With every event they hold betting on the UFC gets more popular. Once the ultimate fringe sport, MMA is now totally mainstream, and the public has embraced it as spectators and bettors. If you aren’t familiar with betting on the UFC then there are a few things you have to get used to when it comes to differences between different types of fights. Most significantly, there are some big differences bettors need to consider between the main events that headline the cards, and the undercard events that come before it. Here are four differences and the impact they have on bettors:
Length of fights – Most fights in the UFC are three rounds long. Many main event fights, especially if they are title fights, are five rounds long. That might not sound like much of a difference, but for the fighters it certainly is. Needless to say, MMA is a relentlessly brutal sport. Asking them to add an extra two rounds to a fight is demanding a big price both physically and mentally. The longer a fight goes the tougher the fighter has to be mentally, and the more stamina he needs to have. This is especially an issue if the fighter has never fought for five rounds before. If it is the first time that a fighter is going the extra distance, or even the first time in a while, then it’s important to look back to how they have performed in the final round of their shorter fights. If they have faded in the third round then they are likely to be in trouble by the time they get to a fifth round. This isn’t nearly as important, of course, if the fighter is the type who looks for a knockout early on. In that case he’s likely going to be in trouble if he doesn’t get tat early knockout regardless of how long the fight is.
Pressure – When you are in a main event your picture is on the poster and your name is on the marquee. That’s a whole lot of pressure – more than fighters face further down the card. Some guys are made to handle pressure, and others really don’t thrive under it. If a guy has been in a main event before then we have a good sense of how he will stand up under the scrutiny now. If he is new to the top billing, though, then the pressure could be too much for him. The more of a sense you can get about the mindset of the fighter based on interviews before the fight, UFC TV productions, and so on, the better the sense you can have about how well the fighter is positioned to succeed.
Media coverage – On almost all cards there is only one fight that the mainstream media will cover – the main event. Unless there is a strong storyline further down the field the other fights on the card will only get a passing mention in articles and reports while the main event will be the focus. That unbalanced coverage has several impacts for bettors. It means that the public will have more interest in the main event than in other fights, so that will have a big impact on how lines are set and how the lines move. Because of the increased coverage on the main event the general public will have better knowledge of the main event than other fights, but are more likely to have a bias towards the favorite because of that coverage.
Public betting – The public will bet far more heavily on the main event than on any other fight on the card. They will also bet more predictably – as always in almost all sports they will tend towards the favorites. The more coverage a main event gets, and the more popular and seemingly dominant the favorite is, the more lopsided the public action is likely to be. When action is lopsided towards the favorite the line on the favorite is likely to be inflated so that the books can protect their exposure and increase their potential profit. If the line on the favorite is inflated then the line on the underdog could be more attractive as a side effect. If you like the underdog in the fight then you might really like him now that the inflated line has aded extra value. On the other hand, if you like the favorite then you have to be particularly aware that the line is likely to be inflated, and you need to make sure that there is still value there before making your bet.