With every event that the UFC holds – are they hold a lot of them – betting on mixed martial arts gets a little more popular. MMA has gone from a fringe sport to the mainstream over the last couple of years. Betting on boxing has always been popular, and now more and more people are betting on MMA as well. It’s a good sport to bet on, too – winners are there for the picking, and you can usually find a nice price. If you are thinking about starting to bet on the UFC, or if you are doing it casually and looking to get more serious, then here are five things to consider to give yourself the best chance of success:
Think about the moneyline – Betting on the UFC is typically done using the moneyline. Most casual bettors are much more familiar with betting on the point spread since that is more common in football and basketball. Making the shift from point spreads to moneylines isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of a shift in thinking. With point spreads you can bet heavy favorites, win 55 percent of your bets, and come out ahead. On the moneyline there’s a very good chance that you could bet the heavy favorites, win 55 percent of your bets, and lose you shirt. When you are betting moneylines you can’t just think about who is going to win, but whether you think that they would win often enough in the long run to make a profit at the payoff that their odds represents. Looking for value – situations where your risk is significantly less than the reward you will get if you are right – is especially crucial in the moneyline. MMA often has very heavy favorites, so awareness of this is crucial.
Shop around – In the NFL there is so much action, and so many smart bettors, that it’s not common to see huge differences between books in the odds they are offering. Any big differences that do exist will usually be quickly corrected by the market. The betting volume is much lower for MMA, so the UFC betting market isn’t nearly as efficient. That means that there can be big differences in the prices offered on fighters by different books. Looking around for the best price can make the difference between a profit and a loss. It’s not always the case that one book has the best price for all fights, either, so if you are betting a significant amount of money then you’ll be well served to shop around for the best prices on each fight separately.
Be suspicious of very heavy favorites when betting on UFC fights – It’s not uncommon to see a very heavy favorite in MMA – prices of -300 or worse aren’t unheard of. In many cases those heavy favorites are priced far too aggressively, and there is good value in the underdogs. The big thing to remember s that any fighter who is fighting in the UFC is good enough to make the UFC, so therefore they are at least somewhat talented. At +200 an underdog would only have to win one in three fights to break even, and their winning rate would need to less the more of an underdog the fighter becomes. The betting public often underestimates the chances of a win for the underdog, so it is not at all uncommon to see big underdogs come through for a big payoff. As a general rule, if a fighter is at +200 or higher you should look very closely to see if the price is justified. Betting on one heavy favorite and being wrong can put a big hole in your bankroll and can spoil the whole card for you.
Wrestlers control the fights best – To handicap a fight – especially when you are looking at the MMA betting favorites – you need to think about what style the fighters employs. If a favorite is a wrestler then there is probably the best chance that they are going to be able to control the fight and get the win. Wrestlers are best able to control the fight and limit the opportunities for their opponent to find an opening to exploit. In contrast, a striker who favors the knockout can be the scariest type of favorite. If they are able to land their punches then they are going to be dangerous, but if the opponent is able to avoid the punches, get the fight to the ground, or even land a good punch of his own, then the striker is a scary proposition. The advantage of a favorite who has wrestling as a primary skill is generally more significant the higher the weight class, and pure strikers can be scarier to trust in higher levels as well.