The oddsmakers in this glitzy Nevada melting pot are making it very difficult for gamblers to put their money on Manny Pacquiao. Bookmakers have installed the Filipino ring icon a 10-to-1 favorite to beat Mexican arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) at the MGM Grand here.
By late Wednesday evening, Pacquiao had peaked to a -1100 favorite-meaning, you'll get only $100 on a bet of $1,100 if the Filipino wins-before stabilizing on Thursday at -1000 (your $1,000 wins $100).
The scheduled 12-round fight is for the pound-for-pound king's World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title.
Pacquiao had opened up as an 8-1 favorite in the third clash between two rivals, who have fought a pair of close and controversial matches.
"The odds are crazy," said Top Rank chief and fight promoter Bob Arum, who earlier thought that Pacquiao had peaked as a 9-1 favorite.
"If you're betting on values-and gamblers bet on values-what should be the odds based on ability?" Arum said. "Maybe 2 or 2 1/2 to 1 for Manny."
He added: "9-1 is ridiculous."
Betting on underdog The way the numbers have been posted in sports cafes at both the MGM Grand and at Mandalay Bay, it doesn't look like there'll be lots of gambling money on Pacquiao.
"So now, if you're betting on values, the bet to make is on Marquez," Arum explained. "Gamblers don't make a wise bet, they bet on values. So if you bet on Marquez, who should be a 2-1 underdog, and get 9-1 odds, then you're getting values."
Simply put, at the current rate, a gambler will have to shell out $1,000 to win $100. Marquez has been posted a 7-1 underdog (+700). That means a $100 bet on the Mexican counterpuncher, if victorious, could bring in a profit of $700.
Odds don't win fights Marquez earlier said he wasn't bothered by the overwhelming betting trend against him-and quite justifiably so.
"The odds won't help me win a fight," Marquez said. "People can bet how they want to be, but that won't affect the fight."
Even the knockout odds have suffered a relatively meaningful drop.
On Wednesday, there were clear chances to hit big on Pacquiao by betting on a Pacman KO victory in the first three rounds. The odds there were also 10-1, meaning a $100 bet would net a $1,000 profit if Pacquiao finished off Marquez within that stretch.
On Thursday, however, those odds fell to 8-to-1 in rounds one and two and 6-to-1 in round three.
A Marquez victory by knockout in any of the first five rounds, meanwhile, carries odds of 40-1. In fact, the odds are greater that the fight will end in a draw (22-1) than Marquez winning by knockout inside 10 rounds (at least 30-1).
Fight fever As the hours ticked away, fight fever was galloping in Pacquiao's homeland.
Filipino soldiers recuperating from battle wounds in main military hospitals will get to watch their idol fight for free.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it would telecast the bout live at the auditorium of AFP Medical Center (formerly V. Luna Hospital).
The Philippine Army also said screens would be set up at the Army General Hospital (formerly Fort Bonifacio General Hospital) Multipurpose Hall to allow soldiers confined there to watch the fight live.
The headquarters of the AFP, Army, Navy and Air Force have again opened their camps to provide free viewing of the match.
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