This Saturday’s mega fight between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather vs ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor has surpassed all bookmaker expectations. Grabbing the general public’s attention, Mayweather vs McGregor looks to break all combat sports records (PPV, wagering, global audience etc…).
SBC’s Bookies’ Corner details how bookmakers have approached this unique fight, regarding market pricing, public expectations, hype and rumour. Furthermore, should McGregor achieve the impossible, how beaten and bloodied will bookmakers be!
SBC: As a sporting event Mayweather Vs McGregor has received daily hype, rumour and speculation. How has this affected pricing and punter wagering, is Mayweather Vs McGregor effectively a betting ‘freak show’?
Jessica Bridge (Head of PR Ladbrokes): Some call it a freak show, some call it a circus, we call it the second biggest single betting event of the year. Only the Grand National will see more wagers placed on a single market, which speaks volumes about the magnitude of this fight, whatever your personal feelings are about it.
So far we’ve taken around 10x as many bets on McGregor than we have for Mayweather, and we simply cannot give the boxer away right now. Punters are firmly siding with the underdog, which leaves us in the unusual position of cheering on the favourite. When the fight was confirmed we were 1/12 v 13/2 and it’s now 2/7 v 11/4, we’ve had to shorten up McGregor more than we would have liked, and vice versa for Mayweather, but we have to manage the liabilities accordingly, and the money is going nowhere near the Moneymaker at present. Any McGregor result would be a bit of a nightmare at this stage, but in the final 24 hours leading up to the fight and on the night itself it’s hard to see the big boys resisting the lure of such ‘generous’ odds on offer for Mayweather.
SBC: As a sporting event, how hard has it been to accurately price Mayweather Vs McGregor, in what is essentially a ‘Master Vs Novice’ scenario?
Alistair Gill (Kindred Group – Sportsbook Commercial Relations): This fight has been difficult for the industry to price up based on the complete opposite end of the spectrum the fighters come from regarding experience. But Mayweather’s age and two-years of inactivity versus McGregor’s power and mobility mean that it maybe wasn’t as clear cut as some think, with even the experts in the industry disagreeing on how easy Mayweather will have it.
The shortening of McGregor’s price from 8/1 into today’s 13/4 just proves how tough the initial pricing was, but with the real money starting to come now during fight week the odds are holding fairly steady, showing that the odds are now where they should be.
SBC: This fight has caught the wider sporting public’s imagination, however, should it be ‘a dud’ could Mayweather Vs McGregor impact future boxing markets?
Johan Munthe (Head of Pre-Match Odds, Kambi): I don’t think it will. I think the public have short memories about these things and hype plays a massive role in the interest we see. Mayweather vs Pacquiao was billed as the fight of the century and failed to live up to the hype but here we are a few years later with another Mayweather fight, and the interest is huge, much bigger than Mayweather vs Pacquiao. I also think the public know that this McGregor fight is slightly different to a normal Boxing match and so they will be more likely to forgive the wider sport if this fight doesn’t prove to be entertaining.
In a broader sense, the term “Boxing is dead” has been talked about since the early 21st century. Boxing is currently in rude health and is having its best year in a long time. We have some exciting, established PPV stars such as Anthony Joshua, and Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, who fight each other next month in what I believe is the best fight for some years. We also have a wealth of talented fighters on the verge of becoming stars, fighters like Vasyl Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia and Terence Crawford. Overall the quality of Boxing as a sport is very strong at the moment so one would hope this is reflected in interest from the public.
Furthermore, betting interest has also been on the rise, thanks to a mix of high-profile fights and improvements to the product. The Joshua vs Klitschko fight earlier this year was a very high turnover event, as was Alvarez vs Chavez Jr. For Mayweather vs McGregor, we have already surpassed the Mayweather vs Pacquiao turnover with days still to go and that turnover at the time was thought to be a complete one off, not to be seen again for years in Boxing. So both public interest and betting interest in Boxing has remained strong and are unlikely to be derailed by one ‘dud’ fight.
SBC: A vast amount of punters are backing the impossible…Could a Conor Mcgregor victory bloody the industry?
Lee Price (Paddy Power – Head of PR): This is the biggest boxing betting market in history, and most of the money is for McGregor. So everyone throughout the industry will have prepared for a hit should Conor win.
We just hope Floyd’s similarly prepared, if he gets knocked out in the first round, then there really is trouble, as it’s our best backed round-betting market. Paddy Power has taken the decision to pay-out early on a Mayweather victory, we hope that Conor McGregor is not another Trump 2016 moment!