Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Shawn Robinson
- Canelo Alvarez is attracting most of the betting support for Saturday's boxing match.
- In college football, Ohio State, Tennessee, Maryland and South Florida are popular picks among bettors.
- In the NFL the Texans, Giants and Rams are causing some liability for the sportsbooks.
Normally when a marquee fight is scheduled in Vegas, all eyes are on that huge event.
However, it isn’t often that a big fight gets scheduled on a big football weekend. That could explain why some of the bookmakers in Vegas are not seeing as much action on Saturday’s mega fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
Canelo Getting Major Betting Support
Keep in mind that the fight was originally scheduled for Cinco De Mayo weekend, and that’s usually an ideal time for a fight because it won’t go up against football.
The sportsbook managers I spoke with were a bit surprised with how slow the betting action has been from the start. There were certainly some people (there always are) who jumped on an early line, but from there things went quiet.
Finally money began to trickle in during the week, and as the weekend approaches, the sportsbook big wigs I spoke with expect it to be business as usual.
“I think there is good volume so far,” Jason Simbal of CG Technologies said. “Bets are trickling in. However, all the money right now is coming in on Canelo. We have him at +115 right now, but you could have had him at +140 when the line opened. So it’s been all Canelo money, slowly but surely. Typically, Canelo will bring in more casual fans, so I expect this trend to continue. My guess is the line could be even by fight time.”
John Murray, the manager of the Westgate SuperBook, says his shop has been offering some GGG value to balance the action.
“We took an $18,000 on Canelo at +130 back in August and had another guy bet Canelo for $20,000 at +125 yesterday,” he explained. “We have seen a lot of buyback on GGG today because we are dealing a favorable price on him, but we still currently need GGG for a medium-sized decision.”
Usually bettors ignore the draw in boxing matches, but they aren’t forgetting what happened last September, Murray said.
“The draw has been a very popular betting option, and the price has gone all the way down from 20-1 to 10-1. We don’t want to see another draw this fight!”
As of Thursday, William Hill said 61% of the moneyline tickets and 82% of the dollars were behind Canelo. With three of the top books in town reporting a similar pattern, it seems that the industry people will be cheering on Triple-G on Saturday night.
Vegas Rooting for the Frogs
After a huge Saturday last weekend, the books are looking to make it two in a row.
Murray said that the primetime game between No. 2 Ohio State (-13) and No. 15 TCU is their biggest action of the day for Saturday, and they definitely need TCU to cover.
The folks at William Hill are also reporting that the Ohio State-TCU game will be their biggest handle, followed by Washington-Utah, Alabama-Ole Miss and LSU-Auburn.
William Hill had a tough start to the weekend, as 97% of the money was on Memphis (-27) against Georgia State on Friday; Memphis covered with a 59-22 victory.
William Hill’s most lopsided games are:
- Tennessee (-30.5) vs. UTEP
- Maryland (-15.5) against Temple
- South Florida (-10) against Illinois
All three of those favorites are attracting at least 98% of the dollars wagered at the time of writing.
As for our friend Duffel Bag Boy, he’s been strangely quiet. Nobody has heard much about him so far this weekend, and even William Hill, where he usually places his biggest bets, hasn’t heard from him.
Big Money On Texans
Surprisingly, the NFL game that has Murray and the Westgate’s focus is Houston (-3) against Tennessee.
“We just took a really sharp bet on the Texans,” Murray noted. “That makes me very skeptical of Mariota’s status for Sunday.”
William Hill’s stats suggest the same thing. At the time of writing, 96% of the money is on the Texans. They also had one-way action on the Vikings. Bettors clearly don’t believe Aaron Rodgers will play, as 97% of the dollars were on Minnesota.
Two other games that will have a big impact on the books’ bottom line are Giants (+3) against the Cowboys and the Rams (-13) against the Cardinals. The G-Men are seeing 93% of the dollars and Los Angeles is getting 91% (both at the time of writing).
See live betting market data here.