Everybody hates a tie game. But a lot of bettors are adding the draw to their boxing picks for Saturday’s superfight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Is this wishful thinking on their part?
We’re almost there, folks. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr will finally touch gloves this Saturday (9:00 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The contracts have been signed, the tickets have been sold – everything’s a go. Now we’ll see which side the larger betting public is on in this fight. Will it be on Pacquiao, as the books expect? Or will it be on the undefeated Mayweather?
There is a third option to consider when betting on boxing. With the two biggest names in boxing going at it, and with pundits split on who will prevail, a small-but-significant piece of the action is landing on the most dreaded outcome in sports – a draw. As we go to press, the best boxing odds for a draw happening are +1800 at 888Sport. Is this a viable betting option?
It might be in just about any other situation. In general, the public bets on the outcomes it wants to see happen. Rarely do people want things to end in a saw-off. This is why betting on a draw in soccer can be so profitable, especially a 0-0 draw. It happens frequently enough to keep the cash flowing in, and when it does, the odds are more likely to have value.
But the Fight of the Century could be one of those rare occasions when people – at least more people than usual – would be happy to see a draw. That result would make a rematch between the two fighters that much more likely, and a lot of us would love to see Mayweather-Pacquiao II. Perhaps nobody more than the two camps themselves.
Market forces aside, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Saturday’s fight will end in a draw, given how close of a fight this looks like on paper. All 12 prognosticators on ESPN’s expert panel have this one going the distance; Joe Tessitore is predicting a majority draw, while the others are divided 6-5 in favor of Pacquiao. Four of those 11 panelists are predicting a split decision.
But is a draw likely enough to make +1800 boxing odds worth it for your picks? Mayweather has done nothing but win in his 47 professional fights thus far. Pacquiao has two draws in his 64 pro fights: versus Agapito Sanchez in 2001, after the bout was stopped in the sixth round due to headbutts, and versus Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004. And the only reason Pacquiao didn’t win the Marquez fight was because one of the three judges made a scoring error that cost Pac-Man the decisive point.
Everyone Choose Sides
Again, the Mayweather-Pacquiao tilt should be a lot more competitive than most of the matchups either fighter has seen in the past. It’s not just the pundits (and the celebrities) who are torn between the two camps; boxers are also split on who will come out victorious. On the Mayweather side, you have Marquez, along with Evander Holyfield, Amir Khan, Shane Mosely and Ricky Hatton. On the Pacquiao side, you have Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Miguel Cotto, George Foreman, and “Iron” Mike Tyson himself.
Ultimately, everyone here at the home office is looking at the “draw” bet in the same way we approach the usual suspects on the Super Bowl props market, like the game going to overtime, or a safety being scored. The odds for those wagers are invariably skewed as bettors load up on these rare outcomes happening. We’d be a lot more inclined to bet NO for this prop, which Bookmaker has priced at –1800 as we go to press. It’s a big mouthful of chalk, but it looks and cooks like a value bet nonetheless.
Free Boxing Pick: Take NO (–1800) at Bookmaker