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The Monster Jam World Finals Odds
By Scott Douglass
Mar 13, 2012








 

THE ODDS ARE IN FOR ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALS XIII PRESENTED BY NGK SPARK PLUGS 

As the excitement continues to build toward a fever pitch for Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIII presented by NGK Spark Plugs March 23rd and 24th at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas it is time for my annual trip into the world of amateur handicapping with the odds for the entire field in the battles for the World Racing Championship and the World Freestyle Championship. 

To quickly detail how all this comes together let me point out that these odds are not my predictions. This is not about who I would pick to win either title. These odds are based on several criteria that I use to determine who rates as the favorites and who are the long shots on this 13th trip to Sam Boyd Stadium. When assembling this version of a betting line “for entertainment purposes only” several factors are considered and as it has been in the past, two criteria weigh more heavily than any others: the body of work over the past year, especially the results of the most recent dome and stadium events, as well as previous history and experience on that one of a kind Monster Jam World Finals floor. 

The first draft of these odds are put together at the end of January each year, then updated as the season unfolds, and are finally ready for posting following the final pre-Monster Jam World Finals stadium event which for 2012 was contested March 10th at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. It’s always difficult to determine who should be the top choice, who is the second pick, and so on with the competitive nature of the sport in recent years but this year has been tougher than ever to hone in on how to rank the favorites and who ends up on the top line. That has been especially true in racing this year. When I put together the first draft of this year’s odds at the end of January Maximum Destruction’s Tom Meents was the top choice. A month later it was another Maximum Destruction team driver, Neil Elliott who will be driving Hot Wheels in Las Vegas, who had moved to the number one position. Now it is time to post the final morning line odds and the name that will carry the tag of favorite to win the World Racing Championship has changed again. 

Before we start the most involved piece that I have the pleasure of writing for monsterjam.com each year I want to say “Thanks” to a couple of people who have been a big help in getting these odds completed. Again, these are not meant to be my opinion, these odds are based on lots of research and I got tons of help from fellow announcer Larry Jewett who has stayed on top of every result of every race and freestyle competition all year and the numbers he has charted have a big role in the final determinations here. Also kudos to Robby Haught, the guru of the new video based electronic timing system that is now used in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam, for digging deep into past Monster Jam World Finals history to come up with even more interesting facts and trends that have an impact on who lands where on this list. Thanks to both of them for their research which is extremely valuable in putting this final morning line odds posting together. 

So let’s get to it and release the odds for the 13th edition of the sport’s grandest event. 

ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALS XIII PRESENTED BY NGK SPARK PLUGS  

MORNING LINE ODDS - RACING  

9 - 5  Grave Digger®, Dennis Anderson The top 3 on this list have traded the favorite’s role throughout the past six weeks as the numbers were being put together and thanks to the current hot streak The Icon is on it is Grave Digger that again is the favorite to win the World Racing Championship. Dennis Anderson brings a three racing event winning streak to the finals, having won huge stadium race brackets in Dallas, Jacksonville, and Syracuse against large Monster Jam World Finals caliber fields in each locale so you can make the case that Anderson carries more winning momentum into the Monster Jam World Finals racing bracket we’ve ever seen. The fact that Meents was in the field in both Dallas and Syracuse and Elliott was in the line-up in Jacksonville obviously has a big impact here as well. The other factor that tips the scale in favor of Anderson is that following his victory over Meents in the Syracuse Championship Race Dennis has now beaten Tom in racing the last 8 times they have met in a dome or stadium, including their last meeting in Vegas when Grave Digger won the World Championship Race over Maximum Destruction in 2010. And then there is this trend to keep in mind: Anderson has driven Grave Digger to three World Racing Championships, and every time it has been in an even numbered year (2004, 2006, and 2010). I just rechecked my calendar, and yes, 2012 is an even number. 

