If you’re looking for a leg up and the inside track on how to beat the books when it comes to betting on boxing, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, we’re going to cover everything that you need to know to improve your boxing betting strategy.
We’ll start by talking about where you should be betting and then we’ll get into the particulars of what you should be looking at strategy wise starting with the big picture factors and then looking at the individual fighter factors. We’ll close the guide by giving you our expert’s tips to bring everything together and give you the best chance of walking away from the book a profitable winner.
Everything we’re about to teach you about betting on boxing is pretty much useless if you don’t have somewhere reputable to place your bets for two reasons. One, if you don’t have somewhere to take your action, you can’t turn your predictions into cash. No one is going to pay you for being a genius unless you put your money where your mouth is. Two, if you’re betting with a shady sportsbook or a backroom bookie, you can’t be sure that your funds are safe. So, you can win all the bets you want, but it’s not going to mean anything if you can’t get your money.
If you want to be your boxing somewhere that you can trust, check out one of the top-rated and reputable sportsbooks we have picked out for you below. You don’t have to worry about the security of your account, personal information, or money. You can focus on what is important – picking winners and cashing tickets.
The first place we like to start when handicapping a boxing match is the big picture factors. These are the major outside forces that could have an effect on the fight or an effect on the bets that we’re going to make. By starting here, we ensure that we don’t miss something major when we drill down on the specific skill sets and tactics of each fighter. The smaller factors well look at won’t ever really affect the bigger factors, but the bigger factors can affect the smaller factors. We call this our top-down approach.
We aren’t fans of talking smack about boxing, but unfortunately, after so many questionable decisions throughout the past few years, we need to address it. You need to at least take some time and look at which promotion is putting on the boxing event that you are looking to bet. We’re not going to call any promotions out by name, but there are some that seem to have a bad history of some questionable decisions.
Make sure that if you’re going to be betting one of those promotions, you at least take a minute and consider what the goals of that promotion are. Is one of the fighters their own that they’re trying to prop up and get hyped up for a future big fight? We’re not saying that they are automatically going to be doing anything shady, but we do think it’s something that you should at least be aware of and take a minute to look into.
The motivation of a particular fighter is important to know because it can have a big effect on how hard they train and how seriously they take a fight. If they’re just jumping in there to get a paycheck and call it a day, then you can’t really expect them to be dedicated to training as hard as they can. But, if the fighter is a young up and coming talent that is looking to grow their career and potentially position themselves for a title shot, you can probably assume that they are going to be training their brains off.
Now, just because a fighter is motivated does not automatically mean they are a better fighter. So, make sure you don’t get carried away with this. But, you do need to factor this in especially if you think a fighter is on the side of not taking things very seriously. With no motivation to win, it’s hard to compete in such a competitive sport.
You’ll certainly want to take a look at each fighter’s record coming into the fight. But, don’t make the common mistake of just looking at their win/loss total and calling it a day. The problem with doing this is that it can be misleading and you won’t be able to draw the necessary conclusions without looking a little deeper.
First, you want to look at their most recent wins. In boxing, promoters will often set up a promising fighter with a ton of easy wins early in their career to pad their record. You might see a fighter who is 15-0, but all 15 of those wins were against chumps that were easy wins. Very rarely do you see fighters these days who take on challenging matches early in their boxing careers.
So, because of this, you’ll want to pay most of your attention to their most recent wins. You’ll also want to take the time to look through the quality of those wins. Were they against good opponents or are they just starting to transition out of their “beefing up” period?
Additionally, you’ll want to see if they have any experience against similar opponents. Are they fighting a southpaw? Have they fought southpaws before? Are they fighting a brawler? How’d they do against other fighters that fight that way? A lot of these questions and this research will roll right into the last big picture factor we want you to look at.
We’ve already started touching on this, but we want to make it clear. You need to take the time to figure out the stylistic matchup between the two fighters and who is going to have the advantage because of it. Are they fighting a brawler or a technical fighter? Are they a southpaw or traditional fighter? Do they like to push the pace or lay back? Are they a counter puncher or the aggressor?
You have to take the time and break down what style each fighter likes to fight and then how they’re going to match up against their opponent. A lot of this will come from looking at their past fights, and some of it will come from trying to decide how you think they’re coaching staff is going to gameplan the victory.
Out of all the big picture factors that we’ve looked at here, this is probably the most important. We put it last because it’s a nice transition into looking at the individual factors and skills of each fighter. Don’t assume that it’s less important just because it’s not on the top of the list. It’s here for a reason.
After you’ve thoroughly surveyed the bigger picture landscape, it’s time to start looking at the individual factors that will have an impact on each fighter’s ability to win the fight. The list below are the most important things that we think you should be analyzing to try and make smarter boxing bets. They’re in no particular order as what we’re looking for here is a well-rounded picture. Some of these factors are more important than others, but it will be up to you to decide which is which as it will vary from fight to fight.
