After a drawn-out waiting period and unsurprisingly average conditions we can gleefully say that the VIVO Rio Pro is done. This fact leads World Surf League (WSL) bettors to the penultimate stop on the Championship Tour (CT). All eyes are on Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
For the first time since the WSL began their new CT format there is no indisputable frontrunner for the World Tile, although Felipe Toledo is building a case for himself. He moved up to the No.1 spot after the VIVO Rio Pro even though he placed 9th on home turf. Speaking of potential home court advantage, it must feel that way for Toledo who put on the most dominating performance ever seen at J-Bay in 2017, which he followed with another win in 2018. The current World Champion has a special relationship with the long, fast, and powerful right-handed point break. That being said, so do others who are currently competing on the CT, including former winners Ethan Ewing, Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith, and Kelly Slater. Who do Corona Open J-Bay odds and predictions favor for the 2023 edition? Let’s find out!
Betting Preview for the WSL WCT Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Surfing Competition Running from July 13 to 22 2023
Where: Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa
When: Waiting period runs from July 13-22, 2023
Betting Lines: View WSL betting odds
Streaming Broadcast: WSL website / WSL YouTube
Sponsor: Presented by Corona
Online Commentary: BeachGrit
Filipe Toledo: 4/6 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.1
As alluded to in the introduction, Filipe Toledo and J-Bay are soulmates. The lion-hearted (and tattooed) Brazilian has back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018 and almost made it a trifecta in 2019 when he came in 3rd after losing to Italo Ferreira. Toledo came in 9th in 2022 in a surprise loss to Yago Dora, but remains primed to add a third Jeffrey’s Bay title to his growing mantle of trophies. If you’re into betting on sure things, a wager on Toledo is up there with betting on Kelly Slater to call in sick for any event in Brazil.
John John Florence: 5/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.6
While the Tahiti Pro is ahead, this feels like John John Florence’s last shot to lock into the Top 5 and make the train to Lower Trestles in September. The moneyline was set at -300 (or 70% probability) for John John to do so, but sportsbooks are starting to question themselves. After big names including Colapinto, Chianca, Medina, and Toledo dropped early at the Rio event, John John had the perfect opportunity to rise quickly up the rankings. He did move up one spot by coming in 3rd, but once again the world’s most talented surfer was not able to close and move beyond the semifinals. That’s correct, after eight events John John Florence has yet to make a Final in the 2023 season. There’s an elephant gun to his blonde locks to perform in South Africa. Normally he’d be up to the task, is the motivation there?
Ethan Ewing: 8/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.3
The powerful Australian is the defending champion of the Corona Open J-Bay. Moreover, he just made the Finals at the VIVO Rio Pro before losing to a 10-foot (and 10-point) air by Yago Dora. Ewing was impressive in Rio. Not only was he faced with death threats from idiotic fans who were mad about him beating Medina at the Surf Ranch Pro, he performed in poor conditions. Everyone knows that Ewing can manhandle the heavy stuff, but the fact that he make the podium in Saquarema slop is promising. He is coming into J-Bay with confidence, momentum, and the skillset to win the next two events, if not the culmination in San Clemente.
Kelly Slater: 10/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.23
Now that Slater is well-rested after a distressing illness (ahem) that caused him to miss yet another Rio Pro in Brazil, look for him to bounce back into form as he heads into two of his favorite events on the CT (aside from Pipe). Between J-Bay and the following Tahiti Pro, Kelly could conceivably shoot up the CT rankings to make the top ten. He’s a near shoe-in for the podium at Teahupoʻo if the conditions are prime, but does he still have what it takes to win at Jeffrey’s Bay? With four titles, Kelly is the winningest surfer at the J-Bay Pro, a distinction that he shares only with Mick Fanning. He may not have won here since 2008, but if a strong south or southwest swell fills-in Slater has a strong shot at stealing Fanning’s shared thunder.
Griffin Colapinto: 10/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.2
Griffin doesn’t have a stellar record at Jeffreys Bay, with a 9th here last year along with a 17th and a 9th place finish in 2019 and 2018, respectively. He also suffered an early loss in Rio (17th) which may have shaken the calm that he has approached the 2023 season with thus far. He has dropped to the No.2 spot and if he chokes at J-Bay and Chopes he could slide out of the Top 5. That may have happened to the Colapinto of old, but the young Californian has matured as a competitor and is indeed among the CT’s most elite. We can’t call him a favorite to win the Corona Open J-Bay, but as a sleeper pick he’s about as good as it gets.
Jordy Smith: 15/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.16
It seems funny to call Jordy Smith a sleeper to win at his home break, where he won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. But that was well over a decade ago, and no one any longer considers the SAFFA a favorite to win any event on the CT. However, he has enough left in the tank to sneak in one more event win before his career is over. Where better to make that happen than at Jeffrey’s Bay? We would love to see it, and surf fans from around the world would love to see it, so let’s put some positive energy behind the campaign by wagering on Smith as our collective sleeper pick. At 15/1 odds (+1500) a $100 bet could net you a cool $1500.
Matthew McGillivray: 20/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.18
Like with Jordy Smith, it feels odd to call a hometown hero a sleeper or long-shot pick. Matthew McGillivray was born and raised on this right-handed point break, but with just 6 heat wins this season, an average heat score of 10.49, an average wave score of 3.68, and a pair of 17th place finishes in his last two events he brings zero momentum into Jeffrey’s Bay. At this point, his 6330 postal code is almost meaningless. Almost, but we supposed that you can never count out a local boy.
2023 WSL CORONA OPEN J-BAY MEN’S WINNER PREDICTION
John John Florence finds the motivation and finally breaks his 2023 curse to make the Finals by winning at the Corona Open J-Bay.