The Hawaii leg of the 2022 World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour (WCT) concluded with a major bang. The GOAT Kelly Slater won the Billabong Pro Pipeline days before turning 50, and Hawaii’s own Barron Mamiya (wildcard) claimed victory at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach. The Men’s WCT standings look a lot different than anyone would have expected as the tour leaves Oahu to head over to Peniche Portugal for the MEO Pro. Will the usual suspects finally rise to the occasion, or will the third event of the season offer more in the way of underdog surprises? One thing is for certain – WSL betting interest is at an all time high. Who should you wager on for the MEO Pro Portugal? Let’s discuss.
Betting Preview for the WSL WCT MEO Pro Portugal Men’s Surfing Competition Running from March 3-13 2022
Where: Peniche, Portugal
When: Waiting period runs from March 3-13, 2022
Betting Lines: View WSL betting odds
Streaming Broadcast: WSL website / WSL YouTube
Online Commentary: BeachGrit
Surfing Podcast for Post-Event Recap: SurfSplendor
John John Florence: 4/6 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.10
JJF enjoyed an incredible run of victories to begin the 2021-22 winter season on the North Shore of Oahu. He won the 2021 Haleiwa Challenger, the 2021 HIC Pro, and the 2021-22 VANS Triple Crown of Surfing. He seemed unstoppable. Then the 2022 WSL WCT season kicked in, where he faltered with a 5th at Pipe and a 17th at Sunset. Regardless, one can never count John John out. Competitively he hasn’t been in Portugal for quite some time. For obvious reasons Portugal was off the schedule for 2020 and 2021, but JJF missed the 2018 and 2019 MEO Pro Portugal due to injury. Florence did nab at 5th place finish in Peniche in 2017, and of course he won the whole enchilada in 2016. He remains to be a strong favorite to win in 2022.
Italo Ferreira: 4/6 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.16
Ferreira has had a shockingly bad start to the 2022 season, but Hawaii does have the effect on favorites. The high-octane one-time World Champion is due for the mind blowing performance that we’ve come to expect of him, and Portugal is likely the place for it to happen. He won the event in 2019 and 2018, so it’s safe to say that the Brazilian is more than comfortable at Supertubos.
Kanoa Igarashi: 5/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.2
Some people are surprised that Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi currently sits at No.2 in the world after the Hawaiian leg of the WCT. Don’t be. He has proven successfully consistent (with an average heat score of 12.61) since his 2016 rookie year and is a challenger for any event on tour. But there’s a more pressing reason to bet on Igarashi for the MEO Pro. He lives in Portugal part time, and spent the bulk of the panic-demic lockdown surfing Supertubos. Igarashi’s best WCT result in Portugal thus far was a 3rd in 2017 and again in 2019.
Filipe Toledo: 8/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.7
Filipe Toledo won in Portugal in 2015, and has had some solid 5th place performances in Peniche since then. He’s also on a bit of a roll in 2022, performing better in Hawaii than everyone expected him to. Toledo dialed in a 9th at the Billabong Pro Pipeline and at the Hurley Pro at Sunset. We know, a 9th isn’t great, but as we said it’s better than what was expected from the heavy wave dodger. The 26 year old Brazilian intends to crack the Top 5 again this season and make it to the WSL Finals at Lower Trestles. With no commitment from Gabriel Medina and Ferreira performing under par (so far) he knows 2022 is his best shot at a World Title. That campaign begins with a strong performance in Portugal, maybe even a win.
Kelly Slater: 12/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.5
Many bettors will consider Slater to be a favorite to win at Portugal. His win at Pipe this year was a thing of legend, and he may have shaken the Sunset Beach monkey off of his back had he not received a priority interference which cost him a shot at the Hurley Pro. There’s also the fact that he was won in Portugal . However, that was back in 2010. He hasn’t had a good result at Supertubos since 2011 when he lost in the final to nemesis Adriano DeSouza. Everything since then has been dismal. Slater’s cachet as a threat this season still remains in question. Everything rests on his performance in Portugal. If he does well, Slater deciding to stay on the tour will look like a genius decision. If he doesn’t do well, everyone will say that he should have retired with his win at the Billabong Pro Pipeline. Tough call bettors. But without a doubt Slater is a sleeper that could bring you a solid payday.
Caio Ibelli: 15/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.4
Like with Slater, a solid rank on the WCT thus far does not equate favorite status, but the quirky Ibelli is certainly deserving of being deemed a sleeper for Peniche. He earned a 3rd place finish at the MEO Pro Portugal in 2019, where he lost to the eventual champ Italo Ferreira. Ibelli is on a hot streak at the moment, so if he gets the wildcard invite to Portugal look for him to do all he can to maintain his top-five spot on the tour, which may mean an outright win at Supertubos.
Federico Morias: 30/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.27
You can’t discuss MEO Pro Portugal picks without bringing up Portugal’s Federico Morias who makes the cut because he has home court advantage. But has that fact ever translated to mean anything to bettors? His best result at the event was a 5th in 2015. It’s not much to write home about, but he’s a fair “long shot” that has the physique and power to manage Supertubos when it’s maxing.
2022 WSL MEO PRO PORTUGAL MEN’S WINNER PREDICTION
Italo Ferreira returns to form and wins his third trophy in Portugal.