It may only be February, but boxing fans already have an all-British classic on their hands and a bout that’ll go close to being contender for fight of the year. James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr put record and reputation on the line in a super-middleweight clash that has kept followers guessing, while splitting opinion amongst lovers of the noble art. Here are our best James DeGale v Chris Eubank Jr betting tips.
The two Englishmen will go toe-to-toe at the 02 Arena in London on 23 February with armchair fans able to follow the action live on ITV Pay-Per-View. A sell-out crowd is expected and the chance to watch from the comfort of your own home is sure to result in a bumper subscription, leaving it in the hands of both men to put on a show.
The vacant IBO world title may be on the line; however, this fight means more than a belt to both men, it’s the chance to grab the bragging rights over a main rival while forcing themselves towards the front of the queue following George Groves’ retirement. Neither will fancy taking on Liverpool’s Callum Smith in a unification bout, if they have any sense, but both camps will look at this as a night that’s there to be won. A real 50/50 on paper, but bookmakers don’t see it that way.
With a thrilling evening of pugilism in store, bookmakers give us the chance to get involved in the action without the threat of suffering cuts and bruises. If you have a strong opinion on the outcome of this bout you can put your money where your mouth is and bet on a range of markets offered up by traders who have set-up in support of Junior.
Make your call on the winner of the fight or have a rummage around in the specials in the hope of landing a better price. There’s more to be had in the method of victory betting which challenges punters to, not only predict the champion, but how they will achieve the desired result. For example, you can back Eubank Jr to win by knockout, or take a chance on DeGale upsetting the odds with a points verdict. A big ask, but the prizes are certainly worth shooting for.
Prefer to have a bit more of a safety net? The level of coverage means there’s something for everyone in this fight. Bet on the bout to go the distance or not, a knockdown at any stage, the draw – which can’t be easily ignored at this level – and total number of rounds, over/under 7.5.
Our team of boxing experts have vital experience of taking advantage of traders’ lack of knowledge in this sport and they return with a preview intended to see you profit from the evening. Being paid to watch championship boxing, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend your Saturday night.
Let’s take a closer look at the two men involved and what the bookies predict…
Make or Break
It’s make or break time for James DeGale as he enters the 29th fight of his professional career. That may seem like a strange thing to say about a man who realised his lifelong dream of being crowned champion of the world; however, he’s a fighter now ravaged by injury and defeat to Eubank would surely spell the end of his stay at the top of the game. The fact Groves dealt with the same opponent so comfortably puts the pressure on Chunky and, although he brings a different style, this is a must-win for the Londoner.
6ft southpaw DeGale travels to the capital venue having failed to win half of his last four starts, suffering a majority decision drawn to Badou Jack before going down on the scorecards to Caleb Traux in Stratford at the Copper Box Arena. The latter cost him his IBF world title, but he has won each of his last two, gaining revenge in a rematch with Traux before halting Fidel Monterrosa Munoz of Colombia inside three rounds last time out.
The latter came back in the summer and James can’t afford any more time out of the ring. His career has been stop-start of late, due to injuries and results, but an impressive win here would launch him back towards the big time.
DeGale vacated his IBF bauble telling fans he was looking for fights that would excite him and bring back the old passion. He was surely hoping that would be against rival Groves, but the latter’s retirement stuck a pin in that and it’s unlikely St George could be tempted to lace them back up. He seems like a fighter who will stay retired, regardless of any offers made. That nudged Chunky on a collision course with Eubank but it’s a bout odds-makers expect him to lose.
DeGale has been written off as second favourite in the fight winner market with backers able to get their hands on 6/5 with most reputable firms, including Coral. That’s much bigger than we expected to find, and we’d say grab the value with both hands. DeGale for the upset is our NAP of this bout and it also ranks as one of our major plays of the year. Those after more may want to take a pop at the points cheer, quoted 15/8 with Bet365.
If you are going to back that we’d suggest being careful who you trust with your stake as many firms are as tight as 13/8 on the same bet and it would be foolish to take less of a price in such a close contest. The KO/TKO doesn’t appeal to us, even at 7/1 (Bet365). DeGale carries 54% KO average into the ring and that’s not quite enough.
Eubank Fancied Again
It surprises us to see bookmakers continue to side with Chris Eubank Jr in the big fights, especially after what Groves did to him in the World Boxing Super Series. He went into that contest with the support of traders and was out-boxed and out-thought during a painful night for his team. He now has a point to prove after being on the receiving end of much criticism and that will inspire a big performance; however, has he really improved enough from that defeat to better JDG?
It’s a risk and we certainly wouldn’t say he deserves to be jolly. There’s just no value in his fight winner price for us. Therefore, we’d rather back DeGale and if Eubank does get the decision at least we can say we had the value on our side. Sports betting is all about weighing up risk vs reward and the risk of Junior throwing in another stinker doesn’t match the reward of Eubank’s price with a measly 4/6 at Coral. Some firms go 8/13 and we really can’t work it out.
For that to be worth a price we’d need to know DeGale was injured or fast approaching the end of his career. Even then we’re not entirely sure Eubank would have enough about him to take advantage. He didn’t get near Groves despite his opponent carrying an injury into the latter stages. There’s nothing here that inspires us to back Eubank, so we won’t go looking for something that isn’t there. Bookies have Chris by KO/TKO as favourite in the method of victory market at 2/1 – top price with Ladbrokes – more likely than the points win at 11/4 – best at Bet365.