2 – 1  Maximum Destruction®, Tom Meents - Maximum Destruction is the second choice here with odds just a tick longer than Grave Digger’s. Meents has had a great year in racing but his ranking here is all about Sam Boyd Stadium, which could be renamed Tom Meents Stadium. His lengthy list of World Finals records include nine overall world titles, five World Racing Championships, and a round by round won-loss record of 31 wins against only 6 losses all time on the toughest race track in the sport, a phenomenal .838 winning percentage there. Don’t think that those gaudy numbers are all from the early years when Meents completely dominated the first three Monster Jam World Finals race brackets. After racing struggles plagued Meents at the World Finals from 2004 through 2007, you can make the case that he has been better than ever racing in Las Vegas the past four years. Remember in 2008 he never lost, earning a trip to the final race but mechanical gremlins kept Maximum Destruction from making the call in that year’s finale. The past three years he has been in the World Championship Race each time, winning two more titles in 2009 and 2011 and finishing second to Grave Digger in 2010. If he makes the Championship Race again this time he will equal Anderson’s record of consistency with four straight berths in the World Championship Race, something the Grave Digger driver did from 2004 through 2007. 

5 – 2  Team Hot Wheels, Neil Elliott  - Simply stated, Elliott is the third choice on the list of pre-race favorites due to his racing success in 2012, the greatest year ever for the Team Maximum Destruction shoe. While he has not competed in this event for the past few years, he does have plenty of experience at Sam Boyd Stadium including his previous assignment driving the earlier version of the Hot Wheels truck there in the past, taking that Hot Wheels ride all the way to the semifinals of racing at MJWF VII. Not only does Elliott’s string of race victories this year merit deep consideration, where he won and who he beat makes him rate as a real threat. While just about every one of the top ten teams in this year’s racing odds have a least one stadium racing event win on their 2012 resume, not only can Elliott boast of winning a trio of major event racing trophies in domes and stadiums this year, but Elliott’s success has come outdoors. Elliott’s biggest racing wins for the Maximum Destruction team this year came in open air stadiums in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Anaheim where the talented veteran showed not only his racing ability but his expertise in adapting to the weather and changing track conditions, factors that can be critical to success in the sport’s biggest racing event. The last time I looked Sam Boyd Stadium doesn’t have a roof. Adapting to weather and changing conditions has often played a role in determining the World Racing Champion (just look back at how Madusa handled the track in 2005 and how John Seasock drove Batman to the 2007 title). And it is worth noting that Elliott drove Maximum Destruction to the racing win in the Orlando finale against Anderson and Grave Digger before Anderson evened the score against Neil the following week in Tampa. Overall Elliott has the best record in head to head racing match-ups in 2012 against the others in this field with 15 wins against only 5 losses. It says here that if a new name grabs the racing gold this year then the most likely to become the World Racing Champion for the first time is Neil Elliott in Team Hot Wheels.   

4 – 1  Bounty Hunter, Jimmy Creten Another trip to Las Vegas and again one of the biggest questions is: will this finally be the year Bounty Hunter wins the World Racing Championship? The most accomplished driver on the difficult Sam Boyd Stadium circuit to never have won the whole shootin’ match, Creten has been the runner-up in this competition a record five times and Creten has advanced Bounty Hunter to at least the semifinals here seven times. Only Meents has made more appearances in the Monster Jam World Finals “Final Four” with 8 runs into the semifinal round. 2012 has been an up and down year to an extent for Creten. Bounty Hunter battled mechanical problems and never raced in Orlando which is one example of the down side, but Jimmy has seen plenty of ups this year too, most notably his huge racing wins in Detroit, St. Louis and Miami. It seems like we say the same thing every year, but again in 2012, Bounty Hunter has to be rated as one of the top contenders to grab that elusive World Racing Championship.  

9 – 2  Grave Digger The Legend℠, Adam Anderson – Adam is the fifth choice here because I am giving more weight to his outstanding racing results since last year’s World Finals than I am to what can only be called Adam’s Vegas Curse in recent years. Simply put, since he became the youngest World Champion in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam history when he won the freestyle crown in 2008 Adam’s trips back to Vegas have been nightmares. He is too talented, his truck is too strong for the recent string of terrible World Finals luck to continue. On the track Double-A has racked up several impressive racing trophies since his last trip to Las Vegas including stadium wins in Philadelphia and Tampa. The Legend may be the toughest to rate on this entire list. Adam Anderson can beat anyone in this competition. The Legend truck is a legitimate contender to win this title. At the same time Adam has to remove all doubts and clear the ghosts of World Finals past out of his helmet. You just have to believe Adam and The Legend are simply too good for the bad nights in Vegas to continue. 

