How to Bet Boxing: Advice from Experts on Wagering and Handicapping Fights
Sport is a beautiful thing. On any given night, two teams chock full of the best athletes in the world, or two single competitors, face off against each other in hopes of beating their opponent and claiming victory. Most of the time the better team/player prevails, but sometimes, when you least expect it, something insane takes place that leaves everyone scratching their head and wondering what the hell just happened. For many boxing fans, that night was on Feb. 11, 1990.
It was a night no different than the night before, or two weeks ago. At least until the bell rung and the fight began. In one corner you had Mike Tyson; the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. In the other corner was some 42-1 chump named Buster Douglas. Ho-hum, right? Not so fast.
Not only did Buster Douglas stun the Champ and pull of the miraculous victory, he knocked "Iron" Mike Tyson out cold. If you are old enough to have witnessed this fight, you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that there was not a single person in the crowd or watching on TV that did not have their jaw on the floor. It was an iconic moment in boxing, similar to the famous Ali vs. Frazier photo, and it was a moment that many boxing fans will remember for the rest of their days.
However, as I write this in 2018, some would argue that boxing has lost its luster. Perhaps, but there are only so many generational athletes such as an Ali or a Tyson or a Mayweather that come around and bless us with their talents. Despite the lack of talent, boxing is not going anywhere anytime soon, and so the opportunity to wager on it will remain.
Betting on the Money Line
The money line bet in boxing is very much like any money line bet in any other sport. The bettor must correctly predict which boxer is going to have his hand raised by the referee and be declared the winner. However, the money line bet in boxing most replicates the money line option in soccer. In addition to the two combatants, sportsbooks offer a "draw" option, which can throw a wrench in your plans from time to time.
Mike Tyson -5000 ML
Buster Douglas +4200 ML
In this example, Tyson is the heavy favorite, and you must wager $5000 dollars in order to turn a profit of $100. If you had a few bucks to play with and wanted to be a contrarian by betting on Douglas, you would have made $4200 for every $100 you decide to wager. And, in the off chance a draw did occur, "draw" players would rake in a cool $3300 for every $100 they bet.
Boxing Betting: Round Betting "Over/Under"
This betting option is similar to betting the total in other sports. Except there is one little caveat that most casual bettors are not aware of. With simple sports like hockey and basketball, the total either goes "over" or "under" the number. There is no in between (with the exception of a push).
Over 5.5 (-110)
Under 5.5 rounds (-110)
As you can see, both sides offer up the same odds. You must bet $110 dollars in order to profit $100.
However, most bettors don't understand that in boxing, if the "over/under" is set at 5.5 rounds, you can lose an "over" bet if the fight gets stopped in round five within the first 90-seconds of a three-minute round. The only way you win your "over" bet is if the sixth round of the fight starts.
Grouped Round Betting/Exact Round Betting
Some of the bigger sportsbooks offer up several different ways of betting on the total number of rounds. In addition to the method above, you can also bet on "grouped round betting" or "exact round betting".
Grouped round betting allows you to bet on the following options: Round 1-3, Round 4-6, Round 7-9 and Round 10-12 (or win on points). As you can see, each option gives you three rounds to successful cash your ticket. Often these options are lined at +110 and better.
The other option available to round betting is the "exact round" betting option. This is pretty self explanatory. Bettors must correctly predict the round the fight will stop in. Each round typically has different odds, but looks something like this: Round 1 +300, Round 2 +330, Round 3 +400, Round 5 +220, Round 6 +420, etc.
Method of Victory
This betting option is one of the most popular betting options amongst boxing handicappers. Not only do you have to correctly pick the winning fighter, but you must also correctly predict how said fighter is going to win the fight.
Mike Tyson by Stoppage: -1500
Mike Tyson by Points: -750
Buster Douglas by Stoppage: +4500
Buster Douglas by Points: +3250
Now that we know our options, let's determine what each option means. The term "stoppage" refers to any fight that is stopped between rounds one and 12, where a fighter fails to meet the referee's 10-count. This is your KO's (knock out), TKO's (technical knock out) or your DQ's (disqualification).
The term "points" refers to a fight that has gone the distance and left up to the judge's scorecard to determine a winner. This is also known as a "decision" or "technical decision".
And lastly, sportsbooks add the draw option just to make things a harder to win.
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