Betting Guide to Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2017

Betting Guide to Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

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    Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a money fight in more ways than one. Vegas has set the odds, and fans will lay down their hard-earned cash on this battle.

    And it won't just be the fight itself they bet on this Saturday. Much like the Super Bowl, there will be ample prop bets enticing their wallets to come out and play.

    Steven Rondina and Nathan McCarter are here to look at some interesting lines and props available for the marquee bout. Get your betting slips ready.

    In case you're unfamiliar with how odds work, a +150 line means a $100 bet will win you $150 ($250 total), and -150 line means you need to bet $150 to win $100.

    Sit back and prepare yourself with the odds and props of this weekend's colossal clash.

                 

    All odds provided by OddsShark.com.

Straight Up

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    There's no better place to start than what will get the most action: Betting the fight straight up.

    • McGregor: +300
    • Mayweather: -400

    It's astonishing that McGregor is only +300. That's a testament to fans who have confidence in his ability, but it's a truly absurd number for someone without any professional boxing bouts against one of the greatest of all time. Personally, I am picking McGregor to win, but I am not laying down with these odds.

    Still, if you are one of the believers, +300 is substantial value. It's the only play for betting this fight straight up, but keep an eye on any late money coming in that may drive the number back up to increase the payout on your end.

    Mayweather's odds are tempting because of the mismatch this is on paper, but there are much better ways to spend that money on this matchup thanks to the bevy of props available. That is where the focus needs to be on any bets on Money.

Method of Victory

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    McGregor by knockout is an easy bet to make if you are buying into his ability to knock out Mayweather; +325 is lower than expected, but it still offers a solid return on his only realistic path to victory. The "puncher's chance." Here are the full odds for the method of victory:

    • McGregor by knockout or disqualification: +325
    • McGregor by decision: +1600
    • Draw: +3300
    • Mayweather by knockout or DQ: -150
    • Mayweather by decision: +275

    Knockout (or DQ) is actually the favorite for Mayweather, too. That's partly because of the talent discrepancy, but Mayweather's accuracy will present a massive problem for McGregor. And it's not a bad bet at just -150. Likewise, Mayweather coasting to a decision, which is possible if not probable, is at +275.

    If you're feeling even more predictive, you can hit on exact method of victory props where McGregor by KO is +500 and victory by TKO is +800.

    Both are good bets and offer solid value on the favorite. The only bad bets are McGregor by decision or picking a draw. While the astronomical odds are always fun to lay $1 or $5 on, it's also an easy way to lose that dollar. Save it. McGregor will not win a decision.

    You want my advice? Go with Mayweather by decision. There's more value with the decision, and this is a spectacle of an event. He'll want to make a show of it, and that'll allow McGregor to get to the bell.

Will Conor McGregor Do the 'Billionaire Strut'?

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    One of the best ways to gauge the cultural relevance of a sporting contest is the number of prop bets available for strange, seemingly irrelevant events. Mayweather-McGregor bettors, for example, have the ability to wager on whether McGregor will do an impression of Vince McMahon on his way to the ring.

    • Yes: -270
    • No: +200

    Granted, McGregor's "Billionaire Strut" is its own phenomenon at this point. It achieved viral status following his knockout of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 and receiving a number of imitations in the mainstream sports world. It's worth noting, however, that while McGregor has been swaggering in this way for years, it hasn't become a part of his actual in-competition routine until relatively recently, getting its Octagon debut at UFC 202 in 2016.

    There's a bit of value in a bet on "no" because of that. McGregor has only done this in the cage twice, and it's not an all-but-guaranteed part of his routine in the way a -270 line would suggest. And of course, there's a discussion to be had about when the "walkout" actually ends (he only does the Strut once he's in the cage, not actually during the walk from the locker room).

    The fact that he's done it in consecutive fights, and that he'll be entering first, makes "yes" the safer option, however. 

Will They Touch Gloves?

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    Right alongside the Billionaire Strut is the question of whether McGregor and Mayweather will touch gloves.

    • Yes: -220
    • No: +175

    MMA fans might see a fair bit of value on the "no" bet given that five of McGregor's last seven fights have fallen into this category (Chad Mendes and Eddie Alvarez are the only two fighters to fist bump with him during that stretch). It's worth remembering, however, that McGregor has rarely been the person to turn down a glove touch.

    Jose Aldo refused. Dennis Siver refused. McGregor and Nate Diaz were kept far, far apart from one another for both of their fights.  

    For all his bombast, McGregor isn't above a pre-fight handshake, and the burden here moreso lies with Mayweather because of that.  

    Historically, Money is willing to touch 'em up before his bouts. While there may have been some questions about whether that would hold up after two months of non-stop verbal jabbing from McGregor, Mayweather seemed completely unfazed by his words during their press tour, and it's unlikely that has changed in the weeks since.

