A quick glance at the odds from one fight to the next will tell you that the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder saga has been much better for Fury’s reputation than for Wilder’s.
Entering their first fight in December 2018, Wilder was about a -160 favorite and Fury about a +130 underdog. That unforgettable affair, complete with an Undertaker-style knockdown recovery by Fury, ended in a controversial draw and therefore a winning night for the sportsbooks.
Not surprisingly, coming off that draw, the rematch in February 2020 opened at roughly even money. But the public bet up the massive puncher and made Wilder a small favorite by the opening bell. And Fury, the more skilled boxer, lived up to his promise that he would go against type and bully Wilder. The result was a dominant KO 7 win for “The Gypsy King” and another triumphant night for the books.
Nearly 20 months and one pandemic later, Fury and Wilder meet again for the heavyweight crown Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and on pay-per-view. And this time, Fury, 30-0-1, 21 KOs, is the clear favorite, varying from -265 to -313, depending on the book. Wilder, 42-1-1, 41 KOs, is priced around +230 at most books (although you can get a slightly higher return on a three-way line where you don’t get a refund if this fight, like their first, ends in a draw).
PointsBet, which currently operates a legal sportsbook in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, West Virginia, and Michigan, tells US Bets that it’s receiving “very solid two-way action” on its -313/+230 line, with bets falling 55%/45% in favor of Wilder and handle stacked 65%/35% in favor of the more expensive Fury. It should be noted, however, that with major boxing matches, the majority of the betting takes place the day of the fight.
+100 on repeat of second fight, +2600 on repeat of first
As with all things sports betting, you’ll see slightly different prices depending on the operator and will want to shop around. On the two-way line, the best price we’re seeing on Fury is -265 at Caesars Sportsbook, and the highest return on Wilder is +235 at DraftKings. In three-way betting, it’s -250 on Fury at BetMGM, +245 on Wilder at FOX Bet, and +2600 on a draw at FanDuel.
Most books have the over/under at 7.5 rounds with slightly higher juice on the over, though BetMGM has a decidedly different line of nine full rounds, -110 on the over, -125 on the under.
A similar prop is whether the fight will/won’t go the 12-round distance, with FanDuel offering the best return on the “yes” at +240 and PointsBet the ideal place to take the “no” at -250.
Method-of-victory props are a fine alternative to a straight-up-winner bet, and again, there is a fair bit of variation in the pricing. For Fury by KO — the result in their second fight — the best price would be -106 at PointsBet, but FOX Bet has an odds boost in place from an unattractive -120 to a best-available +100. Fury by decision is +300 at FanDuel and BetMGM, the longshot Wilder by decision is +2000, and Wilder by KO is boosted to +350 at FOX Bet.
Bettors can get hyper-specific picking an exact round for a knockout (the biggest return is on Wilder in the 12th, paying 80/1 at both DraftKings and PointsBet) or get less specific with a band of two, three, four, or six rounds. If going the band-of-six route, Fury KO 1-6 is +270 at FanDuel, Fury KO 7-12 is +275 at BetMGM, Wilder KO 1-6 is +500 at DK and MGM, and Wilder KO 7-12 is +800 at FanDuel.
Some of the weirder, Wilder props
The bigger the bout, the more creative the sportsbooks get, and Fury-Wilder 3 has the bookmakers’ imaginations running wild.
The “fight to end in the first 60 seconds” prop is a little bit like betting on who will score the first basket in an NBA game, in that it provides a brief but intense sweat. In this case, though, if you bet it you’re extremely likely to lose. Wilder has knocked out three opponents in the first minute, but all were relative stiffs he faced early in his career. Fury has done it once, also soon after turning pro, also against an opponent of no consequence.
The chance of one of them doing it to each other is faint, bordering on invisible. At +6500 at DraftKings for the fight to end in one minute, regardless of which boxer pulls it off, it feels like a sucker bet. You’d be better off taking Wilder specifically to win by KO 1 at +5000, giving yourself two extra minutes for him to land that freak right-hand bomb, even if it means you eliminate from the equation the hard-to-imagine Fury win in under 60 seconds.
DK also has fun markets — and unlike some books, takes action in both directions — on knockdowns. Both fighters to get dropped at least once is +285 on the yes, -450 on the no. Wilder to suffer a KD is -150/+110. Fury is +130/-175. Either one touching the canvas is -390/+250. Fury to get dropped at least once but win the fight is +400, while Wilder to get up and win is +800.
Shop around, though; both fighters getting floored is +500 at FanDuel, and Wilder getting off the deck to win is +900 at BetMGM.
FOX Bet, meanwhile, blows most of the competition out of the water in terms of the sheer volume (and weirdness) of its props. A sampling:
- Total knockdowns over/under 1.5 (+120/-162)
- Fury to win and throw 250+ punches (according to CompuBox stats): +125
- Fury to win and land 100+ punches (according to CompuBox stats): +250
- Either fighter to have a point deducted: +350
- Wilder knocked down 2+ times: +350
- Fury knocked down 2+ times: +2000 (this longshot would have won in first fight)
- Wilder knocked down in round 1 and wins: +10000
- Wilder knocked down in rounds 1, 2, and 3: +20000
- Both fighters knocked down 3+ times: +25000
There are a couple of others worth singling out. FOX Bet offers “either fighter to win in the first minute” at +5000 (not as good as the still-bad-value +6500 at DraftKings) and “fight to end inside 60 seconds” at the same +5000.
It’s probably a bookmaker’s mistake, offering the same bet twice. Except they’re actually not quite the same bet, and you should absolutely take the latter if you’re going to put money on one of them. “Fight to end inside 60 seconds” doesn’t require that somebody win. So if by chance there’s a head-clash no-contest in the first minute of the first round, or some other freak accidental-foul injury that results in a no-contest or no-decision, you should get paid on the latter bet.
And then there’s this one from FOX Bet, maybe the worst price on a boxing longshot bet in the history of legal U.S. sports betting: both fighters knocked down at the same time, at 80/1. I’ve been covering boxing professionally for 24 years, and I’ve seen that happen maybe three times in some 10,000 fights. And at least once, the ref blew the call and didn’t rule it a double-knockdown. This is real boxing, not a Rocky movie. Stay far away from this one unless you see at least a 10 times better payout somewhere.
And by the way, you don’t necessarily need to have a bet on the fight to have a rooting interest. You don’t even need to care who wins to have a rooting interest. For some, it’s enough just to find both over-the-top personalities irritating and to root for some proper violence:
I’m gonna be fucking irate if this shit goes to the cards tomorrow. After the week we’ve all had we deserve to see one of these idiots -and I absolutely do not care which one- get sparked so hard that their eyes and tongue corkscrew out of their head like a horny cartoon wolf
— DICK HERCULES (@RatCatcherMpls) October 8, 2021
Photo: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY