On July 29, Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) took an overwhelming decision against Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) at Barclays Center.
The outcome shouldn’t have surprised much of the boxing world as Garcia is one of the sport’s rising powers and Broner is a wild card who has seen his star fade over the past couple of years.
What was weird though, was the line movement in the buildup to the fight. When the fight was announced on June 1, Garcia was listed as a -500 favorite (some shops went as high as -700).
As boxers, Garcia and Broner are polar opposites. Garcia was a gym rat from a boxing family. He is a methodical fighter with a stratospheric boxing IQ and the work-ethic to match it. Over the past few years, Broner has gone the opposite. "The Problem" is a character first and a boxer second and his outlandish antics reflected that.
As the fight drew closer Broner had the narrative shifted. Instead of people questioning his commitment, they were lauding the way he was approaching the fight. He convinced the world that he was finally taking things seriously and was looking to make good on his talent. The odds began to come all the way down to the point where Garcia was hovering around the -160/-170 mark in the moments leading up to the fight.
For fight fans, this was a big bout. But outside of the boxing world, it probably didn’t tick many boxes for casual sports fans who watch one or two boxing matches a year. And still, the money that came in on Broner was significant enough to move the price dramatically.
Buzz on Sat's Garcia-Broner fight. "Someone out in Vegas was betting a ton of money on Broner." Price bet down from -700 to less than -200.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) July 31, 2017
When Garcia dominated, as he was expected to do, it left a lot of people wondering how the odds got so out of whack in a fight that seemed pretty straightforward if you took it at face-value.
That brings us to the present, where #gamblingtwitter is watching in awe as Floyd Mayweather’s price is dropping as low as -400 (Paddy Power, Coral) against Conor McGregor.
Mayweather -450 is an implied probability of 81.8%.
If you think Mayweather wins that fight less than 81.8% of the time, you're on crack.
— Rob Pizzola (@robpizzola) August 16, 2017
To see McGregor getting money isn’t a surprise. This is going to be one of, if not, the most bet events of the year and of the two fighters, McGregor clearly has the overwhelming support of the public. He’s the darling of this fight and Mayweather is the villain. If McGregor is getting as much money as he is love from the public, the price may well still go down.
Casual bettors and the general public love romance. Seeing a man in his first professional boxing match defeat the egomaniac considered to be ‘The Best Ever’ is about as Hollywood as it gets and to be able to tell your colleague at the water cooler that you bet McGregor, that is the high a lot of people are chasing.
One has to figure that at some point the other shoe has to drop and for the big Floyd money to pour in. In fact, our own Simon Head also threw in a convincing argument that ‘Money’ may be manipulating the odds to give himself the best price for a bet. Just look at the graphic below from OddsShark, Mayweather was a bigger favorite against boxing stars like Marcos Maidana and Miguel Cotto, both of whom were in their prime when they went toe-to-toe with ‘Money, than he is against Mcgregor.
Mayweather admits may have lost a step or two since those fights, but that still doesn’t change the fact that this is a generational talent with 49 wins in 49 fights taking on a debutante.
More than any other sport, narrative can cause significant line movement in boxing and that’s part of what we’re seeing here. Just like in Broner vs. Garcia, it’s snowballing out of control and for those looking to back the rightful favorite, it’s a gift.
Just over a week out from this spectacle, its time to take advantage of a bewilderingly low price on ‘The Best Ever’ before everyone comes to their senses.
Photo credit: Steven Flynn, USA Today