93°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Sports books need Mayweather despite taking two $1M bets on him

Updated August 24, 2017 - 9:16 pm

As the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor action heated up this week in Las Vegas, William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said the betting handle for Saturday’s boxing match at T-Mobile Arena would be eclipsed only by the Super Bowl.

“It’s going to be the biggest fight handle ever. Period,” he said. “Whether it’s boxing, gladiators or ‘Game of Thrones.’ ”

Bogdanovich uttered his classic quote before a bettor walked into a William Hill sports book Thursday and placed a $1.2 million wager on Mayweather at minus-500. Around the same time at the Bellagio, a bettor made a $1 million wager on Mayweather at minus-550, and MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said he had an inquiry for another $1 million wager.

The $1.2 million wager would pay $240,000, and the $1 million bet would pay $182,000.

Despite the seven-figure bets on Mayweather, Nevada sports books still stand to lose millions and could suffer their largest event loss ever if McGregor upsets Mayweather (49-0, 26 knockouts) in the UFC star’s pro boxing debut.

The vast majority of the money is on Mayweather, but the books still need him to win as more than 90 percent of the tickets are on McGregor.

“We certainly don’t need McGregor to win in the first four rounds,” Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay said.

As expected, the big money on Mayweather started to show at the books a few days before the fight. Before Thursday’s flash flood of cash — which included a $300,000 wager at MGM Resorts — an MGM Resorts bettor made a $500,000 wager and a William Hill bettor made a $300,000 wager Wednesday on his mobile phone app.

Rood said he expects 80 to 90 percent of the handle to show in the final 36 to 48 hours before the fight.

Mayweather opened as a 27-1 favorite at South Point and McGregor a 12-1 underdog when the odds were first posted Feb. 16 for a possible fight. Heavy action on the underdog dropped Mayweather’s price to as low as minus-475 before it climbed back to a consensus of minus-550.

“I firmly believe that even at (minus) 550, that’s still historic value, from a wagering perspective, on Mayweather,” Rood said. “That is extremely cheap.”

Mayweather was a 30-1 favorite over Andre Berto, a two-time former world champion, in his last fight. Bogdanovich and Matthew Holt, vice president of CG Technology sports books, said the true odds on the fight are Mayweather as a 70-1 favorite.

“Conor’s never been in a true boxing match in his life and Floyd’s the best there’s ever been,” Bogdanovich said.

Said Holt: “It may end up being the most mispriced event in sports history.”

The biggest bets on McGregor have been $150,000 at William Hill, $75,000 at MGM Resorts and $50,000 at South Point on Thursday, but none was placed by sharp bettors, who are backing Mayweather en masse.

For those unwilling to lay minus-550, fight handicapper Lou Finocchiaro (@GambLou) recommends a play on Mayweather to win by KO/TKO/DQ (minus-160).

“I feel Conor has more of a shot than people in Las Vegas are giving him. But I do think, at the end of the day, that Floyd’s going to find a way to outslick Conor in the early rounds and make McGregor chase him,” Finocchiaro said. “When this gets to round six or seven, I can see Conor gassed.”

Bogdanovich also sees Mayweather stopping McGregor.

“McGregor is going to try to hit him with everything he can. That takes a lot of energy when you’re swinging for the fences every round,” he said. “Eventually it will add up and Floyd will stop him late in the fight.

“Twelve rounds is a long way to go when you’ve never gone it before. Floyd’s done it many times.”

McGregor has fought 37 five-minute rounds to 387 three-minute rounds for Mayweather.

Longtime boxing promoter and publicist Jim Hunter also envisions McGregor tiring but sees Mayweather winning by decision (plus-250).

“He’ll have to know how to cut off the ring against Mayweather or he’ll be chasing him all night and it will be a dreary match,” Hunter said. “Also, he’ll be throwing more punches than he does in MMA, and you expend a lot more energy missing punches, which most people do against Mayweather, than landing one.

“I, frankly, don’t see any way Mayweather is going to lose this fight.”

The most popular prop at William Hill is on Mayweather to win by disqualification (plus-500), a scenario that reportedly could cost McGregor 90 percent of his $75 million purse. Finocchiaro can still see it happening.

“If those Irish droves show up on Saturday and Floyd’s starting to tag him, I believe there’s a real chance that the young, proud McGregor — in front of those Irish who’ve had 20 Guinness Stouts — can snap,” he said. “I don’t put it past either his pride or his instinct taking over and saying ‘The hell with it’ and kicking Floyd or using some type of UFC move.

“If McGregor were to go rogue and elbow Floyd and put him out, it’s a DQ, Floyd’s 50-0 and has his money and McGregor walks away a winner because he kicked Floyd’s ass.”

More betting: Follow all of our sports betting coverage online at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did.
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer.
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more.
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8.
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8.
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
THE LATEST