Betting on Boxing: Odds, Analysis and Best Bets of the Weekend (March 1-3)

Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

It may not be a terribly stacked weekend of boxing, especially compared to UFC 235 going down in Las Vegas. But even on a light schedule, there’s money to be made at the expense of the bookies.

What follows is your guide to betting on boxing in the first weekend of March. This includes two parlays, categorized into “dime” and “nickel” plays—think of first tier and second tier.

The dime play, is the premium play of the week: combining both good odds and an underestimation by the oddsmakers. Nickel plays are less valuable and should not be wagered on as aggressively.

Dime play

Brian Castano to win+130Bovada
Richard Riakporhe by KO/TKO+200Bovada

Together, a $50 bet wins $295 ($345 payout)

Castaño Can Upset the Master-Boxer

Showtime will be featuring the biggest fight of the weekend. Castaño (15-0, 11 KO) faces off with a boxer more refined and more accomplished than himself, Erislandy Lara (25-3-2, 14 KO). On paper, the Cuban southpaw has the tools to match any junior middleweight in the world.

But Castaño, 29, waves his fists through the air like a spreading wildfire, a two-fisted attack that has paved the way to an undefeated record. His most-recent victim was European champion Cedric Vitu in defense of Castaño’s 154-pound WBA strap. The Argentinian pug broke Vitu down over 12 rounds, winning in the final period. Castaño also battled one of the most underrated fighters in the sport, Michel Soro, to a split-decision victory in 2017.

Lara, 35, was recently sucked into a firefight against Jarret Hurd, a behemoth of a junior middleweight. He hit the deck late but proved he can weather a storm, reaching the final bell, and answering big shots with venom of his own. But now closer to 40 than 30, another crackerjack with a savage like Castaño will be too much.

Riakporhe Will Move Past Domestic Challenge

Naturally as the fight weekend approaches, betting lines begin to flip. The latest example is a domestic cruiserweight match out of the UK: Richard Riakporhe vs. Tommy McCarthy.

As a part of Eddie Hearn’s latest presentation on DAZN, Riakporhe (8-0, 7 KO) opened at a slight one-to-two favorite but now sits at plus-odds to even eke out a decision.

McCarthy (13-1, 6 KO) is a good looking kid with outstanding physical tools, navigating the ring well for his size. Having spent his last four fights smashing no-hopers (each with losing records), the most notable name on his ledger is failed title challenger Matty Askin. McCarthy was nearly folded in the bout with Askin, badly dropped twice, and too timid to initiate much offense.

Riakporhe, at 6’5”, is a massive cruiser and he possesses real KO power at the end of his long levers. He’s still rough around the edges, and was subsequently outboxed by Sam Hyde in his last fight. But a winging punch caused a terrifying eye injury that forced Hyde’s trainer Joe Gallagher to throw in the towel. So despite being down on the cards, Riakporhe was handed the most technical of victories.

All told, Riakporhe isn’t a worldbeater but at dog odds, his one-shot power is too enticing to pass up—especially against a smaller, unproven lad who has been felled before.

Nickel play

Agit Kabayel by KO/TKO +160Bovada
Luis Ortiz inside the distance-1835dimes
Lucas Browne to win-3805dimes

Together, a $25 bet wins $102 ($127 payout)

Kabayel Is on Another Level

Kabayel (18-0, 13 KO) will continue marching up the sanctioning body rankings against Andriy Rudenko.

Already Top 10 in the world by the WBC, WBO and IBF, Kabayel fought just once in 2018, breaking down Miljan Rovcanin in three rounds. But the best night of his career was against Dereck Chisora, demonstrating a fine gas tank, circling, dashing and darting in and out for the entirety of the 12 rounds.

He fights and boxes well, and is a systematic puncher on the inside, even if eager to clinch and grab. The majority decision was poor as Kabayel hardly lost a round. But in hindsight the performance has continued to raise the German’s stock after Chrisoa went on to upset Carlos Takam and bang around with Dillian Whyte.

Rudenko (32-3, 20 KO) has never been stopped. He put on a real brawl with Lucas Browne and went the distance with both Alexander Povetkin and a disinterested Hughie Fury. So it won’t be easy, but heavyweights tend to go down, and clearly on the downside of his career at 35, it would be fitting for a sharp 26-year-old like Kabayel, with a three-inch heigh advantage and a partisan crowd at his back, to get the job done.

No Match for Ortiz

Ortiz (30-1, 26 KO) takes on the division’s ultimate litmus test, Christian Hammer.

If you’re banking on a knockout, the heavyweight division is the way to go. Ortiz’s career has been proof of this time and time again. The Cuban stylist is patient in the ring, last time out following Travis Kauffman around, eventually catching him for good in Round 12. A knockout of Tony Thompson was very similar: boring, until Ortiz’s opponent succumbed to punches.

Hammer (24-5, 14 KO) is a solid fighter, getting by David Price and Erkan Teper; but he stood no chance against Tyson Fury and Povetkin. Fighting Hammer demonstrates where a heavyweight stands. Ortiz may be closing in on 40, but he still has the knockout prowess to stomp B-level talent like Hammer.

Browne Is Too Big, Too Experienced

Lucas Browne’s (27-1, 24 KO) career has certainly fizzled out since becoming Australia’s favorite son in 2016 when he lifted a world title. But a failed drug test put him on the sidelines and he’s competed just four times since that knockout of Ruslan Chagaev. Last year, the aforementioned Whyte left Browne on a stretcher when they met up. Interesting enough, Whyte back in 2014 also put away Browne’s next opponent, Kamil Sokolowski.

Sokolowski (6-14-2, 2 KO) has only been stopped twice in his career, generally fighting six- or eight-rounders. But he’s a journeyman through and through. With a losing record, the odds are just a touch tighter than usual because three months ago he shocked Nick Webb by KO in London. But he remains an undersized, crude heavyweight. Browne put away the last two cans he faced, his length and power should get the job done here.

At this stage of his career, Browne isn’t someone to trust with all the eggs in your basket, but to beef up a parlay, this line is ideal.

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