5 – 1  El Toro Loco®, Marc McDonald – McDonald is just slightly behind Elliott on the list of most likely non-World Champions to break through and win a trophy this year. McDonald took home the Double Down award as the fastest qualifier in El Toro Loco just two years ago and has raced his way into the semifinals twice before, so he has been on the cusp of ultimate greatness here in the past. You also have to like the El Toro Loco trajectory on this trip to the desert. McDonald’s team started the season slowly but has steadily improved week to week so rather than mimicking some of the teams that have been up and down, the line on the El Toro Loco graph has been continuing to angle upward, highlighted by his sweep of both racing championships at the Sun Bowl in El Paso to begin the month of March. 

11 – 2  Lucas Oil Crusader℠, Linsey Weenk – Here’s another team that won’t shock anyone if they win it all this year. To take the Lucas Oil Crusader to the pinnacle Weenk has to break through a semifinal ceiling he has run into. He brings a streak into Advance Auto Parts World Finals XIII presented by NGK Spark Plugs of three straight runs into the semifinal round. While that is an outstanding accomplishment, he has lost in that round each time. Weenk certainly has the talent and the Lucas Oil Crusader has the steam to make this the year he goes one more round. If he can finally break through to the final race watch out. 

6 – 1  Captain’s Curse®, Pablo Huffaker – The driver who has piloted more different body styles in this competition than anyone returns to the look he sported when he won his world title, Captain’s Curse. Huffaker has been a major factor in the race bracket several times despite not winning the racing championship in the past. He took Black Smith all the way to the World Championship Race at World Finals V where he was the runner-up to Grave Digger. Huffaker is normally a player here, he almost always qualifies well to earn a top seed, and Pablo is one of those opponents none of the aforementioned favorites wants to have to square off against early in the bracket. 

7 – 1  Advance Auto Parts Grinder℠, John Seasock – As much excitement as has been generated about Pablo getting back into Captain’s Curse at Las Vegas, maybe the most appreciated return to this competition among the sport’s fan base is Seasock’s assignment to represent Team Advance Auto Parts in the racing bracket. The only driver other than Meents or Anderson to have won the World Racing Championship more than once, Seasock is one of the sport’s most popular and giving figures and he is back at the site of the greatest successes in his career. This time it’s Seasock in his state-of-the-art Advance Auto Parts Grinder in pursuit of his third title. 

9 – 1  Wolverine, Alex Blackwell – Blackwell is a member of one of the sport’s most exclusive clubs, drivers who have made it all the way into the World Championship Race. Alex drove Captain’s Curse to the finals here in 2009, finishing second to Maximum Destruction. This year has been stellar for Blackwell, now pushing the throttle of Wolverine, a name that has World Championship pedigree as Wolverine won the racing title here at WFIV. Blackwell has won a slew of trophies in his first year as the Wolverine pilot including major dome wins in San Antonio and Houston. 

10 – 1  Iron Man, Lee O’Donnell – One of the most talented pure racers to enter the sport in recent years O’Donnell now has tons of experience on the sport’s major stadium race tracks including experience at Sam Boyd Stadium which is so critical. The Iron Man driver’s off-road racing background is also a positive on this desert track. O’Donnell has not made a deep run in this tournament in the past – not yet anyway. He certainly has the equipment and the talent to be one of the breakthrough drivers to make a big run this time in Las Vegas. 

