Gambler’s Handbook: How to Bet on MMA

Where should I bet on UFC and MMA fights? has reviewed the best online sportsbooks which post Mixed Martial Arts odds. All of our reviews are based on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. Each site is graded based on overall MMA odds, UFC odds, security, deposit options and their history as a gambling website. All of the sportsbooks listed are safe and easy to deposit with.

Which to Choose?

We recommend you to shop around. Each sportsbook has different odds for each fight so it is in your best interest to have an account at the site offering the best odds for each fight. So essentially it’s best to have an account at each, even if you only bet at one site per event. Soon we will have a feed that shows you which UFC sportsbook is offering the best line odds at betting sites and sportsbooks that we hand picked.

Where to bet on UFC fights – UFC sportsbooks

Currently, only about 50-60% of the quality sportsbooks out there offer betting lines on UFC fights. I’ve made deposits at about 30 online sportsbooks over the past year, and I’ve narrowed them all down and found the best 2 sportsbooks for UFC betting. All of the sportsbooks I recommend are very safe, have quick payouts, and also have the best odds for betting UFC fights.

1. – Bodog’s sportsbook has been around since 1995, and is one of the most trusted sportsbooks in the gambling industry. They have really started catering to the UFC/MMA crowd and are the best UFC sportsbook out there. Read a more indepth review of UFC Bodog Life betting here.

2. – is a major online sportsbook, and a big supporter of the UFC. Their odds for mixed martial arts are usually just for UFC events. They usually have great odds if you like to bet favorites. Read a full indepth review of BetUS UFC betting site here.

How to fund your online sportsbook account

Funding an online sportsbook account can be somewhat confusing at first if you’re new to the world of online betting. However, in this article we will take you through each step of funding your account and show you the easiest possible way to start betting today!

Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed in October of 2006, funding your betting accounts has become a little bit harder if you’re a U.S. citizen. Contrary to what some media sources are reporting, the UIGEA does not make online betting illegal. The only thing this bill does is reduce the amount of ways Americans can make deposits to online betting sites. With that out of the way, here are the easiest ways to fund your sportsbook account.

Credit card (Mastercard, Visa, Prepaid Visa)
• Credit cards are the main deposit option for most bettors. If you have a debit card, that will also work as well. Credit cards and debit cards are also the quickest deposit method available.
• Available at Bodog, BetUS , Bookmaker

Direct bank wire / Money transfer/ Echeck
• Bank wires and money transfers are a very easy deposit method to use. For these options, your money will just come straight out of your bank account and go directly into your sportsbook account. If you need help with this, call the sportsbook and they will set it up for you right away.
• Available at Bodog, BetUS , Bookmaker

• Nucharge is an online payment system that is extremely easy to use. Just deposit money into your Nucharge account from your credit/debit card and then you can use Nucharge to fund your online sportsbook account right away. This is a great option for people who’s credit cards are not accepted at the sportsbook.
• Available at Bodog

Check by mail
• This is usually a last resort if you can not get any of the other deposit options to work. Checks by mail take a little bit longer to deposit (7-10 days), but if it’s the only thing that will work for you, then go ahead and do it. Checks by mail are allowed at almost every sportsbook.
• Available at Bodog and BetUS

Funding your sportsbook conclusion
• recommends you try a credit card or bank wire first when trying to deposit. These are the easiest and quickest ways to get money on a sport betting site especially for Americans). Please send us an email if you have any questions about making a deposit.

Betting Terminology

MMA Betting Blog has put together a list of some of the main sports gambling terms that apply to betting on MMA fights. These will help clear up any questions you might have when it comes to betting jargon.

