Let’s Borrow Some Fantasy Fishing Strategies from Sports Betting, Shall We? - Major League Fishing
Let’s Borrow Some Fantasy Fishing Strategies from Sports Betting, Shall We?
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Let’s Borrow Some Fantasy Fishing Strategies from Sports Betting, Shall We?

Image for Let’s Borrow Some Fantasy Fishing Strategies from Sports Betting, Shall We?
Anglers like Jordan Lee, Brandon Coulter, Ott DeFoe and Brent Chapman are interesting fantasy choices for various sports-related reasons.
May 28, 2022 • Joel Shangle • Bass Pro Tour

With just three events remaining in the 2022 Bass Pro Tour regular season – and only three “games” left on the Bass Pro Tour league side of Phoenix Fantasy Fishing presented by Abu Garcia – fantasy managers with designs on winning their individual leagues (or claiming any of the prizes up for grabs at FantasyFishing.com) should be considering all options as they build their teams.

There are as many roster-building strategies as there are fantasy managers, and FantasyFishing.com leaders like Kelly S. (3,880 pounds) and Kevin B. (3,876-9) have climbed to the top of the overall rankings thanks to smart player management.

But for the sake of debate – especially for those of you floundering in the bottom half of your league’s standings – let’s tap into a few fantasy strategies based on traditional sports betting theories, shall we? If you’re hoping to create some late-season fireworks at General Tire Stage Five Presented by Covercraft, maybe consider the following:

Bet the Chalk

For those of you who are unfamiliar with sports betting, “chalk” is a reference to a significant favorite. The term traces its roots back to horse racing, when betting movement was tracked on a chalkboard and a horse whose odds improved required frequent erasing and replacing (hence, requiring chalk … get it?!).

When you’re picking the chalk, you’re picking an obvious favorite.

There are some very obvious chalk picks in fantasy fishing – Jacob Wheeler and Jordan Lee have obviously made it onto the majority of FantasyFishing.com rosters throughout the season – but for this exercise, let’s think about building your BPT Stage Five roster based solely on Bally Bet Angler of the Year points. That might not sound sexy or daring, but it’s logical: the anglers hovering in the AOY Top 10 are there for a reason. They’ve flat out caught fish (and racked up fantasy weight) through four regular-season events to date, and are odds-on favorites to continue that trend at Stage Five. They’re chalk.

Perfect Chalk Rosters

Group A: Jordan Lee (#2 AOY), Andy Morgan (3), Kevin VanDam (6), Randall Tharp (7), Andy Montgomery (42)
Group B: Jacob Wheeler (1), Jesse Wiggins (4), Alton Jones Jr. (5), Zack Birge (8), Tommy Biffle (41)

Jacob Wheeler is a stout fantasy pick, whether you’re picking chalk or home-field advantage.

Play the Home-Field Advantage

Sports book sharpies estimate the home-field advantage in the NFL to be worth somewhere between 1 ½ and 2 points a game. That makes sense to me – waking up in your own bed and playing in a familiar stadium with a friendly-to-you crowd seems worth at least 2 points, right?

You don’t have to look far down the Bass Pro Tour roster to find a hearty number of anglers who could consider Watts Bar their home field: eight anglers live within an 90 minutes of Spring City, Tennessee, and a ninth lives less than two hours away. Let’s throw out the chatter about the “home lake curse” – it’s balderdash, IMO – and build a roster for Stage Five based solely on angler familiarity with the fishery.

Note the asterisk next to the fifth pick in Group B. Kevin VanDam is by no means a local to Watts Bar, but his career success on (and familiarity with) the Tennessee River translates to somewhat of a home-field advantage.

Perfect Home Field Rosters

Group A: Andy Morgan, Wesley Strader, Michael Neal, Brandon Coulter, John Murray
Group B: Jacob Wheeler, Ott DeFoe, David Walker, Jason Lambert, Kevin VanDam

Jason Lambert should be a popular pick for Stage Five fantasy players for several reasons.

Play the (Smart) Longshots

This is the epitome of risky betting and statistically unwise, but there’s a reason why sports bettors occasionally play the longshot: there’s usually a hearty reward when a darkhorse comes through. Granted, fantasy fishing doesn’t offer you exponential odds-based payoffs like picking a 20-to-1 longshot like Golden Glider in the upcoming Belmont Stakes would, but it does offer you rewards in the form of pounds and ounces that other managers will likely miss out on.

However (and this is a big “however”), you should put a little thought into your longshots. I wouldn’t take the opposite approach to the “pick the chalk” reasoning from above and simply choose the bottom 10 anglers in AOY standings. That’s definitely the definition of picking longshots, but it’s also the definition of “foolhardy.” There are some smart (or at least interesting) longshots lurking below 40th place in AOY standings to consider at Stage Five.

Smart Longshots

Group A: Brandon Coulter (51), Ryan Salzman (59), Takahiro Omori (67), Bobby Lane (66), John Murray (55)
Group B: Jason Lambert (80), Paul Elias (79), Brent Chapman (77), David Walker (72), Scott Suggs (68)

The Tennessee picks (Coulter, Murray, Lambert, Walker) are fairly obvious, the others aren’t so clear cut but with some statistical support to back them up.

  • BPT rookie Salzman has a raft of experience on the Tennessee River (although most of it’s on Guntersville, it might not be an apples-to-apples comparison but worth a shot at 59).
  • People forget how successful Omori has been throughout his career in a diverse mix of fisheries. He’s in the mid-teens in career Top 20s on Tennessee River fisheries.
  • REDCREST champ Bobby Lane at No. 66 is just a good bet, period.
  • Elias’ storied career includes 10 Top 10s on the Tennessee River.
  • Chapman’s current position in the bottom five of AOY is a statistical anomaly, he’s a good bet to catch ‘em the rest of the year.