What the Bookie Wants You To Do

MMA Betting: What the Bookie Wants You To Do

By Loot, MMA Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

When betting MMA, we need to be careful to not fall into the trap of becoming the type of bettor that the bookie loves. There are certain types of betting men that the bookie would love to deal with exclusively and certain traits and tendencies that correspond with this profile. We see who is ahead year-after-year and it sure isn’t the general betting public. It’s the bookie. They’re the winners. They’re the ones we’re competing against in this game. Just as in a fight, we certainly don’t want to do what our opponent wants.

So let’s identify some of the behaviors that the book is banking on with the general betting public to stay ahead every year. Number one on that list is your selectivity. The book really wants a player to bet on every fight. You could know the sport of MMA up and down–it doesn’t matter. The book knows their odds are as crisp as they can be. And trying to slug it out with the pros in almost every fight just guarantees that the quality of those lines will eventually eat you up.

It’s like a war and each fight is a singular battle. Pick your battles wisely. Look for situations where you have a discernible edge. Perhaps a fighter is being overlooked and you think the odds are generous in his favor. Maybe you have developed some insight into a particular fight where the style match-up isn’t accounted for in the odds. In any event, you look for fights where your edge is clear. And it simply isn’t going to be there in all, or even most, of the fights on the board.

The house also likes guys who only bet on the big fights. They figure, and probably correctly, that you are not really a sophisticated MMA observer, but just a guy who watches the big UFC PPVs. By the time two fighters are in a main event, the value is depleted. The lines for the big fights are awfully tough. At the levels below the UFC main event are fighters whose careers are more undefined-as their potential has not been figured out completely. The real value is usually not at the absolute top level of the sport.

Another type of bettor the book likes is the crystal-ball player. That is the betting man who thinks he can pinpoint specifics in a fight, like exactly how and when a fighter will win the fight. In some of the bigger fights, there will be a gaggle of prop bets. Most of them focus around specifics like this. Again, it can be hard enough to simply pick a winner in this sport. If you try pinpointing how and when a fighter will win, that’s really putting yourself behind the 8-ball.

You might pick a fighter to win in round one, but his opponent manages to scratch and claw his way to round two before losing. Your pick was actually pretty good. You picked the right fighter and determined he would win early, but you shot yourself in the foot by trying to be too darned specific.


Another type of bettor the bookie wants are ones who are overly wrapped up in the simplicity of “Who will win the fight?” Some bettors pick a winner and bet that fighter–simple as that. In other words, they are not paying any attention to how the odds figure into the equation. Picking a winner is only part of it. It’s like buying a car. We don’t solely hone in on what kind of car we want, but we develop an idea of how much we want to spend. Do the same thing with MMA betting.

Picking winners is key, but not unless you are getting it for the right price. The bookie loves the player who just picks the fighters he think will win blindly and without protest. We want to get the right price. We’re not going to pay 40k for a 2004 Escalade. The car is nice, but we’re thinking maybe 8 grand. In other words, try to determine your price range prior to looking at the odds. If you like a fighter to win, but the odds are not near what you were hoping for, look for another fight, check another book, or wait and see if that number doesn’t come down to your range. By becoming more discriminating with your wagering, you can eventually become the guy that makes the bookie worry.

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