If Mayweather and Pacquiao do fight … just bet Mayweather

Manny Pacquiao may be one of the best fighters on the planet, but if he does, in fact, fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2012, Jeff Haney says you should bet on Mayweather.

If Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. agree to fight in 2012, as speculation has it they will, it would rank as the biggest boxing match in years. Even so, the bout has not been officially set.

A member of Pacquiao’s entourage made that clear this week when he suggested to The Philippine Star that Mayweather is “scared” to fight Pacquiao. Specifically, he referred to Mayweather as “Chicken McDo,” a dish available at McDonald’s outlets in the Philippines that evidently features fried chicken with spaghetti or rice on the side.

How do these developments relate to the Las Vegas gambling scene? First, it’s encouraging that some sports books have posted a betting line on the potential bout and are accepting real-money wagers on it already. It’s a good sign, given that Las Vegas is often justly criticized for lacking innovative betting options or even putting out odds for (shudder!) “amusement only” on certain events, an odious practice that tarnishes the reputation of this betting city.

The betting line on Pacquiao-Mayweather at all Station Casinos properties, for instance, recently opened at “pick ’em,” or minus 110 (bet $1.10 to win $1) on either man. By Tuesday morning, the line at Station properties had been adjusted to Mayweather minus 150 and Pacquiao plus 130, indicating support for Mayweather to win the fight.

Under the terms of the wager, the fight must take place by December 31, 2012 or all bets will be refunded. The maximum wager is currently $20,000, though it is possible the limits will go up.

Second, boxing fans should embrace the entertainment value of those “Chicken McDo” quotes while they can. Unfortunately for casual boxing fans, you see, the buildup to the long-awaited bout might turn out to be the best part of the spectacle. The fight itself, if it ever happens, could be viewed by mainstream observers as a dud, thanks largely to Mayweather’s incomparable defense in the ring.

For bettors, that’s okay. There’s no need to get fancy wagering on this fight. Forget about propositions involving a knockout round or the exact result. Simply bet Mayweather to win. Watch him dance and dodge and duck and parry, frustrating Pacquiao and doing just enough to win about eight rounds and a decision.

Bet it now and lay the 150, or wait and lay a tad more, perhaps. Either way, Mayweather to win the fight, straight up, is the way to play it.


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