Many people in the sports gaming industry take one look at Boxing as a wagering option and then look the other way. Well, sometimes the road less traveled can be paved with greenbacks if you tread carefully and bring a map along the way. For one, I enjoy wagering on the outcome of these pugilistic battles, and do so with some success. So why shouldn't you follow the same route?
Recreational gamblers and critics of betting on Boxing look at the lines, which sometimes are high, and wonder how there can be any value in placing a wager on such an event. The “questionable” outcomes of certain bouts also steer many investors clear of the squared circle.
Why? In it's pure and finest form, boxing is the most primal and simple sport for wagering purposes. And, it is a sport that is heating up with highly competitive bouts almost every week. Fueled by more and more networks broadcasting bouts on television, the number of wagering options for the recreational or professional gambler has probably never been higher.
The masses that make up the general public are casual boxing fans that only pay attention to the sport when a Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr. or Lennox Lewis are involved. If we look further though, the real entertainment and value often come from the fights involving fighters that not everyone may be as familiar with.
On to the matter at hand:
Boxing provides great value because the number of variables that “cannot” be accounted for prior to a bout are arguably fewer than any other sporting event. There are so few unknown factors before a bout that they almost don't exist. Nearly everything is known about the boxers – their style, their weight, their current form, etc. If the handicapper has correctly interpreted all the information available, a tidy profit is available to be made all year long.
In the NFL, we see many bad calls made by officials every season. In the NHL, we see referees making suspect calls which change the momentum of games and also affect Totals when power plays goals add to the mix.
A football is anything but round nor is a puck, so bad bounces often affect an outcome and one simply cannot predict the way the ball bounces. Basketball provides a seemingly simpler game to prognosticate, but there are 7-8 players on each team (a total of 14-16 players) who can ruin, or make, your wagering investment. In Football the number of players is multiplied many times and hockey teams each play with a 24-man roster. Rather than be at the mercy of someone stinking the joint out or catching fire, in Boxing we only have two combatants in the ring and this makes our handicapping equation that much easier to calculate.
Field of Play/Weather:
Ever heard of a rainout in Boxing? Have you seen the canvas affect that
outcome of a boxing event? The “field-of-play” is never a factor in Boxing like it is in other sports. Nearly every hockey rink is unique in the NHL, and so are the baseball diamonds across the major leagues. The Green Monster, Wrigley Field, playing in Puerto Rico, the plastic bags in the Metrodome, and basically every other park where major league ball is played can present different factors for a handicapper. Fly ball pitchers versus a ground ball batting order when the wind is blowing out – or is it blowing in? Nope – not for this guy. Then there are the NFL fields which are different in every city; and we haven't even taken into account weather conditions and grass vs. turf. The bottom line is that the ring is always square in boxing and most bouts are held in climate-controlled facilities. What could be simpler?
Styles Make Fights:
Having a little expertise in the sport of Boxing and knowing fighters well helps predict the outcome of a fight. This is because we know, based on history, which boxer can fight what style and how each of the opponent's strengths and weaknesses will factor into the outcome.
We made a profit on the recent Joe Mesi-Robert Davis bout on ESPN based on the style that each fighter carried into the ring. Davis is a guy who will punch with a puncher and look to land as opposed to playing defense; all this despite being known to have a suspect chin. Mesi on the other hand, is a guy with good power in each hand as demonstrated by 24 knockouts in 26 fights. He hadn't really been tested yet, but we knew that Davis would be there to trade punches. In light of Mesi's power and Davis' style and history of being knocked down, we felt a wager on the Under 7.5 Rounds was a solid investment. After just 80 seconds, Mesi held the NABF Heavyweight Title and our bankroll was just a little fatter.
The Boxing “season” runs year round, so keep your eye out for the next wagering opportunity.
There is always action to keep us keen and sharp – no spring training or mid-season slumps, no playoffs – it always counts in the ring.