11 – 1  Captain America, Chad Fortune This is the highest rated this Monster Jam World Finals veteran has ever been on the odds list and for good reason. Since jumping into the awesome new Captain America at the start of this season Fortune has been stronger on the race track than ever. He’s turned in the top qualifying time at major stadium events and Captain America has advanced deep into several of the sport’s highest profile racing brackets this season. Despite a lack of racing success here in the past Fortune did take a big step forward when he qualified in the top 8 driving Superman here last year to earn a first round bye and an automatic berth directly into round two. This could be a year to build on that success and make an even larger statement in Captain America. 

12 – 1  Monster Mutt® Dalmatian, Candice Jolly – Looking at Monster Jam World Finals history no driver has ever won the World Racing Championship without qualifying in the top 8, which seeds them directly into round two in the years since this event has expanded to 24 trucks. Jolly has put Monster Mutt Dalmatian in that coveted top 8 each of the last two years. Let’s just see if she can focus on racing with all of the other activities this popular driver has in Vegas, including hosting a fashion show! That’s right, Jolly will be hosting what should be a delightful event with more than 20 of her young fans coming to the biggest pit party in the world to show off their Monster Mutt Dalmatian outfits. 

15 – 1  Spider-Man, Chad Tingler – This team Grave Digger driver is back again behind the wheel of Spider-man and could be one to watch. Tingler has won lots in his Grave Digger this season but none of those wins have come on stadium tracks. To be fair his schedule has only had him competing twice in stadium brackets this year and he has shown the ability to win big time events in big houses before. So in this, the greatest confluence of talent to come together in the sport each year, he is a middle of the pack pick but one capable of pulling some big surprises. 

16 – 1  Mohawk Warrior®, George Balhan – One of the most fun things at the Double Down and the big Saturday pit parties in Las Vegas these days is to watch the excited fans rush through the gates to see their heroes and to take notice of how many of those fans are sporting Mohawk hair styles. Balhan’s Mohawk Nation continues to grow worldwide, and the crowd pleasing driver plans to give them even more to cheer about this year. Last year Balhan made it all the way to the semifinals for the first time ever at the World Finals, so the Mohawk Warrior looks to build on that success this time out. 

18 – 1  Monster Energy, Damon Bradshaw – With his awesome new look for 2012 Bradshaw proudly brings Monster Energy to its first Monster Jam World Finals. Bradshaw has lots of experience here but has never made a long run through the brackets. Watch out in the early rounds though. All time in Las Vegas Damon has a .500 record with 5 round wins and 5 losses, so he is a tough out in his first race and he eliminated Anderson and Grave Digger in the opening round of the 2009 brackets here.  

20 – 1  Son-uva Digger℠, Ryan Anderson – Before anyone starts posting on Facebook.com/mjonline that I am crazy for having maybe the most talented young gun in the sport’s history rated this low, hear me out. Ryan, despite having plenty of racing success in Son-uva Digger’s first year, still is a “Vegas Rookie” and if you’ve read these odds in the past you know that first timers in this competition are always longshots. This course is unlike any other in the sport and experience matters here. Actually Ryan rates a little better that most on their first venture into this racing bracket because of all of the strong stadium races he has turned in so far this year. Oh, one more thing. Keep reading. When we get to the freestyle odds you will see I’m throwing the “Vegas Rookie” rules out the window for Son-uva Digger in that competition. 

22 – 1 Monster Mutt®, Charlie Pauken – This may be the biggest surprise to many but 2012 has been such a racing struggle for the Team Grave Digger driver that, combing the mechanical problems that have plagued his team all year with the difficult sight line lines in the Monster Mutt chop top Merc body style, as well as the fact that Pauken is a driver, like most on this end of the racing odds list, that figures to be a big contender in freestyle, all make his odds longer in the racing portion of this competition. 

25 – 1  Stone Crusher, Steve Sims – Every other week, anywhere the sport goes, Stone Crusher is a top contender which shows you just how amazing the level of talent in this racing bracket is that Sims is a twenty-five to one longshot. The likeable Virginia Beach native now does have experience on this track and has been able to win some rounds in the past so he is another looking to break through and make some more noise this time around. 

