It is fair to say that boxing has endured its fair share of ups and downs over the years but it remains a sport with a large and committed following. In addition to all the boxing gyms you will find across the planet, there are many people who simply enjoy watching the action, with little desire to step into a ring themselves. As for us, we certainly fall within the latter category!
Over the years, boxing has had a close relationship with betting too. Whenever a big fight comes around you can be sure there will be many people looking to stake some money on the outcome. Take the Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor fight in 2017. In Nevada alone, $65m was wagered on the contest, exceeding the $50m placed on Mayweather versus Pacquiao two years before. Move across the Atlantic to the UK and Betfair revealed that £59m was traded on Mayweather versus McGregor, a number higher than anything they had ever received for a single football match.
When it comes to your betting options, it is not just these massive events that come with plenty of variety. Although some minor fights may come with no additional markets (depending on your bookmaker), for most contests your betting possibilities extend much further than just backing the winner. In this boxing betting guide, we will cover all of the most widely available markets so that you know exactly what to expect when staking your money.
Most Popular Boxing Bets
As a spectator sport, boxing is really one that gets the blood pumping through your veins. In a winner takes all environment, you will have two fighters digging deep and withstanding a battering in the process as the crowd roars them on. Combining the likes of power, aggression and toughness with technique, agility and tactical nous, it is a sport that poses a rather unique challenge.
Some of you may have your favourite fighters already while others are simply happy to cheer on the one they have put money on. Placing bets on a fight is an easy way of gaining a temporary allegiance to one corner and increasing your emotional investment. While this is a common approach, some people employ a reverse tactic of staking money against their favoured boxer, just to ensure a consolation prize comes their way should they lose.
Whatever your reasons for gambling on boxing though, there are a few markets that relate to backing the winner. As we will now explore, not only can you bet on the victor outright but for improved odds, you can bet on the timing of their victory or indeed the method of their victory.
Match odds might sound a little complicated but this is your main, ‘who will win’ market with no strings attached. For this, you simply need to decide who will triumph in the fight and then determine your stake accordingly. Now, the vast majority of boxing matches will end up with a winner even though a draw is always a possibility. Draws are something of a rarity in boxing though and typically you will find odds between 18/1 and 33/1 on a tie although they can very occasionally be lower.
So, while you may occasionally feel very brave and plump for a draw, in most instances, you will no doubt pick one of the two fighters to prosper. The odds on backing the winner can vary massively as boxing is no stranger to complete mismatches. At the time of writing, Anthony Yarde was a tiny price of just 1/100 to win a stat-padding fight with Germany’s Emin Atra. This fight was followed by Lydon Arthur (1/50) up against Davide Faraci (16/1). At the other end of the scale, you do also see fights where there is nothing or virtually nothing to separate the involved pair. In such cases, both boxers will be trading narrowly short of even money. Jack Cullen for example was available at 10/11 to get the better of Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (5/6).
So, unless you are willing to bet huge money or you are chancing your luck on a real outsider, the match odds market is unlikely to provide you with big returns. This is unless you decide to pick the winner of multiple fights and combine them into one bet. You will find more information on multiple bets further down this betting guide!
Method of Victory
One way of unlocking improved odds in boxing is picking not just the winner but their method of victory. The odds improve because for this market there becomes five options rather than the standard three. In addition to a draw, each fighter will have two-win possibilities, either a. a fighter wins by knockout (KO), technical knockout (TKO), or disqualification (DQ) or b. a fighter wins by points, decision or technical decision. Note that some bookmakers do not include disqualification alongside a knockout or technical knockout win.
Now, what you will find is that a decision or technical decision win tends to come at a lower price for lower weight category fights. Let us take Tommy Frank’s flyweight rematch with Rosendo Hugo Guarneros. The Sheffield-born boxer, who was priced at just 1/7 to win the bout, was 4/9 to win on points or by decision compared to 4/1 to win by KO or TKO.
Compare this to Tyson Fury against Deontay Wilder and the difference is stark. Fury, priced at odds of 2/7 for the fight win, was available at just 5/6 to win by KO or TKO but you could snap him up at 13/5 to win by points or decision.
So, as a general rule, the heavier the fighters get, the more the odds will favour a KO or TKO. It makes perfect sense too because the bigger guys can simply punch harder. Regardless of the weights though, selecting a method of victory will unlock a better price for you.
So, now the method of victory is covered, what about the timing of the triumph? For this we are not interested with how many minutes are on the clock, rather we are focussed on the round in which the fight ends. Although we have selected an example below that features 12 rounds, be mindful that not all fights run to the maximum permitted length.
