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What Is Round Betting?

Mitchell South

by Mitchell South

Updated Nov 13, 2023 · 12:34 PM PST

Wagering on combat sports like boxing and MMA has attracted bettors for decades. While moneyline betting is probably the most popular, round betting has more opportunity to pad your bankroll.

You might be wondering exactly what round betting is. We’re going to break it down and cover some of the best sportsbooks for these exciting wagers.

Round Betting Overview

In combat sports, round betting is any wager on the exact round a fight will end, or the total number of rounds in the bout.

There’s really no limit to the ways you can bet on any given round in MMA or boxing. Here are the most popular examples:

  • Exact round
  • Exact round + method of victory
  • Total number of rounds (over/under)
  • Fight goes the distance
  • Grouped round betting

Now that we have a general understanding of round betting, let’s get more specific about the types of wagers you can make.

Wager Types

There are multiple prop bets you can make on rounds in all combat sports. Many of them involve something called the “method of victory,” which we’ll discuss in detail right now!

Method of Victory

A bet on the method of victory is your guess on exactly how a fight is won. There are three main methods of victory in combat sports:

  • KO/TKO
  • Submission
  • Judges’ decision

The method of victory comes into play with round betting in a big way. Sure, you can bet on when the fight ends (we’ll talk about that in a second), but your payout will be even higher if you also guess how the fight is finished.

Just take a look at this example from FanDuel:

As you can see, FanDuel calls this wager a “Method & Round Combo.” The payouts can be quite lucrative for hitting on one of these wagers, but they can be difficult to predict.

For instance, if you successfully bet $100 on Alistair Overeem winning by KO/TKO in the third round, you win $1,900 and walk away with a total of $2,000. This is a heavyweight matchup, so it’s unlikely the fight will last until the third round, but you never really know what’s going to happen in combat sports.

Will the Fight Go the Distance?

You can also bet if the fight will “go the distance” or not. This is simply a wager on whether you think all rounds will be completed, in which case the fight goes to the judges’ scorecards.

Let’s take a look at an example from FanDuel:

In the example above, the odds favor the fight not going the distance. As a main event bout, Alexander Volkov and Alistair Overeem are scheduled to go for 5 rounds as opposed to the usual 3. This makes it more likely that the fight will end with an early stoppage.

Remember, these two combatants are heavyweights who pack a lot of punching power, so chances are someone will finish this fight before 5 rounds have been completed. That’s why the odds favor “No” instead of “Yes.”

Still, the fight may go the distance. You win $260 if you successfully bet $100 on “Yes” in the example above.

Exact Round

There are two ways you can bet on the exact round without specifying a method of victory:

  • Betting on the round and the winning fighter
  • Betting on the round without specifying a winner

Take a look at this example from BetMGM:

They list the odds for a winning fighter in a specific round as “Round Betting,” while the lines for just the exact round are listed under “When will the fight finish?”

Gilbert Burns is technically the underdog in the example above, but choosing the winning fighter and the exact round is still a very difficult wager, so Kamaru Usman also has a “+” symbol beside his odds.

The “+” symbol is usually reserved for the underdog, while a “-” symbol is used to indicate the betting favorite for other wagers like moneyline bets.

Total Number of Rounds

Totals betting (also known as over/under) is one of the most popular wagers in all of sports, and it fits really well within the structure of combat sports.

When you’re wagering on totals in round betting, you’ll see odds that list a specific round. You have to decide if the fight ends before or after that specified number.

Here’s an example from the Caesars sportsbook:

The over/under on this fight is listed at 2.5 rounds. If you bet $100 on the under at +175 odds, and the fight doesn’t go over 2.5 rounds, you win $175 for a total payout of $275.

Rounds in MMA are usually 5 minutes long, so the half round listed above will occur at the 2:30 mark in the second round.

This is a fairly conservative bet because you don’t have to specify which fighter walks away as the winner.

Grouped Round Betting

Grouped round betting is self-explanatory. You pick a group of rounds and decide which fighter is going to win those specific rounds.

This kind of wager is seen more often in boxing, where professional bouts are usually scheduled for 12 total rounds. For example, in a fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, you could place a grouped round bet on Tyson Fury to win rounds 6 through 10.

MMA Round Betting

In MMA organizations like the UFC, fights are typically 3 rounds in length. Championship and main event bouts can go for 5 rounds, so you’ll want to adjust your strategy for title fights.

MMA fights usually end by KO/TKO, submission, or with a decision from the judges’ scorecard.

However, there are two more unconventional ways that a fighter can win:

  • Technical decision
  • Disqualification

A technical decision is when a fight is stopped due to injury, but the judges’ scorecard is used to declare a winner. A disqualification can occur due to any rule violations, in which case the fighter who was not disqualified is declared the winner.

Boxing Round Betting

Boxing matches usually have 12 scheduled rounds. You’ll occasionally see some bouts in the 8 or 10 round range, which can impact the betting lines due to the potential difference in total fight time.

These fights can end by KO/TKO, judge’s decision, or when one corner decides to throw in the towel.

Technical decisions and disqualifications happen in boxing as well. A technical decision in boxing usually occurs after an unintentional headbutt, while a DQ can happen if any other rules are broken during the fight.

Otherwise, boxing betting works a lot like MMA wagering, so you can apply the same strategy for round betting between the two sports.

The Best Sportsbooks for Round Betting

Most major sportsbooks will offer round betting in some form, but these are a few of our favorites:

Sportsbook Our Review
FanDuel Learn More
BetMGM Learn More
Caesars Learn More

We like these bookmakers because they offer many different wager types for combat sports like boxing and MMA. They have a ton of round betting props! New bettors can use this ESPN BET bonus code to get locked and loaded with the ESPN betting app.

The availability of these sportsbooks differs based on where you’re betting from, so make sure you read our reviews to see if they operate in your market.

Other Factors to Consider

Here’s a few other variables you should consider when you’re looking at round betting:

  • Weight class – heavyweight fights typically end in a knockout before all rounds can be completed
  • Fighter style and overall record – if a fighter has a lot of knockouts (i.e. Conor McGregor) there’s a good chance they’ll finish the fight in the first round
  • Referee – some referees tend to let fighters take more damage before stopping a fight

It’s helpful to do some research on specific factors before betting on rounds in combat sports. You might find the edge you’re looking for as you’re combing through a fighter’s history.

Stay in the Fight with Expert Betting Knowledge

Whether it’s boxing, MMA, or any other sport for that matter, we’re in your corner with comprehensive sports betting guides.

Check out the articles in our “How to Bet on Sports” section for more expert wagering knowledge.

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