30 – 1  Madusa, Madusa – Clearly the only woman ever to win this event is rated a little low here but that is based more on racing results the past few years in all events. No stadium racing wins in the past few seasons puts her lower of the list than might be expected for a former world champ, but frankly, in recent years her freestyles have been where she has been back to turning in championship type performances. Still you’ve got to keep your eye on Madusa especially if the weather is iffy. Remember, it was on a wet, tricky surface where she claimed the World Racing Championship in 2005. 

35 – 1  Brutus, Chris Bergeron – This is a big dog with some bite and Brutus has looked pretty good at times racing here in the past but we all know Team Scream is all about freestyle, they are here to throw it down at freestyle time so the racing odds are a little long. 

40 – 1  Northern Nightmare, Cam McQueen – We’ve had Canadian natives as drivers in the World Finals before but now Canada has its own truck in Las Vegas! McQueen will be a busy man signing autographs and taking pictures at the pit parties with so many fans making the journey from north of the border to be at this event. On the track, at least at this point is his career, Cam is one of those who is a real contender for the freestyle title but a longshot in racing. 

45 – 1  Avenger, Jim Koehler – This rating is not meant as any disrespect to Mr. Excitement, it is just recognition of the facts: Jim Koehler and Avenger are in Las Vegas looking to defend the World Freestyle Championship. Period. 

50 – 1  Metal Mulisha, Brian Deegan – A 13-time X-games medalist is the longest shot in the field?  Yes, and it is all about the experience factor. Not only does Deegan fall into the “Vegas Rookie” category (no, I can’t count his freestyle motocross “Duel in the Desert” experience here) his limited seat time is lots to overcome on the fastest and most difficult track to race on in the sport. It’s incredible that he is here and the Metal Mulisha team is bringing so many new fans to the sport that I expect he’ll roll onto to the track to some of the night’s biggest applause. And I do expect The General to make a major impact even though it is his first foray onto the sport’s biggest stage. It’s just that the guess here is that the impact will be made by Metal Mulisha in freestyle. 

Now onto the freestyle odds and before getting started, note one thing. This year even the longest shots in the freestyle field are only 25 to 1. It’s this way for a reason. This is the most unpredictable championship to handicap and it is honest to say anyone of the 24 entrants can win it. This track is going to trip up many of the favorites and it’s a good bet some of the longer shots will fill the clock in spectacular fashion and put themselves in contention for the World Freestyle Championship, so there are no 100 to 1 shots, or even 50 to 1 shots here. This is a truly wide open competition.

 

ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALS XIII PRESENTED BY NGK SPARK PLUGS  

MORNING LINE ODDS – FREESTYLE  

2 – 1  Son-Uva Digger℠, Ryan Anderson – Everything written in the racing odds about “Vegas Rookies” is true. However we have never seen a Vegas Rookie like Ryan Anderson. First, he has experience freestyling on this track as even the most casual fans know after his amazing performance when he debuted Son-uva Digger during the encore here a year ago. From there on this team has been a freestyle winning machine. Anderson put together a stretch of six straight major stadium freestyle wins in a row, something that is almost impossible to do against all of the amazing talent competing at this level. Overall in 2012 Son-uva Digger has competed in 16 freestyle events combining arena and freestyle competitions, and he has won an amazing 10 of them. Those amazing numbers make Son-uva Digger the favorite to win the World Freestyle Champion and allow Ryan to put his own world title hardware alongside the pieces won by his father and brother. 

5 – 2 Grave Digger®, Dennis Anderson Using the previously listed criteria Grave Digger squeezes ahead of Maximum Destruction as the second pick here following his win in the Syracuse freestyle where Anderson edged Meents by a point. Dennis has the momentum, rolling into Las Vegas fresh off back-to-back Double Downs in Jacksonville and Syracuse, and in again in the latter city Grave Digger’s freestyle win came with Meents in the field as Grave Digger edged Maximum Destruction by one bonus point in that epic Carrier Dome battle. This year’s Grave Digger 30th Anniversary celebration has been incredible and Anderson has begun promising fans that they are cooking up the greatest encore of all-time to put the icing on the anniversary cake. Anderson has accomplished so much for three decades, but make no mistake about it, when he closes his eyes to go sleep these days the one thing he still dreams of is to win both racing and freestyle at the World Finals on the same night, something only Meents has ever done. If he wins the racing title look out, he will throw every trick in the book onto that obstacle filled floor to try and accomplish that goal. 

