Why Betting on Conor McGregor Isn’t as Crazy as it Sounds

By Noah Davis
Published on July 13, 2017

The wheels are officially in motion for the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. hype train. The two fighting personalities got together for a recent press conference, which produced wild antics and some interesting quotes.

While the recent presser was about promotion and entertainment, it could also start creating some doubt. Both fighters are extremely accomplished in their respective fighting corners and won’t want to be upstaged. It’s pretty arguable the man known as in the first leg of what will feel like an endless promotional tour, but even more interesting will be gauging the probability of Conor McGregor actually shocking the world with a win.

Right now Notorious is set as the obvious underdog, as he’ll take his UFC talents to a boxing ring against the undefeated Mayweather on August 26th. Should we start to bend a little and consider betting on McGregor, though? Maybe, and here are a few reasons why:

Look at the Money

The first obvious reason to bet on Conor McGregor is the fact that Vegas is doubting him. The odds at Bovada as of 8/14 are:

  • Conor McGregor to Win (+350)
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Win (-500)

This line has actually gone down over the past several weeks and ideally would be a lot thicker, but due to McGregor’s talent, toughness and punching power, it’s still a Moneyline we’ll want to entertain.

We could even get an added boost if we believe McGregor wins by KO, TKO or DQ. Any of those methods of victory hands +400 odds in a Notorious win, and logically, those are really his only paths to a win in this matchup.

Nobody Thinks McGregor Will Win

I would prefer to have even more value in this bout if I can get it. There has been chatter that this is a money grab and that the outcome of this fight is meaningless, or that McGregor’s sparring ability is trash.

You could even just look at the basic element of Mayweather being 49-0 in a long, illustrious career against championship boxing talent and the fact that he’s taking on a non-boxer nowhere near his level in the ring.

The exact argument isn’t important, though. The point is very few respected minds in MMA or boxing really believe McGregor has a chance here. Money Mayweather has never lost, he is more suited to go the distance in an endurance game and he’s also regarded as the best defensive boxer of all-time.

That all sounds comforting if you want some safety in Mayweather at -500 at Bovada and other boxing betting sites, but sometimes when everyone is looking one way, you need to go the other. That alone isn’t enough reason to throw money down on McGregor, but sometimes going against the grain ends up being the right move. Public betting and the popular opinion alone can’t dictate how you bet – at least not all the time.

Even Mayweather Knows Anything Can Happen

These are two human beings and if we stop there at two humans fighting with their fists, we know that this fight can include errors, compensation, and misjudgment. Mayweather himself admitted during his recent press conference that anything can happen in a combat sport and that no matter how confident he is, he understands the possibility of an upset:

“McGregor is a professional stand up fighter. The only loss he took was when he was on the ground. He’s a tough competitor and I’m taking him very seriously.”

That’s not setting himself up for failure, but Money Mayweather is noting what everyone else might not be; that while McGregor isn’t a professional boxer, he certainly is a professional fighter. McGregor has made a living and developed into a superstar by taking down worthy competition and winning titles in two different weight classes.

If Money Mayweather realizes the mere possibility of an upset, fight bettors need to be open-minded here, too.

How the Mighty Fall

No matter how great a player, team or in this case a professional fighter is, there always comes a time where you get beat. Either you swallow your pride and walk away from the game you once dominated, or it finds a way to dominate you.

Mayweather is a 40-year old man who already ditched his boxing gloves for retirement and it’s not crazy to think the sport he once owned could suddenly pass him by. And like we said, he isn’t even facing a traditional boxer, so this is about where a certain amount of unpredictability needs to be factored in.

It’s true that the odds favor Floyd Mayweather and he’s more skilled from a strictly boxing perspective. But fighting is fighting and he’s laying his perfect record on the line against a highly skilled man who has dominated the UFC. That shouldn’t be taken lightly and if Mayweather isn’t careful, this would-be gimmicky boxing match could be put an unceremonious end to an otherwise amazing career.

Father Time is Coming

Beyond Mayweather’s perfect record, retirement talk or him being a great fighter who finally experiences the taste of defeat, there is the natural logic that he’s the older man in this fight.

Mayweather has always owned the ring in the past, but at 40 years old against arguably a quicker, more explosive and confident striker like McGregor (who is 28), he could finally succumb to punches he’d previously avoid or absorb with ease.

Age does not normally bring improved speed, reaction timing, quickness, stamina, endurance or strength. Is it possible that as good as Mayweather has been in the past, the form he showcases in this bout on August 26th simply won’t be up to par? Perhaps, and if that’s the case, it could easily give way to a surprising loss.

Notorious Doesn’t Suck

A lot of the reasoning to back a McGregor bet is hypothetical or even circumstantial, but the main thing I can’t get around is the idea that McGregor isn’t good enough to win based on sheer fighting talent and experience.

There is no denying McGregor doesn’t have elite boxing skills or the experience you’d want from a top title contender, but he’s not trying to be a professional boxer. He’s not fighting to take Mayweather’s titles. All he’s doing is fighting.

If we just look at the obvious fact that Conor McGregor is an elite MMA fighter (21-3 in his career), we need to acknowledge that it really isn’t that crazy to see him winning this fight. He has high-level punching power, he knows how to defend himself, he knows how to work a ring and he absolutely can take a beating.

Plain and simple; McGregor isn’t a boxer, but he is most definitely a fighter. He might not be the ideal boxing counterpart here, but he is an elite fighter and he’s not the trash striker that some make him out to be.

Nobody Ever Knocked McGregor Out

Skill set aside, one of the biggest reasons to bet on Conor McGregor is the fact that he’s no punk. McGregor has faced bigger, stronger and meaner fighters in the UFC – specifically two run-ins with Nate Diaz.

McGregor has caught heat from a submission loss to Diaz or the fact that he’s lost twice in his MMA career, but if you look back at his history, he’s been insanely dominant against intense competition and in 24 brutal MMA bouts, he’s never once been knocked out.

This includes quick work of Jose Aldo, two matches with Nate Diaz, a KO of Eddie Alvarez, a KO of Chad Mendes and a duel with Max Holloway. McGregor has been tested and he’s been pushed, but he’s come through in every bout, only suffering three defeats by way of submission.

Mayweather could still outlast him and he obviously could still knock him out, but for the latter argument, the aging boxer would not have history on his side.

McGregor Guarantees a KO

One last factor before finalizing your bet has to be McGregor’s confidence, swagger and the fact that . He probably has to, really, since the only way he makes it out of this fight with a win is by KO. After all, McGregor probably doesn’t have the endurance to last a full 12 rounds, especially since we’ve seen him gas out before and UFC battles max out at five rounds.

The main concern is if Mayweather ends up being as good as advertised defensively and forces a tired McGregor deep into a boxing match he really isn’t properly suited for. McGregor is known to strike early and often, though, and with the world watching, we probably can bank on him at least giving a KO a real go. He says he will, after all, and judging by history, we have to at least know he’ll give it all he’s got.

If we do buy McGregor’s claim, we need to consider upping the ante when betting his way. Betting in favor of McGregor to win straight up is one thing and picking his method of victory is another. But picking the exact round – that’s an art. If we’re to roll with McGregor’s logic and try to pinpoint a KO within the first four rounds, we have a chance at taking home some serious cash. A McGregor win offers more cash as the rounds go on (at Bovada), with Notorious being handed +1600 odds to win in rounds 1-2, +2000 for round three and +2000 in round four.

If you buy the hype, McGregor’s bravado and/or our reasoning here, perhaps a few bets in favor of McGregor within the first four rounds are in order.
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