Two friends, Billy Foster (Bill Cosby) and Clyde Williams (Sidney Poitier), need to quickly find a way to raise funds for their fraternal lodge, the Sons and Daughters of Shaka. It is incumbent on Billy to find the money because he is the treasurer of the struggling lodge. After Billy convinces Clyde that it is their best and quickest option, they decide to bring back a successful money-making scheme, hence the title. Clyde's special ability of hypnosis allows the two to set up boxing matches and then maximize profits by going all in on the underdog.
Billy and Clyde take their talents to New Orleans to rig a boxing match. This is where Jimmie Walker's character, Bootney Farnsworth, comes into the fold. Bootney is lanky boxer that is overwhelmed in the initial sparring matches. His difficulty to impress anyone, even his coach, makes the odds of him winning lower by the day. After watching Bootney struggle, Billy and Clyde are encouraged to go through with their plan. Before the match, they sneak into Bootney's hotel room and hypnotize him, before they hilariously escape. They use what's left of the lodge's budget to place their bets with local bookmakers, Kansas City Mack (John Amos) and Biggie Smalls (Calvin Lockhart). The hypnotized Bootney has transformed into a boxing phenomenon and easily defeats the champion, 40th Street Black (Rodolphus Lee Hayden), by KO.
After collecting their money and returning to Atlanta to celebrate at the lodge, they soon receive a visit from Kansas City Mack. Mack grew suspicious of the duo's conveniently-timed bet, and after finally catching on, he spent weeks searching for the two best friends. Once he arrives at the lodge, he makes a deal that would allow the two sides be even. Billy and Clyde must perform exactly the same hypnosis on a boxer, but this time they must collude with Mack. Billy and Clyde agree to the initial deal, but Clyde has a hard time de-hypnotizing Bootney. Bootney, still under hypnosis, has become far too quick for Clyde to keep up with and de-hypnotize. Unable to enter Farnsworth's training room to dehypnotize him, which in turn would cause him to lose the fight, Williams and Foster decide to bet on the match being a draw, and place bets with both gangster groups by using their wives, who won't be recognized.
They decide to hypnotize Bootney's opponent, in order to capitalize on an outrageous bet no one would think of, a tie. Following the stunning outcome, Billy and Clyde are nowhere to be found. Outraged, Kansas City Mack and rival bookmaker, Biggie Smalls, team up in order to track the two down. Billy and Clyde lead them on a chase that ends up at the local police department. Here, the lead officer tells the two bookmakers that if he ever hears they've harassed Billy and Clyde or if the two come up missing, they will be thrown in jail for a very long time. The movie ends with Billy and Clyde taking a car ride. Billy jokes that they should rig a fight involving heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali and entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.
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