How does Boxing Betting Work?

by JP Sio

How does boxing betting work?

When we're talking about classic sports, boxing is one of those that pops up straightaway.  Ever since humankind has been around, people have been practicing boxing matches, even before the term boxing was invented.  It all started with men showing their strength to determine who led the wolfpack, who could sleep with women, or just for fun.  Eventually, it became a sport, and bettors flocked to it to place bets. Today, boxing has taken a back seat to UFC, but it’s still an essential sport in the betting world. 

Boxing reached its pinnacle in the 1970s with Muhammad Ali.  But since Ali, there have been other popular fighters like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Manny Pacquiao, Deontay Wilder, and Floyd Mayweather.  These boxers became actual superstars, with Mayweather being one of the wealthiest sportsmen in the world.  These days, whenever there’s a big fight like the 2019 bout between Mayweather and Conor McGregor, the whole world tunes in, and billions of dollars flow through bookmakers' hands. 

You might wonder, how do I start betting on boxing?  Don't worry, we'll guide you through.  At first, it might seem like the only bet to make is a moneyline bet on which fighter will defeat the other.  However, in reality, there are a multitude of prop bets in boxing.  We'll conclude with an overview of some boxing betting tips to get you started the right way.

How to get started with boxing betting?

With any major sporting event, bettors will come out of nowhere to place some bets.  It could be the Super Bowl, or in the case of boxing, the heavyweight division title fight.  Whatever it might be, you need to know how to place your wagers, and how to get started with boxing betting properly.  The mere basics are simple:  you have two fighters competing in a battle to either win by knockout, or based on points.  Like any other major sport, there's a moneyline favorite and an underdog in the matchup.  And there are some other bet types, as well.  So, let’s dive into each bet that you could make when wagering on a boxing match.

Moneyline bets
The most common bet would be the moneyline bet.  It's one of the most popular wagers when it comes to boxing as, unlike other sports, a boxing match rarely ends in a tie.  Similar to other sports, though, with a moneyline bet, you pick the winner straight up.  A quick example of the betting lines for a moneyline bet in a boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather:

  • Canelo Alvarez +130
  • Floyd Mayweather -150

Similar to the NFL or even the MMA, the minus sign represents the favorite, and the plus sign is for the underdog.  We'll dive into calculating the exact payout for this boxing match later on when we dive into the boxing betting odds.

Total rounds
Boxing matches consist of a certain number of rounds.  Before any matchup, and dependent on the weight class, fighters decide how many rounds they will fight against each other.  This could start with just three rounds of five minutes, to fifteen rounds of three minutes.  It depends on the stamina of the fighters.  However, similar to the UFC, both boxers generally will aim to finish the fight as soon as possible.  However, sometimes fighters may have a strategy to win on points, rather than a knockout, and may try to stretch the fight out to go the distance.  Whatever the strategy, both fighters will try to land the most effective punches.  When one fighter is unable to continue fighting, the match stops, no matter which round they're currently in. 

Thus, sports bettors love to pick how many rounds a match will last.  In the NFL, the over/under bet is on the total number of points scored.  But with boxing, you're betting on the number of rounds.  The betting lines could look something like this:

  • Over 11.5 rounds -110
  • Under 11.5 rounds -110

Notice the half-number.  If a round is three minutes long, then half of a round would equal a minute-and-a-half.

On-point betting
Professional boxers score points by landing punches.  The points system works on a 10-point scale.  There are judges who decide, for each round, how many points both fighters receive.  Usually, the more effective fighter receives 10 points, while the other receives nine.  There are a couple of other scenarios:

  • The round is even: both fighters receive 10 points
  • When a fighter is knocked down, they lose points
  • When both fighters get knocked down, they cancel each other out, and no points are subtracted
  • When a fighter commits a foul, he could lose a point

The on-point betting system can be seen as the point spread bet.  You can bet on which fighter has a stronger chance of winning when it comes down to the points.  You predict which fighter might win and by how many points.

Boxing prop betting:  method of victory, number of rounds & more
In a boxing match, there's a lot that can happen.  We've seen Mike Tyson bite someone's ear, and that's not even the wildest thing to occur.  It's a sport where adrenaline rushes at high speed, and fighters literally give their all to win.  With boxing props, you can bet on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain events in a match.  These events might not directly correlate with the outcome of the match.  We'll show a couple of examples:

  • Mike Tyson to win by KO (knockout)
  • Will there be a technical knockout (TKO)?
  • Will any of the fighters get knocked down by the other?
  • Will there be a point deduction?
  • Will the fight go to a decision based on points?
  • Will there be a disqualification (DQ)?

