Saturday's bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor has captured the imagination of not only boxing and MMA fans, but of the general sports market and public at large.
Everyone from the people who schedule their lives around watching fights every weekend to the most uninitiated pacifist who watches a handful of sports events this year has an interest in this fight, and a strong opinion on what's going to take place.
Mayweather opened as a heavy betting favorite, and rightfully so, since he's a boxer, and the man he's facing in a boxing match doesn't box. But this fight has been a tremendous study in how to market a fight—or an example of outrageous luck. Given the notoriety and popularity of both athletes, it makes sense that the fight would garner attention, but the realistic likelihood of it being competitive is incredibly low, which should have served to temper excitement. Instead, rabid McGregor fans and virulent Mayweather detractors combined to bet the line down to the neighborhood of 4-1 or even 3-1, causing the general public to believe this is a legitimate pick 'em fight.
All that has done is make everyone involved in this fight even richer. Just about the only people worried about what they're going to take home at the end of the night are sportsbooks, because if McGregor happens to win, they will lose a ridiculous amount of money.
"Going back to the 1980s, never have I seen the kind of momentum and one way action that's coming in on any sport across the board," said Joey Oddessa, veteran offshore boxing and MMA oddsmaker. "It's almost like the fight's already over with. They really believe he's gonna win. The belief in McGregor, I've never seen anything like it. It goes beyond just being a fan—they'll bet him at any number."
Bovada sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley recently told VICE Sports that the sportsbook had taken "100 times more" action on this fight than any other, and significantly more than any Super Bowl. Both MGM and Westgate Las Vegas Superbook have said that 90-plus percent of the money bet in Vegas has been on McGregor, although ESPN reported that two $1 million bets were placed on Mayweather on Thursday.
With the public's proven desire to wager money on this event, and the broader audience it's playing to, sportsbooks are offering an abundance of prop bets, much like they do for the Super Bowl.
"As far as crossover props, they're just math props. If Floyd just goes out there and knocks him out cold with a hook, anyone who bet the under looks like a genius. But nobody really knows what's going to happen," said Oddessa. "It's targeting losers, people that just gamble and lose, throwing darts at the wall and hoping something sticks."
Here are some of the wildest prop bets available for Mayweather vs. McGregor, courtesy Bovada:
Which will be higher? Total Points in the Margin of Victory in the BIG3 Championship (+105) or Completed Rounds in the Fight (-145)
If you love gimmicky events, Saturday is like Coachella for you. These events were actually scheduled for the same day, at the same time, in the same venue, the T-Mobile Arena. Not surprisingly, Mayweather-McGregor took precedence over Trilogy vs. 3 Headed Monsters. That said, while BIG3 players are indeed old, Mayweather had already been world champion for two years by the time Trilogy captain Kenyon Martin was drafted in 2000.
What will there be more of? Total Goals in the English Premier League (+375) or Total Punches Landed by Conor McGregor (-700)
If you think that McGregor has absolutely no shot in this fight and will struggle to land a punch, or if you think he has nuclear power in his left hand and will starch Mayweather the instant he touches him, this bet is for you. Premier League games feature an average of about three goals per game, and there are six contests on the schedule Saturday. Can McGregor land more than 18 punches?
Will Lil Wayne wear a shirt during the fight walkout?
Yes -180, No +130
This bet is conducive upon Weezy walking Mayweather to the ring, if not, it's voided. The self-proclaimed best rapper alive has shown a real dedication to shirtlessness throughout his career, but you'd have to go all the way back to April on Tunechi's Instagram page to find a topless still photo.
Total Donald Trump tweets on the day of the fight
Over 6.5, Under 6.5
On average, Trump tweets seven times a day, so this number is well-scouted. The President immediately expressed interest in attending the fight, but according to noted Trump supporter Dana White, he will not be there. Given the way racial lines have clearly been drawn and in some cases grossly exploited in this fight, Trump will have a real dilemma on his tiny hands: Does he root for his buddy Floyd Mayweather, or the man whose skin tone most closely resembles the majority of his supporters?
Will Floyd Mayweather wear a "The Money Team" hat during the fight walkout?
Yes -400, No +250
I can't remember the last time Mayweather walked to the ring without a Money Team hat on his head, and the last time he did so, he was wearing a sombrero to show how much he uh... loves Mexican people. So unless he stoops even lower and wears a leprechaun hat or something, he will certainly be showing off the TMT hat.
Which fighter will have a longer fight walkout?
Mayweather -155, McGregor +110
One constant during the press tour, outside of patently offensive remarks from both fighters, was that Mayweather's entrance was always longer than McGregor's. Mayweather will almost certainly enter second, and should take his time walking to the ring.
Who will have more people with them during the fight walkout?
Mayweather -230, McGregor +160
McGregor has definitely beefed up his entourage since the fight was announced to try to compete with the vaunted Money Team, but he's fighting in Mayweather's city, where all of his entourage resides, and Floyd can more or less give ring access to anyone he wants.
What will there be more of? Strikeouts by Madison Bumgarner on Aug. 26 or Completed Rounds of the Fight -140
Bumgarner's strikeouts per nine innings this season sits at 8.5, and of course there's no guarantee that he does throw a complete game. Talking to industry sharps, one of the prop bets savvy bettors are playing right now is under 8.5 rounds. On the surface then, this looks like a good play, but remember you're working with a non-static number, and Bumgarner could go bananas and strike out the side every inning. It might even be more probable than McGregor winning.
Total PPV buys for the fight (+5.75 million) or Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale (-5.75 million)
Obviously there will be more viewers for Game of Thrones than this PPV, because even PornHub sees its traffic dip when GOT comes on, and next to nothing can stop people from watching porn. But in this case, the fight is being spotted an extra 5.75 million. Over 10 million people watch Game of Thrones every week, but if the PPV tops 5 million buys as many think it will, this could be a close call.
How long will it take for Demi Lovato to sing the national anthem?
Over 1:54 -120, Under 1:54 -120
Unlike the Super Bowl, where things are perfectly timed and commercials need to be run, boxing broadcasts are an empty slate. Remember when Ray Charles dragged "America the Beautiful" out for almost three full minutes to help his pal Sugar Ray Leonard get in Roberto Duran's head in 1980? There are no rules here. There will be nobody suggesting to Demi that she can't just let it rip and hold the final note on "brave" for an extra 15 seconds. Sorry, not sorry.