• Action – A sports betting wager of any kind, a bet.
• Bookie – Usually a person who accepts local bets. Sometimes people on the web refer to sportsbooks as bookies. This is more prevalent in European areas.
• Chalk – The favorite in the fight, or the guy at – odds.
• Chalk Player – In sports gambling this person is someone who usually only plays the favored teams, rarely betting on the underdogs.
• Dime – $1000.00 sports betting wager.
• Dime Line – In sports betting a Dime line is a line where the juice is 10%.
• Dog – The underdog in a fight, or the guy at + odds. Underdogs can potentially have negative odds if its something like -115 vs. -105.
• Dog Player – In sports gambling this term refers to one who mostly plays the
• Edge – Our competitive advantage when betting on a fight. Sometimes this is because of knowing more information than the linesmaker, and sometimes this is because of the odds posted for the fight.
• Even money – When a bet’s odds are 1:1 or +100 this is even money. You aren’t paying any juice on the bet.
• Favorite – The favorite is the fighter that is expected to win the bout. The sportsbooks designate this fighter with a negative sign infront of the moneyline. (Ex. Chuck Liddell -145)
• Handicapping – This is the research and strategy you put into making a bet. There are many different ways to handicap a fight. Most bettors use a few methods and stick with what works for them.
• Handle – This is the amount of total bets taken on a fight or event. This usually refers to the total amount of bets that the sportsbook “handles”.
• Hedging – A sports betting term that means placing wagers on the opposite side in order to cut losses or guarantee a minimum amount of winnings.
• Limit – The maximum bet that an online sportsbook will allow a bettor to place on a fight.
• Line – Another name for the odds for a fight.
• Moneyline – Odds for MMA fights are expressed in terms of money. So a moneyline of -145 means that for every $1.45 you bet, you would win $1.
• Odds – A numerical value determined by the sportsbook that shows the likelihood of each fighter winning the fight.
• Opened (opening line) – This is the odds that were set when the line was first put out for betting.
• Parlay – A combination of bets in which all of the fighters must win in order for you to win the bet. In return, you get better odds for your bet, such as 6-1 on a 3 team (fighter) parlay.
• Prop bet – A specific wager on an outcome in a fight. Take for example in boxing, there are prop bets on which round the fighter will end the bout. If you choose the round correctly you get paid out at higher odds than a normal bet.
• Push (draw) – When a fight does not have a winner declared it’s marked as a draw, and all bets are refunded.
• Sportsbook – The website or company that takes your bets for fights.
• Square – Someone who is a total beginner at sports betting. They usually bet on favorites 95% of the time.
• Totals bet – In MMA betting you may bet on the over/under the amount of rounds you think a fight will last. The sportsbook sets a total, and you then bet over or under than number.
• Tout – Someone who sells their expertise on sports wagering.
• Underdog – The fighter who has + odds. This means if you bet on the fighter and they win, you’ll receive more than your original bet back. So if you bet $100 on Tito Ortiz at +135 and he wins, you’ll win $135 in profit.

How to bet on UFC fights – Learn how UFC odds work

UFC fights are suddenly becoming the most bet on events in sports, and most bettors really don’t have any idea of how to bet on UFC fights. In this piece, I’ll explain where to bet on UFC, how to bet on UFC and how UFC and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) odds work and what sportsbooks have MMA betting lines.

How to bet on UFC fights

Unlike football as basketball where there are point spreads (ex. -7, +13.5) UFC fights have odds which are called moneylines. A moneyline is basically a way for the sportsbooks to even out the betting public. So for example if Chuck Liddell was fighting a no name guy in his first fight, Liddell would be a HUGE favorite, probably around -4400 or so (44 to 1). If there was no moneyline, you could just bet on the favorite everytime, and become a millionaire pretty quickly.

So here is an actual example from a UFC fight, that will explain the odds a bit better.

Tito Ortiz (-140)

Rashad Evans (+120)

In this matchup, Tito is the favorite at -140. This means that for every $1.40 you bet, you win $1. So if you were to bet $140 on Tito, you’d win $100 (profit) if he is victorious. Rashad is the underdog in this match at +120. This means that for every $1 you bet, you will win $1.2o. So if you bet $100 on Rashad, and he wins, you will win $120 (profit).

The moneylines on UFC fights will often change with the amount of money coming in on each side. If a bunch of money is coming in on one side, the sportsbook will adjust the moneyline to even out the action and get bettors betting on the other fighter. With that said, whatever the odds are when you place your bet, is the odds you get. They don’t change like in horse racing.

UFC betting tips

UFC betting strategies vary from person to person. The following are three of the best UFC betting tips that I depend on for every UFC event.

Rule 1 – Stay away from heavy favorites
This is a huge mistake that many new bettors make. I admit, I was guilty of this as well when I first started betting on sports. In the realm of UFC betting, avoiding this rule will turn you broke quicker than anything else. I don’t ever recommend betting on someone who is above a -400 favorite. I usually only go to about -300 or so on most of my bets, and even then I don’t wager as much as I would on an underdog.

Rule 2 – Don’t bet on every single fight
When you are new to betting, there’s a tendency to bet on as many events as possible. This is horrible thinking, because there are tons of fights that neither fighter has an edge. If there is no discernible edge, then why would you lay your money on a fight? If you’re just betting on the fight for the hell of it, make sure your bet is VERY SMALL and won’t hurt your bankroll if you lose.

Rule 3 – Always look to the underdogs
If you talk to any professional sports bettor, they will tell you that to profit in the long run, you must bet on more underdogs than favorites. Especially when you are betting on UFC fights, there is a larger amount of juice on the favorites, so you need to win at a MUCH higher ratio, then if you are picking underdogs. Granted the underdogs will not win as much, but over the long haul you have a much better chance of profiting if you are betting the doggies.

Bankroll management – Money management for the long haul

Bankroll management is the key to being a winning bettor in any sport. Any bum can pick a winner and cash in once, but it takes knowledge and discipline to win money over the long haul in gambling.

The most important rule
• The golden rule in bankroll management is to bet about 2-3% of your bankroll for each bet. This means that if your bankroll is $5,000 for a year, then each time you make a bet it should be about $100-$150. This amount that you consistently bet is referred to as a unit. Some people wager one unit on every fight, while others vary their units. If you like to be on the conservative side, I would bet the same amount on every fight. If you want to be more liberal with your money, then you can vary your units.

