The surge in popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) means that, on any given weekend, there is usually at least one live event on television. For the MMA fan, this means they get to watch the worlds most exciting and often unpredictable combat sport on a weekly basis. For the smart gambler, this means you have regular opportunities to profit off of these casual fans.
Unlike most other sports, MMA odds are not presented as a point spread. Since there are only two outcomes of a fight (winning or losing) with no degrees of variation between either, the sportsbooks use moneylines to set the odds for the fight.
So how does this UFC betting work?
In every fight, there is usually a favorite (a fighter who is expected to win) and an underdog (the unfortunate fighter who is expected to lose). Sportsbooks determine the favorite and the underdog based on a variety of factors. These include the fighters past performance and the styles of the two opponents as well as inside information from the fighters training camps. Once a line is set, the odds are presented like this:
Brock Lesnar -300
Shane Carwin +240
What this means is Brock Lesnar is a 3-1 favorite to win the fight. His moneyline is set at -300 meaning a bettor would have to lay $300 in order to win $100 on Lesnar. On the flip side, Shane Carwin is a 2.4-1 underdog with a +240 moneyline. A $100 bet on Carwin would result in a $240 win if he were able to win the fight.
So where does the opportunity for profit come in? By letting the public get their money in before you make a move. Fight odds shift as money comes in on the fights. In this case, you may like Lesnar but youre not a fan of laying 3-1 on him. Luckily, Carwin is coming in to the fight with a solid wrestling pedigree, a string of first round victories, an undefeated record, and, most importantly, a tempting +240 moneyline. To the public, its hard to resist taking 2.4-1 in a sport thats known for wild and unpredictable upsets. So what happens when they start pumping money in on Carwin? Eventually, the sportsbook will have to balance out the line, resulting in something that looks like this:
Brock Lesnar -285
Shane Carwin +225
Now youre able to take the exact same fighter that you like at an even better price.
You should also keep in mind that different sportsbooks have different odds. Using the Lesnar/Carwin fight as an example, the typical sportsbettor will see the updated line and get his money in on Carwin at +225. The smart bettor will shop around between different sportsbooks to see which one offers him the best price for a Carwin win. Since all sportsbooks update their lines based on the volume of money coming in, shopping around might give him a chance to get the original +240 price on Carwin and sometimes he might even find a higher paying moneyline.
As I mentioned earlier, the more fights that take place, the more opportunities youll have to take advantage of line variations like the example above. By picking the right fights at the right prices, youll maximize your chances of making money while making the fights just a little more exciting for yourself.
Three Tips to Help Hone Your UFC Betting Skills
Rule 1 – Stay away from heavy favorites
This is a huge mistake that many new bettors make. I admit, I was guilty of this as well when I first started betting on sports. In the realm of UFC betting, avoiding this rule will turn you broke quicker than anything else. I don’t ever recommend betting on someone who is above a -400 favorite. I usually only go to about -300 or so on most of my bets, and even then I don’t wager as much as I would on an underdog.
Rule 2 – Don’t bet on every single fight
When you are new to betting, there’s a tendency to bet on as many events as possible. This is horrible thinking, because there are tons of fights that neither fighter has an edge. If there is no discernible edge, then why would you lay your money on a fight? If you’re just betting on the fight for the hell of it, make sure your bet is VERY SMALL and won’t hurt your bankroll if you lose.
Rule 3 – Always look to the underdogs
If you talk to any professional sports bettor, they will tell you that to profit in the long run, you must bet on more underdogs than favorites. Especially when you are betting on UFC fights, there is a larger amount of juice on the favorites, so you need to win at a MUCH higher ratio, then if you are picking underdogs. Granted the underdogs will not win as much, but over the long haul you have a much better chance of profiting if you are betting the doggies.