Category Archives: Betting

Fun With Betting Odds for UFC 77

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

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.



Filed under Anderson Silva, Betting, Brandon Vera, MMA, Rich Franklin, Sports, Tim Sylvia, UFC, UFC 77, Uncategorized

UFC 75 Betting Lines: How Much Faith Do You Have In Your Ability to Predict the Future?

Whenever a big MMA card rolls around I always have to check the betting lines.  It’s strange, really, especially when you consider that I’ve never made a bet on an MMA fight except with friends (still think Hughes was a good pick over GSP, Matt Powers?  Sucker.)

As something of an industry insider, or at the very least, industry nerd, I feel like I should be able to pick fights better than the Vegas handicappers at least some of the time.  When the IFL went to Vegas, for instance, there were lines on some of our fighters who I’m sure the handicappers had never seen in the ring before.

And yet, when I looked at the lines for that event they all seemed pretty accurate.  That is, even if I thought that an underdog might win, the line wasn’t good enough to make the risk worth it.  Which is how betting odds work, when you think about it.  I guess my grandfather was right: they don’t build all those big casinos from people winning.

Here now, is a breakdown on the betting lines for UFC 75, as found on

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (-140) vs. Dan Henderson (110)

It’s hard for me to understand why Jackson is the betting favorite here, unless it’s owing to so many MMA fans putting money on him because they can’t remember anything past six months ago.

I just can’t see how Jackson might win this one.  Hendo is nearly impossible to KO, and he’s excellent on the ground so a submission is out of the question.  The only explanation I can come up with is Henderson’s relatively poor record against 205-pounders.  Then again, “Rampage” isn’t exactly on par with the Nogueria brothers.

My pick: Henderson.  Even so, the betting line isn’t good enough.  +110 means laying down a hundred bucks gets you a hundred and ten, and it’s not out of the question for “Rampage” to land one big punch and get lucky.

Save your money and put it toward something useful, like an Affliction T-shirt.  I hear the ladies just go crazy for a middle-aged guy in one of those, provided that middle-aged guy is rich.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (-400) vs. Chieck Kongo (300)

This is where some money could be made.  “Cro Cop” is very beatable right now, and Kongo has some great skills when he decides to get aggressive and use them.  The problem is that both men are so unpredictable, and “Cro Cop” usually does well against strikers.

I’ve heard Kongo running off at the mouth about his wrestling skills of late, but it sounds like bravado to me.  Still, I can definitely see Kongo catching “Cro Cop” early on if he comes right at him.  Trying to hang back and counter-strike against the Croatian is a bad idea, but no one ever accused Kongo of having the greatest strategical mind.

My pick: Kongo.  If it were someone else’s money, or if I just had more of it to spare, I’d put a hundred down on Kongo in a second.  Then again, there’s a reason I’m not dipping into my savings to bet against “Cro Cop”, who can be vicious when he wants to be.

Michael Bisping (-240) vs. Matt Hamill (180)

Honestly, I’m a little surprised that Hamill isn’t a bigger underdog in this one.  The guy’s a good wrestler, but have we seen him do anything else very well?  Bisping is a complete fighter.  You’re not going to wrestle your way to a decision over him, and that’s pretty much Hamill’s strategy every time out.

The only reason this fight is even happening is because Hamill had the good (or bad?) sense to call Bisping out publicly a few months back.  That, added to the little bit of bad blood between them on the reality show, combined with Bisping being an obvious draw for an event in the U.K., is how this ended up on the card.

My pick: Bisping.  You’re not going to make any money off of it, and that’s the way the bookmakers like it.

Bisping needs to fight some tougher competition, and I think he will after this one is over.  It’s just too bad Thierry Sokoudjou isn’t in the UFC, because that would be an interesting match.  In the meantime, Bisping vs. Arona, anyone?

Houston Alexander (-160) vs. Alessio Sakara (130)

Assuming Alexander’s gritty performance against Keith Jardine (who has now been demoted to “The Guidance Counselor of Mean”) wasn’t just a flash in the pan, he should handle the striker Sakara fairly easily.

While I like Sakara – mainly for his awesome ancient Roman tattoos, but also for his skillful striking – I can’t understand why he doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency about learning the ground game.  Dean Lister submitted him faster than he used to submit me when I trained at Fabio Santos’ (then again, Dean is too nice a guy to beat the hell out of beginners), and Drew McFedries made similarly short work of him in a very winnable bout for “Legionarius”.

My pick: Alexander.  I’d like to see Sakara win a big one here, but I learned long ago not to bet with my heart.

Marcus Davis (-210) vs. Paul Taylor (165)

Do you even care?  Seriously?  Fine.  But here’s a word of advice: when the UFC brings in a guy nicknamed the “The Irish Hand Grenade” to fight on a card in the U.K., it’s not so he can lose.  Not unless he’s fighting a Brit, that is.

My pick: Davis.

P.S. Nobody tell the London crowd that Davis is really from Bangor, Maine.  Not unless you want to see them start a riot and turn over a bunch of funny-looking British cars and weird red telephone booths.  On second thought, go ahead and tell them.

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Filed under Betting, UFC 75