What will horse racing and boxing bettors have in common Saturday? They’ll both be looking to score big on the long shot.
Hours after the 139th Kentucky Derby is said and done, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will defend his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero in his return to the ring following a year hiatus which included a two-month jail term for domestic abuse.
Oddsmakers currently have the undefeated Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) priced as a -650 favorite and expect those odds to drop with public bettors taking a shot on Guerrero at +475, hoping to cash in on the dark horse. Mayweather’s odds have already been discounted after being offered as high as -1,250 at some markets.
“The way that most casual fans and bettors look to bet long shots blindly in the Kentucky Derby, you'll see same carry over into the boxing ring Saturday night,” renowned boxing and MMA oddsmaker Joey Oddessa told Covers. “Bettors will be looking for a lotto ticket in the ring. Majority of players aren't looking to lay the big price for a small return, no matter how great the favorite is.”
There is plenty of fodder for fans of the underdog. Mayweather is 36 and hasn’t fought since taking a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto on May 5, 2012. Many boxing analysts believe the clock is ticking on his career and this matchup with Guerrero, a physical southpaw coming off an impressive win versus Andre Berto, will be Mayweather’s undoing.
In past fights with southpaw boxers, like Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley, the orthodox Mayweather has looked uncomfortable. He was hit hard against Corley but took a unanimous decision win in 2004 and was down on the cards in the early round against Judah before his opponent ran out of gas and was pummeled in the remaining rounds back in 2006.
Those brief moments of weakness aren’t enough to sway oddsmakers when setting the price high on the fighter known as “Money”. Oddessa says even with the jail time, there seems to be less drama surrounding Mayweather’s camp compared to past bouts and that he believes the eight-time title holder is much more mature and smarter heading into Saturday’s fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“The price on a fight like this is an easy one to make,” says Oddessa. “I come in with strong opinion that Floyd is going to win, but had to make the price high enough to keep the wolves off the favorite while not getting carried out on a stretcher if lightning somehow does strike.”
“I haven't seen any weather report saying lightning is gonna work its way into the MGM Saturday night and don't expect any.”
Prop bettors looking for added value outside of the outright odds can find Mayweather via decision at -163 or by knockout at +200. Guerrero via decision is priced at +1,000 and via KO is at +1,200. The round total is set at 9.5 rounds, with the over at -350 and the under at +250.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Francesco Pianeta
Wladimir Klitschko puts his WBA Super, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight titles on the line against Italian fighter Francesco Pianeta at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany Saturday. Oddsmakers have Klitschko set as a monstrous -5,000 favorite against Pianeta (+1,600).
According to Oddessa, there has been little action heading into this bout. Money is either taking a risk on the big underdog or adding the favorite to weekend parlays.
“Klitschko is the right favorite and he should win for fun,” says Oddessa. “It's tough to make it high enough. There may not be a weekend boxing chalk parlay out there without Klitschko in it.”
The round total is set at 8.5, with the over priced at +175 and the under at -250.