Betting On Boxing - How To Bet Pacquiao vs Vargas

Manny Pacquiao vs Jessie Vargas

Andreas Hale

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 3:02 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016 3:02 PM UTC

38-year-old Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring after a brief retirement to face WBO welterweight champion, Jessie Vargas. It appears to be a mismatch, but is it really? Fight expert Andreas Hale provides his betting pick.


This weekend marks the return of Manny Pacquiao after a brief retirement from the sport of boxing. But he’s not the same Pacquiao that we knew before as won a seat on the Philippine Senate. His political aspirations were the reason he retired, but boxing’s only eight-division world champion just couldn’t stay away.

With that comes his return against WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas. On paper, it’s an obvious mismatch as Pacquiao is a living legend who will moonwalk into boxing’s hall of fame while Vargas is a solid fighter who hasn’t fought the caliber of opposition that Pacquiao has faced during his marvelous career.

It’s the reason why Pacquiao is as much as a -800 favorite. But should that scare you away from placing a bet on Vargas? Of course not!

With Vargas being found as high as a +550, there’s a reason to take a chance on the WBO champion. And it has a lot less to do with what Vargas will bring to the ring as it does with not knowing how Manny Pacquiao’s new political role will affect his performance.

Sure, Vargas will have youth, height and reach on his side. He’s ten years younger with about a five-inch advantage in both height and reach. The physical advantages aren’t anything that Pacquiao hasn’t dealt with before. The age difference is a little more pronounced but there isn’t quite the same concern there either. In between the ropes, Vargas is nothing spectacular. Although he’s 27-1, those who have watched Vargas throughout his boxing career have seen more than their fair share of fights that Vargas could have lost.

He’s not necessarily a power puncher, although he’s showed a little more pop in his fights with Timothy Bradley and Sadam Ali. The former saw him put down the extraordinarily durable Bradley late in a controversial sequence that nearly saw him score a dramatic come-from-behind knockout. The latter saw him carry that power over into his next fight where he put together a brutal punching display that took out Ali in 9 rounds.

This will certainly be Vargas’ toughest test to date. The same can’t be said about Pacquiao. So, why can you place a smart bet on Vargas in a fight that many don’t expect to be competitive? Because Manny Pacquiao is a 38-year-old who is now splitting his time between being a politician and a boxer.

If this were a fight where Pacquiao wasn’t spending hours in Senate trying to pass bills and then hitting the gym to train late at night, I’d advise you to stay far, far away from this fight. However, Pacquaio is almost exclusively relying on his ability to carry him through the fight. It’s not known how his conditioning will be nor if he

will be 100% focused on the fight. Without slighting Vargas too much, Pacquiao wouldn’t be wrong if he overlooked Vargas. It’s not like preparing for a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez. He’s athletically superior with a remarkably high boxing IQ. That alone could carry him through the fight. However, this is a sport where one punch can change a fight and if Manny Pacquiao isn’t 100% focused on Jessie Vargas, there could be a remarkable upset brewing.

Vargas has certainly trained for this fight and has literally had nothing else to do. He’s not bogged down with media obligations and he doesn’t have to worry about taking care of an entire country. All that Jessie Vargas sees is Manny Pacquiao and a one-way ticket to stardom. But Pacquiao simply cannot be focused only on the task at hand. No matter what he and Freddie Roach tell you, boxing is a part-time job.

Given Vargas’ commitment to sitting on his punches, along with advantages in height, reach, and age, there could be a perfect storm brewing for an upset. But don’t expect an upset on the scorecards because it’s going to be very difficult for a fighter like Vargas to win over the judges against Pacquiao unless he scores multiple knockdowns. Vargas is going to have to catch Manny Pacquiao asleep at the wheel and put him down. If Vargas and his trainer Dewey Cooper have been watching all of the Pacquiao-Marquez footage, they will be keenly aware that the great equalizer to speed is timing. And if Vargas has perfected his reflexes and Cooper has keyed him in on all of Pacquiao’s awkward tells, there will be a small window of opportunity for Vargas to catch Pacquiao with a counter.

How likely is it? You can’t really know until fight night. Vargas is about as safe of an opponent that you’re going to find for Pacquiao. Team Pacquiao was surely aware of this when they selected him as the first fight for the freshly minted senator.

But if things were to go wrong and Pacquiao’s house of cards fell all at once, you’d find the most value on Vargas via knockout.

Remember to drop by SBR's list of the best-ranked bonuses, and find out which of the top rated sportsbooks is offering the best deals!


Free Boxing Pick: Jessie Vargas +525Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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