Pacquiao-Marquez: A Punter’s Perspective

By Kevin L. Johnston: Tonight’s bout between two legends will complete a classic trilogy that will certainly be the defining characteristic of Juan Manuel Marquez’s career, and a rather large, bolded asterisk beside Manny Pacquiao’s career at the very least. Hyperbole aside, fans should once again expect nothing but the best from both pugilists heading into the ring tonight. So where exactly does the betting value lie in this matchup?

The regular line itself looks pretty sharp. Pacquiao is currently floating around -800 at most books, while Marquez is hovering around +500. In case you are unfamiliar with how American-style odds are displayed, that means Pacquiao is an 8 to 1 favorite and Marquez is a 5 to 1 underdog. For a fighter still in his prime who has already dabbled in the higher weight classes, Pacquiao seems justified as this large of a favorite.

Despite their previous two fights being extremely close, you cannot ignore the fact that Marquez is slightly past his prime now and also lacks experience at welterweight. Pacquiao has been campaigning in the welterweight division for about three years now. Marquez was still toiling in the lightweight division less than a year ago. The only time he moved up and fought a true welterweight was when Money May schooled him with relative ease over the course of twelve rounds in September of 2009. After that fight, Marquez moved back down to lightweight and reeled off three consecutive wins.

Although the regular line appears sharp, a noticeable misconception seems to be affecting some of the prop betting options on this bout. Odds makers are putting too much stock in the fact that Marquez has touched the canvas four times in their previous two fights. The over/under on this fight is set at 10.5 rounds, and “Joe Public” is swaying the line more and more towards the under.

In layman’s terms, this means most people think that Pacquiao will stop Marquez, or perhaps vice versa, before the 1:30 mark of the 11th round. While Marquez having been down four times against Pacquiao in the past is definitely noteworthy, it is far from the whole story. If anything, it just shows the superhuman durability and heart of Marquez.

Moreover, in the gambling world, Pacquiao is probably the biggest “public darling” of this generation. Everybody loves Pac Man. Everybody wants to see him knock people out. That’s how casual fans and bad gamblers often make decisions, based on what they want to see happen. Going to the local pub to watch your favorite team play with a few buddies? Just drop a stack on your favorite team to cover the spread… and while you’re at it, why not take the over too for another stack so you can cheer for a high-scoring game? This same phenomenon affects how people wager on Pacquiao fights.

Let me cut to the chase. I do think Pacquiao will win the fight fairly convincingly, but Juan Manuel Marquez has never been stopped in 59 fights. Marquez has fought the best of the best, including both fighters currently sitting atop the pound for pound rankings. He has a solid chin, immense heart and is very well-conditioned. Yet somehow the perception is that Pacquiao is going to knock Marquez out tonight? I don’t buy it. To have the opportunity to get better-than-even-money odds on this fight to go the distance is a real bargain. Did I mention that Marquez has never been stopped? My official prediction is Manny Pacquiao to win by decision.

Take these two prop bets tonight:

Pacquiao to win by decision +170
Over 10.5 rounds +130

I will be doing a live blog/round-by-round for the entire undercard and the main event tonight for Those of you without access to the PPV can follow along at

(Kevin L. Johnston is a freelance writer from Indianapolis who contributes material for and ESB. You can follow him on Twitter @konundrum8 or reach him via e-mail at

Article posted on 13.11.2011

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