Welcome to the exciting world of betting on boxing matches. The information provided on this page will help you better understand the nuances of betting on boxing. Hopefully, the tips offered in the last section will help you become a winner.
How to Bet on Boxing Matches
Most sports require the bettor to bet on a match or game that has two potential outcomes, either Team A wins or Team B wins. If the two teams tie, all bets are refunded. In boxing, there are draws. If the wagering board offers a draw proposition, there’s three possible outcomes: Boxer A wins, Boxer B wins and a draw.
Boxing is very unique in that boxers will only box 2-3 times a year. At the higher levels of the sport, it might only be once a year. Most boxing events include a major match (championship bout) between high-ranked boxers and an undercard that includes several up and coming boxers.
For all examples, we will assume the bettor is going to be wagering in $100 USD increments. The favorite in a match will be listed with a minus (-) money line while the underdog will be listed with a plus (+) money line. The minus represents the amount the bettor must bet to win $100. The plus represents the amount the bettor will win if they bet $100.
From a betting perspective, boxing is an individual sport. It’s one of the rare sports where the ultimate outcome is not based on objective scoring, but instead on the opinions of three judges awarding points unless there’s a knockout. Boxers are awarded rounds, using a 10 point must system where the winner of the round gets 10 points and the losers gets something less based on performance. It’s possible, but very rare, for a boxer to win fewer rounds but still win the fight. Due to the subjective approach to boxing, there’s plenty of controversy related to the outcome of some matches.
The best wagering opportunities are those involving closely ranked boxers. There are some matches where a fast-rising boxer will be fighting an average fighter, making the bookmaker’s money line odds look distorted. The better boxer tends to win a great majority of these fights, making them dubious betting opportunities. Using money line odds, the most popular fights are championship bouts between two championship level fighters. Most of these fights feature a “three-Way betting” format.
Example: Todays Championship match is between Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather and top-challenger Manny Pacquiao. Here’s the three-way odds:
Mayweather is favored as indicated by the minus money line. The payoffs on these odds are calculated as follows: If the bettor bets $100 on Pacquiao, they will get back $250 for a profit of $150 if he wins. If the bettor bets the same $100 on Mayweather, they will be back $155.56 for a profit of $55.56 if he wins. The draw would return $480 for a profit of $380. Note: the winnings on a minus amount are calculated by taking the bet amount and dividing it by the money line odds with a decimal placed two digits to the left from the end. In this case it would be $100/1.8 = $55.56. If the bookmaker uses a “two-way betting” format, the odds on both fighters would be slightly lower because a draw would result in a refund.
How to Bet on Boxing – Proposition Bets
Perhaps the best way to enjoy betting on boxing is to focus on proposition or prop bets. Bookmakers are typically willing to offer prop bets related to the round in which a fight will end in a knockout or the number of knockdowns a fighter will cause. These types of bets are usually listed with a money line odds format. Here’s an example of what a “round of knockout” prop might look like:
Pacquiao in rounds 1–3 +400
Pacquiao in rounds 4–6 +280
Pacquiao in rounds 7–9 +220
Pacquiao in rounds 10–12 +200
Mayweather in rounds 1–3 +350
Mayweather in rounds 4–6 +240
Mayweather in rounds 7–9 +200
Mayweather in rounds 10–12 +180
No knockout (fight goes the distance) –140
Boxing Betting Tips
The internet is filled with boxing betting tips from self-proclaimed handicappers. Some tips are free and others are available at a price. Tips can be useful if you don’t have time to do your own handicapping. If you do your own handicapping, betting tips might be a good way to see if you have consensus with your own opinions.
Still, you should make every effort to do your own handicapping. Here’s a list of factors you should include in your handicapping process:
- Don’t be afraid to bet big underdogs. Boxing has lots of upsets due to the subjective scoring approach.
- Be wary of boxers who have difficulty fighting left-handed fighters. Many a champion has stated it’s difficult fighting against that fighting style.
- Read the latest boxing news reports. Sometimes, you might discover a boxer isn’t training well or having personal problems, which are interfering with the training process. Also, up and coming boxers tend to get a lot of press.
- If betting low profile fights with low profile fighters, do the research necessary to learn as much about each boxer as possible.
- Check how each boxer does against common opponents.
- Some boxers have a reputation for knockouts. If you get a fight where both boxers hit hard, it might be a good idea to focus on prop bets and try to guess what round a knockout might occur.
As a rule of thumb, you should never bet more than 5% of your bankroll on a straight bet, Above all, you never want to gamble with more than you can afford to lose. That means pay your bills, put some savings aside and have fun betting on fights with whatever you might have remaining. Responsible gambling is the only way to truly enjoy the experience.