It has been over a year since the last bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Since then, the sport of boxing has changed, and along with it, the betting world. Here, we’ll run down the key changes and how you can adjust your sports betting strategy and bets to take advantage of them.
New Regulations, New Rewards
Perhaps the most significant development in the last year is the expansion of legal sports wagering in the United States. In April 2018, the United States Supreme Court struck down federal legislation that had restricted the ability of states to legalize sports wagering. As a result, many states now have established regulations permitting and even requiring sportsbooks to offer betting on almost all major sports, including MMA. This change has led to the creation of a diversified pool of sports betting opportunities, with more options for bettors.
Along with increased legal sports betting, new regulations have also altered the landscape of sports bookmaking. Prior to the Supreme Court decision, only offshore wagering was legal in the United States. Now that states have legalized sportsbooks, they must abide by the existing federal sports wagering regulations in place at the time of re-entry into the marketplace.
More Than Meets The Eye
In the past year, MMA has exploded in popularity, drawing bigger audiences and more bets than ever before. As a result, the line separating amateur and professional sports has blurred, and traditional definitions of sportsmanship and sports competition have changed significantly.
In the coming months and years, we may see more and more crossover athletes competing in multiple sports. The top MMA fighters also routinely compete in boxing bouts, and more and more seasoned boxers are entering the fray, adding another layer of complexity for bettors.
Less Is More
While there are many changes for the better in 2018, the pendulum has also swung in the other direction. Due to the increase in crossover athletes and bigger-name competitors, the overall quality of sporting events has declined. As a result, many bettors have had to adjust their betting strategies and limits in order to remain competitive.
For instance, the spread between the opening odds in the McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather rematch has increased by more than 10 odds points, from 9 to 19.5, in the past year. This indicates that sportsbooks are taking greater risks in order to attract more bettors. As a result, you may find that the data-driven bettor has been supplanted by the more risky adventurer, at least for now.
New Heights For Confidence Players
Although it may be difficult to believe, some of the biggest changes in the past year have stemmed from the UFC and Mayweather’s connection with the organization. UFC President Dana White has boasted that the organization now draws more sports fans than regular sports fans. During the fight week leading up to a UFC event, White said that fans would routinely place bets on the fight before, during, and after the competition.
As a result, White and the UFC have become a popular betting market in their own right. If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts or want to try your hand at handicapping, you may find it profitable to follow the UFC and make wagers on their upcoming bouts.
White also remarked that fans would bet on the bouts even when the sportsbooks had closed for business, effectively establishing a 24-hour market for UFC fights. This has led to a new era of sports betting, where even those who follow traditional sports may find it convenient to place wagers on the world’s most popular mixed martial arts organization.
More Than One Market
The complexity of handicapping mixed martial arts and boxing competitions has increased because of the addition of McGregor and Mayweather to the UFC roster. As noted, McGregor is a professional boxer who routinely competes in UFC bouts, and Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers of all time and won’t fight unless the money is right.
This has opened up a new market for people interested in betting on McGregor and Mayweather as a team. In the coming months and years, we’ll likely see many different combinations of the two, with McGregor and Mayweather facing off against each other as well as other boxers and MMA fighters.
New Market For People Interested In Both
Even those who bet on only one fighter may find it profitable to follow the careers of McGregor and Mayweather. Since the beginning of the year, the line between the two has grown wider and wider, and some people are laying significant wagers on the outcome. If you’re interested in betting on both, the choice is even more appealing. You can still place a bet on each man independently, but you also have the opportunity to make an all-in-market wager combining the two. In the UFC’s case, this may mean wagering on both men to win or lose in the same fight.
An Uneasy Balance
The impact of all these changes on the betting world won’t be fully felt for some time, but it’s clear that sportswriters and statisticians have taken notice. Just this week, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association named mixed martial arts and boxing the most sophisticated and complex sports to handicap. It also found that while the number of people participating in fantasy sports has increased, the complexity of their leagues has increased as well.
These are just some of the major changes that have occurred in the world of sports betting and MMA over the past year. Keep an eye out for more emerging trends as the new year progresses.