3 - 1 Maximum Destruction®, Tom Meents Maximum Destruction is a strong third choice here which makes Meents an awfully good bet to crack double figures in World Championships by taking another this year. Maximum Destruction has just as strong of a chance to win this title as he does to win the racing crown. 2012 has been another great year of freestyle results for Tom and he has powered Maximum Destruction to freestyle wins at four of the big stadium stops on the tour this year. More often than not Meents has filled the time clock in 2012 and when he does that in his spectacular fashion Maximum Destruction is hard to beat in freestyle. 

7 – 2  Monster Energy, Damon Bradshaw – The 2009 Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Champion has proven to be a model of consistency at an event that is known for drivers putting up a big number one year and falling flat the next, or vice versa. As a matter of fact Bradshaw has the best average Monster Jam World Finals freestyle score of anyone in this competition, his average total of 28.80 being a fraction of a point better than Grave Digger’s average. Maybe even more impressive is to look at where the Monster Energy driver has finished on the score sheet in his five previous freestyles in Las Vegas: 4th, 16th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd. Those numbers mean that Bradshaw brings it virtually every year and then consider that Monster Energy won the high profile freestyle competitions in San Antonio and Los Angeles this year and it’s clear that this team should be one of the top contenders in Vegas this year as well. 

4 – 1  Advance Auto Parts Grinder℠, Lupe Soza – Watching “The People’s Truck” thrill hundreds of thousands of fans with amazing freestyles this year convinces me to put the Advance Auto Parts Grinder near the top of this list. Lupe Soza has won the World Freestyle Championship in the past but I don’t think we’ve ever seen him fill the clock as consistently as he has this year, and you have to fill the clock to win at the World Finals. Soza won the huge freestyle event in Miami in February and his Advance Auto Parts Grinder freestyle in Atlanta was filled with as many Wow moments as I’ve witnessed in any single run all year.  

9 – 2  Grave Digger The Legend℠, Adam Anderson – OK, back to the curse. It is as simple as that. Adam Anderson is just way too talented and his truck is way too strong so you have to believe that his bad luck in Vegas is due to turn, and to turn soon. So maybe it will turn back his way this time around. Adam has become one of the trailblazers in combining big air and unbelievable saves with the technical brilliance that the judges expect, and frankly that they demand at the World Finals. Adam Anderson and the Legend are among the elite freestyle teams in the game and bad luck or not in recent years there is just no way to rate him anywhere but near the top in these odds. 

5 – 1  Avenger, Jim Koehler – This is why Avenger is here, to amaze the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam fans in freestyle in hopes of winning what would be Jim Koehler’s third World Freestyle Championship. Mr. Excitement has been strong this year with several crowd pleasing runs so he figures to be ready to show the fans a sweet new paint job, as is his custom in Las Vegas, and then go out and thrill the fans with an electrifying performance. He just has to avoid the trend we’ve seen so often on this, the toughest freestyle course ever created, where the reigning champion comes out the next year and the track bites them. Koehler knows those pit falls, he had it happen to him as the defending champion in 2004, so that experience just may help him back up last year’s greatness with an even bigger performance this time. 

6 – 1  Monster Mutt®, Charlie Pauken – While this has not been the year Pauken, one of the greatest to ever get into a monster cockpit, had planned on it would be a huge mistake to discount Monster Mutt’s chances of winning another World Freestyle Championship. Remember, it was just two years ago when Pauken won this title by the largest scoring margin in history. That performances ranks as one of the greatest in the history of this event which is saying a whole lot and Pauken certainly is capable of doing that again. If he duplicates or even betters that 2010 freestyle Monster Mutt would almost surely take the trophy again. 

