Top 10 ways to bet the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight
21 Aug 2017
By Gary Trask
By Gary Trask
Ever since the “super fight” between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was announced back in the spring, a flood of bets has been pouring in on the underdog, McGregor. In fact, the action has been so hot and heavy on the UFC-star-turned-boxer that the odds have plummeted to as low as 4-to-1 on Mayweather to win at some books, after they opened as high as 25-to-1.
"We are hoping that McGregor’s two-round knockout prediction with the smaller gloves doesn’t ring true," said Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill US Director of Trading. "As of it today, it would be our worst sports result ever."
Dave Mason, from BetOnline Sports, reports that 89% of the wagers he has taken on the fight have been on McGregor, adding, "I predict this will be the biggest non-Super Bowl exposure in the history of the company."
Same goes for CG Technology's VP of Risk Management Jason Simbal, who told us last week that the nine sportsbooks it operates in Nevada had already taken more money on the fight than any other boxing match this year and while they had taken 13 times more bets on McGregor, they have three times more money on Mayweather.
"The McGregor bettors are smaller, like $50 or $100," he explained. "But you have to remember that even though we have more money on Mayweather, if those bets win, the player is winning much, much less than what the guys betting McGregor will collect."
There's a reason why we called this event a "spectacle" at the top of this column, rather than a boxing match. Put us down in the camp that believes this is a total money grab for both boxers and everyone else that will line their pockets with cash. But don't get me wrong, I applaud the powers that be for actually making this fight a reality. To their credit, the promotional press conferences did exactly what they were supposed to do. The entire world has been captivated. And, trust me, Las Vegas is going to be absolute bedlam come this weekend.
Having said all of that, yes, I will be watching, not only for the entertainment value, but with the hopes of making a little coin myself. In the days after the fight was announced, I made it clear why McGregor has no chance of beating Mayweather, and I stand by that prediction. But, just like the Super Bowl, the fight on Saturday night has also provoked sportsbooks to come up with an array of other ways to bet the fight rather than just who will win.
So, after much research and analysis, here are 10 ways we recommend investing in McGregor-Mayweather on Saturday night in an effort to help it flirt with topping the $50 million betting handle that the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight generated two years ago.
Let's get ready to rumble . . .
10. Under number of PPV purchases
Like any big betting event, the good folks offshore have managed to come up with some creative prop bets that have nothing to do with the actual fight. While land-based sportsbooks are mostly limited to offering results that will actually be in the official box score or stat sheet, anything is fair game offshore.
We'll wager $100 to win $135, at BetOnline, that the number of pay-per-view buys will be under five million. The all-time PPV record is the 4.6 million generated by the aforementioned Mayweather-Pacquiao bout, and despite the enormous hype and anticipation for Saturday night, we don't think it will hit the five million plateau.
There were a lot of fringe boxing fans that bit the bullet and paid the $99 to watch Mayweather-Pacquiao, and the fight was a bust. A lot of those same people will remember how ripped off they felt the last time and won't get sucked into buying this time around. Secondly, I have a hunch that there are a ton of "true" boxing fans out there that think this fight is a joke and will boycott by not watching. Plus, those same fans would much rather save their money and buy the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight championship fight that will also be held in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena and most certainly will be a more entertaining battle of skilled boxers.
9. Yes, they will touch gloves
We'll stay at BetOnline for one more wager and lay $145 to win $100 that Mayweather and McGregor will touch gloves as a show of sportsmanship before the fight.
Look, I realize that at the staged press conferences over the last few months it appears that these two guys hate each other, but that's just part of the script. Together, they are about to generate a purse that will exceed $300 million. I think deep down they truly admire each other and when the time comes that they go face-to-face to hear the instructions from the referee, the selling part will be over. They will respect tradition and touch gloves.
8. Hedge bet: McGregor at 100-to-1
As you read back in June and as you'll see in the remaining wagers on this list, we're banking on Mayweather winning this fight and winning it easily. But, thanks to the folks at BetVictor Sports, we're going to hedge our laundry list of bets on Mayweather and take McGregor at 100-to-1 odds.