Don’t chase your losses
• Chasing your losses is a very common mistake for many sports bettors. Bettors usually go on a bad run and then try to win all their money back with one or two big bets. This is exactly what the bookie wants you to do. Never chase your losses. Bad days will happen in sports betting and you need to just take your lumps and pick it back up another day.

Wager within your means
• In the example above I used a starting bankroll of $5,000. If you can afford to bet with $5,000 then go ahead and do it. However you should never bet with any money that you can not afford to lose. This means rent, food etc… Unless you’re a professional, betting should be seen as a form of entertainment.

Keep in mind these three bankroll management tips, and you’ll be in better shape than 95% of bettors out there.

Bankroll Management
Many people who start betting on mixed martial arts will often open an account and proceed to wager their entire bankroll on one event. While some of these people might make some money in the short term, this kind of betting is not good for those who hope to stick around for the long haul. Even bettors with consistently good picks will find themselves down to zero funds rather quickly if they don’t manage their bankrolls properly. Careful consideration and research can help minimize the number of bets you lose, but it’s how you manage the amounts you wager that will really determine if you are going to succeed or fail at online gaming. It’s easy enough to pick a few winners and cash out, but not so easy to weather the ups and downs that come with betting on one of the most unpredictable sports there is.

The key goal of good bankroll management is to ensure that you’re able to survive the times where statistical variance doesn’t go your way. For example, if you’re doing well at betting on edges (as described earlier), then statistically speaking you should be winning more than you’re losing. But even if flipping a coin 500 times means you should end up with roughly 250 heads and 250 tails, that doesn’t take into account the fact that you could have a long streak near the beginning where you’re mainly getting tails. The same thing can happen in betting, where a string of bad luck losses in the short term can sink you, even if probability is on your side in the long run. That’s statistical variance.

Simply put, good bettors must not only be able to beat the odds set by the sportsbooks, they must also be able to survive periods of short term variance. The best way to do this is to break your bets up into small enough units of money that a patch of bad luck won’t wipe you out.

It’s important to stay patient through downturns … many beginners who lose money early on end up doubling their bets to try and win back their losses. This usually just increases the speed in which a person’s bankroll empties out. A general rule of thumb when betting on fights is to bet around 2-3% of your bankroll on each bet. That means if you’ve budgeted your betting funds at $500 for the year, each bet should be for around $10 – $15 dollars.

The amount of money you consistently bet on any one fights is considered a ‘unit’. While different bettors will have different dollar values assigned to their units, players who only spend $10 a bet can compare the risk they’re taking against players who normally bet $100 or $1000 a match because all three players consider their amounts as ‘one unit’. If someone says they have bet two or three units on a fight, it is because they bet twice or three times the amount they normally bet on average.

How to convert a moneyline to a percentage

Converting a moneyline to a percent helps bettors to understand the percentage chance each fighter is being given to win the bout. Since moneylines are sometimes difficult to understand for newer bettors, percentages will help clear things up a bit.

How to convert to a percent for a favorite

• Amount you need to bet to win $1 / (Amount you need to bet to win $1 + $1) = Favorite’s %
• Example : Chuck Liddell (-300) vs. Keith Jardine (+220). So Chuck is a -300 favorite, this means you would need to bet $3 to win $1. If you take this and plug it into the formula, it would look like this… $3/($3 + $1) = 75%.

How to convert to a percent for an underdog
• 1/(Amount won when wagering $1 + $1) = The underdog’s %
• Example : For Keith Jardine (-220) you will win $2.20 if you bet $1. If you take this and plug it into the formula, it would look like this 1/($2.20 +$1) = 31.25
• Note: The reason the two percentages do not add up is because of the juice that the sportsbook is putting on this bout. This is how sportsbooks make most of their money. They win a little bit from every fight, and every game bet on because of the juice.

How to use a percent to your advantage

• Using the percentage to your advantage is a very common betting philosophy in baseball, basketball, football and also fight betting. In order to use the percentage effectively you should gauge what percentage chance you think a fighter has in the bout and then compare that to the actual percent. If your percent and the actual percent are more than 5% off you probably have an edge (this applies to someone who understands the odds, and isn’t just taking a wild guess). Anytime you have an edge you should make a wager on the bout.

My mixed martial arts betting strategy

Almost every person who bets has a type of style or “system” they use to pick the team/fighter they want to bet on. I’ll first state that there is no one correct way to handicap a fight. Finding a style that works for you is the most important aspect of betting on mixed martial arts fights. If you try to bounce all over the place, and bet with different theories and systems, chances are you’ll end up broke.

One of my main betting philosophies is to always go against the betting public. In the world of sports betting 98% of bettors come out losers in the end, so going against their picks is always a good idea over the long haul. If you’re new to sports betting or mixed martial arts betting, this is a tough idea to conquer and the picks will look like surefire losers every time, but trust me you will make money. Your friends will think you’re an idiot, and you’ll even question yourself every time you make a bet. However, this is one of the most consistent and best ways to make money betting on mixed martial arts fights.

