I wanted to get started by giving a quick explanation on some of the basics of betting on boxing.
There are several ways to bet on a fight and the bigger the fight the more options will be available. Let’s start with the simplest of options and that is by betting straight up on who will win. This is called the moneyline bet.
Odds will be posted as something like Fighter A is -200 and Fighter B is +150. This means that if you wager on Fighter A and lay down $200 you would profit $100 ($200 returned plus $100 for winning the wager) if Fighter A won the fight. On the flip side, if you wagered $100 on Fighter B and they won then you would profit $150 ($100 returned plus $150 for winning the wager).
It gets a little tricky when draws come into play. More often than not sportsbooks offer a separate draw line. This means if you bet Fighter A or Fighter B to win and the fight is a draw your wager loses (unless of course you bet the draw line). However some sports books, like Sugar House Casino which I use, offer separate draw no bet wagers. You need to specifically choose this wager (and odds are slightly adjusted) and if the fight were to be a draw your wager would be refunded.
Another type of wager available on most fights is over or under rounds. This is pretty simple. A sports book may post an over/under for a fight at 8 rounds at -110 each. This means that if the fight starts round nine then the over wins but if it ends prior the under wins.
As I mentioned earlier, the bigger the fight the more types of bets could be offered. Some fights you will see odds on how a fighter wins (ko, decision) and even what round they will win.
Odds can also vary by sportsbook so it is always wise to shop around. For a reference point in my articles I will be pulling odds from Sugar House Casino in Pennsylvania unless otherwise noted.
In those instances the reasoning will be simply that Sugar House has not yet posted odds for a fight but another book has so that fight can start to be analyzed (and this is a copycat business so once one book post odds the others usually follow suit right around what the original book posted).
An important component to wagering on any type of sports is strict bankroll management. I never wager more than 5% of my bankroll on any given day and usually come in at a lower percentage lower than that. No matter how confident we are in our picks there is a high level of variance in sports. And this is certainly the case when wagering on combat sports.
For the purposes of this article I will try to keep the numbers simple and straightforward. I will start with a modest bankroll of $1000 and stick to the 5% limit. At the bottom of the article I will give my final card. Now to the fights I have my eye on this week.
Roman Gonzalez vs. Juan Francisco Estrada II, 03/13/2021
This weekend’s big event is a much anticipated rematch between Roman Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KO’s) and Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3, 28 KO’s) that will be shown on DAZN from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.
Gonzalez won their first fight in a slugfest in 2012 by twelve round unanimous decision to retain his 108 pound title. Now they have each obtained 115 pound title belts and will meet to unify in that division.
As of this writing, Estrada is listed as a -167 favorite and the underdog Gonzalez can be had for +138. The over/under is set at 10.5 rounds with the over priced at -286 and the under priced at +205.
I rewatched the first fight earlier this week. The difference in that fight was the relentless swarming pressure of Gonzalez. He was constantly in the chest of Estrada throwing a high volume of thunderous combinations. But whenever Gonzalez slowed for just a second Estrada would be quick to pounce, firing and landing his own combinations. Gonzalez’s work was consistently better but Estrada had his moments.
Gonzalez has clearly slowed the last few years. Estrada on the other hand has not seemingly slowed as much as Gonzalez. Both are still fighting at a high level but Gonzalez’s game has seemingly slipped a bit more than that of Gonzalez’s.
I mention this because I go back to that first fight and that relentless pressure of Gonzalez. Does he win that fight without that sustained pressure? Probably not. Can he keep such a ferocious pace at this stage in his career? I doubt it. I also question Gonzalez’s punch resistance more than that of Estrada’s at this higher weight. And this means that Gonzalez may be less apt to keep pressing forward if tagged clean by Estrada like he was on several occasions in their first encounter.
My official pick is Estrada by decision. I like the -167 price and will gladly lay some money at that price tag. I could see some steam coming in on Estrada this week and would get much more cautious on anything over -225. As for the over/under, I’ll pass. I do have a lean on the over but don’t like the price.
Cecilia Braekhus vs. Jessica McCaskill, 03/13/2021
As part of the televised undercard to Gonzalez-Estrada II we will see another anticipated rematch, this time in the women’s welterweight division between Cecilia Braekhus (36-1, 9 KO’s) and Jessica McCaskill (9-2, 3 KO’s). McCaskill won their first encounter this past August by majority decision to become the unified welterweight champion.
