For a fight that everyone expects him to lose, Conor McGregor sure does have a ton of betting money on his side. And sportsbooks in Vegas (and around the world) are growing increasingly nervous that a McGregor upset over Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night will cost them millions of dollars.
Before the fight was even made official, some bookies were offering odds of 15-to-1 or even 20-to-1 on McGregor to win, while Mayweather was a huge favourite (-2500). That made sense, since Mayweather is an undefeated pro boxer and McGregor has literally zero professional boxing experience. However, so much money has been bet on McGregor that the lines quickly shifted. Today you can get 3.75-to-1 offs if you bet on McGregor and -475 on Mayweather.
So why the dramatic shift?
Bookies always alter the lines in an attempt to make money regardless of the outcome. By making one side more attractive to bettors, they can literally “hedge their bets” and ensure a profit no matter who wins. However, in the case of McGregor vs. Mayweather, they stand to lose millions because no one is putting any money on Mayweather.
“All I know is we’re less than a week away from making a lot of money or getting [clobbered],” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for online sportsbook William Hill. “I never dreamed in a million years that it would create this kind of frenzy.”
According to reports from Vegas, 16 out of every 17 bets on the fight are in favor of McGregor.
“Most of the people just ask to bet McGregor,” South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said, according to ESPN. “They don’t even care what the price is.”
However, there’s still plenty of hope left for the bookies. There is an expectation that multiple large bets on Mayweather will come in at the last minute, when his price is at the absolute best value.
“Sharps are waiting to hit the Mayweather line when it bottoms out,” professional bettor and Yale economics major Rufus Peabody said. “There will be a lot of big-money bets on Mayweather. The question is how much of that will offset the public bets on McGregor.”
It is that simple. Uninformed tourists seek a giant payday on McGregor. Oddsmakers and professional bettors see huge value in the best fighter of a generation, undefeated at 49-0, facing a guy who has never boxed professionally.
The question is the Floyd money. We just don’t know if it will happen in the next few minutes or late on Saturday,” Murray said. “We don’t want to move the price too much to force Mayweather action. The last thing we want is to need McGregor.”
The general public would really love for McGregor to pull off the historic upset, but the smart money remains on Mayweather to get to 50-0 for his career.