My usual routine

– Check out all the popular bloggers and columnist online who are making their predictions for a fight. I’ll usually run through all them and write down their picks for the night. If they REALLY like a guy in a certain fight, I’ll make note of that as well.

– Check out the forums for what the general public thinks about each fight. Usually on all of the popular MMA forums, there will always be guys discussing who they like that night for the fight. I always make an extra note if lots of people are throwing around “no chance at losing” and “bet the wife and kids” type phrases about a certain bout.

– After that I’ll go through and check out the odds at all of the different MMA sportsbooks.

– If lots of people really like someone who is an underdog, I almost will always bet pretty big on the favorite. This usually only happens in fights with bigger name guys, but it does happen often, and it is always a great sign for us.

– If there are a lot of people all over a guy who is a major favorite, I will always put in a small bet on the big underdog.

– After that, Ill go through the rest and make my bets according to how I feel and how much action I’m seeing coming in on the other fighters. My main bets are almost always underdogs and very small favorites. I try to stay away from any favorite above -300 or higher.

This is my mixed martial arts betting strategy in a nutshell. I use the same basic philosophy in other sports such as football and basketball, and it works very well. I’ve had some success already with MMA, mostly in the UFC, but as I expand and learn more about the other leagues, I think ‘ll continue to profit in them as well.

Feel free to share your thoughts about betting on MMA fights in the comment section…

Over/under round betting in UFC fights

For many UFC fights, will post odds which let you bet on the amount of rounds a fight will go. Similar to an over/under in football betting, over/under betting for UFC fights have odds set for a certain length and the bettor can choose to wager that the fight will be shorter or longer than what is posted.

Over/under fight betting example

Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva
Over 1.5 rounds (+110)
Under 1.5 rounds (-150)
In this fight, the oddsmakers have set the under 1.5 rounds as the favorite. This means for a -150 price, you’ll have to bet $1.50 for every dollar you want to win. So if you bet $150 on the under and it hit, then you will win $100 of profit. If the bet loses you would lose $150.

If you were to bet the over in this fight, you would have to bet $1 for every $1.10 you want to win. So if you were to bet $100 on the over 1.5 rounds and it wins, then you would profit $110 for this bet.

Some things to remember when betting over/unders

• Make sure you know how many rounds the fight is. Major title fights are usually five rounds, while all other fights on the card are three rounds. This seems simple, but people forget and don’t factor this in to their wager.
• Take into account the type of fighters in the ring and their past fights. If two guys like to slug it out and throw haymakers all day, then the over probably won’t be a smart bet. Look at the fighters past bouts and see how long each of them have lasted. You can get a good gauge for how a fighter likes to attack his opponent by looking at past fights.

UFC – Affliction Parlay Betting Advice

The key to betting successfully on MMA is the ability to figuring out which underdogs can exploit holes in their opponent’s game in order to come out on top. In general, it is not advisable to bet on favorites, no matter how sure you are that they are going to win. For one thing, the last two years of MMA have proven that anything can happen on any given night, and for another, the risk/reward ratio in betting on favorites usually isn’t worth taking any chances.

Parlay Betting Lines Online
Our favorite site to Parlay bet is

When Not to Parlay Bet
Unfortunately, some shows are NOT ideal for traditional MMA betting. The upcoming Affliction: Banned show is a perfect example of this. While not exactly mismatches, a lot of the fights scheduled for the event have a very clear favorite who is unlikely to lose. Luckily for MMA betters, though, the potential for profit is still there thanks to a wonderful little thing known as the parlay.

Explanation of Parlay Betting for MMA
For those who aren’t familiar with the parlay, it is a form of bet that allows you to place one bet on multiple fights in order to increase your winnings. In order to win money betting on a favorite, you have to wager a much higher amount in order to reap the same profits. By betting on multiple fights with one bet, gamblers are able to wager on favorites and still see sizable winnings from a smaller initial investment. If you bet 100 dollars on Aleksandr Emelianenko or Josh Barnett to win their fights, respectively, your winnings will be fairly paltry. Betting 100 dollars on both guys to win, though, can increase your winnings substantially. Obviously, the odds get longer the more fights you parlay together, so a larger parlay will always result in a substantially larger payoff. offers parlay betting on MMA, and with Affliction coming up there is no better time to try out this extremely profitable form of wagering.

When are Parlay Bets Good
What’s great about parlay betting is that it can serve as a sort of insurance policy on your other bets. If you want to risk money for big profits by betting on underdogs, parlaying an additional bet on some favorites for a smaller amount is a great way to minimize the losses if things don’t go your way. If you are feeling really adventurous, you could parlay a bet on all of Affliction’s favorites. It’s a decent way to ensure some winnings if the show has no surprises. Even if you choose not to risk it by picking substantial underdogs, a parlay can still provide you with a substantial money-making opportunity. A nice, safe parlay for the Affliction: Banned show would be to bet on Aleksandr Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, and Fedor Emelianenko. All three are sizable favorites with an extremely good chance of winning their fights, but by betting on all three to win, you can place a wager on three prohibitive favorites but still manipulate the odds in your favor so as to drive your winnings up substantially.

