Five months ahead of the mega-fight between "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather and the "Golden Boy" Oscar De La Hoya, the first blow has already been landed, that being by Floyd Mayweather Jr. bettors against the sportsbooks. And the hit was hard.
A few weeks ago sportsbooks started posting the opening lines for the May 5th event that has landed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The consensus was that Mayweather would be a favorite to win the fight, but the debate as to what line was right for the fight was a heated one. Remember that the main function of the betting line is not so much to predict the winner of the event, but its purpose is also to evenly divide betting action on a bout with as little line movement as possible.
The early number clearly didn't do that.
Offshore sportsbooks opened the 29-year-old Mayweather as a -170 favorite which required bettors to risk $170 to profit $100. If one was to bet on De La Hoya at the opening number they would have been getting +150, or a profit of $150 for each $100 risked. The difference between the -170 risked on the favorite (Mayweather) and the +150 paid back on the dog (De La Hoya) is the commission bookmakers use to show a profit regardless of who wins (at least that is the idea). The total rounds heavily favored the Over as the bet to go Over 11.5 rounds was priced -255 with Under backers being able to get back +215. The 11.5 rounds represent eleven completed rounds of fighting plus one minute and thirty seconds into the twelfth round. Most people seem to agree that the fight will go the scheduled twelve rounds.
While the betting line on the Total Rounds has remained rather static, the price on Mayweather has been hammered up and up.
In a matter of weeks, backers of the Grand Rapids, Michigan fighter have driven the price all the way up to -225 on the speedy boxer. That now means that where a bettor once could have risked just $170 to profit $100 betting on Mayweather, that same bet would now require a risk amount of $225 to profit that same $100, and increased risk of $55 to win the same $100. It is a general rule in sports betting, and one that holds true over the long term, that it is best to bet the favorite early and the underdog late – regardless of the sport in question. More times than not the price on the favorite climbs upwards and it becomes more and more expensive to "buy" a ticket on the favored fighter as the bout comes closer. When looking to the back the dog, one generally gets a better price by waiting closer to fight night because, as the price on the favorite increases, the pay back on the dog also goes up.
That certainly seems to be the case for this superfight taking place on Cinco de Mayo weekend in Sin City. Anyone getting in early on WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather got a very good line laying -170. The moneyline is now up to a point where those who are looking to get a fair price on WBC Junior Middleweight champion Oscar De La Hoya may look to strike back, or they may be sitting and waiting for the line to climb even higher on the favorite, thus providing a better come back price for Oscar bettors.
One thing that is very likely to happen is that those looking to bet on De La Hoya will start to do so if the price gets much higher, and almost as certain is that the general public that comes to Las Vegas the weekend of the fight will be betting the underdog. The "Golden Boy" still packs in a ton of fans and that, coupled with the big Latino Cinco de Mayo weekend and those fans flowing in from Los Angeles, will bring bets in on Oscar. If one was looking to place a wager on “Pretty Boy” Floyd, they may be better off waiting until Oscar’s fans bring the price back down.
It is interesting to me that Mayweather has not stopped anyone at welterweight aside from Sharmba Mitchell, although Mitchell was much more a junior welterweight and had only one prior bout at 147-pounds. Floyd has taken two lopsided decision wins, over speedy Zab Judah and sturdy Carlos Baldomir, since his welterweight debut against Mitchell. Against Oscar De La Hoya he will fighting an even bigger opponent, and one who has been stopped just once in his four losses, that to middleweight king Bernard Hopkins. The chance of a knockout by either fighter seems remote and the Over looks like a solid play.
Still, I’d love to be sitting on a Floyd Mayweather ticket at -170.
(For entertainment purposes only)