Boxing is far less likely to produce arbitrage betting opportunities than the more popular sports like soccer and tennis, but that doesn’t mean that you should write it off altogether.
The most common form of arbitrage bet is between bookmakers that have different betting rules regarding a tie/draw.
In other sports such as ice hockey and basketball, I have warned against using bookmakers that have different rules, but in this article I’ll show you how it can be used to your advantage!
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Boxing Betting Markets
The following betting markets are commonly offered in boxing:
- Money Line
- Outright or head to head betting. You are betting on which boxer will win the match.
- When will the fight end?
- Bet on the round in which a fighter will claim victory.
- Total Line
- Bet on whether the total number of rounds fought will be under or over the stated number. Note that unlike other sports, an asian handicap line does not just apply to round numbers. In other words, betting on under 6.5 refers to the time up to 1 minute and 29 seconds into that round (for a 3 minute round), and over refers to 1 minute and 30 seconds and beyond.
For more info on the other boxing betting markets, see this resource from Betting Expert. However, you can rest assured that the vast majority of boxing arbitrage opportunities come from the markets described above.
Boxing Arbitrage Opportunities
As alluded to earlier, the most common arbitrage opportunity occurs when there are betting market/rule differences between bookmakers.
In particular, this occurs in the Money Line markets.
Some bookmakers offer 1X2 markets (Boxer A wins, Draw, or Boxer B wins) and others exclude the draw and only allow for bets on either Boxer A or Boxer B to win.
For the latter bookies, if the bout results in a draw, the bet will be void and your stake returned to you.
The boxing arbitrage example below shows how we can take advantage of this. Pinnacle and William Hill are both offering Money Line markets on a match. Pinnacle does not offer a draw option, whereas William Hill does.
At first glance, this seems nothing like a sure bet. Hell, it even has a -0.8% profit margin. A guaranteed way to lose money, if anything!
But, if you consider the face that Pinnacle will void your bet and refund your money in the event of a draw, it’s possible to bet less on the draw and still manage to lock in a profit.
Let’s calculate stakes based on $500 total winnings and see how:
Here are the potential outcomes:
- Floyd Mayweather wins. Payout is $500 from Pinnacle. Net loss is $4.05.
- Manny Pacquiao wins: Payout is $500.02 from William Hill. Net loss is $4.03.
- The bout is deemed a draw. Payout is $500.02 from William Hill plus the Pinnacle bet is voided and your stake of $359.71 is returned to you! Net profit is $355.68!
So we stand to lose a small amount if either boxer wins the match, but win big if it ends in a draw. However, it is possible to tweak the stakes on the draw to guarantee a profit no matter the outcome.
If we consider that we will receive $359.71 back in stake from Pinnacle in the event of a draw, we don’t need to bet so much on the draw. Let’s recalculate the stakes, taking this into consideration.
Here are the new potential outcomes:
- Floyd Mayweather wins. Payout is $500 from Pinnacle. Net profit is $7.55.
- Manny Pacquiao wins: Payout is $500.02 from William Hill. Net profit is $7.57.
- The bout is deemed a draw. Payout is $140.43 from William Hill plus the Pinnacle bet is voided and your stake of $359.71 is returned to you! Net profit is $7.69!
So we are now staking $492.45 for a guaranteed profit of at least $7.55! We have converted a -0.8% arb into a 1.5% profit!
Of course, you should never bet such precise numbers on 2 different outcomes with the same bookmaker (especially William Hill), as this will flag you immediately as an arbitrage trader.
Nevertheless, one of the great things about this type of arb is that the alert software typically can’t find it, so they last for a long time.
Even better, they are less likely to be detected and flagged by the bookies as arbitrage activity as you are betting in different markets.
If you can't figure out how I arrived at probability and stake numbers in the tables above, I highly recommend that you check out my in depth guide to arbitrage betting calculations.
It runs through all of the formulas and calculations with tables, graphs and quizzes!
Want to know how to calculate the stakes in the table above?
Read my article on arbitrage betting calculations!
Boxing has some peculiar arbitrage opportunities that arise from mismatch in Money Line markets adopted by the different bookmakers.
These last for a long time, are less likely to be detected by the bookies and are reasonably profitable.
However, they are not as common as arbs in tennis or soccer.
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