Boxing Betting Odds Explained

02 / 02 / 2021 By Mark Saldana

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Sports betting is extremely popular. You love the sport. And you love betting.

Boxing, maybe more than any other sport, particularly lends itself to the art of wagering.

But to be successful, there are a few things any bettor should know especially when considering the sport of boxing.

Boxing odds are a bit different from other sports

We’ll explain those differences in this article and equip you with the know-how and some special tips to make you a confident boxing bettor.

How Do You Read Boxing Odds?

Understanding money lines is an important first step to reading boxing odds. 

Boxing odds are written in money lines rather than fighter odds because, in boxing, the odds aren’t always a whole number. 

Boxing odds are written with plus (+) and minus (-) symbols, and to read boxing odds, you need to know what those symbols mean.

‘Money Line’ and Fighter Odds 

Many would say that betting the money line is one of the easiest and simplest ways to bet in sports. 

Here’s how simple it is — you place a bet, and if you pick the winner, the sportsbook will pay you the amount owed.

In boxing, money lines are simply another way to express fighter odds.

Let’s say you’re considering placing a bet and you see the money line +400. What does that actually mean?

It’s just another way to express the odds. 

In this case, +400 means the odds are 4 to 1.

It’s as simple as that. Kinda.

The + and – signs are significant — we’ll explain in more detail below.

But for now, an example may suffice.

Let’s take the +400 mentioned above. This would be 4 to 1 for the underdog. If you bet $100, you would win $400.

However, let’s say you are looking at – 400. This means the favorite has 4 to 1 odds. You would have to bet $400 for every $100 you want to win.

Does this sound confusing? Keeping reading to clear things up.

friends betting on boxing

Boxing Odds Explained: Minus (-) vs. Plus (+) Money Lines

You want to know how odds work in boxing.

Maybe you’re familiar with the lingo  —

  • Laying money
  • Taking a price
  • “Pick ‘em” fights

But what do those terms really mean?

Before you put your money down, you’ll want to have a better understanding of the terms, what they mean, and how they express the odds.

Before looking at the details, a few basics you should know are:

  • The minus (-) refers to the favorite.
  • The plus (+) refers to the underdog.
  • The number with the (-) is the amount you have to bet to win $100.
  • The number with the (+) is what you win if you bet $100.

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Laying Money (-) 

Now that you know the basics, let’s dig into the details.

As mentioned above, the (-) identifies the favorite and expresses the amount you must bet to win $100.

But what does the phrase “laying money” mean?

It simply means, that when you look at the two options (boxers, in this case), you will lay your money on the side of the favorite.

But laying money comes with a risk — betting more than what you will make if you win (concerning profit). 

Let’s look at some examples again to make it clearer:

  • Let’s say the favorite goes up at -500 money line. The bettor who chooses this favorite would put up $500 to win $100. If this fighter wins, the bettor would win $100 and get their $500 back, thus risking 5 times more than he’ll win.
  • The same scenario above would be true with a lesser bet. Say the bettor lays down $50 on the favorite. If he wins, he’d win $10 — still risking $5 for every $1 in winnings.

Taking a Price (+)

Taking a price is a different situation than laying money, and taking a price identifies the underdog.

The term “taking a price” has to do with how much the bettor will have to pay to make a bet — putting a price on a bet.

One way to think about it is the opposite of laying money. For every dollar the bettor risks, they are going to profit in a greater proportion.

Let’s look at another example to explain:

  • The bettor sees a +300 underdog. The “300” signifies to the bettor that if he bets $100 and the underdog wins, the bettor will profit $300, plus their original $100 bet.
  • Again, this scenario works with different amounts. This same bettor could bet $10, and if the underdog prevails, then the bettor would win $30. Again, the ratio determines the win amounts. Basically, in this case, for every dollar the bettor bets, he will profit $3 if the underdog wins — thus, the 3 to 1 ratio.

‘Pick-em’ Fights

What if there isn’t a clear favorite? What if the fighters are equally matched or one has only a slight advantage?

This occasionally happens, and in this case, both competitors will have a (-) before the price.

These scenarios are called “pick ‘em” fights and they might look something like this:

  • Fighter X – 110
  • Fighter Y -110 (The bettor would win $10 for an $11 bet.)


  • Fighter X -120
  • Fighter Y -110

In either of these cases, the bettor will need to lay a price on both of the fighters and simply pick one to win.

Why bet on both?

Since there aren’t any real “odds”, this gives the sportsbook an opportunity to turn out an advantage.

How Do Odds Work in Boxing? Use the Odds to Determine Possibilities

Now that you know the basics of betting odds or more specifically, how odds work in boxing, it’s time to learn how to use that knowledge to make reasonable bets.

