Skip to main content

Who Has the Best Odds to Win the 2019 Bassmaster Classic?

Brian Brasher has been writing for three decades about the Bassmaster Classic, and he's the editor of B.A.S.S. Times. Brasher has picked Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, to be the winner of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic with 4 to 1 odds. Brasher’s reasoning includes that DeFoe:
* lives near Knoxville;
* dominates tournaments in Tennessee; 
* has won tournaments on Douglas Lake in 2017 and 2018; and
* excels in river settings like the fishing in Fort Loudoun will provide.

Ott DeFoe

To get another opinion on Ott DeFoe and Kevin VanDam (past four-time Classic champion) and the 2019 Classic, we asked fellow Mossy Oak Fishing Team member Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, a veteran of eight previous Classics, “If you took yourself out of the equation, who do you think might have the best chance to win the Classic and why?” He didn’t hesitate with his answer: Ott DeFoe.

Palaniuk explains further, “I think most tournament fishermen would pick Ott DeFoe to win, if they weren’t fishing in the Classic themselves, because he's been fishing this area his entire life. He's won or finished well in some big tournaments in this region for years. So, I don’t believe the home-lake curse really applies to Ott.” 

For many years, rarely has a tournament pro won a big tournament on his home lake. This fact has been called the home-lake curse. However, according to Palaniuk, “Ott is smart enough to know that he can’t win this Classic by only fishing the places he's always fished. He understands that the fishing conditions will be different every day he fishes, which may cause the bass not to be where they’ve always been. Ott is also smart enough to realize that although he can recall everything he knows about Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes and where to find and catch bass there, he can’t solely depend on past history to help him find and take bass in this 2019 Classic.”

Palaniuk mentions that the wild card in any bass-fishing tournament and especially the Classic is Mossy Oak Fishing Pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Kevin VanDam

“Kevin’s chances of winning will be mainly focused on where his head is,” said Palaniuk. “In the back of his mind, Kevin knows that this is his last chance to possibly win his fifth Bassmaster Classic - a feat no other angler has ever accomplished. Kevin has signed a contract to fish Major League Fishing (MLF) tournaments the rest of the 2019 season and won’t fish Bassmaster tournaments. 

“I have to name Kevin as one of the best tournament anglers to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, depending on water and weather conditions. How Kevin deals with chance-of-a-lifetime opportunities probably will determine how well he fishes. But if I wasn’t fishing the 2019 Classic, my money would be on Ott DeFoe.” 

For more coverage of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team at the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, read:

Latest Content