Individual bookmakers might ever offer more absurd prop bets like the color of boxing shorts, the number of coaches around the ring, or the number of times the referee stops the fight.  Note that live betting usually also falls under the category of prop betting.

Anyone who enjoys taking an inordinate amount of risk could choose the parlay route.  With parlays, you combine several straight-up bets into one betting slip.  This will create a situation where each of your bets has to be successful before you have a winning ticket.  If just one bet is wrong, your entire parlay would lose, and you end up with empty pockets.

How do boxing odds work?
When you're aware of all the different bet types, it's time to dive into the boxing odds.  Anyone familiar with sports betting, in general, will understand boxing odds straightaway.  They aren't any different from the betting odds that other sports use.  To adequately explain the boxing odds, let's take the example we previously used:

  • Canelo Alvarez +130
  • Floyd Mayweather -150

In this example, Alvarez is the underdog, while Mayweather is the favorite.  When you want to win $100 betting on Mayweather, you would stake $150.  When you're on the side of Alvarez, you would need to stake $100 to win $130.  This is the same process as other major sports like football or basketball.

Boxing betting tips

When you're aware of the basics of boxing betting, it's time to dive into the tips that we want to share.  You can do all the research yourself, or you can rely on professional handicappers, like us, and learn from our years of experience.  We've seen it all when it comes to sports betting, and we want to share it with you!

Do proper research
In sports betting, there's not a single professional handicapper who entirely relies on his gut feeling.  Handicapping is a deliberate process that requires hours of hard work. To find value in the available betting lines, and to be able to make the right decision, you need to do your research.  In boxing, it's no different, but it requires a different way to conduct your research than in team sports like football and basketball.  Some statistics to consider when looking into a boxing match:

  • Basic statistics like weight, height, age, reach, track record, and experience - when a middleweight fights against a heavyweight, you have a mismatch.
  • Previous opponents - does the fighter have the right experience?
  • Boxing style - the fighting style can tell a lot about the match.  When one fighter is known for his strength but is a slow fighter, the opponent who's known for quick jabs might have the upper hand. 
  • Physical condition - is the fighter in form, and what is his motivation to win?

There's always more you can dive into, and there's never too much to research.  However, don't think you need to know every single detail before you can make a proper decision.

Manage your bankroll
When you start sports betting, you should be aware of the risk that you can lose money.  You're literally putting your money on the line, so it's you who should think rationally and understand what you're risking.  If you're anxious about your finances and realize you can't afford to lose a couple of bets, then don't go into sports betting.  It's essential to create a plan for yourself and think about the following:

  • How much are you comfortable with losing?
  • How much do you want to wager per bet?
  • What percentage of your bankroll do you wager per bet?
  • What is the amount you want to attain before you withdraw funds?
  • What are the highest odds you are willing to entertain?

All of this boils down to the question:  how much risk do you want to take?  Our advice is to always be cautious, and not be too greedy.  Yes, you're in this to make money, but you should realize that it takes money to make money.

Pick the right sportsbook and access the best betting odds
In any sport, it's important to have access to the right betting odds. You're betting against the house, and the house wants nothing more than to win. They want to give you proper odds, of course.  But the bookmaker will always have an advantage.  And this house edge is called the vigorish, or juice.  This edge is calculated by reviewing the betting odds that you can see on the different sportsbooks.  In sports betting, most sportsbooks have standard odds, where they will make both sides in an even competition -110.  In other words, you have to lay $110 to win $100.  But some sportsbooks, like our #1-rated sportsbook, BetAnySports, have reduced juice.  At BetAnySports, you only have to lay -105 rather than -110, so the odds are much more favorable to bettors.

When picking a sportsbook, don't overdo the thinking process. And, these days, you can switch between sportsbooks in a matter of minutes.  Also understand that most gamblers have accounts at three to five sportsbooks.  Being registered with multiple sportsbooks allows you to shop the lines, and gives you access to the best betting odds all the time.  It might not matter for just one bet, but we're assuming you're here for a sustainable career in sports betting.  When you calculate all the small differences in the betting odds, it adds up fast.  So, always strive to bet at the best odds.  And should you need advice on which books to join, then be sure to read our Top 10 Sportsbooks reviews.

Alright, are you ready to discover the next Mayweather and wager on him in each of his matches?  Boxing is an exhilarating sport where anything can happen.  It only takes a second for a fighter to lose his focus and get knocked out.  It's a sport that's hard to predict at times, but when you find the value, you'll love watching every second of it.  Good luck with all your wagers!

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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