Many sports betting experts anticipated that heavy bettors would wait until the last minute to get action on Floyd Mayweather to defeat UFC superstar Conor McGregor on Saturday. And they were right. On Thursday, Las Vegas sports books took a pair of seven-figure wagers on the fight, one for $1 million and another for $1.2 million, both betting that the boxer would outpunch the MMA fighter and win.
The Bellagio took the fight’s first $1 million bet, at -550 odds, meaning a Mayweather victory would return a profit of about $182,000.
Later the same day, a William Hill customer threw down $1.2 million at -500 odds. This bet would net $242,000, assuming, of course, that Mayweather wins.
Earlier this month, billionaire brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof put $880,000 on Mayweather to win. The former Sacramento Kings owners announced they will donate the winnings to charity.
Las Vegas sportsbooks also took in a few six-figure wagers on Thursday, all on Mayweather. The heavy bettors want nothing to do with McGregor.
The wait is almost over, and it’s time for the trash talking between the fighters to stop and for one to back his mouth up with his fist. Before heading to a Nevada sportsbook, wagering online, or calling your friendly illegal bookie, let’s break down the matchup.
Statistically speaking, the fight is a mismatch in favor of the Mayweather, and the odds reflect as much. But other, less tangible factors such as heart, determination, and stamina might also come into play.
Mayweather, experienced in the sport of boxing, is one of the top offensive and defensive boxers of all-time. His 43 percent punch connect rate is one of the best in history. He’s also fourth among active fighters in opponent connect percentage, allowing only 19 percent of punches thrown his way to land. McGregor will be stepping into a boxing ring as a professional for the first time in his life, facing an opponent that has never lost a boxing match.
Many professional boxers and boxing experts expect Mayweather to win decisively. Actually, pretty much every boxing expert does. Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather’s unsuccessful challenger in 2015, said “McGregor has no chance in this fight,” and predicts the UFC star won’t even land a single “meaningful punch.”
UFC President Dana White disagrees. During a Wednesday interview with ESPN, he predicted McGregor would knock Mayweather out. And indeed, that’s the fear for some, that one well-placed strike is all it will take to end the fight. But the heavy bettors aren’t convinced.
MMA Record: 21-3
Reach: 74 inches
Punches landed: 36 percent
Opponent punches landed: 68 percent
Boxing Record: 49-0
Reach: 72 inches
Punches landed: 43 percent
Opponent punches landed: 19 percent
Prior to Thursday’s million-dollar bets, more than 80 percent of total money wagered was on Mayweather, yet more than 90 percent of total tickets sold were on McGregor to win. That means many are intrigued by Conor’s lofty odds, seeing a large reward for little risk, but aren’t confident enough to bet big on a UFC fighter’s chances of leveling an undefeated boxing champion for the first time, in a boxing match.
The fight takes place Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Pay-Per-View for the event costs $99.95.
As former boxing referee Mills Lane used to say, “let’s get it on.”