Nevertheless, even in fights that are six, eight or 10 rounds, you will still find plenty of big odds because of how many different possibilities there are. The fight between Fury and Wilder gives you an insight into just how big the odds can get even during a fairly competitive-looking match-up.
|Fury round 1||33/1||Wilder round 1||33/1|
|Fury round 2||22/1||Wilder round 2||25/1|
|Fury round 3||17/1||Wilder round 3||25/1|
|Fury round 4||14/1||Wilder round 4||25/1|
|Fury round 5||13/1||Wilder round 5||25/1|
|Fury round 6||13/1||Wilder round 6||25/1|
|Fury round 7||13/1||Wilder round 7||30/1|
|Fury round 8||14/1||Wilder round 8||33/1|
|Fury round 9||14/1||Wilder round 9||40/1|
|Fury round 10||17/1||Wilder round 10||45/1|
|Fury round 11||20/1||Wilder round 11||55/1|
|Fury round 12||25/1||Wilder round 12||70/1|
As past data shows us that most heavyweight fights end in the middle period, it is here where you will find the shortest odds for both fighters. You can probably gather from the odds that picking 12 rounds does not also include a points victory. Selecting round 12 means the fight has to end between the bells at the start and end of the round in question. Note that if a boxer retires between rounds or does not come out for the next round, the fight is deemed to have finished at the end of the previous round (in most cases, some bookmakers might have slightly different rules on this). Obviously getting the exact round when the fight stops is a tall order but if you do get it right you will be handsomely rewarded with good returns always on offer.
Group Round Betting
If the task of picking the exact round a fighter will win the bout seems too challenging, you can place bets on a group of rounds instead. This limits the number of possibilities by bunching rounds together so rather than 12 different options for each fighter, you will instead have a choice of four (usually). Sticking with our Fury versus Wilder fight as an example, let us see how it impacts the odds.
|Fury rounds 1-3||8/1||Wilder rounds 1-3||10/1|
|Fury rounds 4-6||9/2||Wilder rounds 4-6||9/1|
|Fury rounds 7-9||9/2||Wilder rounds 7-9||12/1|
|Fury rounds 10-12||7/1||Wilder rounds 10-12||20/1|
Although you avoid the real big odds, group round betting still can serve up some attractive potential returns. Typically, with standard ground round betting, a 12-round fight will be divided into 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Obviously, for a 12 or six round fight, dividing into three round chunks work very well. In the case of 10 and eight round fights though, usually round betting will split the fight into two halves to ensure an even balance of rounds.
There is, however, alternative group round betting which provides you with non-standard ranges. For a maximum 12 round fight, you can find broader ranges such as backing a fighter in either 1-6 or 7-12 as well as smaller ranges like rounds 1-2, 3-4, and so on. The varying options with round betting make it so that you can find a bet that matches your confidence level. If you are very sure of a long fight then opting for rounds 10-12 might well appeal. For times where you are much less certain, you can play it safer by plucking for a wider range.
One thing we would point out at this stage is that if betting big, it might be worth checking if a group round bet is better value than placing two bets in the single round betting. In the individual round market, you could back a Wilder win in rounds four, five and six at 25/1 each. In the group betting, rounds 4-6 came at a 9/1 price. If, for the sake of some nice easy maths, I wanted to stake £3 on this, I would receive more money going for the group (£27 returns + £3 stake back) as opposed to the single round (£25 and £1 stake back – £2 lost). It would make sense that the bet in which you do not lose part of your stake provides better value but this may not always be the case.
To Win in 60 Seconds
In the previous section, we were solely concerned with how many rounds it would take for our selected boxer to put an end to proceedings. There are bookmakers however that will, for some fights, let you bet on whether the fight in question will last for less than 60 seconds. This is the only time-specific bet you are likely to find and it is one that rarely proves to be a winning wager.
Still, very early knockouts do happen and it is not unprecedented to see someone hit the canvas less than a third into the opening round (halfway for women’s boxing). Interestingly, for the Fury versus Wilder fight, it is the outsider who traded at slightly better odds for the extremely early win (90/1) with Fury available at a longer price of 100/1. The other option for this market is to bet on either fighter to win within 60 seconds, a bet to consider if you expect an all-guns-blazing start.
Although we have talked much about the timing of victories in the above sections, all these bets have relied on you choosing the win AND when they will be victorious. With the fight duration bets, however, you are simply interested in how long the fight will go on.
