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Spence Jr. and Crawford News Conference

Steve Marcus

WBC/WBA/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. poses with two of his three title belts during a news conference at T-Mobile Arena Thursday, July 27, 2023. The undefeated champion is scheduled to defend his titles against WBO champion Terence Crawford in a unification title fight at the arena Saturday.

There’s nothing better than a big fight night, except perhaps two big fight nights running concurrently. Make that two big fight nights running concurrently with blockbuster, evenly matched bouts in the headlining slot.

Boxing and mixed martial arts have gone head-to-head with pay-per-views before, but few past instances have featured stronger offerings than tonight’s Spence vs. Crawford at T-Mobile Arena and UFC 291 in Salt Lake City.

Sports books would normally be dead in the final weekend of July, but that won’t be the case today. They’ll be buzzing with patrons in and out all day to place bets on the bouts.

I can’t resist getting in on the fun, so the centerpiece of this edition of Weekend Wagers will be plays on both Spence vs. Crawford and the UFC 291 main event between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. I’ll add in a bonus pick on the UFC card to fully celebrate what looks like on the biggest fight weekend of the year.

Read on for this week’s bets. Odds are the best currently available in Las Vegas at publication time with the sports book noted. Plays outside the column will be linked and tracked in the record at the bottom of the page.

Golf (3-8-1, -$530): Keith Mitchell -115 head-to-head in third round of 3M Open vs. Adam Svensson (BetMGM)

$230 to win $200

One of the more underrated players on the PGA Tour, Mitchell probably deserves to have more than one victory to his name. He’s 35-to-1 going into the weekend in Blaine, Minn., and would be a real contender if it wasn’t for a so-so first round where the University of Georgia gradate struggled to find his game. He was much more on during Friday’s round and should continue to work his way up the leaderboard from his current standing of seven strokes off the leader, Lee Hodges. Mitchell came in fifth the last time he played in the 3M Open, and a similar finish seems likely this year as he’s currently tied for 10th. Svensson is also a talented player but he’s a little more erratic. Few players on the tour can keep up with Mitchell off the tee if he’s clicking, and I’ll bank on him continuing to click this weekend.  

MLB (10-4, $1,440): Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim +110 vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Wynn)

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Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is seen on the bench during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in Detroit.

$200 to win $220

Alek Manoah has been back in the Blue Jays’ rotation for three starts now, but he looks far from fixed after being optioned to the minor leagues earlier this season. He mostly held his own against the Tigers and Mariners, but got shelled by the Padres. The Angels’ offense might be the most explosive of the four, but it’s certainly closer to the Padres than the Tigers or Mariners. Angels starter Reid Detmers is nothing special but he’s got some above-average stuff and has been more dependable than Manoah this season. With the Angels at home, don’t be surprised if this line flips and they go off as a small favorite.

Boxing (0-1, -$310): Errol Spence Jr. +140 vs. Terence Crawford (BetFred Sports at Virgin Hotels)

$150 to win $210

This might be the best price in the world on Spence and pushed me over the top in having the confidence to back the power-puncher based in Dallas. He looks to have more advantages over Crawford in their welterweight championship unification bout than most are advertising. Spence is younger, bigger, has faced better competition and might have the best trainer in boxing in Derrick James. Everyone I’ve heard break down this fight — and I’ve heard many — have praised both fighters but ultimately concluded that Crawford is too slick for Spence. It almost feels like it’s become groupthink at this point, and that rarely works out. The fight is more likely, in my opinion, to wind up in a close decision where either man could get the nod. And, in that case, I’ll take the fighter available at plus money.

UFC (14-16, $186): Bobby Green vs. Tony Ferguson under 2.5 rounds at +125 (STN Sports)

$200 to win $250

Ferguson has fallen far from the heights of what he once was as the UFC interim lightweight champion with a five-fight losing streak that’s seen him stopped three times in the span. He no longer has the chin to withstand damage, and Green’s boxing could be the latest cause of a stoppage loss. Green isn’t too durable either, with knockout losses in two of his last three fights. Ferguson is still dangerous, and there’s a path to victory if he catches Green either on the feet or on the mat. The under 2.5 rounds in a bout between aging veterans should be the slight favorite in the totals market — not the slight underdog.

UFC (14-16, $186): Dustin Poirier -135 vs. Justin Gaethje (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)

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Dustin Poirier flexes for fans during the UFC 264 ceremonial weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena Friday, July 9, 2021.

$270 to win $200

Gaethje failed to beat Poirier five years ago, and there’s not much reason to believe things will be different this time around. In fact, Poirier should be able to win more easily. Gaethje has taken a lot more damage since that fourth-round TKO loss in April 2018, and hasn’t looked as sharp as he did in his prime. Poirier has stayed relatively steadier without as much fall off. He closed as a -125 favorite against Gaethje the first time around, and a 10-cent price increase for the rematch is not enough. Look for Poirier to rise to around -150 before stepping into the cage, so don’t wait on gobbling up shorter prices in the interim.       

NASCAR (12-10, $3,270): Joey Logano +110 head-to-head in Cookout 400 vs. Chase Elliott (SuperBook)

$200 to win $220

The fade of Elliott continues for another week. The 2020 Cup Series champion continues to not look like himself since returning from a broken leg in a non-driving accident, and it’s even easier to bet against him at Richmond Raceway. This hasn’t historically been one of his better tracks. Logano, on the other hand, has pretty positive history in the River City including two victories. Logano, the defending Cup champion, is having a down year but he’s going to snap out of it at some point. This looks like it could be the spot, at a short, low-banked course with high tire wear.

