Weekend Betting Angle: Fury vs Whyte

IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston looks for the betting value in Saturday night’s titanic confrontation between WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and leading contender Dillian Whyte.

Tonight’s the night for one of the biggest heavyweight fights in British boxing history, with Tyson Fury defending his titles against WBC mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte. A crowd of more than 90,000 is expected at Wembley Stadium. Fury is favourite (2/9 at Betfred) but Whyte can punch and we’ve seen Fury get hurt and knocked down, so not many will feel comfortable laying the price on the Gypsy King.

The value here is either taking a chance on Whyte as the underdog (7/2 at Betfred) or looking at the proposition markets.

Of course, with heavyweights in the ring, more than in any other division, anything can happen, at any time, but I’m thinking that this likely will be a long fight.

Fury’s weight of just under 265 pounds was his lightest since he beat Otto Wallin in 2019. This suggests he plans to move around more than he did in the two fights with Deontay Wilder, when Fury came in at more than 270 pounds. 

Whyte’s weight of 253¼ was six pounds more than he weighed for his dominant win over Alexander Povetkin in his last fight, but he’s weighed around the same or even heavier in the past.

Those who see Fury winning inside the scheduled 12 rounds might point to Whyte’s KO defeat against Alexander Povetkin in their first meeting. But I believe this result was somewhat misleading. Whyte was cruising along nicely and got hit by a perfect shot that he didn’t see coming.

When you think of it, Whyte’s durability has looked pretty good in most of his fights. He has been in long, gruelling battles with the likes of Dereck Chisora, Joseph Parker and Oscar Rivas. Robert Helenius can bang with the right hand but Whyte kept the big man from Norway backing up for most of the 12 rounds

Fury has shown vulnerability but he has also demonstrated quite remarkable powers of recovery. 

So I would think that each man can take the other’s punches and stay in the fight, at least in the early rounds.

Also, will either man really want to come in with all guns blazing when they have 12 rounds ahead of them? It would seem to make much more sense for the fighters to pace themselves and show defensive awareness. 

And while Fury is unpredictable, his lighter weight could mean that his intention is to put on a boxing masterclass.

If you think Fury is likely to win a 12-round points decision, Betfred has you covered with a price of 5/2. If you like the idea of Fury belabouring Whyte to defeat in the manner he broke down Deontay Wilder, you’re looking at a price of 4/6. And if you feel that a Fury inside-schedule win is most likely to occur in the second half of the contest, Betfred offers a Boxing Social price boost of 7/4. Whyte to win inside the distance is offered at 21/5. And one would think that Whyte’s only chance is to stop Fury, who simply looks the better, more versatile boxer. Whyte to win a 12-round points verdict just doesn’t seem very likely, but if you see this as a possible outcome, the price is right at 25/1.

We can expect Whyte to bring pressure. My guess is that Fury will look to box on the outside, perhaps switching between the orthodox and southpaw stances, rather than meeting the challenger head on. If Fury sticks to smart, sensible boxing, looking to shut Whyte down rather than trying to blast him out, I feel that there is a good chance the bout will go the distance. To this end, distance “yes” is priced at 9/4, while distance “no” is 1/3.

I personally like the “over 8.5 rounds” proposition, which is offered at around 10/11 at various outlets. Whyte isn’t known for explosive one-punch power although he can certainly hurt people. It took Fury 11 rounds to bludgeon Wilder into defeat in their third meeting and the “Bronze Bomber” was like a dead man walking for the last few rounds. So I don’t see why this fight can’t reach the second half of the ninth round. 

As a straight pick, I’ll go with Fury, either on points or with a late-rounds TKO, somewhere around the 10th or 11th, with a worn-down Whyte taking too many shots for the referee’s liking. But, then, in a huge fight such as this, with so much at stake, I’m thinking that the referee will be inclined to give the boxers a long leash — what boxing doesn’t need is for a fight of this magnitude to end up on a controversial stoppage.

Main image: Queensberry Promotions.