if locals really hold the edge, or if time of year makes a difference with certain pros. We don’t want opinions. Just stats.
Are you ready? Then let’s start crunching.
Right off the bat, the odds-on favorite to win this weekend’s Bassmaster Classic on the Red River is none other than Kevin VanDam. The guy has won two straight Classics (and is going for a record three straight), has won on rivers a number of times (where hasn’t he won) and he happens to be the No. 1 angler in the world. That’s what you call a trifecta of awesomeness.
So what do the numbers say? He’s a little inconsistent. In three tournaments at the river since the turn of the century, KVD has finished 30th, 93rd and 2nd. That just about covers the entire spectrum. He’ll obviously be the man to watch, but don’t stare too long.
If you want a man to stare at, check out Edwin Evers. In six events at the Red River since 2000, he has a 90.3 average. They say the river is unpredictable. Well, 90.3 is pretty darn predictable! It’s the best average in the field. He’s finished 5th, 25th, 19th, 11th, 53rd and 7th. Five top-25 finishes and a “meh” tournament. Yeah, watch out for E-squared.
The numbers also shine a light on a dark horse pick: Mark Tucker. The Central Open winner has an 88.5 average at the Red after finishes of 3rd, 35th and 38th. That’s the second-best average of the field, with the only problem being none of those finishes were in the spring.
You could say the same thing about Matt Reed. Impressive average (86.1); no recent experience on the Red in the early months.
Can’t say that about Aaron Martens, though. Courtesy of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic, where he finished 9th by the way, Martens has an 84.1 average. He’s in a bit of a slump according to our Trending feature, but the man has four second-place finishes in the Classic. We say that trumps any slumps.
Only one local has ever won the Classic, and it might be a tough for Greg Hackney to do it this year. He has a 77.8 average, which is pretty darn good. Problem is, his highest finish at the Red since 2000 is fourth and his worst – 70th.
Speaking or river rats, there’s been a lot of talk about guys like Stephen Browning and Kevin Wirth. Believe some of it. Browning’s average at the Red River: 51.4. Wirth’s: 77.2. If you’re picking between the two, you know where to go.
As for who may struggle, the numbers scream David Walker at 36 percent. True, he does have a 14th at the Forrest Wood Cup there back in 2000. He also has an abysmal 160th there a year later. Ouch. Throw Ish Monroe into this category, as well, with his 39.2-percent average.
That’s the kind of fluctuation the Red River is known for doing to anglers. Now, let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.