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Mayweather a betting favorite, but early money wagered on Pacquiao

Mayweather-Pacquiao

Isaac Brekken

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are shown in this composite from file photos.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a significant betting favorite against Manny Pacquiao in the much-anticipated welterweight showdown May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The mega-fight was agreed on this week and announced today by Mayweather, who is a minus-240 favorite at William Hill U.S. A $240 bet on Mayweather wins $100. Pacquiao is a plus-200 underdog, meaning every $100 bet wins $200.

Mayweather is projected to earn $120 million for what’s being dubbed as the fight of the decade, if not century. Pacquiao’s payday is projected to be $80 million.

Nick Bogdanovich, the William Hill U.S. director of trading, says it will also produce record business for Nevada sports books.

“This fight will be the biggest bet fight in the history of Nevada,” he said. “You are talking a ridiculous amount of money (wagered).”

The fight was five-plus years in the making and multiple properties had betting numbers posted before the announcement. William Hill posted a line Dec. 15, 2014, giving gamblers action as long as the fight happened in 2015.

“This is a big deal, but it would have been even more ridiculous four years ago,” Bogdanovich said. “You always want to see the fighters in their prime.”

Bogdanovich expects most of the action to be on Pacquaio, partially because the underdog fighter always receives the most action, and also because Pacquaio is popular with fans.

In early betting, 94-percent of the money wagered at William Hill was on Pacquaio, including a $1,000 wager. While it’s a small sample, 65-percent of the tickets written at William Hill have been on Pacquaio.

Sharp bettors will likely play the undefeated Mayweather once Pacquaio bettors bet the number down, Bogdanovich said.

“Pacquaio draws huge money (for all his fights) and you can bet him at plus-money,” Bogdanovich said. “Bettors love him. He always brings it. His fights are nonstop action and people love that.”

Some felt Mayweather, who is unbeaten is 47 fights, dodged Pacquaio for years because he didn’t want to risk his perfect record. Those skeptics of Mayweather, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport’s history, will surely join the masses betting on Pacquaio.

Not so fast, Mayweather says.

“I am the best ever and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win,” Mayweather said in his announcement. “Manny is going to try to do what 47 before him failed to do, but he won’t be successful. He will be No. 48.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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