Veteran contenders collide Saturday with a world title at stake as the rugged Joe Smith Jr. takes on the resilient Maxim Vlasov for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title. Their showdown tops the boxing card from Osage Casino in Tulsa, Okla. The main card is slated for 10 p.m. ET. Smith won and once defended the WBC International light heavyweight title, but this would be his first belt in what is considered a major boxing governing body. The same holds true for Vlasov, a perennial contender who won the vacant EBP light heavyweight title in 2019 and also has collected six other minor belts in his career. But an upset of Smith would provide his first major world-championship title.
Smith is a -340 favorite (risk $340 to win $100), while Vlasov is priced at +270 in the latest Smith vs. Vlasov odds from William Hill Sportsbook. The over-under for total rounds expected is set at 9.5. Before making any Vlasov vs. Smith picks, make sure you check out the boxing predictions from SportsLine combat sports analyst Brandon Wise.
Wise, who is the combat sports editor for CBS Sports, first made an impact with SportsLine members with his UFC and MMA predictions, providing additional value because of his knack for not only predicting winners but nailing the method of victory as well.
Since the UFC returned in May 2020 following a six-week period of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wise has gone 68-45-2 while nailing the method of victory 50 times. At UFC 256, Wise went 4-0-1 (the main event was a draw) and correctly nailed the method of victory in three of those winners.
Wise also is an experienced boxing analyst and has produced similar results with his predictions. Just last week, Wise told SportsLine members to back Jamel Herring (+105) against Carl Frampton (-125) for the WBO junior lightweight title. Anyone who has followed Wise's combat sports selections has seen massive returns.
Now, with Saturday's showdown fast approaching, Wise has studied Joe Smith Jr. vs. Maxim Vlasov from every angle, identified the best value in the boxing odds and released highly confident picks. Head to SportsLine to see all of his boxing picks.
Smith vs. Vlasov preview
Wise notes that both fighters have motivational circumstances to consider in analyzing their showdown. He notes that Smith needs a victory to leverage a rematch with WBI light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol, who defended his title by decision against Smith in March 2019. The undefeated Bivol (17-0) has now made six successful title defenses and has another scheduled match against Craig Richards next month.
Should Bivol again defend his title, Smith would make a logical next opponent. However, Wise notes, he might squander that chance should he take for granted a world-class opponent in Vlasov on Saturday.
On the flip side, Wise notes Vlasov hasn't fought much outside of his native Russia and has lost his last two fights on American soil, including against Krzysztof Głowacki in Chicago for the vacant WBO cruiserweight title in 2018.
Even so, Vlasov's agility and movement are widely believed to be a formula that will give fits to the hard-charging style of Smith, who has been susceptible against opponents with strong fundamentals. Wise is only sharing his coveted picks here.
How to make Vlasov vs. Smith picks
Wise likes the under 9.5 total rounds. He's also made the call on which fighter wins, and has locked in a strong pick on a method of victory prop. You can see all of his picks and analysis here.
Who wins Vlasov vs. Smith? And which prop is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Brandon Wise's best bets for Saturday, all from the CBS combat sports specialist who was all over Jamel Herring's win last week, and find out.