Parlays on Favorites and Underdogs
It should also be noted that you do not have to parlay bets on favorites only. Parlaying bets on multiple underdogs can provide huge winnings, but is clearly a far more risky proposition. I personally prefer to bet on underdogs individually to play it safe, and use the parlay for those times when I don’t see any upsets happening but want to make some money off a show anyway. No matter which approach you take, though, the parlay is an exciting aspect of MMA betting that allows gamblers the chance to make a good profit even on shows that aren’t otherwise ideal for gambling. I’d head over to and give it a try on this Affliction show, as it is a perfect candidate for a profitable parlay.

Underdogs bring home the cheddar in main bouts – UFC betting case study

In the past ten major UFC events (UFC 67-77), the underdogs are cashing in at a much higher rate than the odds suggest they should. After reviewing the fight odds and results from each UFC event, we have concluded that an underdog is the better wager in main event fights as well as fights in which there is a heavy favorite (-500 or more).

Main UFC bouts
• For the majority of UFC events, there are two major fights on the card. This is usually a heavyweight bout and a middleweight or welterweight bout. In these main bouts on each card, the underdogs went 10-11, and would have netted you $1560 in profit had you bet $100 on each fight. On the other end of the spectrum, the favorites in these fights were 11-10 and if you were to bet each of their odds to win $100 (Ex. -250 would be betting $250 to win $100.), you would be in the hole -$2505.

Large favorites in UFC fights
• The second major stat we researched was the record of fighters who were favored by -500 or more. There were exactly twelve fights that had a fighter at these odds, and the -500+ fighter went 8-4 in these bouts. If you were to bet on each favorite at their odds to win $100, you would be down -$1850 from these 12 fights. The underdogs on the other hand had a great showing in these fights and went 4-8. With a 4-8 record, the underdogs would have made a $100 bettor $1020.

Why should you bet underdogs?
• In mixed martial arts more than any other sport, the underdog really does have a fighting chance to win. Unlike football where a +700 favorite has to play a perfect game for 4 quarters, MMA always presents the opportunity for a fighter to get knocked out relatively early in the fight. MMA fighters don’t have a chance to make up for their mistakes like a football team does. In football the worst that can happen on a mistake is a touchdown. In MMA, the fight could be over.
• The underdogs seem to present the best value in the main bouts. Most of the public betting money is wagered on these fights, so the lines are always a little more inflated for the favorites. By consistently betting on the underdogs, you are gaining a huge edge over time.
• If you were to always bet on underdogs or small favorites, the monetary swings experienced will be much less than someone who always bets the favorites. When betting on favorites, you must always win your big bets, or else you’re in for a losing night. However as the stats show, the big favorites do not win at the rate they’re supposed to.

Why the delay in posting odds for MMA events?

Since I began betting on MMA fights, I’ve noticed that most of the MMA sportsbooks really have no consistency as to when they post their lines for upcoming events. My observations thus far are as follows…

Major UFC title fights get posted very early
• This would include fights with Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture. They seem to be the only three fighters that warrant a very early line posting. For fights like this, the lines are usually posted at least 3 weeks in advance.

Fighters with no mainstream notoriety have odds posted within a week of the event.
• This has been the case with the past three UFC events. Fighters like Georges St. Pierre, Josh Koscheck and Anderson Silva are all household names within the world of MMA, but to a casual fan, most people really don’t know who they are. Fighters of this type usually have their odds posted 4-7 days before the event.

Undercard UFC bouts get posted the day of the event
• This has been a pretty standard move by the main sportsbooks thus far. On the day of the event, they usually fill in the undercard and the rest of the main bouts if they haven’t posted odds yet for those bouts. Most of the sportsbooks really want to limit the action of the undercard betting, because if it doesn’t draw enough bettors they could end up with a real lopsided handle on the fight, and could potentially get hit with a big loss.

Smaller fight leagues have odds posted within 2-3 days of the event
• Most of the smaller fight leagues don’t draw near the amount of action that a UFC event does, so sportsbooks usually put the lines up pretty close to the day of the fight. This has happened in recent events with BodogFight and Cage Rage.

Analyzing Fights

There’s a large amount of people who make bets on fighters based not on percentages or lines or any other sort of technical considerations. They simply put their money on the fighters they like, or the fighters they’re more familiar with. While the urge to bet on a sentimental favorite might be strong from time to time, it’s important to try and think logically on a fight before putting any money on the outcome.
This might seem pretty obvious, but the best practice when preparing to bet on a card is to do some research on the fighters. Check up on their record using the Fight Finder to see who’ve they’ve beaten and who’s beaten them. Take the time to look into the records of the people he’s fought … many fighters nowadays come into larger shows with extensive and impressive sounding records. Unfortunately, the luster wears off when you realize many of this fighter’s wins come against guys with sub-.500 records or fighters with only a few fights.
A record will also give you a starting point as to the potential weaknesses of a fighter. A large number of decisions point towards a lack of tools to finish fights. Submission losses will tell you something of a person’s ability to defend against grapplers and jiu jitsu fighters. Lots of knockout wins tell you a fighter has heavy hands. And so on and so forth. When it comes down to it, there’s no better place to start your research than with a fighter’s record. Pretty much any fighter coming into an event with betting lines will have enough info on their mixed martial arts record to establish a good knowledge base.
While a fighter’s record is a great resource, it’s not the only one. A key part of gaining edges on lines is digging deeper and finding out more than the average bettor. This means using Google to find articles and interviews with the fighters, and Youtube to watch past fights. The UFC and EliteXC also offer video on demand, which features a huge number of individual fights for a nominal monthly fee. There’s no substitute for watching a fighter in action and seeing how he copes in different situations against different styles of fighters.