When Will the Fight End?
We could spend plenty of time repeating ourselves here but there is really no need. When will the fight end betting is exactly the same round betting as discussed before but with one key difference in that you do not need to select the winning fighter, just the round in which the fight will end. So, rather than 24 options you will be presented most likely with 12 (but possibly six, eight or 10) possibilities depending on the length of the bout.
Exactly like before too, you can bet in groups of rounds if you do not fancy opting for a specific one. To show you how this compares, take a look at the table below. The odds were taken from a fight between Mario Barrios and Gervonta Davis.
|Round||Odds||Group Odds||Alt Group Odds||Alt Group Odds||Alt Group Odds|
The excellent spread of odds available at some bookmakers ensures punters can enjoy a large degree of freedom when betting on boxing. When combined with the standard round betting, it means you will have absolutely no shortage of odds ranging from very large to fairly modest when gambling on a fight’s length.
The other remaining option for betting on the duration of a fight is to call whether it will be under or over a set amount of rounds. These will always be in decimals so 6.5 for example. Although in many sports a decimal is chosen for extra clarity (under 2.5 goals in football for example) in boxing the situation is different. This is because fights do end partway through rounds. For a bet on over 7.5 rounds to be a winning one, the fight would need to go past 1 minute and 30 seconds of the seventh round.
Always remember that a bet on ‘above X rounds’ does not include going the distance. For your bet to win the fight must end before the very end of round 12.
By this point, we have covered all the main boxing markets that we would expect at least some bookmakers to offer for any notable fight. We have not quite done yet though because you will find that the bookies can also pose a few questions to their customers that each provides a fairly straightforward choice.
Both Fighters Knocked Down?
For the neutrals at least, seeing both fighters hit the canvas is an exciting occurrence. A competitive bout that sees both fighters trading heavy blows is what the unattached viewer lives for. How each fighter recovers after a knockdown is also a point of real interest as it says plenty about their toughness and heart. If you think a fight is primed for this eventuality, it is something you can bet on for selected fights with the price usually starting at odds of around 5/1. Note that with this betting market you only have the option for betting yes.
Knocked Down and Win?
“I get knocked down but I get up again” is a line made famous by British rock band Chumbawamba. Getting back up again is one thing but recovering enough to go on to win the fight is a taller task. Should you predict that one of the fighters will have such resolve and fortitude though, you can back to them to win a bout in which they have been knocked down.
The method of victory can be anything, the only requirement is that they were knocked down at some point during the bout. To give you an idea of how much money you can make from this market, know that for Fury versus Wilder, the former was trading at 9/2 and the latter at 13/2.
Fight to Go the Distance?
Another thing that many neutrals enjoy seeing is a fight that goes the distance, providing it doesn’t descend into a total clinch-fest. Assuming neither fighter has run out of steam though, a fight that lasts to the very end can certainly make you feel like you have enjoyed your money’s worth. This is more likely to occur among the lower-weights where knockouts and technical knockouts are less frequent.
Boxing Betting In-Play
The structure of boxing actually makes it ideal for live betting because of the gap between the rounds. This pause every three (or two) minutes allows punters to gather their thoughts and weigh up what bets they wish to place. By having this break, punters are not at risk of the odds suddenly dropping sharply for a bet they want to place or the market shutting altogether.
When a fight does go live, you will find that you will enjoy a healthy array of betting options too. It is unlikely to be quite as many as available pre-market but the majority will remain available as the bout progresses. In addition, during the fight you should find that some of your bets are eligible to cash out, should your bookmaker offer such a feature. If they are not, we suggest you might want to gamble elsewhere as this is a standard offering from any bookie worth their salt!
Multiple Bets & Accumulators
Although we have explored different ways of accessing large odds for a boxing match by tapping into different markets, we have only talked about ‘single’ bets so far. By this we mean all our discussion has been related to placing one bet on one particular fight. It is however possible to place one bet that contains predictions for multiple different fights. A bet that includes two selections is known as a double, three selections a triple and any more of this is known as an accumulator, or acca for short.
