It seems like the 2023 World Surf League (WSL) World Championship Tour (WCT) season just started, yet we’re already staring down the barrel of the third event on the schedule. Our picks fared fairly well in the last event. While we unfortunately had John John Florence pegged as the winner for the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach (seemed like a safe bet), we also named Filipe Toledo as a favorite. The current World Champion did not disappoint as he walked away with the title, which leaves him nipping at the heels of No.1 ranked Jack Robinson who also did well with a 3rd place finish at Sunset. So what can we expect for the upcoming MEO Pro Portugal? While Brazilians tend to do well in Portugal, let’s not forget that Hurley Pro Sunset Beach runner-up Griffin Colapinto won the event there in 2022. Can he repeat in 2023? Or will someone else were the crown this March as we march closer to the midyear cut? Let’s have a look at ASB’s 2023 MEO Pro Portugal odds and predictions to find out.
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Betting Preview for the WSL WCT MEO Pro Portugal Men’s Surfing Competition Running from March 8-16 2023
Where: Peniche, Portugal
When: Waiting period runs from March 8-16, 2023
Betting Lines: View WSL betting odds
Streaming Broadcast: WSL website / WSL YouTube
Online Commentary: BeachGrit
Surfing Podcast for Post-Event Recap: SurfSplendor
Filipe Toledo: 4/6 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.2
Until we get to Teahupo’o (where he crumbles) Felipe Toledo will be considered a favorite for every event on the 2023 WCT. This is especially true at Portugal’s Supertubos. The super-fast left is suited to Toledo’s torpedo-esque down-the-line surfing, but the regular-footer can also punt magic on the shorter right that the spot produces. The defending World Champ honestly seems unstoppable at the moment, armed with momentum that has carried over from last season. Speaking of prior performances, what have his looked like at the MEO Pro? Toledo came in 2nd in Portugal in 2022, 5th in 2019, 13th in 2018, and 25th in 2017. He’s clearly on an upward trajectory for another win here in 2023. Another? Yes, as the Brazilian won the MEO Pro Portugal way back in 2015.
Gabriel Medina: 4/6 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.8
Most “punters” thought 3x WCT Champion Gabriel Medina would be back in the WSL leader position, or at least in the Top 5 by March. He’s not, but it’s not for a lack of strong performances at Sunset Beach and Pipe prior. His lower than normal 2023 seeding position (after being injured last season) put him up against heavyweights early in the draws. As a result he didn’t enjoy his usual cruise towards the Semis where he boasts an impressive winning percentage. Medina will look to shoot up rankings in a place he traditionally performs quite well in. He boasts a 3rd and 2nd place finish here (2018 and 2012, respectively) and he won the MEO Pro Portugal in 2017.
John John Florence: 5/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.7
JJF is leaving the Hawaiian leg of the tour with a very surprising 7th place ranking. He needs to have a strong finish in Portugal or he will begin to lose confidence for the remainder of the season. We consider the two-time World Championship a favorite for the MEO Pro Portugal, but is it deserved? Are we as biased as the rest of WSL fans when it comes to who is arguably the most naturally gifted surfer on the planet? Let’s consider his past performances in Portugal. He came in 3rd here in 2022, missed 2018-19 due to injury, nabbed a 5th in 2017, and won the event in 2016. So yes, over the last few years he has proven that he can make the podium at the MEO Pro Portugal, although it has also been a site he will associate with knee injuries. Will that weigh heavy on his blonde noggin? It just might.
Griffin Colapinto: 8/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.6
Everyone is rooting for the San Clemente CA kid to get back-to-back wins at the MEO Pro. However, we can’t help but wonder if the wind has been taken out of Colapinto’s sails after getting so close to a victory at Sunset Beach before Filipe Toledo flipped the script to win the event. Let’s not forget that it was Toledo that Griffin took down in the Finals of the 2022 MEO Pro, so we have a fun rivalry in the works for Portugal. As the defending champ of this event, we have to call him a favorite, but will his nerves get the best of him should he meet Filipe as the bracket progresses? Colapinto is a shaky favorite, but a favorite nonetheless.
Italo Ferreira: 10/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.16
If Italo can pull his head out of this backside and get back into World Champion (2019) form he can win in Portugal, whether its speedy left is working or the right is offering plenty of space to punt. Plus, we need another goofy footer to add to this list. When Italo wasn’t busy posing in body-oil for his Instagram following, he was putting up insane results in Portugal. He came in 3rd here last year, and won the thing in 2019 while on his World Title campaign. In fact, the 2019 win was a back-to-back result as he also won the MEO Pro in 2018. By all means Ferreira should be a strong favorite to win again, but his off-the-wave antics have him looking like more of a wildcard in 2023. Maybe this event will turn things around. Given his record here, it’s certainly a safe sleeper bet to make.
Kanoa Igarashi: 15/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.16
Kanoa Igarashi is worried. After making the Top 5 and being a part of WSL Finals Day to end the 2022 season, he now sits at No.16 on the WCT. He needs a strong result to pull himself back where he belongs. Igarashi is a consistently strong performer, even though he rarely posts mind-blowing performances. But this isn’t the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout or Eddie Aikau Invitational – it’s the WSL, where consistency reigns supreme over all else. Kanoa’s skillset is ideal for the MEO Pro Portugal because more often the not the wave doesn’t deliver “Supertubos” during the WSL contest window. The Japanese-American proved this in the past as he has racked up a pair of 5th place finishes (2022 and 2018) and 3rd place finishes (2019 and 2017) here through the years. With WNW and head-high conditions, Kanoa can easily win in Portugal. Monitor the swell forecast for mediocrity and wager on this sleeper pick accordingly.
Jadsen Andre: 30/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.34
You either love Jadsen Andre or you wonder what the hell he’s doing on the WCT. We fall in the later category, which proves we have zero bias in making him our long shot pick amidst 2023 MEO Pro Portugal odds. Somehow this journeyman keeps making his way back onto the World Championship Tour, and with his back against the wall in a No.34 spot as the midyear cut looms, it’s about time for him to shine. He doesn’t have a great history in Portugal (his best result is a 9th) but with Apple TV filming their third season of WSL Make or Break we have a feeling that Andre’s story line of perpetual redemption may make the cut, beginning with an underdog surprise in Portugal. Maybe Jaddy, maybe.
2023 WSL MEO PRO PORTUGAL MEN’S WINNER PREDICTION
Italo Ferreira finds his way back to the WSL elite by winning his third MEO Pro Portugal.
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