Nothing's bigger than the NFL and as much as the league's old farts hate to admit it, gambling has helped make it an American institution. Betting on the fights, used to be part of the reason boxing was so big, but with a limited schedule and fewer household names the betting handle on boxing has dropped significantly.
According to Rob Akers, an assistant sportsbook director in Las Vegas, that's where MMA's rise to prominence comes in,
"I think it's directly related to boxing's downfall over the last few years," Akers told the Las Vegas Sun. "Pacquiao is a one-man show. He's the only guy who can bring any handle and people want to bet on a combat sport. They are always going to find some way to bet on one and lately it's been the UFC."
Akers makes the numbers for the sportsbook at the Venetian and Lagasse's Stadium in Sin City.
"The action has gone up like you wouldn't believe in UFC. On these Saturdays when we have these UFC cards, we do massive handles," said Mike Colbert, sports book director of Cantor Gaming. "You're talking to an absolute boxing guy here and I will be the first to admit that UFC is more popular betting-wise. I never thought I'd see the day where it's this popular."
Colbert said the handle on UFC events quadruples most big boxing matches. The MGM-Mirage is also in the business of booking MMA events, but does so carefully. The director of MGM's sportsbooks understands why MMA has blown by boxing.
"In boxing, most people can't even tell you who is on the undercard," Rood. "If you go to an MMA card, the buzz in the crowd and prior to that could be just as much about one of the first fights on the card. We try to put lines on as many fights as we can because of demand. The great thing about MMA is people are going for all the fights."
UFC 130 betting odds (Courtesy Lagasse Stadium Las Vegas):
Matt Hamill (+240) vs. Quinton Jackson (-320) - Light heavyweight
Rick Story (+170) vs. Thiago Alves (-200) - Welterweight
Travis Browne (-115) vs. Stefan Struve (-115) - Heavyweight
Jorge Santiago (+110) vs. Brian Stann (-140) - Middleweight
Miguel Torres (-130) vs. Demetrious Johnson (Even) - Bantamweight
Tim Boetsch (+130) vs. Kendall Grove (-160) - Middleweight
Rafaello Oliveira (+280 ) vs. Gleison Tibau (-360) - Lightweight
Michael McDonald (-300) vs. Chris Cariaso (+220) - Bantamweight
Renan Barao (-330) vs. Cole Escovedo (+250) - Lightweight
You can watch UFC 130 right here on Yahoo! Sports
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