Two of the most important factors you need to look at are speed and power. Faster fighters are going to be able to get in, land shots, and get out. More powerful fighters might lack in the speed department a little bit, but they’re going to be able to land significant damage to make up for any speed deficiency.
Obviously, most of this is pretty common knowledge. But, the reason that we brought it up is there are a few side notes we want to make that are important. First, make sure that you are not confusing strength with power. Just because a boxer is strong and can lift a lot of heavy weight, does not necessarily mean that will translate into power in the ring. Power comes from the ability to harness that strength and use technique to turn it into a powerful punch. Just being strong does not automatically grant a fighter power.
Second, you need to try and figure how you think the judges are going to score the fight. There’s been a lot of controversy about where judges score more points for a higher volume of striking or for significant damage done. We’d like to believe that it is somewhere in the middle, but it tends to be skewed one way or the other often. There have been a lot of decisions where a faster fighter has landed way more shows but done zero damage and won the fight. There have also been decisions where one fighter overwhelmed the other but ended up losing because the judges felt the damage done by the other boxer’s limited punches was more important.
Sadly, we don’t have an answer for you on how things are going to be scored in the fight you are looking at. But, here’s the best tip. If you’re serious about picking winners, look to see who the judges are going to be for the fight. Take a look back at their past decisions and see how you think they scored the fight. It might require you to watch old fight footage, but again, this only applies to people who are serious about turning a profit.
Make sure that you keep your notes organizes somewhere because the same judges are used over and over again across the different promotions. Once you figure out how they score fights, you’ll have that data and can use it if you see them calling a fight again.
Everyone loves the heavy hitters and the boxers that throw bombs to try and knock out their opponent. But, the problem with these type of fighters is they can get themselves in a lot of trouble against a talented and technical fighter. Make sure that you don’t get carried away with an exciting fighter because if they are outclassed, they’re going to slowly get picked apart and either get worn down and defeated before the last bell, or easily beaten in a judge’s decision.
In order to judge technical ability, you will have to have some knowledge of boxing beyond what the casual fan knows. We’re not saying that you need to go get in the ring, but it certainly would help. What you can do is watch some free training videos on YouTube and start to get more educated with what proper technique looks like.
One of the best places that you can look for a predictor of future performance is the quality of the training partners a boxer is working with. If they’re working with high caliber fighters who are on par with or better than their upcoming opponent, you can bet that they’re going to be pretty well prepared for the fight. But, if they’re forced to train with subpar fighters, it’s going to be tough for them to get in the right quality of work to prepare themselves for the upcoming bout.
Additionally, you need to look even further than just the overall quality of their training partners. You need to look and see two more things. First, is the training partner a similar style fighter to their upcoming opponent? If their training partners are rock stars who fight very technical fights, but their upcoming fight is against a high-level brawler who likes to get down and dirty, then the training isn’t going to be as good as it could. The fighter might struggle when they finally get in the ring on fight night against a completely different type of fighter.
Second, you need to make sure that you look at how much training they are getting with each of these training partners. Articles and updates will often mention who someone is training with, but it will leave out exactly how much and how often they are training with them. Now, this information might not be readily available, but with enough digging, you can usually find it or at least get a pretty good idea.
What are we talking about? Well, it’s great it a fighter is training with the perfect training partner for an upcoming fight. But, what if they are only training one time with that fighter? What if they are just flying in for a weekend and all they’re getting are a few sparring sessions? That’s clearly not as good as if they are in the gym with that partner every single day of their training camp.
A boxer can only be good as the quality of work they are able to get in. Make sure you take some time to research who their training partners are, if their training partners have any experience with their upcoming opponent, and how much work they are getting in with these fighters.
Speaking of the boxer’s camp, you should spend some time looking at the quality of their training camp leading up to this fight. Is it a full-length camp or are they taking the fight on short notice? How is the intensity of the camp? What sort of workout regiments are they doing? All of this information should be readily available especially on a higher profile fight. It may be tougher to find on the other fights on the card, but it is available.
What you’re looking for is whether or not one fighter is training harder than the other. Additionally, you’re looking to see if you think one fighter might be overtraining or not training in the right manner for this fight. Again, this is going to have you step into the driver’s seat and assume the role of their trainer and will require some more knowledge than the casual fan has. But, our goal here is not to just give you some fluffy strategy stuff that you already know. While these tips do require some additional learning and work on your part, they are the things that will set you apart from the betting public.
We could have just titled this section, how much has the fighter been hit in the head recently? What we’re looking for are fighters that might be losing their edge thanks to getting punched in the head too hard or suffering a tough knockout. You see, there have been a lot of fighters in history who have been on top of the game, suffered a bad knockout, and then were never the same ever again.
