Today, the gambling industry is awash with a huge amount of choice when it comes to sport, but there was a time when one sport dominated them all – boxing. Boxing and gambling has gone hand in hand since the mid-19th century, with as much talk about the odds and lines as there is about the action in the ring itself. Although it has to be said that in times past there was always been a suspicion that boxing and gambling were too closely linked on occasions.
Today, there have never been more options for the boxing fan to have a financial interest in the fight, with more sportsbooks than ever before offering an ever wider range of in-fight markets.
This page covers Boxing betting in depth, starting with the most popular bets plus the alternative lines offered by leading sportsbooks. Betting on boxing with an edge is then outlined; before I go on to cover the sportsbooks which offer the best service for boxing fans.
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Betting on Boxing
The most popular and talked about wager in boxing is the straightforward ‘To win fight’ market, where as long as your boxer is the one with his arms in the air at the end of night, you’re in the money, whether they win by a knockout, on points or even by a split decision. Some of the most famous stories in boxing revolve around this market. A prime example being when James ‘Buster’ Douglas upset the then undefeated Mike Tyson at incredible odds of 42/1 back in 1990. The other markets which grab the most attention are the method of victory, where you’ll choose both the winner of the fight and whether it was a stoppage or on points, and the total rounds line, where you’ll predict if the fight will go under or over a stated amount of rounds.
Alternate Bets on Boxing
The larger the event, the more choices you’ll have at the sportsbooks, especially when it comes to the big pay-per-view fights. ‘Round Betting’ can be particularly popular, especially for those who like to bet at longer odds. Some of the more confident fighters will actually nominate which round they think they’ll finish the fight, which will see the sportsbooks rapidly shortening the odds as the money comes flying in. ‘Round Group Betting’ offers slightly smaller odds, where you’ll choose a range of rounds – for example you might want to bet on Manny Pacquiao to win in rounds 7 to 9 (you’ll generally find that three rounds are grouped together). A more simple betting market with either a yes/no answer is ‘Will the fight go the distance’, a wager which might be ideal if you think the contest will be either a war or a bore, but you’re just not sure which fighter will be the victor. The super fights might see further additional betting offers and prop bets.
Betting on Boxing with an Edge
When betting on boxing, there can be a difficulty as there are far fewer stats available than there are at other sports. For example, you might know that a boxer has a record of 38-1 with 13 knockouts, but what does this really tell you? These figures alone tell you very little, as you’ll have no idea of the caliber of the opponents, so simply comparing two fighters based on just these numbers is a recipe for disaster. A prime example is the undefeated fighter early in his career – just because he is undefeated doesn’t actually mean he is a good fighter; he might just have faced a series of bums, it being in the interest of both the fighter and the promoter that he remains undefeated. However, this lack of stats can actually work in your favor, as the sportsbooks who set their lines have the same lack of information, and a little bit of work can give you an edge over the line makers.
Your first step when assessing a fight should be to look at the record of the fighters more closely and see exactly who they have fought previously and their records. A popular resource is www.boxrec.com which lists every fighter on the planet and one click can take you to the record of each of his opponents. You should ask questions, such as ‘Has he fought an opponent of this caliber before?’, ‘Is the boxer improving, at the prime of his career, or now past his best?’ and ‘How does the boxer perform against a fighter with a high knockout percentage?’ Having looked at the complete career records, you’ll have a much better feel for the fight. At this site you’ll also find a point based ranking list, which is put together using a highly complicated formula – but this can be a great resource for comparing two fighters.
YouTube is also your friend, especially when assessing a big fight. Why not take a look at the last two or three fights of each fighter, paying close attention to both his offense and defense. The headlines might have shown that a fighter won with a 6th round knockout last time out, but you might spot that he was leaving himself wide open and was lucky not to have hit the canvas himself.
You should also ensure you are gaining value with every bet. Make sure you are receiving the best odds you can and take into consideration bonuses and offers too, especially if gambling at a particular site for the first time, where you’ll gain the biggest and best bonuses.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to beating the sports betting sites when betting on boxing, but if you do put the work in you can certainly gain an edge. There is nothing more satisfying than studying a fight, putting your hard earned dollars down and then seeing the fight going exactly how you though it would.
Best Sportsbooks for Boxing
You’ll find a wide range of sportsbooks offering a variety of markets on a large number of bouts.
Bovada sportsbook ensure that the lines are up early and offer a good range of fights and the popular markets. This popular sportsbook specialize with a variety of prop bets on the biggest fight nights.
5Dimes focus on offering some of the best odds you’ll find for boxing online, not always following the industry ‘standard’ lines and making a stand on one side or the other of a market. Like Bovada, you’ll find a nice range of prop bets.
For non-US bettors, Bet 365 offer odds on the largest amount of bouts – if a fight is on somewhere in the world, you’ll be able to place a bet. They also specialize in offering a large range of bets on each individual fight.