Boxing Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Wilder vs. Breazeale

May 18, 2019 5:00 PM EDT
Credit:

Courtesy of Showtime Boxing Twitter. Pictured: (left) WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Dominic Breazeale.

  • Deontay Wilder is a massive favorite (-1100) over Dominic Breazeale (+700) in their heavyweight championship fight on Saturday night.
  • Our boxing staffers picked their favorite bet each for Saturday's main event.

Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale Betting Odds

  • Wilder odds: -1100
  • Breazeale odds: +700
  • Over/Under: 9.5 Rounds (+250/-310)
  • Time: Approx. 11 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: Showtime

WBC heavyweight champion “Bronze Bomber” Deontay Wilder will make his ninth title defense when he faces challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale on Saturday. Wilder, who is arguably the most outspoken and exciting boxer alive, will fight at the Barclays center where he’s had some of his most exciting knockout wins — Artur Szpiilka, Bermane Stiverne and Luis Ortiz.

Breazeale has some bad blood for Wilder after the two got into an altercation at a hotel in 2017. That’s led to some interesting comments from Wilder about killing a man in the ring:

If that doesn’t want to make you watch, I don’t know what will.

Here’s our staff’s favorite bets for Saturday’s scrap:

Michael Leboff

The bet: Over 9.5 Rounds +250

In his fight with Tyson Fury in December, Wilder proved two common narratives correct:

  1. He doesn’t have top-class boxing skills
  2. His power can cover up his flaws

I think we can learn a lot from that fight, but Breazeale is a completely different animal from Fury. “The Gypsy King” is in a class of his own in terms of movement and his unique style is almost impossible to game-plan against.

Even with Fury’s ridiculous movement, Wilder floored him twice to earn a draw. That is a tremendous achievement given how befuddled Wilder was for most of the fight. Breazeale is nowhere near as technically gifted as Fury, but he will be the better technical fighter, has power and a good chin. In other words, this will be a much more traditional fight for Wilder.

Given the stakes — a loss for Wilder could derail all of his momentum and rule him out of a mega-fight with Fury or Anthony Joshua — I expect him to take things slow in the early going to figure out Breazeale’s rhythm. Wilder will be hunting, of course, but I don’t expect him to push the envelope until we get to the second half of the fight.

Even when he does begin to ramp up the pressure, it won’t be easy given Breazeale’s boxing skills. Sure, he’s not in the same tier as Fury or Luis Ortiz, but Wilder’s technical ability is lacking and means he needs “Trouble” to make a mistake or take an unnecessary risk to get a lick in.

On the contrary, I think Breazeale’s best path to success is by being the aggressor early because Wilder has shown that his power is so extraordinary that it will still show up in the late rounds. Doing damage early will help zap some of that out of him, but that would mean leaving himself open. Saying you want to be aggressive against the most prolific power-puncher on the planet is one thing, actually doing it is another.

Even if his intentions are to come out firing, I expect Breazeale to remain somewhat cautious given that one mistake means a trip to the canvas. All of this should lead to a long, ugly feeling-out period while Wilder gets Breazeale’s timing down.

Wilder is a near-certainty to win this fight, but his odds are too high to back and I think everybody and their mother will be looking to find a way to get a discount on backing a Wilder win.

While everybody goes to the Under or Wilder to win by KO props, I think the Over 9.5 Rounds is the best value at +250 (implied probability 27.4%). I think that is the best value on the board given how this fight should shake out.


Evan Abrams

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