Betting on MMA can be fairly daunting for a beginner. There are a ton of different factors that you really need to consider before placing a bet.
That said, these aren’t too difficult to learn and your skills will improve as you continue betting the MMA. Here are a few MMA betting strategies and tips to help minimize your learning curve:
Carefully Choose Your Bets
Given how fast-paced the UFC is, there is a ton of action each and every week. Even the most dedicated fans can struggle to keep up, especially from a betting perspective where a lot of research is involved.
Performing in-depth research on a few different fights is much better than quickly handicapping all the different bouts. Ideally, you will get a feel for how particular fighters perform, giving you an edge in their specific matchups.
A great way to do this is to pick a fighter that you really like and then follow them closely. For example, you may be a huge Conor McGregor fan and decide to follow him really closely.
If you’re watching all of his fights and following all of the build-up, you’re at an advantage compared to the casual fan. This usually plays out in the betting markets, where you’ll ultimately be the one taking their money.
Too many bettors end up placing far too many bets on markets where they simply don’t have an edge. Limiting your bets to the ones you’re most confident in is a great first step to maximizing your profitability.
Watch the Pre-Fight Press Conferences
If you aren’t paying attention to the press conferences yet still plan on betting the fight, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. These often reveal valuable information that can significantly shift the betting markets.
Fighters often reveal a ton about their preparation and will discuss any injuries they may have had. It is best to watch these live if you can, as the markets can move significantly depending on the information revealed.
At times, they can also give a clear indication as to which fighter is in a better headspace. One fighter may appear upbeat and energetic, while the other has been beaten down by a grueling training camp.
Conor McGregor proved to be an absolute master at this, capable of getting in his opponent’s heads before the fight. This is a huge advantage that is often undervalued in the pre-fight odds.
If you’re watching all the pre-fight press conferences as they occur, you’re simply getting a leg up on the competition. These ultimately provide you with more valuable information that you can use to help increase your edge.
Take a Look at the Location
One hugely underrated MMA betting tip that can really help your bottom line is checking the location before each fight. The octagon can appear completely different in certain arenas that may play to the strengths of particular fighters.
Perhaps the most important location factor to consider is whether the fight is taking place in altitude. Certain fighters just can’t take it above sea level and their performance suffers as a result.
A prime example of this is UFC Heavyweight Cain Velasquez, widely renowned for having excellent cardio. The Heavyweight Champion at the time, Cain appeared gassed in the first round as he lost to challenger Fabricio Werdum.
Cain had said that he only gave his body two weeks to adjust to the altitude, a very tough proposition in a sport like MMA. That said, it is incredibly valuable information that could help shape your decision.
Similarly, if fighters are making cross-continental fights without too much preparation, they’re very likely to struggle. Especially if you follow them on social media, you’ll usually be able to easily monitor their travel schedule.
Often times, the name of the game with UFC and MMA betting is simply the research you put in beforehand. If you have more information at your disposal than the competition, chances are you’ll perform better.
Watch the Weigh-Ins
Perhaps the most important event before any UFC fight is the weigh-in that occurs just over 24 hours before the fight. One of the better MMA betting tips that I can provide is to watch the weigh-in before finalizing your bets. This reveals a ton of very valuable information on the appearance and weight cuts of each fighter.
Especially if a fighter is coming down a few weight classes, they’re likely not used to how difficult the weight cut may be. As such, they’ll likely have to dehydrate themselves just before the weigh-in in order to make weight.
The problem with this approach is that they simply can’t fully rehydrate so close to the actual fight. This means that they’ll be fighting at a disadvantage which could ultimately be their undoing.
If you’re watching the weigh-ins live, you can actually spot this in real-time, before anyone else. This means you can be one of the first in the market to act on this information, giving you an inherent advantage.
Consider the Matchups
Like all sports, the UFC is a game of matchups. Certain fighters tend to perform particularly well against one archetype but can struggle against another. This is often the case with fighters who aren’t all that well-rounded.
The most common example of this is when a BJJ specialist is facing a striker. There is a huge contrast of styles here that will ultimately decide the fight. The striker will be looking for a quick knockout, while the ground specialist will be after a quick takedown.
To handicap it effectively, you want to consider their past performance against opponents of specific archetypes. Just because the striker struggled against a fellow striker recently, doesn’t mean he can’t dominate a BJJ specialist.
Not all fights are the same and to be successful you’ll ultimately need to handicap them differently. If you pay close attention to the stylistic matchups involved, you could make big money over the longer term.
Pay Attention to the News
Another key consideration to take into account is the news that comes out about both fighters in the pre-fight preparations. Media stories can heavily shift the market perception and can really help you find some value.
The best way to deal with these stories is to simply approach them in an objective manner. Certain reporters are definitely biased, so it’s important not to get too caught up in all the details.
Admittedly, there are some reports that can be really useful from a betting perspective. For example, one of the fighters in an upcoming main event is battling injury but no-one knows about this.
A major MMA journalist then comes out and says that he is planning to fight despite this injury. The odds are likely to shift significantly against him and you can get great value on his opponent if you act fast.
Assuming this news results in a large change to the odds, you can then even cash out with an arbitrage profit. While they aren’t always accurate, you can definitely use these media reports to your advantage.
Create Accounts on Multiple Sportsbooks
We’ve harped on about this before, but one of the best MMA betting tips that I can provide is that you create accounts with several different sportsbooks. This is simply a necessity in the modern game to ensure that you’re getting the best odds.
By having just one sportsbook account, you limit both your flexibility and the number of markets at your disposal. While it can be tough for sportsbooks to put up a ton of markets for each fight, you need as many options as possible.
If you give yourself multiple options, you can check around for the best odds before confirming any bets. It also allows you to focus on the markets where you’re the most profitable.
This is a surprisingly simple strategy but you’d be surprised how many people completely ignore it. By getting the best of the number each time, you’re truly maximizing your chances of long-term profitability.
Avoid Superstar Fights
It’s no secret that superstar matchups tend to attract the most action. Guys like Conor McGregor and Jon Jones are very high-profile fighters that have a lot of fans interested in their fights.
From a betting perspective, the problem is that the general fans know too much about these fighters. This means the lines are incredibly sharp and there isn’t all that much value on either side.
A better strategy is to focus on underrated fighters that don’t have as much of a public image. If you’ve identified someone that is underrated by the market, you can likely continue to cash tickets for a while.
The sportsbooks also pay less attention to these lower profile fights, likely meaning you can get a much better price. Things change completely once the public gets a hold of this information and you’ll end up needing to pay a premium. A much better plan of attack is to just avoid the superstar fights if you’re just starting out.