NASCAR (12-10, $3,270): Kyle Busch +120 head-to-head in Cookout 400 vs. William Byron (Caesars/William Hill)

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Kyle Busch celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023.

$200 to win $240

Speaking of positive history at Richmond, this has been one of Busch’s favorite tracks. And Byron has been even worse than Elliott here. Byron has the better equipment as a member of Hendrick Motorsports but Busch’s move to Richard Childress Racing hasn’t stopped him from being competitive all year. He’s already got three wins this season, and should be a real threat to pick up No. 4 on Sunday. He might be worth a bet at 12-to-1 to win the race overall but the value is slim. No outright prices are really popping for me this week but there’s tremendous value in the matchups led by this pair of bets.

NFL (0-1, -$100): Cleveland Browns +2 vs. Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 (Circa Sports)

$330 to win $300

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Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Las Vegas.

I don’t know if betting NFL Week 1 lines is the best use of capital right now, but I had already started here, and this was one of the next games on my list. Then Joe Burrow’s calf injury happened earlier this week, and I bemoaned missing out on getting the undervalued Browns as a home underdog in a divisional game to start the year. Only, it turns out, I didn’t miss out. Most sportsbooks took down the game — including all that had the more widespread 2.5 price — but Circa left it hanging. And it chose not to adjust. I think that’s a mistake. This number already looked slightly high to me, and if there’s any chance Burrow is at less than 100%, Cleveland should be favored. If he doesn’t play, the Browns should be laying a full touchdown. I’ll wind up with a great number if either of those two scenarios occur, but also feel comfortable with this position even if the Bengals are at full strength for their opener.

College football (0-0, $0): Air Force to win the Mountain West at 5-to-1 (Caesars/William Hill)

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Air Force linebacker Alec Mock, second from left, and defensive end Jayden Thiergood, right, bring down Nevada quarterback Nate Cox, center, after a short gain during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Air Force Academy, Colo. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP)

$200 to win $1,000

I’m slowing on sharing win totals here amid the college football by the odds preseason columns, but futures are still fair game. This might be the best conference future still on the board. Air Force is not the best team in the Mountain West. But the Falcons do have the best schedule. Numerous strength of schedule metrics rate Air Force’s slate as one of the five easiest in the nation. There’s a strong possibility it’s not an underdog until a regular-season finale at Boise State. If they’re as imposing at the line of scrimmage as usual, Air Force may have already locked up a spot in the conference championship game by then. The Falcons were hyped last year as a threat to win the conference, and though they didn’t deliver, a 9-3 season wasn’t a bad result. With the path ahead of them this year, a better campaign looks like a realistic goal.

Weekend betting column year to date: 71-89-3, $7,634 

Weekend betting column all-time: 549-584-9, $26,133.95 

Previous pending wagers: Texas to win the College Football Playoff at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); Tanner Mordecai to win the Heisman Trophy at 200-to-1 ($30 to win $6,000); Atlanta Braves at 5-to-1 to win the National League ($300 to win $1,500; Atlanta Braves at 10-to-1 to win the World Series ($300 to win $3,000); Buffalo Bills at 9-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($300 to win $2,700); LSU to win the College Football Playoff at 20-to-1 ($150 to win $3,000); Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 ($300 to win $2,700); Nolan Smith to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at 20-to-1 ($100 to win $2,000); Kansas to win 2024 NCAA Tournament at 14-to-1 ($200 to win $2,800); Los Angeles Chargers -2.5 vs. Miami Dolphins in Week 1 ($330 to win $300); Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7 at Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 ($220 to win $200); Baltimore Ravens -9 vs. Houston Texans in Week 1 ($330 to win $300); Buffalo Bills at 10-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($100 to win $1,000); Lamar Jackson to win NFL MVP ($150 to win $2,700); Green Bay Packers +2.5 at Chicago Bears in Week 1 ($330 to win $300); Ohio State to win the College Football Playoff at 8-to-1 ($350 to win $2,800); Carson Beck to win the Heisman Trophy at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); LSU -1.5 at -115 vs. Florida State in Week 1 ($345 to win $300); Las Vegas Aces to win WNBA Championship at -115 ($575 to win $500); William Byron to win NASCAR Cup Series championship at +750 ($300 to win $2,250); Edmonton Oilers to win 2024 Stanley Cup Final at 12-to-1 ($250 to win $3,000); Mississippi State under 6.5 wins at -145 ($435 to win $300); US women’s national team to win World Cup at +250 ($200 to win $500); Miami over 7.5 wins at +125 ($200 to win $250); Myles Garrett to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year ($300 to win $2,400); Florida over 5.5 wins at -120 ($240 to win $200); Kentucky over 7 wins at +110 ($200 to win $220); Mississippi State under 6 wins at Even money ($100 to win $100); Oklahoma State over 6 wins at -140 ($280 to win $200); Texas Tech under 7.5 wins at -120 ($240 to win $200); UCF over 7 wins at Even money ($200 to win $200); West Virginia under 5.5 wins at -180 ($360 to win $200)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Article written by #LasVegasSun


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