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Weekend Coverage: Betting on Boxing, the Devils, Pro Wrestling, and the Mets


The author looks at the odds for various sports.


Short: Wagering on Boxing

OK, I'm not exactly a go-to source on boxing. I would guess I haven't watched a fight since the '80s. I don't follow it at all, either. I have no problem watching two guys fight, I would just rather they have skates on and an actual hockey game break out a few minutes later.

But boxing is in the news recently thanks to some Pacquiao guy getting jobbed out of an obvious win.

Corruption in boxing? There goes my whole value system.

If you bet "the guy not named Pacquiao," you won some nice money. I believe he went out +350, meaning you won $350 for every $100 bet.

The outcome was apparently so corrupt that at least one gambling house, Paddy Power in Ireland (side note: awesome name) refunded Pacquiao bettors.

It was a result that stunned the world, even by modern professional boxing standards.

Last night in Las Vegas the brilliant Filipino Manny Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight belt toTimothy Bradley in a controversial split-decision defeat.

With that Paddy Power has rolled out one of our famous Justice Payouts. If you had placed a bet on Manny to win in a pre-fight outright or on points, that money is now back in your account. We hear you!

Now as Beyond the Bets notes, it's more publicity stunt than anything else. They either had little or no money to refund, or just felt like they could get some nice publicity out of the gesture, a de facto cheap ad.

Long Wagering on Pro Wrestling

Yes, you can actually bet on Pro Wrestling outcomes.

Sound ridiculous? Maybe not. This, from Deadspin.

If you're marveling that you're allowed to place bets on events that everyone acknowledges have predetermined outcomes, get with the times. Online sports books (though not Vegas, yet) have been taking wagers on professional wrestling for years now. For those making the lines, and those making the bets, WWE gambling presents a unique set of challenges.

Last year we spoke to Adam Young, head oddsmaker at Bovada, and he told us that setting the odds is a process that included equal parts educated guesswork and opinion.

"Guys in the office had a great time setting the odds, arguing back and forth," Young said. "They watch it, they decide who they think makes a more logical winner. Put a little bit of opinion in there too, because why not."

Oddsmakers take into account which wrestlers are in the middle of pushes, which ones are crowd favorites (the good guys tend to win at feel-good spectacle WrestleMania), and which ones make more sense for the bookers to champion going forward. But acknowledging that predicting pro wrestling is more an art than a science, the oddsmakers' early lines often don't match up with what the fans expect-Young said the lines move more from creation to showtime than any other sort of event-and that's an opportunity for you to maximize your return.

It sounds awesome. I mean just think of it as a prop bet on, like, the Oscars or something like that. Plus it makes for way more interesting "bad beat" stories than a typical poker one. Like you had "Big Show" -400 and he's got Triple H down for One, Two....and he gets hit in the head with a flying chair and Triple H kicks him away and....well, you get the idea.

Short: The Devils

Stanley Cup Finals, gorgeous new arena, a bunch of young stars, the Devils are living the dream now, right?

Well, not exactly.

The Devils have reportedly been losing $20 million annually since moving from the Meadowlands Arena to Newark. That figure was considerably reduced for this season by the team's deep playoff run. In fact, The Newark Star-Ledger figured on Wednesday that the team generated $32.3 million in revenue this spring. "But with close to $200 million in overall debt and $77 million due this summer, experts remain divided about the long-term impacts of the newfound cash," The Star-Ledger's David Giambusso wrote.

After a number of false starts and false reports that go back to last summer, this situation is nearing some sort of resolution. While (Zach) Parise and the rest of us curiously wait for an answer to Slap Shot goalie Denis Lemieux's age-old hockey question, "Who own da Chiefs?" (Yes, it's "owns. owns."), Commissioner Gary Bettman channeled the Kevin Bacon character in Animal House who urged a rioting mob to "Remain calm. All is well" when he said last month that "Jeff Vanderbeek is working on both refinancing the debt on the club, and an equity raise. He appears to be fairly confident that he can pull this off in due course in the next few weeks. Since I've been in touch with the banks on a regular basis, we seem to be on track."

The clock is ticking. Zach Parise becomes a free agent on July 1. If the Devils don't actually resolve their finances "in the next few weeks," he's gone.

The story goes on to note there's some Mystery Investor rumored to inject $200 million into the team and get majority control, but let this Vanderbeek guy maintain control. Yeah, OK, sounds realistic. What majority owner wouldn't want to stay behind the scenes?

Back in 1995, the Devils won their first Stanley Cup....and then threatened to move to Nashville (the Predators didn't exist yet). Its a recurring theme for this franchise, good play on the ice, messy finances off the ice. They tend to lose most of the stars they develop, and then just create new ones. They don't draw terribly well, and get awful TV ratings. And apparently they've now added over-leverage.

Long: The Mets

Thursday marked the 25th anniversary of one of the most famous incidents in Mets history.

Yes, on June 14, 1987, a young Cosmo Kramer and his friend Newman spent a day at Shea Stadium watching the Mets play the Phillies. They were rewarded for their loyalty with some saliva in the face, courtesy of Mets star Keith Hernandez.

….except Keith was later exonerated of the false accusations. Turns out a "second spitter" lurked in the woods, Roger McDowell.

….OK, it also turns out, the Mets didn't really play the Phillies that day. So it's highly likely this incident never took place.

Twitter: @agwarner
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