Wagers On Paul-Woodley II Pass Colorado Division Of Gaming’s ‘Smell Test’


The subjective nature of the three-judge scoring system in boxing often lends the sport to controversial outcomes, as bias and human error can trump factual findings.

Since Colorado went live with legal sports betting on May 1, 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s Division of Gaming (CDOG) has approved nine boxing-related events over the span of 20 months. At the same time, CDOG has rejected wagers on three boxing events, most notably a pay-per-view exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. in November 2020.

Last month, CDOG released a bulletin regarding wagering requests for new boxing and MMA events. Due to significant integrity control concerns, CDOG will review requests that are not listed in its official catalog of events and wagers on a case-by-case basis. The rematch of August’s bout between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley represents the first litmus test for the new policy. While one judge scored the first bout 77-75 in Woodley’s favor, Paul prevailed in a split decision.

At DraftKings, Paul is a heavy -260 favorite in the eight-round fight being held on Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

Due diligence

Jake Paul is a bit of a character. A YouTube sensation turned professional boxer, he’s 4-0 since turning pro in December 2019. Paul posed for pictures with Woodley at a promotional event for the first bout with a man purse around his neck adorned with a Mickey Mouse logo.

For betting integrity purposes, the distinction between amateur and professional bouts in boxing is critical. Bouts that tend to deviate from the traditional rules that govern professional boxing and MMA events may not be approved by CDOG, according to the bulletin. One such consideration is if the match features fighters who do not hold a professional ranking.

Here are some examples of changes that would not be considered or approved by CDOG:

  • Glove weight change
  • Round time modifications
  • Judging changes
  • Mixed weight class fights
  • Contracts that would prevent either fighter from performing to their full potential
  • Any match that does not result in a Win-Loss-Draw

For instance, CDOG rejected all wagers on a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul, Jake’s older brother, over the summer. Under exhibition rules, the fight did not have an official winner, there were no official judges, and the results of the bout did not go on Mayweather’s official record. While the fight went the distance, ESPN scored the bout 78-74 in Mayweather’s favor.

Since the results of Saturday’s will affect Paul’s ranking and the fight will be scored by official judges, the event holds muster. If the event does not meet the criteria set by CDOG, it will be listed in the catalog as a rejected bet. Otherwise, if the bet isn’t listed as denied, it will be considered an approved wager, a CDOG spokesperson told CO Bets.

Props galore

Besides straight win bets, FanDuel is offering a plethora of wagers on the fight, including props on round betting, method of victory, and the timing of a knockdown. The props carry odds in the range of +220 to +4900.

FanDuel will pay bettors +330 on a Woodley victory by knockout, as well as +158 on Paul hitting the canvas at least once during the fight. Paul is tempting Woodley with a $500,000 bonus if he earns the win with a knockout.

In addition, the sportsbook also has odds on a number of specials with odds above +5000. A bettor will receive a payout of 75/1 if he or she correctly predicts that Paul will win the fight in the last minute of the eighth round. If Woodley is declared the winner in the final minute of the bout, a prop at FanDuel will pay 85/1.

As of 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time, FanDuel had not seen much action on the fight, a company spokesman told CO Bets. The majority of betting activity for boxing events similar to Paul-Woodley II tends to take place on the night of the fight, he explained.

Matt is a veteran writer with a specific focus on the emerging sports gambling market. During Matt's two decade career in journalism, he has written for the New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, Reuters and CBSSports.com among others. In his spare time, Matt is an avid reader, a weekend tennis player and a frequent embarrassment to the sport of running.

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