As of this writing, Braekhus is listed as the -177 favorite whereas McCaskill can be had for an underdog price of +138.
The first encounter was really close. I rewatched the fight again this week and in pretty much every round a case could have been made for either fighter. In a nutshell, McCaskill was busier throughout the night but Braekhus seemed to land the slightly cleaner and harder punches. The talent level was on par and neither seemed to be able the hurt the other.
Something to note is I do think Braekhus performed better in the second half of the fight than the first half. My hunch is this is why she is listed as the favorite. She seemed to exploit a flaw in McCaskill’s game where McCaskill dropped her head to her right side and was wide open to be clipped with the right hand. McCaskill will need to tighten up this part of her game in rematch.
I actually side with the underdog McCaskill. I think she can up her pace from the first fight and also think Braekhus is starting to show signs on being on the downside of her career. But regardless I think we see a lot of close rounds and whoever your money is on will probably be sweating out the decision.
David Benavidez vs. Ronald Ellis, 03/13/2021
Showtime Championship Boxing will return this week with a trio of fights from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT. The card will be headlined by the return of former 168 pound champion David Benavidez (23-0, 20 KO’s) who will face Ronald Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KO’s) in a twelve round special attraction.
Benavidez is currently listed as substantial favorite at -2500. Ellis can be had as a sizable underdog at +1000.
I am going to keep this brief. Benavidez has all the advantages. Speed, power, overall athleticism, etc. He is the much busier fighter and has shown to have an excellent chin in his pro career. Ellis is solid but overmatched here. I don’t think he has the power to get any respect from Benavidez and Ellis’ work rate has traditionally been on the low end (he’s not going to be out-hustling Benavidez to steal a decision). But that price tag on Benavidez is too high to wager him straight up.
What I would say about this fight is to keep an eye on whether or not an over/under will be posted. I suspect it will and see it sitting in at either 7 ½ rounds or 8 ½ rounds. Whatever that round total might be I would be on the over. Ellis has shown to be durable and can get a bit defensive minded. Benavidez has a gaudy knockout record but most of his stoppages come late (especially since he has stepped up in competition). He is not a one punch knockout type of fighter.
I think Ellis is going to last the whole twelve. If not, any stoppage would probably come late. My official pick is Benavidez by decision and monitor the books to see what the over/under comes in at as there could be some value to be found.
Jamontay Clark vs. Terrell Gausha, 03/13/2021
On the Benavidez-Ellis televised undercard we will see a pivotal 154 pound crossroads fight between Jamontay Clark (15-1-1, 7 KO’s) and former US Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-2-1, 10 KO’s).
Currently I was only able to find odds at BetOnline which has both fighters listed at -115.
I must admit I am really torn on this fight. So let’s do a little deep dive and see if we can draw any sort of conclusions.
Clark stands 6’2” tall and has a massive 80 inch reach. He will have a four inch height advantage and eight-inch reach advantage. That’s a plus but on the downside he doesn’t always use his height and reach advantage in the ring. He does have good hand speed, probably a little quicker than those of Gausha’s, but the power is certainly below average. The chin of Clark’s has been rocked on a few occasions but Clark has always gritted down and managed through some tough spots in his early career.
Gausha may be at a height and reach disadvantage but as I alluded to earlier that may or may not matter. Clark likes to fight on the inside and Gausha is a very good infighter. And Clark makes mistakes fighting on the inside. I can see Gausha landing and think he has enough power to potentially do some damage. But if Clark keeps things at a distance Gausha may struggle. Gausha is a low volume puncher and has been picked apart in the past from athletic fighters who keep their range.
Alright, here are my feelings on this fight. Clark can actually make this easy if he fights a disciplined game plan. But I don’t think he can do that for a full ten rounds. Gausha is going to have his moments when Clark gets lazy and reverts to fighting on the inside. So the ultimate determination for me is can Gausha hurt Clark? I think he can but Clark has shown very good recuperative abilities. And Gausha has shown to be efficient in his attack even when he has someone potentially in trouble. Therefore, my lean is Clark by decision.
Juan Francisco Estrada to Win – $25 (would win $15)
Jessica McCaskill to Win – $10 (would win $13.80)
Jamontay Clark to Win – $10 (estimated win $8.70)
Benavidez-Ellis over (or to go the distance) – $5 if wager is available