There is a saying in mixed martial arts: Styles make fights. For example, a wrestler might do well against a kickboxer but poorly against a jiu-jitsu specialist. And the jiu-jitsu guy might seem invincible until he meets someone with great takedown defense. There are so many styles and methods of fighting in mixed martial arts that it is nearly impossible to be a master of them all. Therefore, one must not only consider fighters in terms of their respective rankings, but in how their specific fighting styles line up against each other. Again, analyzing a fighter’s past record and videos is invaluable in gaining an accurate assessment of each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses.

One big mistake many new bettors make is wagering on all the fights on a card. Smart betting is all about identifying an edge through the aforementioned means and taking advantage of it. There will often be a few fights on any given card with odds that give no edge at all either way – it is best to just stay away from these. Always take the time to ask yourself if you’re making a bet because it’s got good value or if you’re just betting for betting’s sake. This happens more than one would think, especially when you first start winning a few wagers

Different Types of Bets

Straight money line bets aren’t the only kind of fun you can have with mixed martial arts. There are also parlay bets and over/under bets.
Over/Under bets
Some sportsbooks (such as BetUS) offer Over/Under round betting, where instead of betting on who wins a fight, you bet on if a fight will last past a certain round or not. For example:
Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva
Over 1.5 rounds (+110)
Under 1.5 rounds (-150)
Note that who wins or loses doesn’t matter in an Over/Under bet … you are only making a prediction on if the fight will go past the halfway point or not.
Parlay bets
A parlay bet is when you combine several wagers to get better odds. For example, you can bet on the outcome of three fights, and if you picked all three correctly, you will win much more than if you had bet on each individually. However, if even one pick was wrong, you have lost the parlay bet and win nothing. Since each individual wager must be correct in order to win the parlay, you can usually get odds up to (+600) (meaning on a bet of $100 you can win $600).
While parlays can be a lot of fun and have great payouts when they are successful, they’re statistically about the worst kind of bet you can make. Individual bets are a much safer investment.

Finding Value in Lines

For many beginners, it is hard to look at money lines and understand what they represent past a wager value. But by using a simple mathematical formula, one can take a line and convert it into a number that represents how often a fighter is expected to win any given fight. Having this new number will make it much easier to identify if a line is worth betting on.
For the favored fighter: (amount to win $1) / (amount to win $1 + $1) = wins the fight % of the time.
For the underdog fighter: 1 / (amount won wagering $1 + $1) = wins the fight % of the time.
So going back to our earlier line example of Tito Ortiz at (-140), the formula would work out like this: $1.40 / $2.40 = 58.33%. With Rashad Evans at (+120), the formula would play out like this: $1 / $2.20 = 45.45%.
Don’t worry that the two percentages add up to over 100% … this extra amount accounts for how the sportsbooks make money off people’s bets. And if you’re already sick of digging around for your calculator, there are many websites that allow you to convert lines into percentages at the click of a button. Simply search for “Money Line Converter.”
So now we know that the bookies think Tito Ortiz wins against Rashad Evans 58% of the time, with Rashad winning 45% of the time. What you as the bettor need to do now is think long and hard on the fight and who you think will win, and what percentage you would give your pick to win.
Comparing your percentage to a sportsbook’s percentage is a tried and tested method bettors across the entire spectrum of sports use. Long-term players understand that making money is all about identifying ‘edges’ and taking advantage of them. If your percentage and the sportsbook’s percentage varies by more than 5%, it’s considered that you have an ‘edge’ on the bet. For example, if you think Rashad Evans actually wins against Tito 50% of the time, that gives you an edge on the sportsbook’s 45% and making a play on his line makes sense.

Betting on the edge is all about probability. Our example above states that if Rashad Evans fought Tito twice, then Rashad would win once and Tito would win once. But because Rashad’s line is much more financially lucrative, placing a bet on him twice even though he’s statistically going to lose once still results in you making money. The statistics justify the bet.

Of course, this method only works well if you’re good at properly assessing a realistic probability that your fighter will win. Fortunately, there’s always a decent amount of people who are willing to share their assessments of fighters and their ratings. When you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to venture onto mixed martial arts sites and forums. These sites often have event-specific betting articles and are a great place to talk percentages with other bettors.

