The betting line for the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight in Las Vegas on Nov. 12 opened at 8-to-1 with the defending WBO welterweight champion the runaway favorite. Pacquiao was installed a -800 favorite and Marquez, a +500 underdog, meaning for every $800 wager on the Filipino, the dividend is only $100 and for every $100 bet on the Mexican, the return is $500.
Since the opening line, the odds have slightly changed. But not by much. Now, a $750 wager on Pacquiao will bring in $100 and a $100 bet on Marquez will pay back $525. That means, Marquez got a minor boost from his backers.
The over-under betting line has Pacquiao the -135 favorite at under 10 1/2 rounds and Marquez, the +105 underdog at over 10 1/ 2. According to a source familiar with the betting game, this means a $135 wager on Pacquiao to win by knockout before the 1:30 mark of the 11th round will rake in $100 and a $100 bet on Marquez to win by knockout after the 1:30 mark of the 11th will pay off $105.
The other day, I bumped into Gov. Chavit Singson at the Manila Polo Club and asked him about the betting line. He said the safest bet is the “won’t go” proposition, meaning the fight won’t go the distance and will end in a knockout – either way. It’s not a bet to choose a winner. Gov. Singson said he’s certain the bout will end in a knockout or a stoppage. Of course, he’s picking Pacquiao to halt Marquez in six or seven.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach recently said the fight won’t go beyond six rounds. That appears to be the general consensus. High-risk bettors may want to place their money on the round they think it will end. A hit will mean a bigger pay-off for a smaller wager because of the slim odds.
It’s difficult to predict the outcome of a Pacquiao-Marquez fight because their first two meetings were hotly disputed and went the full route. Their styles are similar as both are lethal counterpunchers. Pacquiao likes an opponent to come forward while Marquez prefers a waiting game. Marquez has more polished combinations but Pacquiao is quicker both with his hands and feet. What makes the third encounter different from the first two is the weight factor.
As Gov. Singson explained, Pacquiao had to go down in weight for the first two fights. But in the third meeting, Marquez is bulking up to approximate the catchweight limit of 144 pounds while Pacquiao isn’t cutting down or bloating up. The bigger Marquez is, the easier for Pacquiao to land because the Mexican will be slower with the added weight aside from providing a bigger target. Note also that Marquez is now 38 and Pacquiao, 32.