For years, UK-based, ‘bricks-and-mortar’ bookmakers were accused of making boxing bets so one-sided that it deterred punters from staking their wager on most championship bouts, but the internet has put paid to that.
“Boxing betting has become hugely popular amongst punters,” says the head of one online odds comparison service, “because markets are now so competitive.”
Indeed, it could be argued that having a bet on boxing, even when the odds are comparatively short, is increasingly worthwhile for two reasons. Firstly, the internet enables punters to quickly locate the best prices and second, in the UK at least, all winnings are tax-free.
This unique combination means that betting on boxing can be a profitable pursuit, even when bookmakers chalk what appears to be impossibly short odds against an individual’s chances of winning.
For example, a bookmaker may price four odds-on favourites at say, 1/6, 1/4, 2/7 and 2/5. Individually, having a bet at these prices is not exactly attractive, unless the punter is staking a sizeable sum of money.
However, the boxing bet which combines these odds in an accumulator becomes instantly more attractive. Why? Well, assuming all four favourites win, a stake of say, £100, would yield £16.67 in winnings. Remember, that’s the tax-free equivalent of a 22.2% return – far better than anything the punter will get at his high street bank for the next ten years at current rates of interest.
Identifying such opportunities has added to the appeal of online boxing betting which now offers more than old-fashioned win-lose options favoured by the equally old-fashioned bookmaker. In fact, boxing betting markets have expanded well beyond what was available even a few years ago.
Today, it is possible to place a bet on how many times a boxer will be knocked down on a round-by-round basis, or whether he will suffer a knockout at a specific point in the fight. Online boxing betting enables the punter to select which round the fight will end –and how.
This expansion of boxing betting markets has injected value for punters and means that in a fight where say, Amir Khan is 1/6 to win a 12-round bout (as he is against Paulie Malignaggi), he will be no shorter than 16/1 to win in a specific round – and as high as 28/1 to register victory in an early round. It follows that the punter could conceivably stake his boxing bet on Khan emerging victorious in every round; at a stake of £10 per round, this would cost £120. Assuming Khan won before the end of the twelfth round, the punter is guaranteed a return of at least £160 and possibly as much as £280.
The growth in online boxing betting has coincided with the rise and popularity of ‘in-running’, or ‘live’ boxing bets. As punters watch a bout live on TV, they also have the opportunity to bet on boxing ‘as it happens’. Furthermore, they can wait for the fight to get underway before getting involved – there’s no need to wager before the opening bell rings. This gives punters a huge advantage because they can see which fighter is more likely to win before they put their money down, another factor which has added considerably to the appeal of boxing betting.
“Betting on boxing is significantly more compelling than it once was,” says our man at the odds comparison site, “and it’s noticeable that the average boxing bet comprises more than a stake on just one bout as punters recognise the opportunities they have to add value to their wager by scouring all manner of prices to ensure their boxing betting is profitable.” It’s difficult to argue with such an assessment and makes us understand the appeal of boxing betting.