PBC Boxing Odds: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Danny Garcia Picks & Predictions (Saturday, Dec. 5)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: IBF & WBC World Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr.
- Errol Spence Jr. makes his return to the boxing ring on Saturday night, just 14 months removed from a frightening car crash.
- Spence is a big favorite over Danny Garcia, but it's hard to lay the required juice on Spence considering his circumstance.
- Instead, Malik Smith finds a couple of less daunting betting strategies, including a 20/1 longshot.
Spence vs. Garcia Boxing Odds
In the final pay-per-view boxing card of 2020, unified welterweight champion and No. 5-ranked pound-for-pound boxer Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KO) gets back in the ring Saturday after a 14-month hiatus to recover from a dangerous car crash at the tail end of 2019.
Spence will defend his belts against a formidable foe, former welterweight titlist and Philadelphia native Danny Garcia (36-2, 21 KO) at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Both of Garcia’s losses have come in competitive world title fights against welterweights.
Can Garcia take advantage of a likely rusty Spence in this fight? Let’s break down the matchup.
Which Version of Spence Shows Up?
If you were to rank the top fighters at 147 pounds, Spence and Terence Crawford easily top the list in the highest tier of fighters in the division.
You could make an argument that the ageless Manny Pacquiao, the scrappy Shawn Porter and the rarely active but talented Keith Thurman are in a second tier with a chance to move up. And then there’s Garcia, a former champion just like the men ahead of him with two losses against that same group (vs. Porter in 2018 and vs. Thurman in 2017).
At age 32, it’s pretty clear who Garcia is as a fighter: an accurate and highly skilled counter-puncher with rock solid defense. Per CompuBox tracking data, Garcia’s opponents land just 22.4% of their total punches, the second-lowest rate in the division behind Crawford.
But this fight isn’t about who Garcia is as much as it is about who Spence is following his car crash and recovery. Spence is a darling from a metrics standpoint, leading CompuBox’s total connect percentage category with a 48% connect rate on a welterweight-best 22.7 punches landed per round.
He also sounds extremely confident in his skills, telling Boxing Scene’s Keith Idec that he took this fight because “a tune-up wasn’t gonna answer questions from people that need to be answered.” If Spence truly is the same fighter he was pre-accident, we’re likely to see the most accurate boxer in the sport landing shots like this one that nearly finished Porter last September.
Porter has faced both men in recent years and the contrast in how each man fared against him could provide some insight into this scrap. Porter was the aggressor for the majority of his fight against Garcia, out-pacing him in punches thrown by 270. Garcia never threw more punches than Porter in any of the 12 rounds the two men fought, and he only out-landed Porter in four rounds.
The output in the Spence-Porter fight was nearly identical (745-744) and Spence’s accuracy gave him the advantage in punches landed in 10 of the 12 rounds. That will be key in this fight, especially because Garcia isn’t a knockout artist. If he’s sitting back and waiting for the action to come to him, he’ll likely be giving away rounds to the reigning unified welterweight champion.
Spence vs. Garcia Betting Pick
The impact of a 14-month layoff would be difficult to quantify under normal circumstances. Adding in the physical and mental recovery from a crash that landed Spence in the ICU makes this fight even tougher to handicap.
That said, these two men were negotiating this fight before the accident took place and it was even pushed back from its initial November date. You can’t assume anything in sports (especially boxing), but both of these men have almost certainly been preparing to face one another since 2019.
The odds suggest that this bout is headed for a decision (-250 odds to go the distance) and with good reason. Garcia has never been knocked down in a professional fight and should be able to avoid some of Spence’s most dangerous blows with his tactical defense. And as noted above, Garcia just isn’t the type of fighter who stops his opponents, especially at the top level (he hasn’t scored a KO victory in a world title fight since moving up from junior welterweight).
Garcia has a habit of making his fights against top competition close on the scorecards, most notably his split-decision loss to Thurman in 2017 and majority decision win over Lamont Peterson in 2015. However, I expect Spence to outlast Garcia and have his hand raised at the end of the night.
I think Spence by decision is the best value on the board at -139 (58.1% implied odds), but I’m also going to place a small bet on the draw because boxing judges can’t be trusted.
The Bet Spence by Decision (-139) | Draw (+2000)