Boxing Betting

Boxing has a long history across multiple continents. The origins of the sport can be traced by to Ancient Rome, where it was a favorite spectator sport. For decades, boxing was right up there with baseball and football as one of the most popular sports in the United States and worldwide.

Today, boxing has seen a lot of its popularity decrease since the high of the 1990s. However, despite talk of boxing possibly dying out at the turn of the century, the sport has seen an increase in interest as of late. It will likely never return to the heyday of the early 90s, but for long-time fans, they can probably rest easy that boxing isn’t in trouble anymore and is closer to thriving these days.

Today’s betting market for boxing is one of the best in recent history. Players have a long list of betting options aside from traditional match odds. There is a whole host of propositions for every big PPV fights, and live betting options are plentiful.

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Betting Markets

Moneyline Odds:

  • George Foreman -250
  • Mike Tyson +150

The most popular boxing bet is going to be the match odds in moneyline form. In many cases, this will also include a draw option. However, most sportsbooks these days may choose not to offer the draw as a betting option since it’s a rather rare occurrence.

In the event of a tie, (provided it’s not an available betting option) the sportsbook will refund the stakes of both players, and the bet will be a push. At least, that’s how things should be handled. Players won’t run into this issue with reputable bookmakers, but if you’re betting a lesser-known sportsbook or offline, be sure of the betting rules before placing a wager.

Total (Over/Under):

  • Over 10.5 Rounds -130
  • Under 10.5 Rounds -110

The total in boxing is based on the number of rounds a fight goes, rather than punches landed or judge scoring. Boxing matches normally consist of a set amount of three-minute rounds. A typical boxing match has between 9-12 rounds.

The above two markets will be available for just about every fight, but there is a lot more available at most sportsbooks.

Bettors can wager on a knockout or a winner by decision to decide. The number of rounds a fight will go is another option as a proposition bet. Then there is the ability to live bet the fight live as it happens.

For high profile fights, the number of betting options can easily reach 100 markets or more. Almost all of these markets are props. Players can find some hidden value in these markets, but should be careful with the high bookmaker margins sometimes associated with these bets, particularly on big-name fights.

The bookies are eager to take action on blockbuster fights. Odds will be available on betting sites in some cases before the fights are officially announced. Once they are made official, pretty much every sportsbook on the web will at least have match odds and totals on the number of rounds.

Wagering Limits

Boxing typically has substantially lower limits than most other sports, particularly when it comes to football and basketball wagering.

At BetOnline.ag, they accept up to $1,000 on boxing spreads, moneylines, and totals. At Bovada.lv, they accept the same $1,000 on sides and totals, but the limit is dropped to $500 when it comes to props.

As mentioned above, boxing just simply isn’t as popular as it once was. It’s tough for sportsbooks to pay too much attention to boxing matches (aside from high-profile fights) when it comes to odds.

The low betting limits are there for this reason. Another factor to consider is that boxing is much riper to corruption compared to many other sports. We all hear of the big names and multi-million dollar fights, but most boxers are struggling to make a buck. Boxing judges are notoriously corrupt, and that hasn’t changed.

Betting Strategies

Look for Value with Underdogs

We should be betting more underdogs than favorites when it comes to generally betting sports, and there couldn’t be a better sport than boxing to illustrate that point. The sportsbooks often take a hugely disproportionate amount of action on favorites compared to the underdogs, particularly in high-profile matches.

For this reason, it’s rare that you see betting odds that are separated by 10-20 cents, which is usually the case in other sports. For instance, it’s not uncommon in a boxing match to see the favorite listed at -1000 and the underdog to be at +650.

The odds in boxing are almost always going to favor taking an underdog when one fighter has a substantial advantage over the other. Bettors simply prefer to bet favorites more than underdogs, (in all sports) which inflates the odds for the favorite even more.

The bookmakers can’t price them too closely, as they are never going to get equal action on both sides. Remember, even if you’re extremely high on the favorite, you’re likely paying an artificially increased price due to overwhelming betting action from the public or square bettors.

When you consider breakeven percentages for large favorites and the above factors, it’s clear to see that the value is almost always with the underdogs.

Remember, your breakeven percentage on a -1000 bet is 90.91%. You’re going to have to win your wager more than nine times out of 10 just to break even. Whereas, at +650, your breakeven percentage is just over 13%.

We highlight this specifically when it comes to boxing because of the massive difference in pricing between the underdog and the favorite.

Keep in mind, all of the best fighters over the years had to upset a prominent opponent to reach prominence. Upsets happen in boxing, even though from the outside, it looks like just a few guys are dominating the sport.

Line Shopping

Line shopping is vital for any bet you’re placing but is of particular importance when it comes to boxing. Big ticket fights, such as Pay-Per-Views and other high profile matches will have similar odds across multiple sites.

While we still recommend line shopping for larger events thoroughly, but where it truly comes in handy is betting lesser known fights. Most boxing fans are casual and don’t regularly watch the sport, but will put down a bet and enjoy a big fight.

These smaller lesser known fights won’t get nearly as much betting action. The bets will also be spread across multiple bookmakers across the world in many cases, so the odds may not move in unison like other markets.

Value Opponents over Form

There is something to be said for how a boxer has looked lately, but those who evaluate a fighter’s next bout based on his previous few fights may not be looking at the whole picture. The opponents faced is considerably more important than any win or loss record.

Of course, if a fighter is losing to subpar opponents, then it’s something to take notice. However, if he’s cruising through a bunch of fighters he should be beating handily, well, it doesn’t tell us much.

Every fighter has their good and bad days, but it’s important not to get too high on a fighter because he’s won x number of fights in a row. Remember, all this information is out there and available to the general public.

You’re not going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to handicapping boxing by targeting a fighter because he’s won most of his previous fights decisively. The betting public is doing that, and they lose long term.

Instead, try not to focus on the current form of the fighter and consider his opponents. Taking a fighter who has been tested by other quality opponents may make more sense, than a guy who has cruised through competitions against clearly subpar fighters.