Free Play Money and Sign up Bonuses

You’ll notice that pretty much every sportsbook out there offers incentives to try and lure you into signing up with them. Unfortunately, many of these aren’t as great as they may initially seem to be.
The standard offers from sportsbooks are either labeled as ‘free plays’ or simply ‘bonus money’, and usually come in the form of a straight dollar amount upon signup or as a percentage of money deposited into an account.

For example, BetUS sometimes runs promotions offering around $50 for creating an account with $100, giving you $150. And Bodog offers a 10% bonus onto whatever you deposit, meaning a $100 deposit will result in $110 in your account. There are a few things you need to know about this kind of bonus money, however.

Firstly, this free play money isn’t ‘real’ money … you cannot withdraw it from your online betting account. Secondly, different sites deal with bonus money differently. With BetUS, free play money disappears upon use instead of returning to your account along with your winnings. So if you bet your $50 free play and win $20 with it, only the winnings return to your account and not the initial bet.

This isn’t the case with Bodog, while they still keep you from withdrawing unused free play money, using their bonus money is the same as using your own. A $50 bet with free play money resulting in a $20 win will net you both the original wager plus the gains, just like a normal wager.
If this all seems somewhat confusing, it’s because it is. Different sites are constantly offering different bonuses with different conditions. In the world of sportsbooks, the small type can turn a great sounding deal into something of a disappointment. It’s always worthwhile to contact specific sportsbooks and ask for clarification on bonus deals, especially if they’re the main reason you’re planning on signing up.

Line Shopping

Line shopping refers to looking around at different sportsbooks and finding the best odds for the fights you’re planning to bet on. If you’re going to buy something else
online like a video game or concert tickets, you don’t just go to the first website you find and pay whatever their asking price is. Most people do a search and compare prices from a number of different sources. The same principle applies to online gambling. If one site is offering Matt Hughes at (-170) while most others have him at (-200), then there’s no reason not to go with the site that gives you the best line.
Well, okay there is one reason. The downside to line shopping is that you’ll probably have to fund a few different accounts with multiple sportsbooks. This inconvenience keeps most average bettors from taking advantage of line shopping. But if you find yourself betting on mixed martial arts on a regular basis, it’s worth the extra effort and investment to keep a few accounts open with different sportsbooks. Not only will it result in more favorable lines on a regular basis, it will also make it easier for you to beat closing lines by seeing how other sportsbooks are moving lines.

Methods of Depositing Money

As mentioned before, the Safe PORT bill in the US attempts to stop online gambling by barring processors from transferring money to online betting sites. This means that from time to time, North American users will find that a sportsbook may temporarily be unable to process some or all major types of credit cards.

This is a fairly rare occurrence, but because of that possibility most sportsbooks maintain more methods of payment than you can shake a stick at. In the case that your sportsbook cannot process credit cards, here’s some of the other main forms of depositing that you’ll find on different sportsbook sites:

Western Union

Sending money through Western Union is pretty easy so long as you don’t mind making a few phone calls to get things done. First you will be given the sportsbook’s customer service phone number to call, and a representative will give you the information on what information to enter into the Western Union website. If you’re feeling a bit unsure of yourself, you can have the representative walk you through the entire process … most of the people you’re dealing with will jump through hoops to help you get your account running, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Once you have the information on where to send your money, you simply go to the Western Union website and select “Send Money Transfer Online”. You will go through a simple multi-screen process, entering in who you’re sending the money to, your own personal information, and of course your credit card information.

Once the website confirms the transaction it will ask you to phone them for security reasons, they’ll ask you several questions to verify your identity. Once this is done, they will give you a transfer confirmation number, which you then provide to the sportsbook’s customer service. They’ll process the number immediately and your money will appear in your account a few minutes later. It’s worth noting that Western Union does charge a decent chunk of cash for their service, but most sportsbooks offer to reimburse these costs. For example, Bookmaker will cover Western Union fees for deposits above $300. So if depositing $300 costs you $42, then your account will show a deposit of $342. These kinds of deals are different depending on the sportsbook you use, although offers are usually clearly detailed when the sportsbook gives you a list of payment options.


A digital wallet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an online place to keep your internet money. The best example of a digital wallet service is Paypal, although they do not process transactions with sportsbooks. The most used service that does is eWalletXpress. Signing up to eWalletXpress requires that you submit your personal info and bank account info. eWalletXpress will then withdraw a few pennies from your bank account to verify it is active. After entering in the amount that was withdrawn, your account will be verified and you are good to go. The downside to this is that it takes from 2 to 5 days for eWalletXpress’ charge to show up on your bank account. Once your account is verified, there’s several ways you can get your money into the service, from electronic bank transfer to online bill payment to interact email money transfer (for Canadians) and even a 1-900 number. The problem with some of these options is that it can take a few days for the money to clear into your account, and eWalletXpress does not process credit card transactions. On the bright side, once money is in your eWalletXpress account, it is easy to send to sportsbooks and will be immediately added to your betting account.

