Boxing Straight Bets

Boxing Betting: Straight Bets (Betting on a Fighter to Win)

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

Before laying any of your hard-earned money on the sport, one should be privy to all the little technical stuff. Betting on boxing seems easy enough. Just pick the guy you think is going to win, right? Well that’s a big part of it–make no mistake. But there are other little wrinkles that can help you make the exact bet you want. Let’s learn the most important thing first.

The Money Line

Boxing bets are made on the money line. You will see a number with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign preceding it which are the odds. Let’s look at the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight as an example. Here is the money line:

Floyd Mayweather -800
Miguel Cotto +500

The minus sign means the fighter is a favorite. The plus sign means that fighter is an underdog. When a fighter is favored, the number shows how much you must bet in order to win $100. So with Mayweather being -800, that means you must wager $800 in order to win $100. So if you bet $800 on Mayweather and he wins, you will collect $900 (your $800 bet and the $100 win).

With Cotto being +500, that means that you would bet $100 to win $500. If you bet $100 on Cotto and he wins, you will collect $600 (your $100 bet and the $500 win). Let’s look at another less-extreme example:

Lennox Lewis -175
Evander Holyfield +145

With your knowledge of money lines, you can now see that Lewis is the favorite (-), while Holyfield is the underdog (+).

When you see a minus sign, that’s how much you have to bet in order to win $100. With the plus sign, that’s how much you receive if you win a $100 wager. Bet $175 on Lewis and you win $100. A winning $100 bet on Holyfield would garner a $145 win. And of course, you always receive the amount you bet back on any winning wager.

Other Considerations

When people talk about fights, they often state the odds in the form of a ratio. How many times have you heard “Buster Douglas beat Tyson as a 45-1 underdog?” It’s actually a myth. If Mike Tyson was a 45-1 favorite, Douglas would not be a 45-1 underdog. It would be closer to 30-1. With hardly any books taking action on the fight, it’s difficult to say, but the line was something like…

Mike Tyson -4500
Buster Douglas +3000

In other words, if you hear that the favored fighter is -800 (8-1), don’t expect that same line on the opposite end of the bet. Notice the Mayweather-Cotto fight. Mayweather is -800, but the opposite side of the bet is not +800, it’s only +500.

When Fights Become Official

Straight bets, or any bets on boxing for that matter, are decided on the night of the fight. When the announcer declares the winner–that’s a wrap. But there are mistakes and other considerations that could throw it into a gray area.

Sometimes, there are errors on the scorecard that aren’t realized until later. Unless the mistake is caught within a few minutes, the original decision will stand. Sportsbooks are not going to pay both sides of the bet and understandably so. And as you know, there is nothing you can do about a bad decision. Since the advent of the sport, results have occurred that leave people thinking they must have heard it wrong. The fighter you bet on can batter his opponent mercilessly for 12 rounds and if the judges give it to the other guy, you just have to take it. Perhaps you can find some comfort in knowing that the same thing has been taking place for over a century. There is nothing particularly special about it–it’s a part of the game.

Also in the last 20 years or so, we’ve seen many fighters test positive for drugs. When the commission learns of the positive test, the winning fighter is stripped of the win.
Unfortunately for losing bettors, this is of little solace. The bets have already been paid out and there is no recourse.

The best place to bet boxing online: Bovada Sportsbook.