Sort of . . .
No, BetVictor Sports hasn’t lost its mind. It's just a fun promotion to draw new players, who after depositing £5 or more, can place a bet (£1 maximum stake) at the normal price on McGregor to win the fight. If he pulls off the upset, we will be paid the normal price in cash, with the balance credited in free bets shortly after settlement, bringing the total returns up to the enhanced price of 100-to-1. So we’ll bet the max on McGregor at BetVictor and hope this is the only bet of the night we are on the wrong side of.
7. Mayweather to win in Rounds 10-12
In addition to firmly believing Mayweather wins in a walk, we also predict this will be a long fight, and that will play into many of our bets.
Why? Simply by looking at Mayweather’s past history. He’s 49-0 and while 26 of those wins have come via the knockout, 12 of his last 15 fights have gone the distance, including the last seven. That means he hasn’t knocked an opponent out since September 2011, when Victor Ortiz went down for the count in the fourth round in a WBC welterweight title bout.
And the last time Mayweather had a fight go less than four rounds was December 1998, a span of 30 fights over the course of almost 19 years.
With that kind of history in our favor, we’re going to place a few bets that correlate to a long fight and, of course, a Mayweather win.
USFantasy, the new pari-mutuel odds format available in the state, has offered a wide selection of odds for Mayweather-McGregor. At this writing, we see Mayweather to win in Rounds 10-12 at inviting 35-to-1 odds. Of course, since this is pari-mutuel odds, that number may shift dramatically. Either way, we’ll risk $100 on Mayweather to end this fight between Round 10-12 at USFantasy.
6. Cross-sport prop #1
Jay Kornegay and his intrepid staff at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino not only have one of my very favorite sportsbooks in Las Vegas, but they also are renowned for their array of prop bets for big events.
Typically, a major boxing match will be worth less than a half dozen props — but the folks at the SuperBook have dug deep for this one, hanging closer to 50 props, including some cross-sport options. This is where we will dive in and lay $110 to win $100 that the total number of rounds completed in the fight is greater than the total touchdowns in Saturday’s college football game between Oregon State and Colorado State (-½).
The total in the OSU-CSU game has dropped from an opener of 62 to 60.5, which tells us some sharp money has come in on the under. Digging deeper, we find that both teams have veteran defenses (eight starters returning for each team) and inexperienced offensive lines, meaning points may be hard to come by. Using the 60.5 total as a barometer and the thinking that this game will go under, we’re targeting the total number of TDs to be in the 7 or 8 range, and we’re comfortable betting that the fight will go at least eight rounds.
5. Cross-sport prop #2
We’ll go with another college football, cross-sport prop courtesy of the Westgate here and lay $220 to win $200 that Floyd Mayweather’s total number of punches landed will be greater than the total rushing yards by Stanford running back Bryce Love (-20.5) in his team’s game against Rice on Saturday night.
At BetOnline, the over/under for total punches landed by Mayweather is 105.5, but in his last five fights, Mayweather has landed an average of 201 punches, including 232 in his most recent bout, a 12-round unanimous decision over Andre Berto in September 2015. As you can tell from the BetOnline total, Mayweather is expected to land a lot less punches than usual, but that may be based on the fight lasting less rounds than we expect, so we wouldn’t be surprised if McGregor gets labeled with closer to 130 punches or so, and we're getting a 20.5 head start here.
As for Love, the junior running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game just three times in his career. Now, granted, this is his first season as a starter, but we don’t see head coach David Shaw feeding him with the ball too much in this game, for a few reasons.
First off, this game is being played in Australia, which is 7,400 miles away from the Stanford campus and required a 14-hour flight. Stanford is favored by 31 points, meaning the outcome of the game will likely already be decided early in the second half. Shaw is a very conservative head coach. Next on the schedule for the Cardinal is a 9 September road tilt against rival Southern Cal, a game that literally could define both teams’ season and chances for a national title. There is no way Shaw is going to risk injury or unnecessary fatigue and have his potentially dehydrated starting running back on the field in the fourth quarter with his team already ahead by three touchdowns, especially with what’s at stake in their next game.
