As the UFC grows they are adding more and more cards every year. In 2012 they scheduled well over 30 cards. They have to have that many fights because their aggressive expansion and the swallowing of all the other organizations out there has left them with a whole lot of fighters that want to see action, and a whole lot of markets that need to be served. There are the pay per view events that has always been at the heart of the organization, but those have been joined by events on network TV and cable. Undercards are on Facebook and on several different networks, too.
With so many fights cards out there it can seem like there is an event for bettors to handicap every single weekend. There will be long streaks of time when there will be an event every single weekend. That will be fine for the hardcore UFC bettors, but more casual bettors won’t want to, or can’t, effectively handicap cards that often. That means that it becomes important for bettors to be able to show good card selection. That will allow them to decide which cards are worth their attention and which ones can be skipped. The answers to those questions will be different for each bettor based on their goals and preferences. Here are six questions to ask when trying to determine which cards suit you:
Do you prefer heavily bet cards or less popular ones? – There are some events that will be seen as marquee cards. They will have the biggest name fighters and they will get plenty of attention from the mainstream media. They will be major sporting events. All that attention will draw heavy betting action, and a good portion of that action will come from casual public bettors who don’t bet the UFC all the time, and who are basing their decisions more on their heart than their heads. They will be heavily influenced by the personalities of the fighters, by which fighters make the highlight reels more often, and by what the media is saying about the fights. When you bet those cards you have to be very aware of what the public is thinking and how that is impacting the line movement and the value. On other cards the betting action will be far less intense, and the majority of bets will come from smarter bettors. The public won’t care, and there won’t be as much public information out there to affect the fights. The lines in these cases will likely be tighter, but you don’t have to worry as much about out of control public enthusiasm. This can be a particular relief if you like favorites because the lines are far less likely to be inflated on those fighters by the public action.
Do you like betting on title fights? – The title fights will typically only happen on the biggest cards, so the last question becomes a big factor here. Beyond that, though, you have to consider that within a card the large majority of the money bet on that card will go on the title fight. That means that the odds for that fight will be particularly tough to judge, and value could be really hard to pin down. If you like having action on big events like that then that could be for you. If you would happily trade the excitement and attention for a more predictable,lower key card, though, then title fights aren’t going to be for you.
How often do you want to bet the UFC? – This is totally a personal preference. Do you want to bet every time there is a card, or do you only want to bet once a month? Do you want to bet year round, or only in between the times when your other preferred sports aren’t at their busiest?
What else is on during the same weekend? – Whenever you consider whether you are going to handicap a particular card you need to decide whether you are going to have enough time to do so. It takes time to properly handicap a card, and you don’t really want to be making bets when you aren’t properly prepared. If you are a big football bettor then you probably won’t want to bet a UFC on a weekend when the NFL and college football are both in full swing – at least not if the UFC doesn’t take priority over football in your mind.
What size of fighters do you prefer? – Personally I don;t have a lot of time for heavyweights and heavier fighters in general. I love seeing them when they connect with their big shots, but they get too tired too quickly, get sloppy and slow, and just aren’t interesting. I much prefer the lighter fighters who can lay abuse on each other for a whole fight with relentless brutality. I am far more likely to put more effort in and do a good job of handicapping when I am looking forward to the fights, appreciate the style of the fighters, and have paid attention to their fights over the years. When I am deciding whether to seriously handicap a card, then, I look at the general fight composition to see if there is enough of what I like, and if those fights look to be interesting and potentially lucrative.