Public buying into McGregor upset over Mayweather
June 20, 2017 3:06 AM
by Vegas Runner
The proposed boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26 KO’s) and Conor McGregor (21-3, 18 KO’s) is no longer just a topic for debate among boxing and mixed martial arts fans.
Instead the conversation has piqued the interest and attracted the attention of even the most casual of sports fans. Ultimately all the hype brought about through extensive media coverage could only lead to one result – turning the idea into a reality.
It’s said “if it makes dollars, then it makes sense.” And if there’s one certainty about the mega-fight being hosted by MGM Grand on Aug. 26, it’s going to generate an obscene amount of dollars. So it should come as no surprise Mayweather vs. McGregor is now official. The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be contested at 154 pounds, with the “boxers” wearing 10 ounce gloves.
Leading up to the fight’s announcement there were a few sportsbooks that already had a betting line available. Obviously it was more a marketing ploy than anything else, as the betting limits were very small. That all changed the other day when it became official and every bookmaker joined in on the action.
Initially the market average listed Mayweather as a -1000 betting favorite, with the take-back on McGregor at +700. But that price did not last long at all, as bettors wasted no time in backing their opinion up with their money. One-sided money on the underdog forced the price to drop significantly within just two hours of the fight being scheduled, both here in Las Vegas and off-shore.
In fact, the betting action on McGregor has been so unbalanced, especially here in Las Vegas, that Mayweather is now as low as -600 on the Strip. I expect that trend to continue at least until we get closer to fight night. As I’ve mentioned multiple times in my column over the years, unlike most sports where casual bettors have a bias toward favorites, they tend to back the underdog in fights. The prospect of risking a little to win a lot is much more inviting than doing the opposite.
Surprisingly, most casual bettors I spoke to while visiting multiple sportsbooks over the weekend thought the line was way off. They believed the favorite was priced too high and the value was on McGregor, even at the current odds. I found that shocking, especially when compared to the betting line for many of Mayweather’s past bouts.
In just his last fight against Andre Berto, Mayweather was a -3000 favorite. Keep in mind that as an amateur Berto won Golden Gloves, took a bronze medal at the World Championships, and represented Haiti in the Olympics. Then as a professional boxer, Berto became a two-time former welterweight world champion.
Even with such an impressive “boxing” resume the betting market reflected he was an enormous underdog to defeat Mayweather. In fact, based on the current betting line, Mayweather was an even greater favorite against Miguel Cotto and Marcos Maidana than he is right now against McGregor.
The main reason for this is the fact oddsmakers were well aware which fighter the “public” would be backing, and with that knowledge they shaded the line to reflect that bias. Simply put, why allow bettors to get +1000 when they’re willing to take +500, even if wiseguys and betting syndicates take advantage. Because rest assured, with the social media frenzy that’s coming surrounding this fight and all the coverage it’ll receive between now and fight night, the bulk of the money bet will come from casual bettors.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all unfolds, especially from a betting perspective. Over the next few weeks I’ll be covering this spectacle much more thoroughly, as well as offer my prediction and betting plan for the bout. Now I know there are many who may be criticizing the fact this fight is even taking place, and you may have an argument.
Personally, as both a professional sports bettor and fan, I honestly couldn’t be happier that it’s happening. Not only will we be treated to two months of entertainment in the lead-up, but I’m confident the opportunity to make a nice score will present itself for us, too.