13 – 2  Hot Wheels, Neil Elliott  - As fantastic as he has been in racing this season Elliott has been every bit as good in freestyle. The Team Maximum Destruction driver won the first Double Down trophy of his career in Orlando this year, capping that amazing night off with the greatest freestyle run that I personally have watched all season. For good measure Elliott won another Maximum Destruction Double Down award in Anaheim this year as well. While it has been a few years since he has freestyled on this treacherous course in competition don’t forget that he did bring his Max-D into action there for last year’s encore. 

9 – 1  Northern Nightmare℠, Cam McQueen – Northern Nightmare ranks near the top of the list more than any other reason because of what Cam McQueen did in Nitro Circus here one year ago. McQueen gets the credit for bringing the backflip to Vegas, the first to ever perform that crowd pleasing move in the scored competition. He also set a record last year that can’t be broken, only tied, when he came out first in freestyle, put up his score, and then stayed in the hot seat with the top number throughout the rest of the freestyles as no one could top it. Only the tie-breaker kept McQueen from becoming a World Champion a year ago, and you know how much he would love to take one more step up and win that title representing his native Canada in Northern Nightmare.  

10 – 1  Mohawk Warrior®, George Balhan – Here is another top level freestyle performer who might just be due to finally take it all the way to the top. Balhan has been close here before and he has just completed another great winter season full of plenty of Mohawk Warrior wins. One of the sport’s most unique and popular personalities seems to be on the cusp on world title caliber greatness. Maybe 2012 will become the Year of the Mohawk. 

12 – 1  Bounty Hunter, Jimmy Creten The 2005 winner of the freestyle title is still one of the most technically brilliant freestyle competitors in the game. Creten will dissect the track and give the judges everything they want if he can execute his plan. Bounty Hunter is known for putting together unique moves which is critical. With 24 of the best freestylers we’ve ever seen all battling for the championship you have to find ways to make your performance different, to make yours stand out, to do everything that the judges look for and of course to thrill the most knowledgeable fans that follow the sport. When Creten’s on his game and when the Bounty Hunter piece holds up for the entire time Creten is as good as anyone at in doing just that.  

13 – 1  Captain’s Curse®, Pablo Huffaker – You have to believe that Huffaker is pumped up to be back in the style that he powered to the 2007 World Freestyle Championship. Pablo has the record for the most different trucks driven in the World Finals, five: Black Smith, Grave Digger, Ragin’ Steel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and of course, Captain’s Curse. Huffaker has won more freestyle events in 2012 driving his Grave Digger truck than anyone, but most of those have come in smaller arenas, so he has to get back in his on the edge stadium mode to make a run at another title, something he is certainly capable of. 

14 – 1  Lucas Oil Crusade℠r, Linsey Weenk – Earlier I noted that Damon Bradshaw has the highest average freestyle scores in the history of this event. To no surprise Dennis Anderson is second on that list and Tom Meents is third. Who is fourth? Linsey Weenk. The Lucas Oil Crusader driver may be known more as one of the best in the sport racing a monster, especially on the big tracks, but he has also won plenty of freestyle hardware too, including taking the freestyle win recently in Indianapolis. He has turned in some fantastic runs here before, thus his high average score, and Weenk has finished in the top five in this battle three times.  

15 – 1  Metal Mulisha, Brian Deegan – One of the most anticipated moments of this year’s championships figures to be when The General marshals his troops, gets into his own “tank” and roars Metal Mulisha onto the floor for freestyle. Make no mistake about it, Deegan will go big and he will thrill his huge legion of fans. Can he keep from getting tripped up by the wicked obstacles there? Can he fill the clock and put Metal Mulisha in contention for a world title? The answer is coming March 24th and it should be one of the real thrills of this year’s competition to see Deegan’s performance in Metal Mulisha. 

17 – 1  Spider-Man, Chad Tingler – Over the years Tingler has left some big impressions on this track, none more memorable than his breathtaking triple obstacle clearing leap when he drove Monster Mutt Dalmatian here. Last year in Spider-man was one of his biggest disappointments though when the run ended way too early. What may work in the Team Grave Digger driver’s favor this time is that we have often seen in this pressure packed high stakes environment that a great performance one year is followed by an early out the next. The opposite has also been true so this may be Spider-man’s chance to turn the tables. 

