Boxing Betting

Understanding Boxing Betting Odds | A 2024 Boxing Guide



It is questionable if we will ever discover the sport on which our ancestors made the first wager. However, basic logic points to boxing as the prime candidate. The sport traces its origin in the Bronze Age, with material and written evidence revealing boxing events draw in big crowds, and its popularity has not subsided. Boxing bouts are still popular, and the same is true for betting – with sportsbooks streamlining the process.

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With the legalization of online sports wagering, there is an outflow of platforms that provide betting opportunities on numerous matches from various federations and promotions. Before formulating a betting slip, it’s crucial to get a grasp of how boxing-betting works. Our guide dissects every detail and is an excellent resource for novice bettors that need boxing betting odds explained.

Deciphering the Boxing Odds

Back in the day, when bare-knuckle boxing was in fashion, the method of betting was rudimentary. People wagered on a fighter to win the duel – there were no questions about “how does boxing betting work” – it was simple. Yet the gambling industry has evolved, and modern online sports betting platforms make it possible to wager on several aspects of a boxing bout.

Therefore, how boxing betting works in the modern era is a frequent question. Everything from the number of rounds the fight will last, the method of victory, and even creative propositions about how the knockout will land are on the table.

However, every betting type gets accompanied by the odds that reveal the potential winning for a correct boxing prediction. Oddsmakers create the betting lines in-house, and although the values can vary between sportsbooks, the format is consistent. There are three types of odds, starting with American odds, decimal, and fractional. American odds are the default setting in sportsbooks in the USA and are the most straightforward format. But the inevitable question is, how do betting odds work in boxing?

Both boxers receive odds, represented with numbers ranging from 100 and upwards, but the crucial difference is in the plus and minus sign before the number. The plus sign indicates the boxer is the favorite in the bout, while the minus denotes the underdog. This is a crucial difference because the payouts get calculated differently.

When betting on the favorite, you risk a larger amount than the one you can make in terms of a win. For example, a boxer with -350 odds means you have to invest $350 to win $100. With an underdog, the opposite is true, and bettors can win more money than they are wagering. In the case of a +250 odds, a $100 bet can potentially generate winnings worth $250. In both cases, players receive the original wagered sum plus the profit amount.

how does boxing betting work

Variations Worth Considering

The minus sign represents the favorite, but what if both boxers get minus odds? There are bouts where both fighters are evenly matched, and the outcome is equal to a flip of the coin. In this case, the sportsbook can provide identical odds. It’s also possible for one boxer to be more favored than another, and the betting lines for the fight to look like Floyd Mayweather -100 vs. Manny Pacquiao -110.

In this case, the oddsmakers believe Floyd had an edge, but realistically the fight can go either way. This is a tactic that sportsbooks use to create an advantage in their favor by not offering true odds and limiting potential payouts. The true odds for a pick’em fight like our example would be +100.

This type of odds are rare and often appear in title matches where both boxers have an exceptional winning record.

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Converting Odds to Percentages

When making bets, bettors rely on their opinions of the two boxers and use analysis that focuses on present form, previous matchup, and current injuries. They all play a role in deciding which fighter stands a greater chance of winning a duel. Yet you can approach the entire selection method differently – by examining which odds provide a better value for a wager.

But how boxing betting works if you want to determine which boxer is worth your wager? You have to estimate which option offers a better chance, contrary to what the odds signal. The question that needs to get answered is, what are a specific fighter's chances in the bout?

This is something the oddsmaker takes into account when preparing the betting lines. If a boxer has -300 odds, that is the same as 3/1 odds, meaning there are three chances out of four the boxer will win. The way you calculate the percentages is with the following formula. You take the offer odds and divide them by the total of the odds plus the wagered sum, basically 300/300+100 = 75% chance for victory.

In the opposite situation, an underdog with +400 odds doesn’t signal that the fighter has one out of five chances to win. It is a 4/1 payoff, meaning the boxer has four times the chance to lose than to win. And expressed in percentage is done by dividing the standard wager of 100 by the odds plus the bet. In this case 100/400+100 = 20%.

When looking at betting lines representing bouts, you must consider which percentage is more promising and wager accordingly. Finally, when observing odds, think in terms of winning percentages.

how boxing betting works

Search for a Potential Upset

Betting on the favorite boxer is typically a logical course of action. The problem is favorites offer small payouts. To win big, you have to wager a substantial sum. And this is not an option for most bettors. Sometimes it makes no sense to bet on +700 odds, where you have to wager $700 to win $100. This is not a great return on investment ratio.

Because of this, seasoned players try to identify an underdog with realistic chances of upsetting the favorite. In boxing, a situation like this occurs frequently. However, if you cannot picture a scenario where the longshot is the last man standing in the ring, do not waste your bucks.

When betting on an underdog, it has to be a fighter that has a solid reputation, and nuances are what made him the longshot in the bout. Boxing promoters don’t pair good fighters with amateurs, as they want a good match and search for up-and-coming boxers or fighters with a solid carrier in the ring.

Examine both fighters' boxing styles and see how they performed in past duels with boxers that practiced the same techniques. The underdog can have a more successful track record against similar fighters. Recent injuries can also undermine a good boxer. Identify the factors that offer the underdog advantages and gamble by wagering on him. The reality is gambling is a game of risk, and you have to be ready to bet on the unexpected to win big.

What Is the Right Price?

In betting lingo, taking a price refers to the underdog. It is a term that shows how much a punter must pay to make the wager. And how much profit can be made from the risk that comes with the bet?

In boxing circles, there is an ongoing debate about the cut-off point at which the bet makes no sense, and one consensus is that +300 odds offer a realistic chance for a win.

But in the end, the value of a bet isn't determined only by the odds. Your knowledge about the boxers and what your instinct is telling you about the fight are equally important.

If you think the favorite is justifiably in that position, but the price for the bet is unrealistically high, you can choose to bet with a different betting type. Check the odds for a round totals or method of victory. Some of the other betting types can have more acceptable odds.

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Types of Boxing Bets

If you are wondering how boxing betting work, it’s good to know there are few boxing bets a punter can make. There is a common misconception among newbie bettors that the only option is to select the winner. However, there are several options to bet on boxing.

  • Money Line: It’s the simplest type of bet, where you get to select the fighter that you expect to win the match.
  • Number of Rounds: This is similar to the over/under bet. The goal is to predict how many rounds the bout will last. A usual total is about 9.5 rounds. And the odds for the under and over will be different, with the over typically offering a smaller payoff.
  • Victory Betting: This bet makes it possible to predict how the victor will triumph. The options are knockout, points, or disqualification. However, you choose the boxer and the method of victory, making it one of the hardest wagers.
  • Proposition Bets: Props are the most entertaining bets, allowing players to wager on various elements of a fight. You can predict the duration of the match, if it will end in a draw, the number of points awarded by judges, and if there will be a knockout.

Final Thoughts

Our in-depth guide makes boxing betting explained in a detailed fashion. In summary, novice bettors must remember that understanding the odds represent a prerequisite for making a wager on boxing. But for a successful betting slip, several other factors have to get considered.

And the same rules apply when other combat sports, such as MMA vs. Boxing, get discussed.

Examining the fighting history, styles of boxing, and physical shape of boxers all play a role in selecting the potential winner.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.