Bank Transfers

Transferring money from your bank account to your sportsbook’s account is a simple process, if you don’t mind waiting the 3-6 days it takes for a wire transfer to clear. This is done by contacting customer service for your sportsbook and getting the wire transfer information from them – bank account, transit, and routing numbers. Then contact your own bank (some will process wire transfers over the phone, others require that you take care of them in person) and have them transfer funds from your bank account to your sportsbook. Once the transfer is complete, your money will show up in your sportsbook account.

Other services and what to watch out for

There’s a myriad of other services out there, and it’s important to be careful when selecting which method of depositing you’re going to use. Many forms of transfers can take days or even a week to clear, which can be frustrating to say the least. Other companies will hit you with transaction fees and service charges. Make sure to take the time to read through the available information on these sites carefully before using them, especially if you include your bank account numbers or credit card information.

The Moving Line

A line doesn’t always stay the same, it changes based on a number of factors including relevant news from fight camps and the volume of bets going towards one fighter or another. If a sportsbook establishes a line where one fighter ends up getting a much larger volume or amount of betting than the other, they’re liable to change the lines to encourage a more balanced distribution of bets.
For example, a sportsbook sets a line of Matt Hughes (-180) vs Thiago Alves (+160). The line on Hughes may have been set low based on his poor performance against Georges St Pierre compared to Thiago Alves’ recent success against Karo Parisyan. However, there are still a lot more Matt Hughes fans out there than Thiago Alves fans, and Hughes gets a high volume of bets. Because of this, the sportsbook responds by slowly changing the line so Matt Hughes is (-200). A sportsbook might also sweeten the pot on the underdog side, switching Thiago Alves up to (+175).

There is an entire art devoted to what is called ‘beating the closing line’: placing your bet before a line changes unfavorably. If you had gotten a bet in on Matt Hughes at (-180) before the line changed to (-200), then you’d have beaten the closing line. On the other hand, if you placed a bet on Thiago Alves at (+160) and his line ended up at (+175), then you’re stuck with worse odds. While lines don’t always move, mixed martial arts betting works on smaller volumes of bets. This means a sportsbook is much more likely to make dramatic odd changes in order to even out the amount of bets being placed on a fight. There are a number of things to keep an eye out for if you’re going to try and beat the closing line. Often, lines dealing with very popular fighters will get worse as more people bet on the familiar name, just like they did with our friend Matt Hughes. By the same token, you can usually expect lesser known underdog odds to sweeten as time goes on.

If you see a small line shift then there’s a decent chance a similar shift will follow. And if you see a fight’s line move on one sportsbook, the same thing is likely to happen to that fight on other sportsbooks as well. Even if you only have an account with one sportsbook, it’s worth keeping an eye on other sites’ lines if you’re hoping to maximize your profits by beating the closing line.
As mentioned before, beating the closing line is something of an art form and takes a while to get the hang of. While the concept behind it is easy to understand, anticipating the actions of other bettors and a sportsbook’s reaction to those actions is a lot trickier than it sounds. Fortunately, there’s another easy trick that can help you lock in your bets at more favorable odds.

Understanding Betting Lines

Now that we’ve chosen our sportsbook and have money in our accounts, it’s time to get to the good stuff: betting on fights! In most sports that are score-based like baseball or football, the odds are often set up using a point spread system. The point spread is effectively a handicap which means the favored team doesn’t just have to win, they have to win by a score higher than the underdog’s score plus the spread.
For example, if England (the favorite) is playing Ireland (the underdog) in soccer and the spread is 2, then England has to beat Ireland by 3 goals for bets on the favorite to win. A 3-0 score or 4-1 score would mean a win for people betting on England. A 2-1 or 1-1 score would result in people betting on Ireland winning. If there’s a tie after factoring in the point spread, neither sides win or lose. In this way, the point spread keeps betting for every game competitive, no matter how superior the favored team is to the underdog.
Odds for mixed martial arts bouts are different. Since there’s no score in MMA to apply an effective spread to, the sport work on a money line, generally referred to as the “line.” Lines are set up so that you make less money betting on favored fighters, and more on underdog fighters. Like the point spread, lines are set up to keep bets coming in on both sides of the fight.

Let’s take a look at a line:
Tito Ortiz (-140)
Rashad Evans (+120)
The fighter with the negative number is considered the favorite, while the fighter with the positive number is considered the underdog. Now here comes the key concept behind the line: The number next to the favorite shows how much you would have to wager on him to win $100. The number next to the underdog shows how much you would make if you wager $100. Reread those two last sentences to make sure you’ve caught the difference between them! This money is made on top of your initial bet, meaning you get the money you wagered back in addition to your winnings.

For example, betting $140 on Tito Ortiz would earn you $100 if he won. Betting $100 on Rashad Evans would earn you $120 if he won. That math is all well and easy, but gets a bit tricky when you try to apply it outside of betting or earning $100. The easiest way to calculate your bets is to simplify the odds down to a “per dollar” amount: in this example, every $1.40 you bet on Tito could win you $1 back, and every $1 bet on Rashad could earn you $1.20.

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