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Avoiding Poor Value

Boxing Betting: Avoiding Poor Value

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

When handicapping boxing matches, we consider an awful lot of factors. We combine and prioritize the different factors and come up with an analysis and a selection. Nothing wrong with that. Handicapping is an integral part of the sport and something you must do. But once that's over and done with--you need to make sure you're not getting stuck with bad value. The state of boxing is wrapped up in people's perceptions of reality. And those views are usually quite extreme. A boxer is either "it" or he's not. And until a result comes along to change that, people will be locked onto these perceptions. This over-simplistic view of the sport leads to some fighters getting really good value, while others require you to bet your kid's college tuition money to win enough to take the family out to Chili's.

Bad value needs to be avoided like the plague. And if you want to know which fighters get the worst value--just look at the pound-for-pound best list. One might ask "how can the best fighters in the world be the worst ones to bet on?" It's because those fighters are the ones that people bet on the most. Put yourself in the shoes of the bookie. If Manny Pacquiao is fighting and you know countless people will put their money on him, what kind of line do you think you'll receive on him? Knowing that all that money is coming in on Manny, you would want to entice people to take the other side, thus making a bet on Pacquiao a dicey proposition indeed.

The big-time fighters get talked about the most. They're the guys being talked about on boxing message boards. They're on the cover of magazines. When boxing is discussed in mainstream media, these are the only fighters that are discussed. It starts to set in people's brains. They get hypnotized by the hype. And not to say that some fighters are not worthy of it. You could have said these things about Floyd Mayweather, but he still hasn't lost.

But for every Mayweather, there are countless others who couldn't hold up to the hype that was being heaped on them. And they ended up losing money for bettors. It's a funny kind of thing, too. Because boxers don't have endless shelf-lives. By the time a fighter is peaking in terms of hype, he's actually closer than ever to having the window of success shut.

Except for very few exceptions, we see all fighters lose. And not just once. But some bettors cannot even entertain the possibility of a fighter losing as if they've never seen it before. And it's almost always in a big upset. So why the piling on with favorites? Because people are reluctant to acknowledge change. They are victims of the hype and until definitive evidence comes along to prove they are wrong, they will stick to their guns until the end.

In boxing betting, that means accepting poor value--laying odds that aren't even close to a fair representation of the probability that a fighter will win. Mayweather -800 to beat Miguel Cotto? Ridiculous. He won, but did that fight ever look like 8-1? Looked more like 4-1 to me. And if you accept bad value like that, it will become increasingly hard to beat the bookie.

Ignore the hype. Seek out the more obscure fighters. Most big-time fighters were once in this spot--getting into the groove of their careers and starting to hit their stride. Keep watching HBO, but also watch the endless amount of cable-TV fights involving some of these future stars. By the time they are on PPV, everyone knows they're good, so the value will be bad.


By being an astute observer of the sport, you can develop an insider's knack for picking winners. In the stock market, there isn't a ton of potential by playing "follow the leader." You want the stock that not everyone knows about. Think about how beneficial that outlook would have been in the stock market during the tech boom. Searching for dark-horses rather than following the herd was the difference in becoming a millionaire and just treading water. Not that you're going to get rich betting on boxing, but the point is if you want to make money in boxing betting, you need to take positions that are not supported by the public. You need to not conform and have confidence in your own powers of observation.

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