If the unthinkable happened Saturday night – Conor McGregor scoring the upset of a lifetime by beating Floyd Mayweather – it would have been a monumental loss for sportsbooks across Las Vegas, the state of Nevada and in the offshore markets.
So conversely, Mayweather’s 10th-round technical knockout victory was a massive boost for the books. The reaction was crystal clear in a late Saturday night text message from Pete Fox, Tilted Sports Media Correspondent.
“Holy Cow! That was fun! Could not be any happier,” Pete Fox told Me. “I’m partying hard now!” Pete spent the day touring Mandalay Bay and the MGM sportsbooks. Rumor has it he took Mayweather lots of different ways which turned out alright.
Things were calmer on Sunday morning, but sportsbook operators were no less happy about how this turned out. Even after having to pay out Mayweather backers on multiple seven-figure bets and a slew of six-figure bets, it was a huge win, thanks to not having to pay out on the overwhelming number of McGregor tickets at healthy plus-money prices.
Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM Resorts books, told ESPN later on Sunday.
“We did very well. It was our largest boxing win ever. Basically, it was as good as the Super Bowl for us,” Stoneback said, alluding to New England’s comeback victory over Atlanta last February, turning a big loser into a good winner.
It was an unusual day for MGM books, including Stoneback’s home base at The Mirage. Early in the afternoon, MGM took a $1 million wager on Mayweather to win, followed a little later by a $325,000 Floyd bet, and then a $750,000 Mayweather wager. And MGM books welcomed all those wagers, very much wanting Mayweather money.
Those bets pushed Mayweather from a -600 to a -675 favorite. But then…
“The money seemed to dry up after that,” Stoneback said. “At one time, we were a two-way winner, but after the fight went off, we’d have been a big loser to McGregor.”
MGM books closed Mayweather at -550, with McGregor +350.
It was very exciting. Obviously, McGregor did better than everybody expected. The Irishman hanging on through the ninth round provided another key win for MGM. With 1:20 to go in the ninth, it looked like McGregor might go down. Once he got through the ninth round, which was a significant winner for the books. There was significant money on Mayweather winning inside 9 ½ rounds. Which made patrons, even picking the correct winner, holding losing tickets over the next 3 3 ½ minutes. Live wagering was -2500 on Mayweather going into the last round. You could see McGregor was gassed at that point.
Offshore books reveled in Mayweather’s victory, too. Peter Childs, risk management supervisor for Sportsbook.ag, reported on Yahoo Sports the outcome was a home run on multiple fronts.
“We crushed. It couldn’t have been a better result for us,” he said.
Joey Oddessa, who provides MMA/boxing odds for several offshore operators, interviewed with Bleacher Report noted he never felt the outcome was in doubt, though he admitted McGregor “fought a brave fight.” Sportsbooks everywhere, he said, should be extremely grateful this money-printing bout came together.
“Every sportsbook on the planet should have had a great payday,” Oddessa said. “Some may look back with their glass half-full for going too low with the price, but all should be thanking all the parties involved for making what once seemed impossible actually happen.”
And on a personal note, Oddessa was thankful, too. Just before the fight, he said:
“Needless to say, I need Floyd personally for about my condo in Costa Rica.”
Back in Sin City at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, Mayweather’s price got as high as -700 on Friday, then went for a wild ride throughout Saturday, dropping to as low as -460 before closing at -550, with McGregor +400 on the buyback. But it certainly worked out fine when, with 1:55 remaining in the 10th round, the referee stepped in to stop a flagging McGregor.
The Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight of May 2015 set the standard in Nevada for total boxing handle, as it approached $60 million. Most bookmakers here in Vegas believe this fight’s handle will eclipse the Floyd-Manny bout.
By all accounts, the handle on the fight itself – Mayweather or Conor to win – was just short of Mayweather-Pacquiao. But with all the other different props, there was more interest, so in total casinos around the globe wrote more than on Pacquiao-Mayweather.
Although a disaster was never expected, there’s always that puncher’s chance that it could have happened. Sunday morning was the calm after the storm, and all was quiet – and quite profitable – on the sportsbook front.