The main reason people choose to place multiple bets is because this type of bet can offer you a considerable payout even when making several ‘safe’ selections. Let us say we are something of a traditionalist when it comes to betting and we simply want to bet on the fight outcome, so fighter A, fighter B or draw. There are five upcoming fights and we fancy the favourite to prove their worth in all of them. If placing £5 on each, this is what we would earn each time (real odds used).
|Selection||Bet Type||Stake||Odds of selection||Potential Returns|
|Erickson Lubin to beat Jeison Rosario||Single||£5||1/3||£6.67|
|Tyson Fury to beat Deontay Wilder||Single||£5||1/3||£6.67|
|Kid Galahad to beat James Dickens||Single||£5||2/7||£6.43|
|Gervonta Davis to beat Mario Barrios||Single||£5||2/9||£6.11|
|Jermell Charlo to beat Brian Carlos Castano||Single||£5||2/5||£7|
Assuming all fighters do end up winning, we have only seen a mere £7.88 profit from the £25 we have wagered across the five bouts. For most, this would be an unsatisfying return having bet a decent whack. The solution to this is placing a multiple bet as this will multiply the odds of our selections together. To see how much the odds can increase, we have included a double, triple, four-fold and five-fold bet using some of the above selections. Rather than £5 x 5 bets (an overall £25 stake) we will instead keep a consistent £10 per bet.
|Selection||Bet Type||Stake||Odds of selection||Potential Returns|
|Lubin and Fury to win||Double||£10||0.77/1||£17.77|
|Lubin, Fury and Galahad to win||Triple||£10||1.28/1||£22.85|
|Lubin, Fury, Galahad and Davis to win||Four-fold||£10||1.79/1||£27.93|
|Lubin, Fury, Galahad, Davis and Charlo to win||Five-fold||£10||2.9/1||£39.11|
Even though we are betting less overall (£10 rather than £25) we are still ending up with more profit as soon as more than two events are combined together. By the time we end up with five joined selections, our profit is nearly triple our initial stake.
So, whenever you are looking to bet on several short-priced options, you are likely to find that multiple betting provides you with some much more attractive possibilities. Just remember though that for these kinds of bets, all the picks on your bet slip must be winners otherwise you will not receive any money back.
Can You Bet on Boxing Ringside?
The answer to this depends mainly on the stature of the fight. For less high-profile battles that draw only a small crowd, you should face few difficulties placing bets pre or during the fight. Should you find yourself in the middle of a packed crowd though, you may well find betting becomes an arduous task because of how many other people are fighting for the available reception.
Rather than struggling to place a bet on the action then, we recommend putting your phone away and just enjoying the fight unless you are between rounds. As this is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of sport, so a boxing match deserves your undivided attention when the bell rings!
If you are hoping to watch boxing in person in order to benefit from courtsiding, this is unlikely to work out very well for you. For those unaware, courtsiding is where people watch the sporting action live (in-person) and place bets before important information has been passed onto the bookies, i.e. if a knockdown occurs.
For the more nimble-fingered among you, it might actually be possible to have a bet confirmed before a big shift in the odds or before a market closes. The only trouble is you will struggle to make any real money from this as you can rest assured the bookies will quickly clamp down on such activity. As courtsiding is against their terms and conditions too, you are likely to find your bets are made void before too long.
Bookmaker Betting Margins in Boxing
Particularly if you are someone who likes to bet big, it is important that your chosen bookmaker offers good value for money. Which of them leads the way when it comes to offering the best odds-on boxing though? The answer is there is no clear winner. Bookmakers will take different margins on different fights and none will consistently offer the best prices around.
To highlight this, we have taken a sample of odds for a couple of fights (both an even contest and a mismatch) to highlight how value changes between fights. By using the odds, we have calculated the ‘bookmaker’ margin, which is made possible by converting the odds into a probability. The bigger the implied probability, the worse odds they are offering. Anyway, without further ado, here is the list.
The first fight, as we will have reference throughout this guide is the showdown clash between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
The second fight is between Vasyl Lomanchenko and Masayoshi Nakatani.
Even a look at two fights is enough to tell us a couple of key points. One is that no bookmaker can offer the best price across options, at best they can lead the way for one fighter and/or a draw. Therefore, the bookie that provides the best value for your bet is likely to change on a regular basis. The other is the margin percentages which are consistently around the 10% mark across bookmakers. This shows they are all taking a similar slice of the pie and you will find this is the case when looking at other fights.
It is worth noting that a 10% margin is noticeably higher than in other sports. Football, for example, at least for the bigger matches will often see a margin of around 5%. What this ultimately means to you the punter is that it is slightly more challenging to make money on boxing, in the long term, compared to these sports. However, by using your knowledge, finding reliable tips and finding value in other markets, it is far from an impossible task. Do not forget though, betting on boxing should always be done for entertainment purposes and never bet more than you can afford to lose!