Mixed Martial arts continue to get more and more popular. More promotions start up every week, the UFC draws big live attendance and growing pay-per-view numbers, and the stars of the sport are making their way into popular culture. This is no fad. As MMA, and the UFC in particular, gets more popular it only makes sense that betting on MMA gets more popular as well. MMA is actually a pretty good sport to bet on, but only if you have a clue about what you are doing (like every sport). If you are thinking about betting on MMA then here are eight things to keep in mind:
It’s moneyline – For people used to betting the spread this is a small but important change. there are two things you need to keep in mind if you are used to betting the spread and are changing over to the moneyline. First, you have to focus on who is going to win. Against the spread you care about how they are going to win and by how much, but on the moneyline only the winner matters. Second, you have to be really aware of the price. Against the spread you’ll pay about the same for each bet regardless of whether you are betting on the favorite or the underdog. On the moneyline losing a bet on a favorite can be far more expensive than losing one on the underdog.
Who a fighter beat in the past doesn’t necessarily matter – In a lot of sports we are used to this kind of thinking – if a team can beat the Colts and the Patriots then they are probably pretty good. This kind of thinking is somewhat applicable in MMA, but not entirely. What’s far more important than what happened in the past is the matchup of style. Some styles of fighting are far superior to others when matched up, and some fighters can easily handle one style of fighter while struggling against another. You can’t be concerned about who a guy has beaten until you consider what style of fighters he has beaten and what that means.
Styles are crucial – Virtually every fighter has their style that they fight. A fighter has to be able to do a bit of everything, but each will have particular styles that they will be prefer and will try to use. Each of those styles works well against some fighters, and poorly against others. If there is one thing you want to get to understand about MMA if you want to be a successful bettor it is what the different styles are and how they match up.
Streaks are dangerous – People can get seduced by long winning streaks and turned off by long losing streaks in MMA just like in other sports. More than in other sports, though, streaks can be dangerous. Because the matchups are so important a streak really doesn’t mean anything unless the fighter he is facing is of a similar streak to past fighters.
Shop around – The betting volumes are increasing for MMA, but they still aren’t very high. That means that books aren’t as aggressive in their line changes. You can find very big differences in the prices that are available for a fight at different books. Shopping around for the best odds is important for any game you want to make, but never more important than with this sport.
The flashier the fighter, the worse the value – In football bettors will often overbet on the flashy passing team. In baseball the strikeout pitcher gets more than his share of attention. In MMA it’s the knockout that draws all the attention. A guy that has won their last five fights by crushing knockout is going to be far more popular for the public than a guy who has won his last five by decision. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bet on a knockout artist. You just have to be aware that there won’t be a lot of natural edge on a fighter like that, so you have to make sure that you have a big edge before you make a bet.
Prop bets can offer real value – Once you get comfortable with the styles of fighters and how they match up you can often make an educated guess about how the fight will turn out – not who will win, but how they will win – with reasonable accuracy. This may help you find some nice value in an otherwise unattractive fight. For example, you might not like betting a favorite at -250. If you think that he isn’t likely to get a knockout or a submission, though, then you could get a much better price by betting that he will win by submission.
Youtube is your friend – I don’t know who it is who spends the time to put all these fights up, but I do know that virtually every fight in every level of MMA makes its way to Youtube. If you are unsure of how a fighter fights you can easily go bakc and look at their last several fights to see what stands out. It’s a great, totally free resource that isn’t available as easily or as comprehensively for any other sport.