Here’s your complete guide to betting UFC, including a list of the top UFC sportsbooks covering the market, exclusive welcome bonuses from those sportsbooks when you sign up, expert betting tips for all the top fights and advice on what to consider when betting on UFC fights.
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For years the UFC has branded MMA “the fastest growing sport in the world,” and while that may not be verifiably true, what is for certain is that betting on MMA, and more particularly, betting on the UFC, is among the fastest growing gambling markets in the world.
For over a century, boxing betting (ironically) had a stranglehold on combat sports betting, but in the past few years the UFC has moved in on that market and now rivals - if not exceeds - boxing in the eyes of bettors.
This guide should serve as a primer to start betting on the UFC and to succeed in doing so.
Betting on the UFC is simple, as a vast majority of bets that occur are “moneyline bets.” Moneyline bets are simply selecting which of the two fighters will win the fight and winning bets pay out according to the odds associated with each fighter.
The odds on favorites are negative numbers - i.e. -250 - meaning that a UFC bettor must pay that much money, $250, to win $100. Conversely, underdogs have positive numbers - i.e. +200 - meaning that a UFC bettor only needs to wager $100 to get paid out $200 (plus the return of their original bet).
If the fight results in a draw, the bets are voided and the money returned to the bettor, unless the wager was on a “three-way moneyline.” Three-way moneylines allow bettors to also wager on the fight being a draw, with those odds tending to be long as draws are rare in the UFC, and are among the most popular option for betting on the UFC.
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Straight bets placed on either fighter that pay out according to the odds on the fighter.
Bets placed on the duration of the fight. Over/Under bets provide a set number of rounds and bettors must decide whether the fight duration will exceed or fall short of the line.
For example, an Over/Under of 2.5 means the line is 6 minutes and 30 seconds into the fight. If the fight ends before then, the Under cashes. After then, the over cashes.
Bets on how the fight will end - either KO/TKO, Submission, or Decision. These bets can often be combined with which fighter will win as well.
Bets on the duration of the fight, choosing exactly what round the fight will end in. These bets can also usually be combined with which fighter will win as well.
Bets placed on how many points a fighter will win by, should the fight go to decision. In MMA, three judges score fights, with most rounds being scored 10-9 for the winner.
Points handicaps set a line for the favorite - for example, 3.5 points - and bets may be placed on whether the favorite’s scorecards at the end of the fight will total up to be that many more points than the underdogs. Any stoppage by the favorite also wins the bet.
Bets on possible future fights or outcomes that have not be announced yet but are rumored to be happening.
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Adding multiple bets together for a single bet with greater odds. The payout is larger but so is the risk because a loss for any of the bets, loses the entire parlay.
Betting on UFC fights is hunting: You need to pick and choose which fights and what kind of bets provide the best value, and like hunting, choosing a location is just as important as hitting your shot. A bad UFC betting site might not have all the lines for all the fights or cap the amount of money you can win on certain fights.
Picking a bad site to bet on the UFC can be as difficult a hunting in the desert, so make sure when you are choosing a UFC betting site that the site offers comprehensive odds on all the fights.
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Betting on the UFC is simpler than other sports because there are less variables to consider, but because UFC betting is easier to get into, understanding the nuances of it is that much more important to be a winning bettor.
Here are a few things you should consider when determining where to lay your money down.
Wrestling | Wrestling is the most important skill because wrestling means you can control where the fight takes place. Dictating how a fight happens is one of the easiest ways to win a fight so when deciding between fighters, look at who the better wrestler is.
The young eat the old | Something to consider for your MMA betting strategy is that rarely fighters retire at the top of their games. Instead, older fighters will continue to compete well past their best days and the UFC will match them up with young prospects, to build new stars off the bodies of the old.
More often than not, the young succeed. In most “prospect vs. veteran” fights, siding with the rising star is better than picking the falling one.
Pick your spots | You don’t need to bet on every fight, just the ones you feel confident in. Some fights are true “coin flip” fights, and if the odds reflect that, don’t bet on the winner. Instead, look to the props to maximize your value. A fighter might be a -250, a steep price, so instead look and see if him winning by KO is a juicier line.
Look to parlays to juice up lines | Some heavy favorites are still worth a bet, even at -500, but the return is so small that betting them straight isn’t as enticing. Parlaying big favorites together bumps up the odds and makes the bets worthwhile.
The heavier the fighters, the more likely a finish | There is a direct relationship between weight class and finishing frequency. The lighter the fighters, the more likely the bout is to go to decision. Betting the Overs on flyweight and strawweight bouts tends to be a money maker.
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