18 – 1  El Toro Loco®, Marc McDonald – McDonald has no business this low on the list, he is a sensational freestyle performer and El Toro Loco is one of those trucks that just gets people roaring when it’s on the track. But that’s the way it work at the World Finals. The best of the best are here. Note that even those that are further down this list don’t have huge odds. That’s because as noted above I truly believe that anyone in this competition can win this if things fall just right. And Marc McDonald certainly can be around at the end of the night if everything comes together for El Toro Loco.  

19 – 1  Madusa, Madusa – Maybe no one we’ve ever seen before in this sport rises to the occasion when the lights are shining brightest like Madusa does so she’s always got a shot. She does have that knack for trying to top everything we’ve seen before, like last year when she followed the Nitro Circus backflip with one of her own that she actually hit too hard, doing a 450 degree flip that ended up on that pink roof. Madusa will bring it, count on that. 

20 – 1  Stone Crusher, Steve Sims – Sims is so obviously underrated here but I don’t know how to move Stone Crusher up on the odds list. He’s a sensational performer in a field of the most sensational freestyle talents that we’ve ever seen. Here’s one thing to consider if you wanted to lay down a bet, just for monopoly money of course, on Stone Crusher at these odds: Steve Sims actually is fifth on that list of the best average freestyle scores in World Finals history, which simply means that every time he has freestyled in Vegas Stone Crusher has rocked the house. 

20 – 1  Wolverine, Alex Blackwell – Blackwell has a stadium Double Down to his credit, pulling off Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam’s ultimate night in Wolverine earlier this season at Houston’s Reliant Stadium and his team has racked up several arena freestyle wins this year as well. There will be so much excitement among the super fans in Sam Boyd Stadium to see Wolverine back in World Finals competition after several years without that truck on the circuit and Blackwell has the talent to turn in a memorable performance here. 

25 – 1  Brutus, Chris Bergeron – As noted earlier Team Scream has two chances to amaze their huge fan base and Brutus is likely to deliver the goods. Again, standing out here against 23 other amazing performers is tough, yet Bergeron has several tricks he’ll bring out including his ability to deliver some of the most dizzying donuts ever seen.  

25 – 1  Monster Mutt® Dalmatian, Candice Jolly – Candice has several things going for her here, including now having World Finals experience under her belt and the blessing of driving a piece that just inspires the crowd and looks fantastic flying through the air, and of course the kids go nuts over the spotted mutt with its tail wagging and tongue hanging out. Jolly has nailed some outstanding runs in Monster Mutt Dalmatian but always battling against many of the best in the business, she hasn’t racked up the wins this season and this is the toughest place of them all to start that trend. 

25 – 1  Captain America, Chad Fortune Pretty much I’m going to echo my comments about Fortune and Captain America in the racing odds. The truck looks so awesome, and the fans have fallen in love with it from the first time it pulled onto the floor, and Fortune has driven the wheels off of it this year. 

25 – 1  Iron Man, Lee O’Donnell – One of the reasons the final four all have the same odds is that I refuse to rate anyone last in this field. It’s impossible. O’Donnell is clearly better known for his ability to win races that to take freestyle trophies but he has brilliantly transitioned from a pure racing background to this unique form of motorsports where speed and crowd pleasing thrills go hand in hand. O’Donnell is a long shot only because of the names on the top of this list. You can expect a rocking freestyle from Iron Man at Sam Boyd Stadium and then we get to enjoy Lee’s Black Sabbath air guitar riffs. Just something else you can’t get in any other form of motorsports. 

So there you have it. The odds on the 48 separate competitors that will hit the track in Las Vegas March 23rd and 24th in pursuit of the 2012 World Championships. Now I’d love to see what you think. I have laid out my criteria in making these odds, but what really matters is what you fans think. Whatever your criteria is for picking who you think the favorites are be sure to tell us your opinion at Facebook.com/mjonline. And now as they say, let the games begin!