Manny 1 last time? Big chance for Vargas

November 01, 2016 3:03 AM



This Saturday night Mexico City Arena in Mexico plays host to UFC Fight Night 98, then right here in Las Vegas the Thomas and Mack Center showcases a return to the ring for Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KO’s).

“Pac-Man” aims to win yet another world title when he meets current WBO Welterweight Champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KO’s) in a bout scheduled for 12 rounds. Odds makers installed the Filipino ­boxing icon as a heavy betting favorite to capture his 11thchampionship strap, opening the line as high as -1000. Currently the Westgate has Pacquiao listed at -700, with the take-back on Vargas +500.

Simply put, to warrant a wager on the favorite at that price a bettor must conclude he has upwards of an 88% chance to get his arm raised for the bet to offer value. On the flip side a bet ticket on the underdog would be justified if one concludes the chance of victory exceeds 17%.

Personally, I don’t see much betting value on either fighter at the current price but I do believe we’ll find some on the “Total Rounds Prop” once it’s on the board. Early in the week I didn’t see any sports book put a line up for the over/under, but rest assured as we approach fight night placing the wager won’t be difficult. In fact, we can expect to see several different betting options besides choosing the winner.

In this bout between Pacquiao and Vargas I am confident the “true line” for Over 9.5 rounds is -400 and Over 10.5 is -300. Therefore when they put a line up and open the betting for “Total Rounds”, I’ll be looking to lock a wager in at a price that offers me value based on those conclusions.

Neither Manny or possess one-punch finishing power going into this fight. Even at 37, Pacquiao is still a top level fighter as he proved against the much younger and very talented Timothy Bradley in his last bout. Manny may not throw as much volume as he did earlier in his career, but he still has excellent hand and foot speed. He’s able to throw punches from all angles and works well behind a quick jab. His southpaw style, coupled with continuous movement of body and head is very difficult to prepare for and emulate in training.

For the 27 yr old Vargas, he’s displayed a high ring IQ by being an aggressive boxer but not a careless one. He’s a technician with solid fundamentals, who works both the body and the head of opponents well. Vargas can throw all the punches but it’s his best weapon is his straight right hand, which is what’s needed to give a southpaw problems. Jesse has a skillful defense that he keeps tight, making it difficult to land flush against. He’s shown exceptional stamina and a gas tank that maintains him well in the championship rounds as he put on display in his lone loss against Bradley.

It may be a cliché, but “styles make fights” and the styles of these two men make it extremely likely neither fighter will be able to finish the other inside the distance.

PICK: OVER total rounds

For UFC Fight Night 96, a handful of match-ups jumped off the board at me immediately upon sports books putting up a betting line.

Charles Oliveira vs Ricardo Lamas: I believe Oliveira -110 is the right side at the right price in this bout. He should be able to push the pace and constantly outland Lamas throughout this fight. Oliveira has a superior submission game also, and as long as he’s able to avoid Lamas’ one-punch knock out power, Oliveira should get a bounce back win here.

Erick Perez vs Felipe Arantes : The line on Perez has dropped from -210 down to -180 and I’m hoping that trend continues and I’m able to get an even better price on the favorite. Perez will undoubtedly have the Mexico City crowd behind him here, as he aims for his 3rd straight win inside the Octagon. He continues to improve each time out and keeps adding more weapons to an already dangerous striking game. Arantes has a Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do background, and holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jistsu, making him very well rounded. Even so, at this time in their careers I believe Perez to have the advantage standing, in the clinch, against the cage, and on the mat.

Alexa Grasso vs Heather Clark: Simply put, this will be a “coming out party” for Mexico’s Grasso, who is making her UFC debut. The 23 yr old is a top prospect who comes over from Invicta with a perfect 8-0 record as a pro. Though the price to back Grasso is steep, opening up -400 and climbing, she’s a must on parlays. At 36 yrs of age and with a 7-5 pro record, Clark just doesn’t have the necessary tools to pose much of a threat of ruining the debut for Grasso, who’s expected to become a future bantamweight star within the UFC.

Twitter: @Greek_Gambler