Vegas books are going to need Mayweather
April 21, 2015 3:00 AM
by Micah Roberts
Last week we talked about how Manny Pacquiao money was dwarfing the overall pool and wondered when Floyd Mayweather money would show before the May 2 Fight of the Century at the MGM Grand.
The answer was quickly revealed within days as reports from all over town said Mayweather money has been rapidly showing to the point where the line was moving back up closer to where it started.
Wynn Las Vegas opened Mayweather -260, but got driven down to -185 until Mayweather money started pushing the price back up to -215. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook was as low as -190 and is now at -215.
MGM Resorts sports books opened Mayweather at -240 and saw it bet down all the way to -170 with Pacquiao money until bettors waiting with Mayweather dollars finally saw the value and drove it back to -200.
“It hasn’t been anything real big that pushed us, but it’s been a large accumulation of cash that has shown recently, which forced us to move,” said MGM Resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood.
When Rood is talking about BIG wagers, he’s usually talking seven figure bets.
“We’ve taken probably 12 to 15 wagers in the six figures range with the largest bet at about a half-million, but we’ve also taken tons of wagers in the 10-to-50 range (thousands).”
The largest bet taken between MGM’s 10 sports books across the Strip was on Pacquiao last week, which at the time dropped the number down to a city low of -170 (Station Casinos also got that low).
“I think by the time betting goes off that everyone (other Vegas books) is going to be in the same boat needing Mayweather,” Rood said.
There’s been all kinds of speculation about how much money this fight will attract across Las Vegas and the entire state. Some say as high as $200 million, others $50M.
Because MGM books will play such a huge role in the wagering with pay-per-view parties at their properties as well as the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, their books should be expected to handle at least half the state’s volume.
“My guess on the handle statewide would probably be at least $80 million,” Rood said.
Nevada Gaming doesn’t keep track of official boxing handle for each big bout like they do for the Super Bowl, but Rood keeps his own numbers.
“I went back and checked our volume over the past eight years, and as of last Wednesday, the handle we’ve had already on Mayweather/Pacquiao makes it our sixth largest handled fight. Canelo/Mayweather was our biggest fight over that span.”
And there’s still 13 days of betting action to go, which should see the action far surpass that Canelo/Mayweather fight.
One of the new boxing propositions Rood has added the past year for major bouts is an OVER/UNDER scorecard prop for each fighter – the combined total from each of the three judges’ scorecards.
“We tried it out for the first time in our last big fight and didn’t get too much action on it, but I think with this kind of fight it will certainly create some interest.”
Mayweather has been set at 347.5 and Pacquiao at 336.5.
The Westgate also posted several interesting props such as nine additional round choices. The standard number posted by most books is OVER 11.5 rounds at -330, but the Westgate will let you take UNDER 5.5 rounds at +650.
Westgate also posted several knockdown props and a new spin on the “pick the knockout round” where they combined three rounds together such as Mayweather wins by KO in rounds 10-12 ,which pays 20-to-1.
Fear: We just witnessed Kentucky lose an undefeated season in the Final Four with perhaps their biggest weakness exposed: the fear of losing for the first time.
Mayweather is 47-0 and while he may be the best pound-for-pound boxer of all-time and has shown absolutely no hint of fear, you know losing weighs on him. It has to.
KO, decision or draw?
Mayweather’s past five fights have all been by decision and Pacquiao’s last three fights the same way. It’s likely this one will be as well. But what about the “draw,” which has been bet down from 20-1 to 8-1? Is it impossible to believe both fighters score well and each win some rounds leaving a tough choice to three judges?
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at MicahRoberts@GamingToday.com.