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Canelo vs Saunders odds shocker: Why bettors are high on big upset

Lee Cleveland Updated
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OddsChecker spokesman Kyle Newman, one of the most knowledgeable insiders in betting, has informed FightSaga only 18.7% of bets on Tuesday were placed on unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, the favorite, to defeat WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders. Meanwhile, Saunders has seen a strong increase from 67.6% of bets to 72.7%.

Wait, what?

And, astonishingly, a strong 8.7% of bets during the aforementioned period were for a draw. It’s an abnormally high number for a draw, which is a rarity in bigtime boxing.

Newman insists bettors are turning against Canelo Alvarez at a “rapid rate.” Just a few days ago, Alvarez had received just 25.1% of bets - an astonishingly low number for a favorite who’s not only the biggest star in boxing but arguably the best fighter in the sport.

Canelo vs Saunders odds
Canelo, as of May 6, remains the strong oddsmakers' favorite at -600. Meanwhile, Saunders is stuck at +550, and the odds for a draw are +2200.

Canelo vs Saunders Odds
Courtesy of OddsChecker.com



Implied chance

Canelo Alvarez



Billie Joe Saunders






When a lot of late money is bet on the underdog, it’s usually an indication of a trend in perception. Sometimes observers are wrong but more often than not they are on to something.

“The lack of love for Canelo Alvarez is honestly stunning,“ stated OddsChecker’s Kyle Newman.

“He’s one of the greatest boxers of his generation, and the only loss in his career came against Floyd Mayweather. Sure, Billy Joe Saunders is 30-0, but he’s never gone up against an opponent like Canelo. Yet, Saunders is getting massive love on the betting market. Perhaps bettors believe the odds are just too good to pass up.”

Why are bettors higher Saunders than expected? After all, Billy Joe is seemingly not the most skilled or most powerful opponent Canelo Alvarez has faced. And he’s certainly not the most prolific or accomplished Alvarez foe.


Canelo vs Saunders Official FightSaga Page
WBC/WBA/WBO Super Middleweight Championship
(WBC/WBA - Canelo defending; WBO - Saunders defending)
May 8, 2021
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX

Broadcast: DAZN

Styles make fights and Billy Joe Saunders has the style that is most likely to pose problems for Canelo. He’s a defense-minded southpaw with good hit-and-don't-be-hit boxing skills who can frustrate anyone with his movement, footwork and fast reflexes. He befuddles foes with jabs and combinations while dropping hard leather on occasion to keep his foe at bay. Billy Joe doesn't have the explosiveness of Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin but his stinging jabs and powershots can certainly get one's attention.

Saunders' southpaw stance, slick style, and speed could make Canelo vs Saunders very interesting. Let's not forget, Alvarez had trouble with slick southpaws Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.

Conventional wisdom says Canelo will have to close distance or cut off the ring to be effective against Saunders who likes to jab and move. And while Canelo is much improved since facing Trout and Lara in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Saunders is naturally bigger than both.

Also, will motivation be a factor for Canelo? Saunders is not regarded as highly as previous Alvarez opponents such as Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev. How motivated was Canelo is training? Rest assured, Billy Joe was motivated for Canelo.

And lastly, how much (if any) advantage did Saunders reap by successfully negotiating a 22-by-22 foot ring be used instead of a 20-by-20 foot squared circle? 

Bettors are likely taking into consideration Saunders’ style and southpaw stance as well as the adjusted ring dimensions and any presumed motivational/psychological advantages he may carry into the fight with him Saturday night.


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