Boxing Betting: Market Moves Toward Underdog In Pacquiao-Bradley III

Jason Lake

Thursday, March 31, 2016 6:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016 6:27 PM UTC

Manny Pacquiao might not get the storybook win he's looking for on April 9. The boxing odds have been moving toward his opponent in Las Vegas, Timothy Bradley, Jr.

Have boxing fans had enough of Manny Pacquiao? Or do they think Manny Pacquiao has nothing left to give? These are the kind of false binary options you have to watch out for when you make your boxing picks. It's entirely possible that the betting market is warming up to Pacquiao's opponent on April 9, Timothy Bradley, Jr. However you slice it, the price on Pac-Man has dropped from –275 back in January to as low as –220 as we go to press.

Intriguing. Not too long ago, Bradley was wearing the black hat in this story. He snapped Pacquiao's 15-fight win streak back in 2012, taking the WBO welterweight title in a split-decision that pretty much nobody agreed with. “Justice” was served two years later when Pacquiao took the strap back from Bradley in a satisfying unanimous decision. So how did we end up here?


Fresh Is Best
Interpreting the boxing odds isn't an exact science, but we can attribute line moves to factors inside and outside the ring. Inside, logic wins: Pacquiao's value as a boxer is on the decline. He's 37 years old, with 65 professional fights under his belt. Pac-Man's last fight, which you may remember, was his loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in May 2015. More on that later.

Bradley, meanwhile, is still in his prime at age 32. He's fought 36 times as a pro, and he won both his fights in 2015, beating Jesse Vargas by unanimous decision and Brandon Rios via ninth-round TKO. The latter fight was under the watchful eye of Bradley's new trainer, Teddy Atlas. Bettors tend to overreact to recent events; perhaps Atlas isn't really adding anything to Bradley's value in the ring. Perhaps.


Taste the Rainbow
As for matters outside the ring, this is where things get complicated. Recreational bettors are more likely to make their decisions based on emotion, and Pacquiao, while still a demigod in his native Philippines, hasn't done much for his public profile over the past year. The incredibly disappointing “Fight of the Century” versus Mayweather was the first misstep. Fighting Bradley for the third time in what might be Pac-Man's last dance? Also not appreciated by the fans.

If we really wanted to stir things up, we could point at Pacquiao's recent inflammatory comments about same-sex relationships. He's made these kind of statements before, but this time, it's gotten him in hot water. HBO has distanced itself from Pacquiao, calling his remarks “insensitive, offensive and deplorable.” Nike terminated its contract with Pacquiao. He's even lost political ground back in the Philippines, according to the polls.

Which leads us to our pick for this fight. We're recommending Pacquiao to win at this lower price, but don't call it “support.” Bradley definitely has a real chance of winning on April 9, and we're recommending a small “hedge” bet at +600 for him to win via KO/TKO/DQ. That's the outcome we'll be cheering for here at the home office. But for the outright win, it's Pacquiao without the usual serving of chalk on the side.

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Free Boxing Pick: Pacquiao –190
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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