Betting Preview: Odds And Strategy For Joshua vs. Ruiz II

Written By Dave Bontempo on December 7, 2019 - Last Updated on May 12, 2021

Bettors rejoice as Joshua-Ruiz II beckons.

Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua unfurl a wagering blockbuster with their second heavyweight championship battle on Saturday, Dec. 7, in Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz delivered the shock heard ’round the boxing world on June 1, with a seventh-round knockout as a +4200 (42-to-1) underdog to capture Joshua’s heavyweight championship belt at Madison Square Garden

It was an emphatic triumph, silencing thousands of fans traveling from Joshua’s native England to witness a coronation. Instead, they saw an abdication via one of the most electrifying upsets in boxing history.

What’s different this time? 

It will be a wagering bonanza. Sportsbooks observing parity are placing Joshua at nearly a -300 favorite and Ruiz as roughly a +200 underdog.

Major books, including FanDuel SportsbookDraftKings Sportsbook, and William Hill Sports Book, have beefed up the menu via win lines, props and knockout rounds to create a wagering feast.

The books have both common themes and individual attractions. Their win lines are compatible, along with the belief that the over/under of 7.5 rounds indicates an even-money bet. 

Payouts for an early or late knockout, along with a draw and decision, are long but pay well.

Beyond their common themes, however, each book offers a unique wagering thread.

Examining the FanDuel numbers

As of Tuesday, FanDuel presented more bang for the buck with Ruiz listed as +210 and Joshua -280. Put 100 between the two figures to determine the true odds. 

Ruiz returns a $210 profit on a $100 bet. However, Joshua backers must wager $280 to earn a $100 profit on a fighter favored at nearly 3-1.

This bout also means more bucks for a bang, with knockout propositions dominating the board. The closest even-money prop is Joshua winning by knockout. That’s -115. 

For Ruiz, it is +260.

A Ruiz-backer believing he’ll stop Joshua again would earn a substantial return on this wager.

The over/under of rounds at 7.5 is -108 for the under and -118 for the over.

Knockouts offered in groups of rounds are always appealing.

Ruiz merits a +1400 score on a victory inside of three rounds, -950 for rounds four through six, +1000 for rounds seven through nine, and +1700 for a stoppage between 10-12 rounds. 

Joshua’s knockout victory would command +700, -470, +500 and -750 in the respective three-round blocks of the fight.

The prop bet menu will look more enticing to Joshua bettors as an alternative to laying close to +300 odds.

The Joshua knockout play at -115 would be a suitable place for that optimism, as the fighting styles from the first fight — Joshua dropped Ruiz in the third round, and Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times —suggest a rematch settled inside the distance.

For Ruiz backers, props may resemble hors d’oeuvres; it’s nice to enjoy as an appetizer but not worthy of spoiling the meal. A Ruiz supporter would likely bet heavily on the win and knockout line and perhaps dabble on catching the right knockout round block because the victory line pays well.

Bear in mind that odds change at a moment’s notice.

Halves at the Hill

William Hill features Joshua at -240 and Ruiz at +200.

It adds an interesting prop dimension with specific half-round action on over/under. Total rounds of 1.5, for instance, has an over of -3300 and an under of +1200. The 2.5 round total is +1200 for the over and +600 for the under. 

These bets are tricky, as the half-round mark, 90 seconds, occasionally comes into play. Imagine the referee looking into the fighter’s eyes to determine if he can continue, and the clock is five seconds away from the 90-second juncture.

Another wild card is a referee starting the count and abruptly halting it to bring in medical personnel. That can be a crazy gift or bad beat if it unfolds near 1:30 in a round.

William Hill has Joshua +350 for a decision, and Joshua is ranging between +1400 and +1600 for a knockout in rounds six through eight if you can nail it exactly.

Crazy stuff? Ruiz getting the first-round knockout is +6600. For Joshua, it is +2800, as is a draw.

There are two sets of alternate group-round bets, which offer a lower payout for a larger time period. This is an interesting and intelligent hedge.

Joshua is +200 for a knockout in the first half of the fight, +275 in the second half. Ruiz is +550 in the first half and +800 over the final six rounds.

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DraftKings finds a unique angle 

DraftKings dangles a +3300 payout for a knockout in the first minute of the fight. How’s that for a quick hit?

Its fight-ending props mirror the other books, with 18-1 for a first-round stoppage, 20-1 for a 12th-round ending and mid rounds hovering in the 8-1 range.

Here’s another enticement: two-round plays. 

If Joshua obtains a knockout in round seven or eight, it is +650. Ruiz is 13-1 for the same period. Ruiz returns 20-1 with a knockout victory in the first two rounds and Joshua stands at 12-1 inside the first two rounds.

Stakes high, not just for fighters

Their first encounter was epic, with Ruiz notching an upset comparable to Buster Douglas’ 1990 knockout of heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Douglas, like Ruiz, was more than a 40-1 underdog.

Ramifications surround the rematch.

Matchroom Boxing, which promotes Joshua, leveraged him as a major draw to obtain multimillion-dollar payouts and showcase other fighters from its stable on DAZN, the streaming platform that signs up subscribers, Netflix-style, for monthly and yearly fees. 

A one-year DAZN subscription presents an avalanche of boxing and mixed martial arts for the price of one customary pay-per-view event and is viewed as the most viable boxing and MMA financial vehicle. DAZN helped knocked HBO out of boxing.

After Ruiz scored the upset, Joshua’s handlers low-balled him in rematch negotiations until he threatened not to fight. Ruiz held out for a big payday but felt the pressure of the industry against him. The immediate future of Matchroom, not just Joshua, rides on this outcome.

Within the ring, Ruiz knows he dropped Joshua four times and bludgeoned him in June. Joshua had knocked Ruiz down in round three and was poised for a quick knockout until Ruiz rebounded.

Ruiz, the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent, is 33-1 with 22 knockouts. Joshua is 22-1 with 21 knockouts.

If Ruiz can match the first-fight effort, he’ll stop Joshua again. If Joshua is stopped, he may retire. However, if he boxes smartly, he’ll set up a victory.

Furthermore, if both fighters perform well, a Joshua victory would prompt public demand for a third encounter.

All these ifs, so many bets.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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