Boxing Odds

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

How to Read Boxing Betting Odds

Boxing odds are a cinch. Once you understand how the money line works, you’ll be well on your way. Becoming good at boxing wagering, that’s another issue. Simply understanding how the odds work, however, is something that comes pretty easy. The money line is simply a way to express odds.

The vast majority of non-bettors are already familiar with odds. They’ve surely heard countless stories of how Buster Douglas was a 42-to-1 underdog when he beat Mike Tyson in 1990. Or how a fighter on HBO this Saturday is a 6-to-1 favorite. Money lines are pretty much the same thing, but just in a different expression. Here’s an example:

Floyd Mayweather -280 vs. Saul Alvarez +240

The above is a matchup where money lines are used to convey the odds. Floyd Mayweather is the favorite at -280, while Alvarez is the underdog at +240. At -280 on Mayweather, you have to bet $280 for every $100 you want to win. Alvarez at +240 means you get $240 for every $100 you bet.

In every fight that is available for betting, you will see one fighter with a plus-sign and one with a minus-sign. The one with a minus-sign is a favorite and the number next to it is how much you must BET in order to win $100. When a fighter is listed with a plus-sign, he is always the underdog and the number next to the plus-sign is what you WIN if you bet $100.

Note: You don’t have to bet or try to win $100 in a boxing bet. That is just a number used in money line betting to make the odds easy to understand. You can any amount, depending on the limits of your sportsbook and the odds would just break down proportionately.


It’s simply a way to express odds. For example +300 would be the same as a 3-to-1 underdog. If you bet $100 on him, you would win $300. A fighter at -500 is a 5-to-1 favorite and you would need to bet $500 for every $100 you hope to win. Money lines are used partly because fighter odds don’t always fall on a whole number. For example, a fighter who is -360 is a favorite that is almost in the middle of a 3-to-1 and 4-to-1 favorite. To win $100 on that fighter, you would need to bet $360.

Understanding the following 4 concepts will properly arm you to make standard bets on boxing:

1. Minus-sign means a favorite.

2. Plus-sign means underdog.

3. When a favored boxer is minus (put in any number), that is how much you must bet in order to win $100

4. When an underdog boxer is plus (put in any number), that is how much you win if you bet $100.

Totals: Also known as over/under bets, these are wagers where you pick on not who will win the fight, but simply on how long it will last. The bookie posts a number–a projected number of rounds that the fight will last. Here’s an example:

Manny Pacquiao -400 vs. Brandon Rios +300, Total: 10.5 Rounds
Over 10.5 (-240)
Under 10.5 (+180)

Above is a total rounds over/under bet. The total is 10.5 rounds and the over is favored at -240, with the under getting a +180 price. You have two choices, naturally. If you feel the fight will last in excess of 10.5 rounds, you would take the over at -240. You would have to bet $240 for every $100 you wanted to win. If you feel the fight will not last 10.5 rounds at +180, you would bet the under and every $100 you bet would yield $180 in winnings.

It’s not funny when it happens, but a lot of first time totals bettors in boxing will learn this the hard way. In the above fight, for example, the over/under is 10.5 rounds. That means 10.5 completed rounds. A lot of bettors will think the line in the sand in halfway through the 10th round. Again, it’s 10.5 completed rounds and not halfway through the 10th round. Therefore, the official over/under threshold would be at the 1:30 mark of the 11th round.

See, that wasn’t so hard. And even if it still seems a bit foreign and not entirely automatic yet, rest assured that won’t be the case for long. Pretty soon, it will be second-nature and you can get down to the business of picking winners.

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