    The only way a glove touch doesn't happen is if McGregor does some antics during their final staredown, as he did before his 2014 fight with Dustin Poirier. That, however, feels unlikely.

Total Punches Thrown and Landed

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    McGregor, Punches Thrown

    • Over 180: -130
    • Under 180: -110

    You can see Vegas' trepidation in going against Mystic Mac and knowing his extensive fan base will throw money on his prediction. Thus, both lines are tempting. Oddsmakers are paid to find the right number to make it enticing on both sides.

    Smart money is on the over. At -130, you're still going to have good odds for the return on investment. It's much more likely this goes past four rounds which means McGregor, who will be the aggressor, will put up a total far above 180.

                       

    Mayweather, Punches Thrown

    • Over 300: -215
    • Under 300: +160

    Likewise, if the fight goes deep, the over here is a good play too. Mayweather, in his last five bouts, has only thrown under 400 once (326 vs. Marcos Maidana). And at -215, it is still a reasonable play. Manny Pacquiao was much more of a knockout threat than McGregor will be, and Money was able to unleash 435 punches in that bout, per Compubox (h/t BoxRec).

    This one should not be overthought.

                         

    Mayweather, Punches Landed

    • Over 100: -150
    • Under 100: +120

    Similar to the above, let's not overthink this prop. Mayweather's lowest landed total in recent fights was against Pacquaio (148) who is a substantially better defensive boxer than McGregor. Money should at least be able to connect consistently with low-power shots to chip away at McGregor while giving the fans a show.

    The only reason to play the unders on Mayweather is if you are picking McGregor by early KO. Otherwise, history tells you where to go.

Will McGregor Throw a Kick or Land an Elbow?

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    One of the silliest topics in the buildup to Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor has been the discussion of the dirty mixed martial artist "going rogue" and elbowing or kicking the pure, heroic boxer.

    It's absurd on multiple levels, of course—McGregor's in-cage career has been basically controversy-free despite facing adversity—but it's been talked about so much that odds have been listed:

    • McGregor throws a kick: +650
    • McGregor doesn't throw a kick: -1800
    • McGregor lands an elbow: +800
    • McGregor doesn't land an elbow: -1600

    Why do the odds suggest that McGregor throwing a kick is more likely than him landing an elbow? Why not go the full nine yards and add options for knees and headbutts? Why isn't there a prop bet regarding Mayweather and his own underrated Muay Thai? Who knows...

    Once again, this is a silly topic, but that doesn't mean there isn't fairly easy money to be made.

    According to multiple reports, kicks are expressly forbidden in McGregor's contract for the fight. Unless the UFC lightweight champ suddenly decides he hates money, that -2000 line is pretty darn close to free money (even if the return on investment isn't huge).

    The elbow is a bit trickier. Thrusting the elbow forward as a means of firmly establishing distance is a common boxing technique and is actually a favorite of Mayweather (though he calls this "holding a guy off with a forearm").

    Still, McGregor knows he's going to be walking a tightrope with the referee, commissioners and Mayweather's legal team. Mayweather will be afforded the room to sling elbows with impunity. McGregor, however, will rein things in to avoid any penalties.

Will Either Man Get Knocked Down or Out?

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    If you truly believe McGregor will call his shot again, taking this prop is a given. You can get the Irishman, even by simply knocking Mayweather to the canvas, at +425. However, if you aren't sold on that occurrence, your best option is to look at Mayweather.

                    

    McGregor to Score a Knockdown or Knockout

    • Yes: +350
    • No: -550

                           

    Mayweather to Score a Knockdown or Knockout

    • Yes: -200
    • No: +175

                   

    Mayweather has only officially been knocked down once in his career, and the last time he was noticeably hurt was against Shane Mosley. If you don't think McGregor will land his fourth-round bomb, then it's an easy pass.

    Mayweather is not known as a knockout artist. He has a long history of issues with his hands as well. But he's fighting a boxing novice. His opportunities to score clean power shots are going to be greater than any of his previous fights. The flip side is that McGregor won't have to worry about elbows, knees or kicks. He'll be able to better defend and cover up.

    That's why this prop, aside from McGregor as a yes, should be a complete pass. The odds aren't good enough to waste with so many other props available. Are you willing to lay down that Mayweather will score a knockdown at -200? That's being generous unless you're simply counting on a late-round TKO when Mayweather may have McGregor tired.

    Keep your money for better props.

Over/Under Pay-Per-View Buys

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    The over/under for buys on Mayweather vs. McGregor is especially interesting as it blows past the pay-per-view record set by Mayweather vs. Pacquaio. The 2015 blockbuster did over 4.6 million buys (h/t Keith Idec of BoxingScene.com), and the line laid down for the 2017 superfight exceeds that number by more than 300,000.

