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UFC Handicapping Tips | How To Bet On UFC/MMA Fights

How to Bet on UFC/Mixed Martial Arts

The general consensus in sports betting is that NFL is the toughest of the major sports because the betting public and oddsmakers’ knowledge is so strong and the lines are so sharp. By the reverse logic, I believe UFC/MMA betting is one of the best places to make money in sports betting today.


The knowledge level remains remedial for this growing sport and the lines are often dull as a butter knife.

If you follow these tips, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to pick three out of every four fights correctly.

1. Styles make fights.

The same logic promoters use to create matchups –synching up various styles – is the best way to predict fight outcomes.

How To Bet On UFC

If an NCAA Division-I wrestler faces a pure, throwback Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, the matchup will favor the wrestler more often than not. The wrestler will be an equally proficient grappler, but with better strength training, conditioning and punching power.

If a Muay Thai striker with great knockout power and fantastic takedown defense faces a grappler who can’t succeed without getting his opponents to the ground, the striker is in great shape.

While examples like these don’t ring true every time, they do more often than not. Demian Maia was a BJJ black belt facing Anderson Silva, a BJJ black belt who also had tremendous striking. There was just no way in hell that Maia could win that April 2010 fight. Silva could match Maia’s one strength and had countless more tools in his belt.

2. Avoid extreme underdogs.

A +180 dog can always pull an upset, as MMA lines aren’t very sharp. But the major dogs – the +400s and beyond – almost never win. A line like that usually means the fighter is matched up against a superstar like Anderson Silva, Cristiane Santos or Georges St-Pierre – and those guys and gals almost never lose. Sure, it happens once in a blue moon, but the super-favorite wins 19 times out of 20.

3. Stick to guys with large bodies of work.

The more you know about a fighter, the easier it is for you to identify if his betting line offers value. When possible, stick to fights and fighters who have lots of experience against top competition and, ideally, televised fights you can watch in advance. Avoid obscure undercard bouts, which are crapshoots. [ad-3573245]

4. Watch for value on injury fill-ins.

Contrary to popular belief, the last-minute injury replacement isn’t under the gun. The other guy is. A last-minute fighter has no pressure, no expectation to win, and hasn’t spent an entire camp preparing for someone else. As long as the guy is in shape, he can surprise. The other fighter often suffers a mental letdown after his original opponent backs bout. Think Charlie Brenneman beating Rick Story.

5. Veteran imports to the UFC can’t cut it.

Over the last few years, we’ve learned that the UFC is head-and-shoulders above the other MMA promotions. Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, or pretty much every Japanese fighter – it seems like they had it easy overseas. They almost always struggle when they arrive in the UfC.

6. Put lots of stock into past performance.

Of Chael Sonnen’s 11 career losses, eight came via submission. He has an incredible knack for getting trapped in bad positions, even when he’s winning fights. The next time he faces a good submission specialist, it’s a smart idea to bet against him.

Same goes for guys with glass jaws. Knockout losses change fighters’ careers; they make them more tentative. Worse, if they knockouts pile up, they rob fighters of their chins. A month ago, the educated bettor knew that Wanderlei Silva (a) had suffered particularly brutal knockout losses in three of his last seven fights and (b) was facing a vicious power puncher in Chris Leben.

All Leben needed was to land one good shot – and that’s precisely what he did.



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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.