4 Factors to Consider When Betting on Boxing

Betting Boxing Considerations

Boxing might not capture the hearts and minds of Americans like it did back in the days of Ali and Tyson, but when a notable heavyweight title fight is on the schedule, it’s still a spectacle to behold.

If you’ve decided to wager on the outcome, it’s a nail-biting affair that’s as exciting as any event in sports. Because wager-worthy fights don’t happen regularly, some bettors may not be as familiar with the handicapping process.

In this article, I’ll explain what you need to look for when betting on boxing. I’ll also give you some inside information about the most dangerous things to watch out for before your next boxing wager.

1. The Health of the Fighters

Because fighters only compete once every few months, it’s not always easy to stay on top of how each is doing physically between bouts. You’d think that as professional athletes, they’d maintain their impeccable fitness all year long.

There are plenty of examples that prove that’s not exactly the case.
From accidental injuries that happen during sparring sessions, weight training, or other activities, to problems caused by excessive partying and living the good life (this one has hampered many boxers in the past), you can bet that a fighter won’t be in the same shape he was when you last saw him fight.

Even though you might have to take some writer’s word for it as you won’t be able to observe it for yourself, doing your research to find out exactly what state of health and fitness a fighter is in during the weeks and days leading up to a fight is crucial. The longer between bouts, the more important this part of the process becomes.

Please Note:
I’m not necessarily suggesting that if you read a rumor that a particular fighter isn’t in as good of shape as they should be that you should automatically bet the other way, but it’s something that must be taken into consideration. If nothing else, it should give you a little more context into how the odds ended up where they are and whether or not you think a fighter’s physical condition is going to come into play.

2. The Odds, Of Course

One of the most common mistakes that amateur bettors make regularly is thinking that winning a bet is all that matters. While it’s true you won’t get paid if you don’t win, it’s also the case that if you’re regularly betting on big moneyline favorites, eventually, things are going to go south, quick.

If you’re evaluating a fight and trying to determine where to put your money, I’d be wary of putting your bankroll in jeopardy and risking significantly more money than you stand to gain. For example, even if a fight seems like a near-certainty, it’s important to remember that things can change in an instant with a knockout.

While there may be a handful of exceptions out there, most fighters are more than capable of ending the fight with one swing of their fist. Would you feel comfortable taking a bet that is, say, -250, in a scenario when a knockout is a potential outcome that’s on the table?

But what if I really don’t think the underdog has a chance at winning?
It’s unfortunate when the odds don’t have much value when you bet on the favorite. The good news is that there are plenty of other options you can take advantage of at the sportsbook that provide more value and don’t force you to make a bet that you don’t think has a real chance of hitting.

Remember, not all gambling wins are created equal. Just because you’ve hit on your last 2 moneyline favorite picks, that could all be wiped out, and then some, if you bet on a heavy favorite who goes down.

3. Look at Your Prop Options

Prop bets are a major source of action when it comes to combat sports. In boxing, nearly all sportsbooks will give you a range of options to choose from should you decide to stay away from picking the winner outright due to a lack of confidence or simply unfavorable odds.

The difficult thing about choosing prop bets for a boxing match is that they’re often wildly unpredictable. For example, the most popular prop bet for boxing matches is likely the over/under total number of rounds the fight will go. While it’s not exactly the norm, as I’ve mentioned earlier in this article a fight could be over at any second if a haymaker connects and results in a KO. Keep this potential outcome in mind when you’re looking at your options.

Another bet that receives a good deal of attention during big fights is the method of victory. The options are knockout, TKO (technical knockout), or by decision. Before you put down any money on this type of play, do yourself a favor and look back at the fights that each boxer has had in the past.

Did you the majority of them end with a knockout?

For a heavyweight like Tyson Fury, that answer is yes. For a “defensive” fighter such as Floyd Mayweather, that isn’t going to be the case. Of course, past results are not necessarily going to be indicative of what happens in the future.

You still need to be evaluating each fight at face value.

Also, if you want to increase your payout, consider checking out alternate lines that can put you in a more favorable risk-to-win situation.

For example:
If the over/under for total number of rounds is 6.5 at -110, you might consider choosing the under at 5.5 for +160, or over 8.5 at +175. This will vary based on which sportsbook you’re using, so be sure to check out a few before locking in your picks.

4. Live Betting Options

Maybe you’re a boxing expert who’s recognized that a certain fighter is making mistakes that are eventually going to result in a knockout, or perhaps you’re just looking to roll the dice on and see what happens.

Either way:
Live betting options that most sportsbooks offer will give you the opportunity to get a little more action out there once the fight is underway.

Although there are some online sportsbooks that will allow you to make a bet during a round, I would advise waiting until you’re in between rounds to put your money in.

Pay close attention to how the odds are changing throughout the fight, and see if you can time it just right to get the most out of your money.

When it comes to the most common mistakes bettors make on a live bet, I’d say contradicting your original bet is at the top of the list.

In this case, it might be a smart move if you do it at the right time. In fact, “hedging” (betting the opposite way of your original bet in an effort to reduce your losses if it doesn’t hit) can be a good strategy, but the numbers must work out. Otherwise, you’re simply stealing away money from yourself.

If you do decide to live bet, make sure you’re being mindful of things like fatigue and how many hits each fighter has taken. Even the fighters with chins of steel will eventually crack if they get hit enough.


In a sport where the competition can be over in just a single second, there are several variables that must be taken into account. Unfortunately, sometimes the outcomes are entirely unpredictable, and that’s just when you have to roll with the punches (pun intended).

Please Note:
At the end of the day, the same principles of handicapping that you apply to other sports can, and should, be applied to boxing.

Do your research beforehand, find the best odds for your particular bet, and make sure you’re minding your bankroll. If you do all of those, you’ll be successful even if you don’t have a vast knowledge of the sport.

Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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