So you say you have some disposable income and you don’t know what to do with it? You’re looking for a good time this Saturday night and you’re tired of helping that one stripper at the Foxxx Club “work her way through college”, especially now that it’s been like six years and you’re starting to have your doubts about whether she really is pre-med? Lucky for you I have the solution, for both problems.
To start with, when that girl says “college”, what she means is “meth”. And if you really want to have some fun with your money, why not have the kind of fun that brings with it at least the possibility of paying you back?
Obviously, I’m not the guy you go to for financial advice. I keep my money in an empty box of fish sticks in the freezer. Always have. But the one thing I do know a little something about is mixed martial arts, and here’s how I’d bet on tomorrow night’s card (based on odds from betus.com):
Anderson Silva (-210) vs. Rich Franklin (+170)
It’s interesting that almost nobody is picking Franklin to win, and yet he’s not a tremendous underdog in the betting lines. That’s a testament to Franklin’s tenacity and work ethic, if not his natural ability. It’s hard to count him completely out of this, even if I can’t see how he might win.
In the first fight Franklin seemed surprised that Silva was as good as he turned out to be. It was as if Franklin had become too accustomed to winning easily. When Silva dismantled him in the clinch the look on Franklin’s face was like a man who had just fallen through the ice.
But this time he knows what to expect, one assumes, and knows his career is at stake. Will that be enough? Will we see a revitalized Rich Franklin?
My Pick: Silva.
If the line was better, Franklin might be worth the risk. I don’t doubt his ability to retool his game plan and his determination to overcome this obstacle, but at +170 it isn’t worth it. The fight is in Franklin’s hometown, so if it goes to a decision he should have the edge there. But Silva is just so very, very dangerous in so many ways.
Tim Sylvia (+120) vs. Brandon Vera (-150)
Say what you want about him, Sylvia is tough to figure out. To some he’s a plodding fighter who gets by with a lack of athletic ability because of his sheer size. To others he’s a constantly improving knockout artist, at least when he wants to be. Sylvia himself has said that he will no longer fight cautiously to win at all costs, and that’s both a good and bad thing.
Vera is the more athletic and explosive of the two, but he’s giving up at least six inches in height and more than thirty pounds in weight. If Sylvia really does come after him then Vera won’t need to worry about finding a way inside the big man’s defenses. At the same time, “The Maine-iac” is awkwardly powerful, and we’ve yet to see Vera work his way out of trouble.
My Pick: Vera.
If the line on Big Tim gets to +200 or above, then he’s definitely worth it. But right now it’s too close to even. It’s a hard bout to predict, and the line reflects that, as usual.
So where can you make some money if not on the main two bouts? How about the undercard, which always features enough unknown quantities to create problems for oddsmakers.
Take a hard look at these fights:
Jason Black (-350) vs. Matt Grice (+250)
Josh Burkman (-350) vs. Forrest Petz (+250)
Stephan Bonnar (-350) vs. Eric Schafer (+250)
What all three of these have in common, aside from identical lines, is somewhat well-known favorites against untested underdogs. Chances are that one of these three dogs will win, yielding a considerable payout, but who will it be?
Bonnar is the toughest of the three favorites and Schafer is mostly a submissions guy (going against someone who’s never been submitted), so that’s probably not the best choice in the bunch.
Petz is a fighter still trying to find his way, but he’s also an Ohio boy fighting in Cincinnati. That means two things: 1) he’ll get a boost from the crowd and a little help from the judges if it goes to a decision, and 2) the UFC may have put him on the card purely to have another local guy for the benefit of ticket sales. Burkman is a great athlete, but he doesn’t seem to want it enough at times, so Petz could shock him.
Lastly, Matt Grice is a wrestler turned MMA fighter, like his opponent, Jason Black. Black is the favorite because he’s fought the bigger names on the bigger stages, but that doesn’t mean Grice couldn’t be a diamond in the rough. He’s younger and less experienced, sure, but he could come up with something big, and Black has underperformed in fights before.
My Pick: Grice.
For the odds, I say he’s the least risk with the greatest reward. He’s still not anyone’s favorite in this fight, but a hundred dollars will get you $250 if he wins, and it’s not so far-fetched a possibility.
Least ways, it’s still better than buying some girl named Misty another handbag and coming home smelling like the cosmetics counter at Rite Aid. Seriously, it is.