Not sure who to bet on this Saturday night? Here’s a way for you to take advantage of the inefficient boxing odds for the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao: Bet on both of them.
As Michael Buffer would say, let’s get ready to exploit some market inefficiency! Well, he’d say that if you paid him enough money. And that money could be yours, if you’re willing to engage in some good, old-fashioned arbitrage. The boxing odds for Saturday’s big fight (9:00 p.m. ET) between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. aren’t as tight as they should be. In theory, you can bet on both guys at the same time and make some money.
What what? It’s true. Take a look at our odds board, where at press time, Pacquiao is priced as high as +200 at WagerWeb. Meanwhile, the best line on Mayweather is –189 at Sports Interaction. So let’s say you put both gentlemen in your boxing picks for Saturday: $189 on Money, and $100 on Manny. If Mayweather wins, you end up breaking even. If Pacquiao wins, you’re $11 ahead. Not a bad deal, right?
Reverse Middling Toward Freedom
Perhaps. Before we break the piggy bank, let’s not forget that there’s a third possible outcome: Nobody wins. The fight could end in a draw or a no-contest. In this case, double-check with your sportsbook, but standard operating procedure is to treat those outcomes like a push – all monies are refunded.
With that out of the way, yes, this is arbitrage at its finest. Back in the day, I used to write about the “reverse middle” when betting the pointspread in football games. But it’s a lot harder to find situations in the NFL where one sportsbook has a price that’s out of whack with the rest of the marketplace. And there’s always the risk of the final score landing in the middle. Neither of those problems exists for the Fight of the Century.
The Hart Foundation
Let’s take this strategy a step further and see if it’s viable with the totals for how many rounds Saturday’s fight will last. As we go to press, the best line for OVER 11.5 is –283 at Pinnacle. The best line for UNDER 11.5 is +270 at SBR Sportsbook. Alas, this time there isn’t enough of a gap between the two sides to bet both at the same time and ensure at least a chop.
However, this kind of opportunity does present itself on a regular basis when you look at the boxing odds. Here’s one: Mike Jimenez and Jesse Hart are battling it out for the vacant USBA super middleweight title this Saturday, as part of the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard. Jimenez is +895 at Pinnacle; Hart is –800 at William Hill. Again, you’re either breaking even or winning $95.
Life out of Balance
So why are these “reverse middle” situations available? It’s the power of competition. One sportsbook might want to drum up some business by lowering the price on Pacquiao, for example, while another might want to lower the price on Mayweather. Maybe even both, if the book is willing to exchange vigorish for volume. On top of that, don’t forget that each sportsbook has its own ecosystem. The action might be too heavy on Pacquiao at one location, and too heavy on Mayweather at the other, so they’ll adjust their boxing odds differently in order to balance their own books, not the marketplace at large.
Whatever the case, if you’re the type who just wants to squeeze out a little bit of money here and there with minimal risk, this is one way you can do it. We can’t guarantee the boxing odds will still be vulnerable by the time you read this, but even if they’ve changed, keep your eyes peeled for other situations where you can bet both sides and come out clean.