Between pay-per-view buys and massive boxing betting action, it seems there are either a lot of Jake Paul fans out there or plenty of people wanting to see Paul gets his ass kicked. Or both.
The controversial YouTuber-turned-pugilist steps into the ring for the third time in his budding career, this time taking on retired MMA fighter Ben Askren as part of a PPV event at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday.
Say what you want about Paul or the circus surrounding this card: people are interested. Here are our picks and predictions for Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren.
Jake Paul vs Ben Askren picks
Paul opened as a -225 favorite to win this fight and slimmed all the way down to -170 facing the more experienced Askren.
Part of that movement is the fact that Askren enjoyed a long MMA career, spanning 22 total fights for multiple MMA promotions, and won’t be rattled standing toe-to-toe like Paul’s past opponents: former NBA star Nate Robinson and fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib.
Askren’s a fighter for sure, just not the boxing kind. The former Olympian in freestyle wrestling won 19 of his 22 pro MMA bouts, but only six by knockout. He’s skilled at takedowns and submissions, which won’t help him against the bigger Paul, who enjoys a 6-inch reach advantage.
The second motive pushing this line down is the overall disdain for Paul’s online personality and, of course, pricing. If his antics at Friday’s weigh-in weren’t enough to hate the guy, Paul has made a career of pushing the boundaries of tastelessness on his popular YouTube channel. Add that to the underdog odds on Askren and boxing bettors can’t help but bet with their hearts, hoping to see Paul get his head taken off.
Sadly, for those haters, the chances of that happening aren’t great. Paul is 12 years the junior of Saturday’s opponent and in far greater shape. Askren hasn’t fought professionally since October 2019 and it showed in the weigh-in, flaunting a “dad bod” that didn’t instill the greatest confidence, especially if this fight wades into the deeper rounds (scheduled for eight rounds).
Paul has been training hard since buying into his boxing career and while Askren has fought in many more wars, this is a much different battle. If you aren’t soured on Paul, wait and see if underdog action on Askren continues to slim the odds on the favorite and then pounce. Other boxing markets see similar fight night patterns for other “hated” favorites, such as Floyd Mayweather, with casual fans drawn to the plus-money option.
PREDICTION: Jake Paul (-170)
Total Rounds Pick
As mentioned, Askren’s cardio was in question before he unveiled his doughy physique in Friday’s weigh-in, having gone three or more rounds just 11 times in 22 pro MMA fights and last stepping inside the cage back in October 2019.
The 5-foot-10 Askren weighed in at 191 pounds for this bout – just half a pound lighter than the 6-foot-1 Paul, who looks lean and ready. With a significant edge in reach and mobility, Paul has also put pop on his punches in his two previous “fights”.
While those victories didn’t come against actual fighters, he’ll have the window to put Askren away once his opponent’s legs get tired and arms get heavy. I don’t see this going beyond the 5.5-round total.
PREDICTION: Under 5.5 rounds (-125)
Exact Round Prop Pick
Askren is a smart fighter and knows he can’t afford to just mix it up with a sprier Paul right from the opening bell. He’ll bide his time, test his foe’s defenses and try to pick his spots. That will get Askren out of the first round.
Round 2 will be a little tougher. Paul will press and force Askren to move around the ring. Slowly, the gas will drain and Askren will find himself under fire against the ropes. His experience and chin will help him escape into the third round, but that’s as far as I see this one going.
Paul’s cardio will keep something behind his punches and will either send Askren to the mat or have the referee calling the fight to avoid Askren taking any unnecessary punishment. This shit show comes to a close in Round 3.
PREDICTION: Jake Paul wins Round 3 (+700)
Jake Paul vs Ben Askren betting card
- Jake Paul (-170)
- Under 5.5 rounds (-125)
- Jake Paul wins Round 3 (+700)
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