Some inexperienced bettors make the mistake of believing that the only way to bet on a boxing match is to bet on who will win. This is the most common type of boxing bet, but there are many other options that a bettor can utilize to maximize entertainment and profit. Here are some descriptions of each of the popular types of boxing bets.
Money Lines – In a combat sport between two opponents, the most obvious and popular bet is simply on who will win the fight. Moneylines can vary drastically depending on the talent and style discrepancy between the two boxers. Money line favorites into the -1000’s (bet $1000 to win $100) are common in lopsided fights, as are underdogs in the +1000’s (bet $100 to win $1000) that have very little chance.
The more lopsided the matchup, the more juice there is between the two sides. For example, a favorite of -3000 would likely be up against an underdog of +1500, while a favorite of -175 has much less juice against a +145 underdog. The knockout punch is a key factor in boxing; when betting big favorites, bettors should stick to those that aren’t prone to knockouts. Underdogs that pack a nice knockout punch, on the other hand, are particularly enticing.
Over/Unders – Each boxing match has a set number of rounds, generally in the 10 to 12 range. Bookmakers set an Over/Under total somewhere below that number of rounds, and bettors can bet on whether the fight will go OVER or UNDER the set total. For example, if the line is set at 6, a match that ends in rounds 1 through 5 is an UNDER, and any round after 7 is an OVER. Bookmakers set these lines based on the styles of the boxers; if two wild-swinging heavyweights are going at it, chances of a knockout or TKO (technical knockout) are high, and the Over/Under will be set fairly low. Two skilled technical boxers in a lower weight class will have a much higher total, since their fight is more likely to go to the cards.
Draws – In addition to betting on who will win the fight on the moneyline, many sportsbooks offer the option of betting on a draw. Draws are quite rare in boxing; if there is no knockout, the match goes to the judges table, where three judges give their scores and a winner is usually decided. But in some cases, a judge may score a fight a draw; and if the other two judges split their decision, the result of the fight is a draw. Because of the rare nature of draws, payouts are very high on these bets, often upwards of +1000 and higher still when it isn’t an even matchup. Bettors that pick their spots wisely, especially in matches with evenly-matched fighters, can cash in big when a draw bet hits.
Parlays – A bettor can parlay one or more boxers together, and the wager only cashes if every boxer in the parlay wins. The most popular use of parlays in boxing is alleviating the juice on heavy favorites. Instead of betting three fighters a bettor is sure will win at -400, -550, and -675, a bettor can opt to parlay all three together for a much better payout if indeed they all win.
Proposition – Bigger matches tend to include a set of proposition bets in which a bettor can bet on many more specific events in a fight than just who will win and whether it will go Over/Under the bookmaker’s set total of rounds. Prop bets vary from book to book, but in many cases bettors can bet on things such as the exact number of rounds a match will go or whether a particular fighter will win via knockout or decision.
Bettors can also bet more exotic props such as Over/Unders on punches thrown or landed or how many times a boxer will be knocked down. The more specific the prop, the better the payout if it hits; so if you’ve handicapped a match in-depth and have a good indication of how and when it will end, props may be the way to go.