How can you use this information to know which competitor is the best bet — or which bet will deliver the best value? 

In other words, which bet will deliver a payout better than you imagine it should?

Convert the Odds to Percentages

One way to determine value is to convert the odds to percentages. 

This basically means that the bettor can convert the money line odds to a percentage of a chance to win and place the wager that way.

The bettor needs to answer the question, “Does Fighter X have a bigger chance of winning than Fighter Y?”

The best way to figure that out is to put some basic math skills to work and let the percentages — or chances of winning — speak for themselves.

When You Might Choose the Favorite to Win

Here’s how it works. (We’ll use odds that end in even percentages to make it straightforward.)

Let’s say Fighter X goes up at – 400. Remember, this represents a “to a dollar” bet. We could say that this fighter’s odds are 4 to 1 — if he wins, you’ll get paid 4 to 1.

However, to consider the odds as a percentage, we need to look at it this way: Fighter X has 5 out of 6 chances of winning. This converts to 80% (5 divided by 6 and then multiplied by 100).

So, should the bettor gamble on Fighter X?

Yes, as long as the bettor is confident that the favorite has more than an 80% chance of winning.

When You Might Choose the Underdog to Win

You can think about the underdog similarly. 

If the underdog goes up at + 300, it does not mean that he has 1 out of 3 chances of winning. Rather, it means that he has 3 times the chances of losing.

Converting these odds to a percentage can help. 

With +300 odds, we can say that this fighter has 1 out of 4 chances of winning. When we turn that into a percentage (1 divided by 4, then multiplied by 100), we see this fighter has a 25% chance of winning.

If the bettor believes that this fighter has more than a 25% chance of winning, then this might be a good bet.

In the end, whether the bettor is looking at the favorite or the underdog, if there isn’t a clear way for the fighter being considered to win, he may be better off avoiding the bet altogether.

How Does Boxing Betting Work? 5 Types of Boxing Bets

This question has a multifaceted answer. 

There are several types of boxing bets, and taking a look at a few examples of each may help you determine where you are most comfortable.

#1: Money Line 

As mentioned before, betting the money line could be considered the simplest and most straightforward type of bet.

Essentially, you are betting on the victor. 

Who do you think will win based on the odds? Consider the following situation:

  • Fighter X goes up at – 600
  • Fighter Y goes up at + 400

The bettor may look at this setup and decide that Fighter X has a better chance of winning, and places his bet on the favorite. 

#2: Number of Rounds (Over/Under)

Over/under betting is based not on who will win the match but on how many rounds the bettor thinks the match will last.

Consider Fighters X and Y above, let’s say the book lists an over/under of 8.5 rounds:

  • over, – 600
  • under, + 400

If the bettor thinks the fight will last into the 9th round, he should choose the “over.”

On the other hand, if he thinks the fight will be stopped in the 8th round or before, he should take the “under.” 

#3: Victory Betting

Victory betting deals with how the victor will win. Wins can be determined by:

  • Knockout – KO/Technical knockout – TKO
  • Points/decision
  • Submission
  • Disqualification

In our example above with Fighters X and Y, a bettor may wager on Fighter X KO/TKO. For the bettor to win the wager, Fighter X would have to win the fight with a knockout or technical knockout.

#4: Proposition Bets

Proposition bets, or “special” bets, allow the bettor to bet on different features of a fight.

Some aspect the bettor may choose from are:

  • Knockouts
  • Knockdowns
  • Point deductions
  • Type of punch to land first
  • Duration of the fight
  • Decision of fight
  • Draw

#5: Scorecard Spread

Betting on scorecard spread concerns the difference in points fighters earn in a fight. 

Points can be given for:

  • Winning by stoppage
  • Winning by decision
  • Draw

A spread between Fighters X and Y may look something like this:

  • Fighter X – 13.5
  • Fighter Y – 6.5

If Fighter X wins by 14 or more, the bettor wins his wager.

going beyond boxing betting odds

Beyond How Odds Work in Boxing: Other Factors to Consider When Placing a Wager

To end our discussion of how boxing odds work, it may be helpful to take a look at some other elements that may help a bettor make an informed wager.

  • Styles of boxing – Consider how the boxing style of the fighter. Does he bounce around the ring? Does he jab hard? What is his style like compared to his competitor?
  • Fighting history – Who has the fighter competed against in the past? Have the fights been evenly matched? What level of competition has the fighter experienced before?
  • Tale of the tape – Looking at stats like height, weight, age, record, etc. can help the bettor see if there is a clear mismatch.
  • Physical shape – The bettor wants to place bets on fighters who are in good physical condition and are training consistently.

Now That You’re ‘In the Know,’ Place Your Boxing Bets Online With ZenSports

You now have a better idea of how odds work in boxing, and you’re reading to start betting.

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