In less than a month, the overly hyped fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will take place in Las Vegas (Saturday, August 26th). Mayweather, 49-0 but out of boxing since beating Andre Berto in September 2015, is not a knockout artist, but has rarely been challenged during his impressive career.
McGregor, 21-3 as an MMA fighter, is making his boxing debut.
Boxing purists — and right-minded people, in general — do not think this is a fair fight, pitting one of the great tacticians of all time against someone who has never been a professional pugilist. The undiscerning see value with McGregor at 5/1, given that he’s considerably bigger and 11 years younger.
The most urgent advice for this fight is to stay away from McGregor. Don already calculated that there’s about an 80% chance Mayweather wins every round on all three scorecards. But you’re not here for “stay away” advice; you need some plays, and there are a few that provide better value than the basic Mayweather-to-win (which will see you laying about -700).
MAYWEATHER VS MCGREGOR: VALUE PROPS
MAYWEATHER WINS BY 12-ROUND DECISION: 11/4 (+275)
Don’t be tempted into McGregor-by-decision at 40/1. Any money you put on that is a donation to your sportsbook. But Mayweather-by-decision at 11/4 has value. Mayweather doesn’t seek knockouts; his last seven fights have gone the distance. His only KO since 2007 came against Victor Ortiz in 2011, a fight which began a three-match losing streak for the over matched Ortiz. Mayweather knows the only way he loses this fight is if McGregor tags him with a big shot and puts him on the mat. Expect him to play it safe and pick McGregor apart slowly over 12 rounds. It’s the safest strategy against the much larger man.
Meanwhile, McGregor has never been knocked out. All three of his MMA losses have come by submission. You might not think McGregor can compete, but he is very tough and can take a punch, especially from a 5’8, 155-pound man wearing 10-ounce gloves.
MCGREGOR IS KNOCKED DOWN OR OUT: 20/63 (-315)
Betting the first prop mentioned and this one might seem counterintuitive. However, they can work in tandem. If you think Mayweather is much better, and there is very little chance that he’ll lose, you may believe McGregor gets battered and bruised and hits the deck, but gets up and continues to take the punishment for all 12 rounds. You can win both bets if that is the case.
On the flip side, if McGregor gets knocked out, you lose the first wager, but win the second. The only ways betting both is a big loser is if Mayweather loses outright or there is a DQ, neither of which is likely.
MCGREGOR IS KNOCKED DOWN: 10/21 (-210)
About as straight-forward as it gets, this bet wins if McGregor his the mat at any point. If the referee stops the match but McGregor doesn’t hit the ground, this is a loser.
You can play this bet as a hedge on the second prop, above, doubling up if McGregor goes down, and saving face with bet number two if he is TKO’ed but not decked.