If the fighter you are looking to bet has suffered a tough beating or knockout in their last fight, be wary. We’re not saying that you can’t still bet on them, but you need to be careful in case they took more punishment than they should have. Remember, fighters are still humans and even though they are super athletes, their bodies and minds still break.
What’s the tip takeaway? Be wary of a fighter who’s taken a lot of damage in their career or recently. Don’t just look at head injuries, but look at punishment to the body as well as significant cuts that could open up and cause the fight to be stopped.
Speaking of punishment, make sure that you’re taking into account and past or existing injuries. But, you have to be careful where you get your information from. Why? Well, it is in the fighter’s best interest not to give the most accurate of information if they don’t have to. If their opponent knows what’s hurt and what parts of their game might be affected, they can build out a much more effective winning strategy.
So, what can you do to get a more accurate picture of injuries? Well, the first thing you can do is try and see as much training tape as possible from their camp or look at them during any open workouts. Try and see if you can see anything that doesn’t look right especially if there was a past injury or an injury that they claim is gone.
If you can’t get your hands on anything like that, you can probably always be safe erring on the side that things are never as good or boxers aren’t as healthy as they claim they are.
What we’d like to do now is give you our list of tips to help improve your results and bring together everything that we’ve been talking about thus far in this strategy guide. We do regularly add to this list of tips so feel free to bookmark the page and periodically check back to see what we’ve added.
Not all boxing bouts end with a knockout. A ton of them are going to end up in the judge’s hands which means that when you’re making your picks, you need to be thinking about who has the better shot of getting a decision. But, you can’t really do that if you don’t completely understand the scoring system.
We’ve already mentioned that there are some issues with the objectiveness of the scoring in boxing and there are also a lot of widespread and outspoken critics of the 10-point must system. But, regardless of how you feel about the system, it’s the one that will help to decide whether you win or lose a lot of your bets. So, we highly recommend that you take some time and figure out exactly how the scoring system works and all the nuances that come with that.
A firm grasp on this will help you to better know who stands the best chance to pull out the victory when it goes to the judge’s scorecards.
For some reason, a lot of newer boxing bettors forget that there are plenty of statistics they can look up to help them make their predictions. While stats are not always going to tell the full picture, they can go a long way to help back up or disagree with the things that you think you see. Look at things like punch totals, significant strikes landed, the percentage of strikes landed, and where the strikes landed. You shouldn’t make your picks solely based on statistics, but the one thing that will never lie to you are the numbers.
It can be tempting to want to bet heavy favorites in boxing. Everyone loves getting that win and cashing a ticket. But, before you make any bet, you need to make sure you see if the bet actually has value. Is the amount of money you have to risk to win a significant amount worth it? The bigger the favorite is, the more you’re going to have to bet to get any sort of respectable return.
Does this mean you should never bet any favorites? Of course it doesn’t mean that. What we’re saying is that you have to be careful and make sure your bets have value. The temptation to take bets that have no value is much bigger when it comes to heavy favorites. If you’d like to know more about finding value (and we highly recommend that you do), check out our Understanding Value and How Betting Lines Work guide. It is the single most valuable and important betting guide we have on our entire site regardless of sport.
Boxing action can sometimes feel like it’s hard to come by. Especially if you’re only looking to bet fights with value, you can find yourself looking for opportunities to force bets. What we’d like to remind you is exactly that. You should only be betting bouts where you are confident in your pick, and you think the pick has value. This means you should not be betting every single fight on the card even though it’s going to be tempting to do so. Stick to only betting the fights that have value and your bottom line will thank you.
This is just one of the major boxing betting mistakes that you need to avoid. If you’d like to see our complete list of boxing betting mistakes, check out the guide that we have linked below. We’ll walk you through exactly what you should NOT be doing in order to have success betting on boxing.
The last tip we want to cover for you and send you out the door with is this. Please take the time to shop your betting lines. The only excuse you have to not is if you are lazy. Because of the nature of the boxing betting market, you’re often going to find varying lines and payouts on the exact same fight. If you bet props and more unique bets, this becomes even more extreme.
For those of you that have never heard of line shopping before, it’s just a creative way of saying that you need to check multiple sportsbooks to see who is offering you the best payouts. If you read our Understanding Value guide that we linked to above, you saw the reasons that different sportsbooks are going to have different lines on the exact same bet.
If you’re not taking the time to take advantage of these different lines and find the one that favors your wagers the most, then you are just being lazy and leaving potentially free money on the table. If you’re serious about being profitable, this is one tip that you simply cannot ignore.
We’ve covered a lot, but hopefully, you now feel much more confident in making your boxing betting picks. If you’d like to get some more information before you get down to doing your research, make sure you check out our Boxing Betting Hub where we have a ton of great information and resources to help you learn and have more success.