There will be plenty hanging in the balance for the boxers when Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao and Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios do battle in Macau, China Saturday, but the same can be said for those watching if they care to make it interesting.
Betting on boxing is quite popular, and it goes well beyond predicting which fighter is going to win. Gamblers can bet on the method of victory and can even bet on which round they believe the fight will be stopped in. There are a lot of options, so it's easy to get overwhelmed.
With that said, there is a lot of money to be made when it comes to betting on boxing. Here are three smart bets to make on the Pacquiao vs. Rios fight that will arm you with some extra spending money as the holiday season approaches.
Odds courtesy of Paddy Power.
Over 9.5 Rounds (11-8)
In most high-profile fights, going the distance is considered the favorite, but that isn't the case when it comes to Pacquiao vs. Rios. Both Pac-Man and Bam Bam have shown knockout acumen in the past, so it's understandable why many believe that this bout will end with one of them hitting the canvas. But betting on a knockout is generally pretty risky.
Knockouts are usually quite unpredictable since there are so many factors that can potentially lead to them. With that in mind, the smart money is almost always on the fight going the distance. Even if you feel as though there is a slight chance that the fight will end in knockout fashion, though, there is a way to get the best of both worlds. Betting that the fight will last longer than 9.5 rounds brings with it solid 11-8 odds, and it also leaves some margin for error.
If the fight goes to the scorecards, then that is obviously ideal, but a knockout in the latter half of the ninth round or later would do the trick as well.
There is no question that Pacquiao and Rios have top-notch power, as they have combined for 61 knockout victories over the course of their respective careers, but with Pac-Man trying to avoid getting knocked out—like he did last time out against Juan Manuel Marquez—this contest should take on a more cautious approach.
Manny Pacquiao to Win (1-6)
Betting on a favorite in boxing is different than in most other sports since they don't often provide great value. That is the case in this fight since bettors will have to lay down $6 to make $1 on a bet for Pacquiao.
Conversely, Rios is the underdog at 4-1, and there is a lot of money to be made off him should he shock the world and pull off the upset. With that said, it's very difficult to bet against Pacquiao when his back is against the wall, which is the case currently.
Not only was Pacquiao knocked out by Marquez, but he also dropped a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley one fight earlier. He is in the midst of the first two-fight losing streak of his career, and a third consecutive loss could force him to consider retirement. The stakes are extremely high for Pac-Man, and it's difficult to imagine him going out with a whimper.
Although bettors will have to put a little extra on the line in order to make betting on Pacquiao worthwhile, there is plenty of reason to trust that he can get the job done. He was winning the latest Marquez fight before the knockout, and most believe that he should have beaten Bradley, so bad luck has plagued him.
Pac-Man has a 54-5-2 record and is one of the best fighters of his generation, so don't hesitate to take a chance on him.
Manny Pacquiao Wins by Points or Decision (11-4)
Pacquiao may be known as a knockout artist, but many of his knockouts came early in his career against inferior opponents. The level of competition has increased significantly in recent years, and it has become progressively harder for him to stop his opponents. Prior to his knockout loss to Marquez, Pacquiao had five straight fights go to the scorecards, so it isn't a stretch at all to think that he and Rios will go the distance Saturday.
With that said, 23 of Rios' 31 wins have come by way of knockout, so he hasn't had to go all 12 rounds too often. In fact, Rios has only completed two 12-round fights. Two of his past three bouts have gone the distance, though, which means that he is gaining a comfort level when it comes to pacing himself and lengthening the fight. That should help him avoid getting knocked out, although it will be difficult for him to beat Pac-Man on the scorecards.
At almost 3-1 odds, betting on Pacquiao to win via decision is an ideal value selection. Pairing it with the over-9.5-rounds bet is smart as well since it could either lead to a huge payday or at least cancel out should Rios get knocked out late in the fight.
Pacquiao has evolved as a fighter over the years, and since the bulk of his fights have gone all 12 rounds over the past couple years, it would be crazy to not take advantage of this line.
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