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Not loving the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor odds? Prop bets might be the way to go

MMAJunkie logo MMAJunkie 3 days ago Tony Rehagen
Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center.

You can't escape the media storm. If you've turned on a TV, opened a laptop, or scrolled down on your tablet or phone, you've been bombarded by Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. You've been inundated with a 24/7 media flood of analysis, speculation, and news, no matter how trivial (Headline: Dave Chappelle explains why he won't be attending…). You've seen clips of press conferences featuring a tatted-up Irishman in three-piece suits and furs wagging his finger at a smack-talking American draped in his vanity brand of sportswear and sunglasses inside. All this hullabaloo leading up to what most oddsmakers believe is a farcical mismatch between combatants from two wildly different sports trying to fit an octagon into a square.

Compared to the hype, the fight itself is almost an afterthought.

The result of the main event is also something of a sideshow for casinos and gambling websites. Most gambling establishments make their big money on casual bettors throwing a few bucks on the line. But the long odds favoring Mayweather are bound to scare away big casual bets on McGregor while simultaneously taking the sport out of betting on the boxer. So to stir up action and attract the amateur gamblers, oddsmakers are loading up on smaller, proposition bets.

"Prop bets are profitable if you book it right," MGM Resorts Vice President of Race and Sports Jay Rood told MMAjunkie. "An event like this presents a ton of wagering opportunities."

Rood says bettors will be looking for an edge betting for Mayweather winning by knockout instead of decision. They can try to predict which round and minute McGregor goes down in, or, if they're game, when he'll spring the upset. Maybe they just hope the MMA fighter can go the distance. They can also be the under/over on the scorecards. Skeptics of the whole endeavor can even bet on whether or not the fight will actually happen.

When it comes to prop bets, clandestine casinos are at a bit of an advantage. Due to strict oversight by the gaming commissions, brick-and-mortar operations have to be careful to only pick scenarios that are concrete and can be defended in front of the gaming board. They must steer clear of gaming disputes.

Meanwhile, the offshore gambling sites can sit back, put their feet up, and create odds on pretty much anything they can think of.

"Off-shores are able to be creative as they possibly can to capitalize on the traditional market," says Todd Fuhrman, gaming insider for Fox Sports and CBS. "The only thing that limits your ability to take bets is your creativity."

Even the ring itself is not a boundary. How many pay-per-view buys will the fight attract? Will McGregor walk out to his "Billionaire Strut" theme music? Will the WBC award the so-called "Diamond Belt" to the winner? And several sites are moving past fight night and focusing on the promotion.

"The true event is the promotion," Diamond Sportsbook odds consultant Anthony Albanese said. "It's all about entertainment value. We have two great entertainers at these press conferences - that's where they're more competitive."

Oddsmaker.com handicapped these scenarios:

Will Conor McGregor throw an object at Floyd Mayweather during the press conference?

Who will use the f-word first? (McGregor -625)

Will Conor McGregor or Floyd Mayweather storm out of the press conference?

Will either Conor McGregor or Floyd Mayweather be knocked out during the press conference?

"With prop bets, you're always looking for storylines," Bookmaker.eu's Scott Cooley said. "There are storylines everywhere with these two characters."

So far, Cooley and his cohorts have taken bets on whether or not either fighter will test positive for performance-enhancing drugs or whether or not McGregor brings up Mayweather's domestic assault charge on social media. Getting too creative can be dicey, but Cooley says it's usually worth the risk to the bookmaker. After all, stories about the wild prop bets (like this one) can quickly get sucked up and blown out of the publicity hurricane that has formed around the eye of this pseudo-event.

"Those types of bets are difficult because everyone has social media," says Cooley. "The fighters could see that and decide to affect the outcome. Sharp players usually always win on those sorts of bets, but that's why we set low limits. Even if we lose a few thousand here and there, it gets us the exposure we're looking for. It's a good marketing tool. That's why we try to be the first one's out there with these crazy bets."

Tony Rehagen is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. His work has appeared in Men's Health, GQ, espnW and others. Follow him on Twitter @trehagen.

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