Fight fans of both boxing and mixed martial arts have plenty to be excited about, as the next two months offer up a collection of highly anticipated bouts.
It all begins Saturday night inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the WBC Diamond light welterweight title will be up for grabs between Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KO’s) and Adrien Broner (33-2-0-1, 24 KO’s). The bout will be contested at a catch-weight of “140 lbs.,” with Garcia going up in weight and Broner coming down, when compared to the weight limit each competed at of late.
Odds makers initially installed Garcia as a heavy favorite, with sportsbooks offshore opening the line as high as -1000. That price didn’t last long, as support for the underdog Broner hit the betting windows immediately. Within the first five days of taking action, bookmakers were forced to significantly adjust the betting odds. As we go to print, Garcia is currently listed as low as -250 here in Las Vegas, with the take-back on Broner now +210.
As mentioned in this column for years now, unlike the majority of major sports where recreational bettors have a bias toward favorites, when it comes to the fight game they’ve historically supported underdogs. The reason for this is casual bettors want to risk a little money for a chance to win a lot, rather than put up a lot for a little. I expect that trend to continue for this bout, even after such a forceful line move.
Bottom line, I can’t find fault in anyone who was able to get their money down on Broner early on. It appears oddsmakers did not have a good grasp of the betting public’s perception, and that has ultimately left them exposed on the underdog side. Rest assured there were plenty of tickets written with Broner as high as +600, and even more written at +500. Therefore, unless multiple betting syndicates decide to back the favorite and help minimize risk for the book, their liability should continue to grow.
Although hardcore fight fans are well aware of just how good Garcia is, it’s obvious from the betting action that casual fans do not. So until the market catches up and concludes he’s a “top pound for pound” fighter, the opportunity to take advantage is present.
The opening price of Garcia -1000 may have been a bit high and definitely a closer reflection to a “true line” than a “fair line.” And at that price, I would have almost certainly passed on placing a wager. But at the current odds or lower, I’ll be backing up my opinion with my money. Pick: Garcia
At the Honda Center in Anaheim is a card that from bottom to top showcases multiple “must see” fights, especially on the main-card. The UFC did not disappoint by giving us bettors just as much to look forward to on Saturday as they did the fans.
The main event is one of the promotion’s most highly anticipated rematches of 2017. Current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1) gets to avenge his only professional loss, against former title holder Jon Jones (22-1).
They faced each other over two years ago at UFC 182. At that time, Jones entered the Octagon with the 205-lb. strap and as a -210 favorite to retain it. That’s exactly what Jones was able to do, and when the rematch was initially set, the champion was listed as an even bigger favorite to beat Cormier again. Oddsmakers installed Jones anywhere from -270 to -350, but their rematch scheduled for UFC 197 and then UFC 200 never materialized as a result of his problems outside of competition. Since Jones’ personal issues have been well documented, I won’t waste your time or mine gossiping.
For UFC 214, currently the challenger Jones is a -250 favorite with the take-back on the champion Cormier +210. The total rounds prop is listed at 4.5, with the “over” favored at -170. The first fight went the full 5 rounds with Jones capturing a unanimous decision victory.
Jones will have to contest with ring rust, but it’s not something that he hasn’t overcome before. Also, as much as Cormier continues to add to his skill set as a mixed martial artist, his greatest asset is his wrestling. Few if any have entered the Octagon with “DC’s” storied amateur wrestling career.
I made my “true line” Jones -300, which equates to a 75% probability, and to be completely honest I believe I am being pretty generous to Cormier. Pick: Jones