4. Look out below!
Part of the reason we’re betting McGregor will lose Saturday night is that he is not a boxer. He’s used to UFC rules where he goes into an octagon, not a ring, barefoot with the ability to kick and use his elbows and knees as weapons. A fight with real boxing rules is going to be unorthodox for him, so we will not be surprised if he throws a few shots below the belt — intentionally or unintentionally — on Saturday night.
He may do it because he’s not used to boxing. Or he may stoop to that level as he becomes frustrated by not being able to land a glove on Mayweather, who, by the way, is probably the best defensive boxer of all time.
At MyBookie Casino, we can lay $100 to win $140 that either fighter will be warned for a low blow, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.
3. Under 1.5 total knockdowns
We have a feeling that come late Saturday night, there are going to be a lot of unhappy fight fans (except, of course, those that follow our lead on these 10 bets). While Mayweather is undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers of all time, he’s also probably one of the most boring. He is nearly impossible to hit. He plays a defensive game. If he were a hockey team, he’s dump and chase. If he were a basketball team, he’d play four corners. What he won’t do is try to get into a brawl with McGregor. He will meticulously jab and move, pick his spots and land big punches here and there.
In other words, don’t expect either of these guys to go to the canvas too often.
So, let’s go to Paddy Power Sportsbook and lay $150 to win $100 that there will be less than 1.5 knockdowns.
2. Cross-sport prop #3
Using the same logic above, we'll go to Bovada Sportsbook and risk $105 to win $100 that Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins will have more home runs on Saturday than McGregor will have knockdowns.
Mayweather has only been knocked down once in his career, way back in 2001 when he fought Carlos Hernandez. And it wasn't exactly a clear knock out. As seen by this video, it was more of a fall down than a knockdown:
So you see why we'd be shocked if he hits the canvas at all on Saturday, which means this bet would be a bit of a free roll. If Stanton, who leads all of baseball in home runs this season, fails to go deep and Mayweather remains on his two feet the entire match, it's a push.
Stanton's Marlins will be playing at home versus San Diego. Marlins Park is not a great home run park, but the Padres' pitching staff has allowed the eighth-most homers in Major League Baseball and as of Monday, Stanton had hit at least one home run in 11 of out his last 16 games.
We also have the odds in our favor. At the Westgate SuperBook, you can bet Mayweather NOT to get knocked down at -600 odds, which means they think there is only a 15% chance it will happen. Stanton has hit at least one home run in 20 of 62 home games this season, a 32% average.
Oh, and if somehow Mayweather does get knocked down there is still hope, since Stanton has eight multi-home run games this season, also a MLB best.
1. Mayweather to win
This is the bet we’ve been waiting to place ever since the fight became official.
There are a couple good reasons why nearly 90% of the action has been on McGregor thus far. First, it’s mostly public bettors. And public bettors love to “bet a little to win a lot.” Secondly, the smart bettors out there that want to back Mayweather know this. They realize the number may keep dropping from an opener Mayweather as a double-digit favorite to as low as 4-to-1. When all those crazy McGregor fans descend upon Las Vegas this week and start betting on their man as if the fight has already happened, the liability for the books will grow and at some point they may be forced to drop it even lower. So, the sharp bettors will wait, and wait, and wait for the best number to flash, and then fire away.
For the sake of this column, we can’t wait any longer and, quite honestly, we may never see a better price than 4-to-1. So, for our final bet, we dial up the folks at Bovada Sportsbook and lay $400 to win $100 on Mayweather.
With a grand total of $1,370 of our bankroll at risk, here’s hoping Mayweather wins by TKO in the 11th round, leading us to a windfall of winning tickets. And if McGregor wins by knockout in the first few rounds, well, you’ll know why we fail to show up for work next Monday morning.
Enjoy the mayhem.