I like Saturday night’s PBC pay-per-view card quite a bit. I like its depth, I like the talent on the bill, I like the superstar potential atop the card, and I think all four fights have action upside.

Buuuuuuutttt … if you’re in the market for 50/50 matchmaking, you won’t find any of it here.

What you will find is remarkably consistent betting odds across the board for each of the four fights. In fact, at FanDuel Sportsbook, as of Thursday afternoon:

  • Gervonta “Tank” Davis was a -700 favorite over Frank Martin, a +480 underdog.
  • David Benavidez was a -700 favorite over Oleksandr Gvozdyk, a +480 underdog.
  • Gary Antuanne Russell was a -700 favorite over Alberto Puello, a +480 underdog.
  • Carlos Adames was a -700 favorite over Terrell Gausha, a +480 underdog.

Four fights, four identically priced matchups. What are the odds?

(Yes, I know, I just told you the odds. I meant what are the odds of all four fights having the same odds — and I’ll stop now before this turns into an ‘80s Whatchamacallit candy bar commercial.)

There are other sportsbooks out there besides FanDuel, and if you shop around you’ll find slightly different pricing elsewhere. But wherever you look, all of these favorites are going to be somewhere around 7-to-1 and all of these underdogs are going to be somewhere around 5-to-1.

It is human nature not to be very interested in betting on a -700 favorite straight up. Risking $70 — basically the cost of another pay-per-view — to win $10? Even if you believe there’s value in it, it’s a stressful bet to sweat.

The fun route — even if there’s negative financial value attached — is betting on big underdogs. Which naturally leads to the question: Are any of this PPV card’s underdogs live to win, and which one is the best bet?

I checked in with Bryan Fonseca, a boxing betting analyst for The Action Network who hosts a podcast called The Mandatory and whose boxing wagering insights tend to prove sharp more often than not. And Fonseca and I have similar views of the upset potential — or lack thereof — in these matchups.

Even though Adames is the lone A-side with a loss on his record, we both perceive him as the safest of the four favorites. The reason is that Gausha, at age 36, seems to be past the point in his career where he’s capable of upsetting championship-level fighters. Since 2017, he’s lost by unanimous decision to Erislandy Lara, Erickson Lubin, and Tim Tszyu, fought to a draw against a faded Austin Trout who had dropped three of four, and scored an impressive KO 2 over prospect-ish Jamontay Clark.

Gausha is the classic sturdy veteran who will never get totally blown out but will also never do enough to defeat an elite fighter — especially now that he’s about five years past his peak, and especially as a career-long junior middleweight facing a full-fledged middleweight.

“Gausha winning would be the biggest upset on the card,” Fonseca said, “even though people would cover Frank Martin winning as the biggest upset because he beat Tank. Terrell Gausha winning would be a massive upset. I just don’t see a road map to how it happens.”

Where Fonseca and I disagree slightly is on just how unlikely a Martin win over Davis would be. Fonseca has enormous respect for Tank’s power, to the point that he described him as “basically a lightweight Deontay Wilder, but with actual boxing ability.” Similar to Gausha against Adames, even though Fonseca respects Martin’s skill, he struggles to find a path to victory for the underdog in the main event.

I too am a believer in Davis, but I give Martin an outside shot on account of Tank having been off for 14 months, making him potentially rusty, which is not ideal for a fighter who doesn’t have a high punch output and often takes a couple of rounds to get going.

Martin, who looked like a future champ dominating Michel Rivera in 2022, then was decidedly less impressive the next time out against Artem Harutyunyan, strikes me as a live underdog if Davis gets off to a slow start and Martin is able to bank a lot of early rounds. I don’t quite believe there’s value in betting him at +480. And Tank is, at every moment of the fight, one punch from making “The Ghost” disappear. But a Martin victory isn’t unthinkable to me.

Of the two co-headlining bouts, the one I particularly struggle to see an upset in is Benavidez vs. Gvozdyk. The former lineal light heavyweight champ Gvozdyk is a skillful boxer, as he demonstrated in building a lead on two cards before Artur Beterbiev knocked him out and took his title. But in his last two fights Benavidez obliterated Demetrius Andrade and all-but-obliterated Caleb Plant down the stretch, and both of them are a notch or two above Gvozdyk as technical boxers.

“This is great matchmaking for Benavidez by PBC,” Fonseca said. “Gvozdyk is going to push Benavidez, but not to the point of threatening to win. And Benavidez will eventually break him down because Benavidez’s stamina is ridiculous.”

So that leaves Russell vs. Puello. The favorite here is the last remaining undefeated Gary Russell, and is by far the hardest puncher of all the Gary Russells. He, like his brothers, is loaded with talent and has been boxing all his life. But he hasn’t proven himself against top opposition yet — aging Viktor Postol and Rances Barthelemy are the best he’s beaten. And he’s in against a capable fighter with a challenging style in Puello.

Puello is long and lean, a slick southpaw who can box from distance, counterpunch, or stand inside and bang to the body. Against Batyr Akhmedov in his step-up fight, Puello eked out a narrow decision as an underdog, winning what turned into a war of attrition down the stretch and proving capable of beating a fellow southpaw — which happens also to be Russell’s fighting stance. The Dominican, who is trained by Bob Santos, flashes tremendous punch variety.

He also throws his uppercuts from about six inches too far away and is going to pay for that someday — with Russell as good a candidate as anyone to cash that ticket.

But Puello is tricky and dangerous. Does his PED-tainted past mean anything for Saturday’s matchup? Probably not, although we’ll take any excuse to remind readers that he claimed Clomiphene got in his system because he and his wife were trying to get pregnant. In any case, Puello is the one +480 underdog on this card who I think could realistically pay that off. And though Fonseca isn’t feeling compelled to bet on him, he agrees that Puello is more live than the other ‘dogs.

“Gary Antuanne Russell is a really good prospect,” Fonseca said, “but he’s also someone who fights about once a year and hasn’t proven much yet. So if I had to pick one underdog, it would be Puello.”

If you just can’t envision an upset anywhere on this pay-per-view, and you don’t feel like laying -700 on any of the favorites, there is another option.

A parlay of all four favorites to win comes out to -142 — meaning you’d only have to risk $14.20 to win $10. For a slightly better payout, you could parlay all four favorites on the three-way moneyline, meaning your bet loses if any of the fights ends in a draw. The odds there work out to -121, which translates to a wager of $12.10 winning $10.

There are all sorts of other props available, of course. Getting creative, a parlay of Adames to win, Russell to stop Puello, Benavidez to stop Gvozdyk in rounds 7-12, and Davis to KO Martin comes out to +508.

Hey, add one more 5-to-1 longshot to Saturday’s menu.

There may not be much wagering value to be found in straight bets on this event. But for a quartet of fights in which the sportsbooks say it’s obvious up and down the card who should win, I still see plenty of entertainment value.

Eric Raskin is a veteran boxing journalist with more than 25 years of experience covering the sport for such outlets as BoxingScene, ESPN, Grantland, Playboy, Ringside Seat, and The Ring (where he served as managing editor for seven years). He also co-hosted The HBO Boxing Podcast, Showtime Boxing with Raskin & Mulvaney, and Ring Theory and currently co-hosts The Interim Champion Boxing Podcast with Raskin & Mulvaney. He has won three first-place writing awards from the BWAA, for his work with The Ring, Grantland, and HBO. Outside boxing, he is the senior editor of CasinoReports and the author of 2014’s The Moneymaker Effect. He can be reached on X or LinkedIn, or via email at [email protected].

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