Boxing may not be even close to what it used to be, but when there’s a fight in Vegas, there’s always a solid buzz for the week leading up to it.
First and foremost, your betting options begin with who you think will win the fight. This is called the moneyline. Typically there will be a favorite and an underdog. If you take the underdog, the line will always begin with a “+” sign and the net win will pay more than what you bet. An example would be if Winnie the Pooh was boxing Mike Tyson, and you bet $10 on Winnie at a payout of +120, your net win will be $12. The +120 means for every $1 you bet, you will win $1.20.
When you take the favorite, it starts with a “-“sign, meaning your net win will be less than whatever you bet. An example would be if Tyson was -200 to win, and you bet $10, your net win will only be $5. The -200 means for every $1 you bet, you will in 50 cents. $2 will win $1. $3 will win $1.50, and so on. Taking the favorite always sounds like a ripoff, but it depends how likely you think it is that the favorite wins. If you like your chances on Mike Tyson vs. Winnie the Pooh at those odds, then maybe you go for it and lay the odds.
You can also predict how long you think the fight will last. This is called the “over/under” or the “total”. Boxing has rounds that are 3 minutes long, with a short rest in between. Depending on the weight class and experience level of the fighters, as well as the significance of the fight, like if it were a championship bout, determines how many rounds the fight will be. The longest you see now is 12 rounds. If the over/under is shown as 6.5 rounds, that means if you think it will be a short fight if you bet the under, and a long one if you take the over.
Sometimes you have no opinion on who you think will win, but you may be expecting either a fast and furious bloodbath, or a meticulous and conservative fight. Betting on the over/under means the payout will be -110 no matter which side you take. A sportsbook could potentially adjust the payout of a particular side along the way, but would only considering doing so if the majority of the wagers was coming in on one side.
A very exciting and popular boxing bet is in what way do you think the winner of the match will defeat their opponent. An example would be:
Tim Bradley by decision +200
Tim Bradley by KO or TKO +135
Oscar the Grouch by decision -180
Oscar the Grouch by KO or TKO -140
When the fight goes to a “decision”, that means neither fighter has beaten the other before the final bell, and that the 3 judges scoring the fight will determine who wins with a point system. The winner of each round receives 10 points, and the loser gets 9. However points can be deducted at the discretion of the referee as a result of misconduct, or breaking rules. Like punching below the belt, or biting off their ear. Fighters will often receive a warning for the first time they do something like this, especially if the referee determines it was done on accident.
KO means “Knockout” and TKO means “Technical Knockout”. TKO is when the referee intentionally stops the fight because one fighter is losing badly and now things could get dangerous.
A tie means that the combined scores for the 3 judges added up to the same number of points for each fighter.
A parlay is a type of bet that requires you to make multiple predictions, and in order for you to win they must all be correct. If there’s 8 or 10 fights going on a particular night, and you really love who you think will win in 2 of them, you can parlay both of them to win and get a better payout if they both win than if you just bet each of them straight up. It’s a simple higher risk higher reward scenario since if you do bet each fighter straight up, and 1 out of 2 win, you still get to cash in a ticket.
Above were the main options that go into consideration for placing a bet on boxing. But sometimes there’s more to choose from. “Prop Bets” are unique and very specific predictions that don’t necessarily concern the outcome of the fight. You won’t be given these choices unless it’s for a very big fight. Some examples are predicting exactly how many rounds the fight will go, including if you think the fight will go the entire distance.
Picking how many rounds the fight will go also extends to who you think will knock out who, and in what round. You can bet on if you think neither fighter will be knocked down at any point, or if either or both of them will. Having all of these extra choices just makes the fight night that much more exciting. Even if you aren’t betting on any of these, there’s a good chance you will be with someone who is, and it’s just another thing to be thinking about while you are watching.