Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Odds, Picks & Predictions
Boxing feels like it’s been on the rise in popularity over the past few years. A certain portion of that has to be attributed to some of the mainstream-reaching blockbuster bouts and rematches we’ve seen go down (such as Canelo vs. GGG, Wilder vs. Fury, and Joshua vs. Ruiz), but another phenomenon has had an undeniably large factor, the emergence of high-profile sideshow fights. I’m talking about the record shattering, Mayweather vs. McGregor, Mike Tyson’s return to the squared circle for an exhibition match, and perhaps the most bizarre of all, the YouTuber boxing movement.
We’ve seen a number of YouTubers put on the gloves and take to the ring, but it appears that Jake Paul is not only the best of the bunch, but he’s also not afraid to call his shot against the likes of Mayweather, McGregor, and just about anyone else who’s got name value in combat sports. It’s a polarizing marketing strategy, and although he’s not even close to the level required to stand in front of most of these guys, it still seems to be doing wonders for his exposure.
This weekend will be his biggest test to date, as he’ll be taking on Ben Askren, a former MMA champion, Olympic-level freestyle wrestler, and two-time NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Champion. His MMA career saw him go unbeaten until he was 18-0, claiming two Welterweight Championship titles within Bellator and ONE FC, before he called it a day following a disappointing 1-2 run in the UFC. When he announced his retirement from MMA in 2019, he bowed out with a record of 19-2, and in need of an overdue hip replacement surgery. It’s worth noting that Askren still is only 36-years-old, and from an outsider’s perspective, his age and athletic background alone, could be enough for him to silence the 24-year-old YouTuber, turned boxing star.
(4u) Jake Paul Moneyline (Draw No Bet) @ -131 (to Return 7.04 Units)
(1u) Jake Paul via Decision @ +750 (to Return 8.5 Units)
Main Event - Cruiserweight Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11 p.m. EST.
It may come as a shock to some, but I’m backing the YouTuber over the former two-promotion MMA champion, and proven athlete.
I’d love to announce that I think Ben Askren is going to come out on Saturday night and lay waste to the young upstart, who dubbed himself “The Problem Child”, but I just can’t do it. In all the years that Askren competed in MMA, I never saw him looking remotely skilled in a striking exchange. His punches lack power and conviction, his stance left much to be desired, and his head movement is almost non-existent. In MMA, at least he could feint for takedowns, allowing him to make his opponents double-guess what he’s doing, perhaps leading to him landing some strikes, but he can’t even do that here. I’ve seen some footage of him in preparation for this fight (see below), and although his build looks more imposing than Paul’s, he still looks upright, rigid, and lacking creativity.
Jake Paul on the other hand, actually has fast hands, timing, and perhaps most importantly, elusiveness. It wouldn’t do Jake Paul any justice to compare him to the young and emerging prospects within the sport, but considering his limited time studying the sweet science, he looks pretty damn good, albeit against woeful opposition. His last fight, against former-NBA player, Nate Robinson, wasn’t the greatest watch, but it allowed Paul to showcase his new skills and composure. Robinson slowed down the fight with a ridiculous amount of clinching, and when he wasn’t doing that, he was running towards Paul like a drunk guy in a club with his t-shirt pulled over his head. I doubt that was supposed to be the gameplan, but Paul responded to everything well, getting the better of almost all the striking exchanges, particularly those at range. Paul’s speed and movement was visibly unsettling Robinson, and the result was Robinson overextending on his punches, and Paul making him pay for it, knocking him down twice, before landing a devastating knockout blow. Say what you will about Robinson, but Paul did what he needed to do, and he demonstrated that he has the timing to catch people, and the power to put them away.
I see Askren being on the front foot for the bulk of the fight, pawing at Paul and forcing the 24-year-old to outmanoeuvre him and land counters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul slightly unnerved by the prospect of fighting a legitimate combat sports athlete in the opening round or so, but after he feels and sees the offense Askren is bringing his way, I think he’ll quickly feel reassured in his own ability and settle into a groove. Both Jake and Logan Paul have shown tendencies to look quite fatigued in their fights early, which is a concern, but I would be a little surprised to see Askren out-work him on the feet, even if Paul’s sucking wind. I think in order for Askren to win, we’re going to need to see him eclipse a level of striking he’s never come close to, combined with an underwhelming performance from the motivated and ever-improving younger fighter. It’s definitely in the realm of possibility, but given the current odds on the fight, I definitely fancy Jake Paul to out-class Ben Askren, a man who’s openly admitted throughout his career that he’s not a great striker, and he has only reinforced that with his performances inside the cage.
It seems as though Vegas saw this going the same way as me, opening Jake Paul up as the -225 favorite back in early-February (per ProBoxingOdds.com), but since then it appears to be all Askren action, with Paul now sitting at -131 (best odds). Sometimes money coming in on the other side can be a bit daunting when making a bet, but I think a lot of this money could be attributed to people blindly trying to fade Paul in favor of the recognized and accomplished fighter. It’s an understandable angle to take on the fight, but I think many are overrating Askren’s chances, and I’m making a decent sized play on Jake Paul for that reason. In addition to betting Jake Paul’s moneyline for 4 units, I’ve also taken a 1-unit stab on Jake Paul via Decision, they’re only going 8 rounds and Ben Askren is pretty tough, making the 7.5-to-1 on Paul’s decision prop look extremely wide.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren / Triller Fight Club’s Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren / Paul vs. Askren / #PaulVsAskren
Location & Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2021
Start time: 9 p.m. ET.
Where to watch: Traditional PPV for TV viewers / Live Stream on Triller Fight Club for online viewers
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Odds: Click here to view the full list of odds for Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Full Fight Card Predictions
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Main Event Prediction
Cruiserweight: Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren – Paul via Decision
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Undercard Predictions
Junior Welterweights: Regis Prograis vs. Ivan Redkach – Prograis via KO/TKO
Heavyweight: Steve Cunningham vs. Frank Mir – Cunningham via KO/TKO
Light Heavyweight: Joe Fournier vs. “Reykon” (Andres Felipe Robledo Lodono) – Fournier via KO/TKO
Super Middleweight: Junior Younan vs. Jeyson Minda – Younan via KO/TKO
Middleweight: Lorenzo Simpson vs. Francisco Torres – Simpson via Decision
Welterweight: Quinton Randall vs. William Jackson – Randall via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.