NEW YORK ― We're likely to see an above-average number of qualified rides in Round 1, and that means around 15 guys could put a score on the board tonight. The riders have had time to heal and rest, and a lot of them drew bulls that should fit them here.
When there are a lot of scores in a round, the magic number is 87. You want to watch for scores of 87 points or more, because it will take that to win or place high in the round.
Ben Jones on 6 The Game Changer:
This bull has a fairly low average score, because he had a very weak out here last year. If you look past that, he's produced three rides of 88 points or more in the past year. On top of that, he's been ridden in 9 of 16 Built Ford Tough Series outs. Jones, who has done well here before, has a good bull to start the year off with.
J.B. Mauney on S06 Monsoon:
Mauney should start his season off with a score, as well. Monsoon has been ridden three times in six outs and can produce 87 points or more here. Mauney solidly outrode everyone last year on the Top 20 or so bulls in the world, but fell short on the lesser bulls.
Davi Henrique on 238 Skatman Hou:
At the World Finals, we all learned that Davi Henrique can ride. This bull is one of the best draws in the PBR. Henrique could earn a round win here if his bull performs up to expectations.
Guilherme Marchi on 70S HIGH Steaks:
This is definitely the premier matchup of the first round. HIGH Steaks is easily the best bull out tonight, and he hasn't been ridden since April of 2011. Marchi tends to overpower many bulls, and HIGH Steaks tends to overpower most riders, so we will see strength against strength here. These two met in 2011, and Marchi fell short, but betting against him is usually a bad idea.
Billy Robinson on 8061 Mud Wasp:
Austin Meier was 89 points on this outstanding little bull at the World Finals. He likes to spin to the left, which will be into Robinson's hand, and can easily produce the kind of score it will take to win here.
Austin Meier takes on Mud Wasp at the 2012 World Finals.
Silvano Alves on 76 Showoff:
The biggest question about the 2013 PBR World Championship race is whether or not Alves wants to win it again. He got it done last season in what could be called a sub-par year by his standards. If he returns to his 2011 form, he will be nearly impossible to beat in the long run. He should get a score here ― this bull was ridden in 3 of 6 PBR outs last year.
Emilio Resende on 8471 Anonymous:
Valdiron de Oliveira is out with an injury right now, but he rode this bull here last year in Round 2. From what we saw of Resende last season, he is every bit as capable as Oliveira, and seems set to have a big year. If anyone is going to keep up with Alves, this could be the guy.
Valdiron de Oliveira conquers Anonymous in New York in 2011.
Cody Nance on 6377 Full Force:
J.B. Mauney was 88 points on this bull in New York last season, and Nance is defending his event title here. Left-handed riders tend to get along with Full Force - he's ridden nearly 40 percent of the time by them.
Jordan Hupp on 215 Prince of Darkness:
This bull has been around for a few years, but doesn't get out much. Almost every time he's ridden, he produces 87-plus-point scores. Robson Palermo was 87.75 on him in Springfield, Mo., back in the fall. Hupp had an off year in 2012, but he should be able to make some noise at this level. He's capable of riding better than 50 percent of his bulls, and has done it for a full season before.
Ryan Dirteater on 861 Jack in Black:
This is a good draw for Dirteater. Riders were 2-for-2 on him in the fall of 2012, and 4-for-8 on him overall at the Built Ford Tough Series level. Jack in Black's average ride score is around 87.5, but the last two rides recorded on him fell a bit short of that.
Follow Slade Long on Twitter @ProBullStats.
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.