Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders: Gambler's Guide to the Main Event

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2021

Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders: Gambler's Guide to the Main Event

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    What: Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders

    Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

    When: May 8

    TV: DAZN

    What's At Stake: World domination.

    Well, at least the parts of the boxing world Canelo Alvarez hasn't already overrun.

    The 30-year-old Mexican superstar is the sport's pay-per-view king, which means Saturday night's fight is another chance to flex his marketing muscle while adding another jeweled bauble—namely Saunders' WBO title belt at 168 pounds—to an already prodigious collection.

    He's a prohibitive favorite to do that, in spite of the Englishman's unbeaten overall record and 7-0 mark in world title fights across stops in two weight classes. DraftKings had Alvarez at minus-770 on its moneyline as of Thursday evening, meaning it'd take a $770 outlay to win $100 if things go according to plan.

    A winning Saunders, meanwhile, would return $450 to those hearty enough to lay $100 in his direction.

    It's not hyperbolic to suggest the odds are just about right—Alvarez has lost exactly one of 58 fights, after all, and that was to Floyd Mayweather Jr., a Hall of Famer, nine years ago—which makes it our job to sniff out the best places to invest with a worthwhile chance of generating a return.

    Click through to get a look at our thoughts, and feel free to let us know if the cash is flowing in the B/R Betting community section.

How Long Will the Fight Go?

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    If you're looking for options, you've come to the right place.

    DraftKings has a line for the total rounds the fight will go and prop bets for whether or not it'll go the distance and for what round or group of rounds a particular fighter will win in.

    Because Alvarez is such an overwhelming favorite—read: underwhelming profitto win straight up, we wanted to provide a handful of plays that could be worth a look if you're so inclined while knowing full well that they can't all payout together.


    Lay the Juice: Canelo Alvarez by Points (after 12 rounds) (+150)

    It's not a sexy pick. But with Alvarez commanding minus-770 on the straight money line, switching to the "To Win Fight In Round" prop and getting him at plus money to take a decision is a smart one. Given Saunders' unbeaten pedigree and habitually evasive tactics, it's no reach to suggest he'll embrace the "I'm just here to survive" mindset and be happy to enjoy his purse with his faculties intact. Win-win.


    Will This Go 12 Rounds: No (-105)

    As we said, these picks will be contradictory in spots. And here's one. Truth told, there's not enough value here in either direction (the "Yes" play now sits at -130) to make it worth more than a passing glance on the way to something more lucrative. But if you're bound and determined to drop something on the "To Go The Distance" prop, you might as well give yourself a chance to save $25 while hoping for a KO.


    Sprinkles: Under 10.5 (+120), Billy Joe Saunders by Points (after 12 rounds) (+550)

    You want money on a fight where one guy is better than a 7-1 favorite, you're going to have to get creative. Sprinkle a couple of bucks on the "Total Rounds" prospect that Alvarez (or who knows, maybe Saunders) gets it done before the deep water begins and it may work out. And for a little bigger "Winning Method" payout, watch Alvarez's fight with Erislandy Lara and imagine the Brit doing the same thing.


    Dart Throw: Canelo Alvarez—Rounds 10-12 (+475)

    Feeling confident in your gut and frisky with your wallet? If so, then go ahead to the "Winning Group of Rounds" prop and lay down a couple on Alvarez to get the late stop. He's earned two of his nine title fight KOs in the final three rounds, and it's no lark to assume that Saunders is a higher grade of foe than the early blowout likes of Avni Yildirim and Rocky Fielding, etc.

How Will They Win?

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    David Becker/Getty Images

    The best prospects for making money on how Saturday's fight will be decided lie somewhere near the corner of realistic and lucrative.

    Because Alvarez is such a clear-cut favorite—and such a versatile fighter—it'd be no gigantic surprise if he won the fight in any number of ways.

    Again, that's good news for those choosing to veer off the straight-and-narrow money line path. So toward that end, here are a few suggestions.


    Hammer Lock: Canelo Alvarez—Round 10 (+1100)

    OK, we'll admit it. We're a little fixated on this Round 10 thing.

    Partially because we see Alvarez as particularly dangerous in the mid-late going of this fight as opposed to earlier due to Saunders' decidedly non-combative style. And also because the payout for him winning in that round is $100 better than it would be in rounds 8 or 9. 

    Imagine a runner trying desperately to grind through the final few miles of a marathon. Only this time envision that runner being chased by a guy wanting to punch him in the mouth.


    Dart Throw: Canelo Alvarez—Round 4 (+2000)

    While nearly all promotions strive to make folks believe fighters don't like each other, it seems less a stretch for some than others. This is one of them. While there haven't been firefights at pressers, there's been just enough sniping to give the impression Alvarez is annoyed enough to go for quick violence.

    And in this case, an annoyed favorite means a cash-sowing bettor.

    As the photo on the slide may remind you, Amir Khan was a quick and talented Englishman whose aim was to give Alvarez problems with hand speed and movement. And it worked, right up until it didn't.

Who's Going to Win?

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Canelo Alvarez by KO, TKO or DQ (-110)

    OK, here's how it is.

    We've shaken all the trees. We've looked under every rock. We've talked to everybody we can trust.

    And the prevailing wisdom hasn't changed. Canelo Alvarez is going to win Saturday night.

    Rather than playing the sublime, strategic game offered by past foes Mayweather and Lara—the two who have given him the most trouble in the past 10 years—Alvarez will seize the initiative and relentlessly pursue Saunders, walk him down and trap him in corners, and dispense consistent damage to the body.

    It could end early if the WBO champ walks into a particularly damaging blow (see: Khan, Amir; or Kirkland, James), but it's more likely the result of prolonged punishment that Saunders simply won't be able to take for a full 36 minutes.


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