    • Over 4.99 million: -210
    • Under 4.99 million: +150

    Additionally, the favorite is for the fight to go over almost five million buys. Just astounding.

    It's always tough to go against Vegas because they have a tremendous track record, but in this instance, the under is enticing.

    The nature of this fight calls for huge watching parties across the nation. It won't be you and your buddy buying the event separately. A gap from Mayweather vs. Pacquaio to McGregor of 300,000 is a big leap, especially with other events such as Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez looming less than a month later.

    Fans were wearing down by the end of the press tour, and hardcore boxing fanatics aren't as sold on this fight as the general public. These factors would have me skeptical that it can exceed the much-anticipated Mayweather vs. Pacquaio hoopla by that margin. But Vegas has a knack for knowing.

    Perhaps the most concerning part of betting on this prop is the unclear nature of how they will determine buys. Unlike other fights, this fight is being put on various platforms such as traditional cable and satellite PPV, UFC Fight Pass, Apple TV and beyond. Will UFC Fight Pass buys be reported and lumped in with the traditional numbers?

    The uncertainty about how the number will be tallied would keep me from taking this prop.

Will Conor McGregor Win Within the First 4 Rounds?

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    This writer is not encouraging people to bet on Conor McGregor, make no mistake. The odds are stacked against him to an almost unfathomable degree, and if he wins, it would rank among the greatest upsets in sports history.

    • Yes: +800
    • No: -1400

    That said, many people are betting on McGregor. So many, in fact, that it's worth discussing the intricacies of how people should go about placing a bet on the mixed martial artist.

    It's no secret that the most likely method of victory for McGregor is an early finish. Mayweather is at his best in the later rounds, while McGregor likes to start hot. The window for him to land a sneaky left hand closes more and more with each tick of the clock, and that should shift gambling McGregor fans' focus to the round-by-round prop bets.

    The lines for McGregor scoring a knockout in each specific round from the first to the fourth sit at +1400. A safer option, however, is a bet on McGregor winning at any point inside the first four frames, which sits as high as +800 at the time of this writing. That can be compounded, too, by venturing into the minute-by-minute bets that range from +2500 to +4000.

    Once again, this writer neither condones nor endorses betting on McGregor winning. But if anyone feels compelled to, this is the best option available.

Will They Rematch Before the End of 2018?

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    This is one of the most fun prop bets on the list, and it's a great way to hedge or compound any gains from results-based bets. Here are the options and current lines:

    • Boxing rematch: +450
    • MMA rematch: +2500
    • No rematch: -600

    Any and all rematch discussion, of course, hinges on how this fight looks.

    If McGregor pulls off the heist and upsets Mayweather, a rematch in 2018 is actually quite likely. All signs point to this bout doing some very strong numbers, and interest might actually go up among boxing fans if Mystic Mac's predictions pan out. Showtime, the UFC, Mayweather and McGregor moved mountains to make this fight a reality, and they'd likely do it again if the revenue ceiling raises.

    Meanwhile, if Mayweather wins, a "no rematch" would look like a slam dunk. While few took Mayweather's retirement in 2015 seriously, it took an incredibly skewed risk-to-reward situation to get him to come back. If Money wins in a landslide, the reward likely won't be high enough for a rerun. If McGregor is competitive in defeat? There's too much risk for a second fight.

    Obviously, given how this is an "until the end of 2018" bet, there's a long wait involved. Still there is a lot of flexibility to this category. Just don't bet on an MMA rematch. There's absolutely no way that's going to happen.

Additional Props

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    • Fight Lasts Under 11.5 Rounds -210
    • Fight Goes the Distance +200
    • Fighter Wins Within 60 Seconds: Mayweather +2500, McGregor +3300
    • Who Will Record More Knockdowns: Mayweather -625, McGregor +350
    • Will Justin Bieber Carry Mayweather's Belts: Yes +150, No -180
    • Will Justin Bieber Wear Sunglasses During the Walkout: Yes -220, No +180
    • Will Lil' Wayne Wear a Shirt During the Walkout: Yes -200, +160
    • Will Mayweather vs. McGregor Break PPV Buy Record: Yes -600, No +400
    • Will Either Fighter Throw in the Towel: Yes +335, No -585
    • Will Either Fighter Be Warned for a Low Blow: Yes +140, No -200
    • Will the WBC Reward the "Diamond Belt" to the Winner: Yes -300, No +240
    • Will There Be a Punch Thrown in the First 10 Seconds: Yes -305, No +202
    • Will Either Fighter Lose Their Mouthpiece: Yes +500, No -1350
    • Will Either Fighter Be Knocked Through the Ropes: Yes +1100