Making Big Wagers in Big Fights

MMA Betting: Making Big Wagers in Big Fights

By Loot, MMA Handicapper,

In MMA, perhaps more than other sports, the biggest events get the most wagering attention. It makes sense. The more interest a fight has, the bigger the betting action will be. The average MMA bettor will subconsciously attach more betting importance to fights that have more interest. The problem is that the bigger fights are usually the worst ones to bet.

Let’s get back to the idea of value for a bit. As MMA betting men, we are trying to isolate situations where we are getting good value for our betting dollar. We want to take fighters who are receiving odds that are better than what we feel are the true odds. Those situations are more likely to be found at a level where the jury is still out on fighters. By the time a fighter is a champion, everyone more or less knows who he is already. The value has been sucked out by the vampire fangs of familiarity.

That’s when MMA bettors most want to place wagers–on the big fights. It runs counter to everything we’ve been taught about value, whether we are talking about betting or other walks of life. While you might not always go to the bar to have a drink when it’s happy-hour, you wouldn’t purposely avoid happy-hour. You don’t see people fighting outside of Walmart on the third Friday in March. On Taco Tuesday, the lines are longer at the drive-thru, aren’t they?

So then why in the world would the lines at the book be at their longest when the fights are big? Well, we know why. The fact of the matter is that most betting men are in it for kicks. Sure, they’re trying to pick up some extra scratch, but there’s something else at the root of it. Betting is really just a way to accentuate their fan experience and the result is that these guys are just not very dangerous to the bookies.

Value can be found at all levels of MMA. This does not mean you should only be betting on obscure fighters and guys who haven’t made it yet. But for goodness sake, don’t just bet on the big fights! You are leaving a lot on the table when you do that. When it comes to any kind of sports betting, a common piece of advice is that the bigger the event is, the less value can be found in it.

In truly big match-ups, the fighters are known almost too well. The bookie knows what they can do, what they can’t do, what they’re more vulnerable to, and so on. Therefore, the odds are set behind actual knowledge, as opposed to speculation. We want bookie speculation, especially when we might know something different. You don’t see those types of advantages in the big fights as often.


In addition, the bookie is at his best when the fight is big. The lines are more accurate. A gigantic UFC main event forces all the best minds in the business to be sharp, with all the action pouring in on the fight. You’re not going to sneak anything past these guys at this point. In a lower-echelon fight, your opinions and observations carry more weight. You’re able to use your analysis and insight against the book because you’re doing it along the right lines. You can catch a soft line or determine if a fighter is overrated or underrated more easily at a certain stage in his career. By the time they make it to a huge PPV fight, their value is usually in the rearview mirror. You’re getting on the train too late.

This is not meant to imply that you should never bet on big fights. If you have a genuine read on a big fight that runs counter to the what the book is saying, by all means pounce on it. But if you consistently find yourself betting only in huge fights, that’s not a good sign. If it’s working, that’s great. Do your thing. Just remember, however, that the goals of a fan and a bettor are very different. What we want to watch isn’t always what we should want to bet.

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