UFC has enjoyed an astronomical rise in popularity in recent years as it has gone from an underground pursuit to a multibillion-dollar industry. Superstars like Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture have become household names and every event is now a major box office draw. Its popularity looks set to continue as more and more MMA fans spring up each year and wagering on fights will be huge in West Virginia’s new legal sports betting market.
Local heroes like Brian Bowles have helped boost its popularity and there is a thriving amateur scene in the Mountain State. In 2011, West Virginia became the 45th state to regulate MMA, following a long legal battle. State legislators voted overwhelmingly in favor of regulating it, and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed the bill into effect. “All of my friends and family in West Virginia always ask when they’re going to get to see me fight in my home state,” Bowles said. “Now that the sport is regulated there, I am excited to know that I could one day compete in the octagon in West Virginia.”
UFC president Dana White added: “We’ve worked hard to get this sport regulated all over the world, particularly in the United States. I’m really excited to see the sport regulated in West Virginia and look forward to one day bringing a UFC event there.” There have been some big fight nights in Pittsburgh, and there is the promise of events in West Virginia, so betting on UFC should be huge among Mountain State residents going forwards. Here are the key betting types:
This is a straightforward bet on which fighter will win a particular bout. The sportsbooks will assess each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses and assign a different set of odds to each one. When Bowles took on George Roop back in 2013, he was the -295 favorite to win the fight. A minus sign in a set of odds indicates how much you need to wager in order to turn a profit of $100. A bet of $295 at odds of -295 would earn you a $100 profit. Of course, you can bet as much as you like: a $10 bet would earn a $2.95 profit. You might see -295 rendered as 17/50 (fractional odds) or 1.34 (decimal odds).
Roop was the +235 underdog for that clash. A plus sign tells you how much you stand to win if you wager $100. A $100 bet at odds of +235 (47/20 or 3.35) would generate a profit of $235. A $20 bet on Bowles in that fight would have generated a profit of $6.78, whereas a $20 bet at +235 on Roop would have earned you a profit of $47 if successful. That tells you that Bowles was expected to win it pretty easily, as the potential payout on Root was much higher. Sadly, Bowles lost the fight.
The gap between the odds on both fighters is not usually so wide: in McGregor’s 2018 showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov he was the +130 (13/10 or 2.30) underdog, while the Russian was the -160 favorite.
This allows you to predict how your chosen fighter will win the clash, either by decision, knockout or submission. It makes your job more difficult, but as a result you will enjoy better odds and a larger potential payout. You could have enjoyed odds of +275 (11/4 or 3.75) on Khabib beating McGregor via a submission, so a $20 bet would have earned you a $55 profit instead of the $12.50 you would have made by betting on the moneyline. That illustrates just how helpful it can be to look beyond simple win or lose betting as you pursue greater value and healthier profits.
If you want to make your job even harder, and earn even more attractive odds, you can specify how your fighter will win and in what round he will emerge victorious. For example, you could have backed Khabib to win via a fourth round submission in that McGregor clash and earned great odds. You can also cover a few options in this market, and that is known as hedging your bets.
This allows you to place a bet on how long the fight will last. Sportsbooks will assess the gulf in quality between the two fighters and their respective knockout and submission records and assign a different set of odds to over 2.5 rounds and under 2.5 rounds. You can also bet on over 1.5 rounds or under 1.5 rounds. This is a great option if you are unsure who will win, but you have a hunch as to whether it will be over quickly or it will go the distance.
This allows you to be more specific by picking the exact round in which the fight will end. The books will assign different odds to each round, after weighing up how evenly matched the fighters are, how powerfully they punch and so on. Another option in this market is to specify that the fight will go the distance.
These are special betting lines that hone in on one particular event that does not necessarily pertain to the result of one specific fight. UFC prop bets include choosing who will win Knockout of the Night, which bout will be named Fight of the Night and who will claim Submission of the Night. In the big fights there are exotic props, such as betting on whether McGregor would mention his whisky brand during his showdown with Khabib.
This is an accumulator wager that combines multiple selections into a single bet in order to generate much higher odds. For example, you could back Alex Garcia to beat Court McGee, Calvin Kattar to beat Chris Fishgold, Nordine Taleb to beat Sean Strickland and Sarah Moras to beat Talita Bernardo. Rather than placing four individual moneyline bets, you can roll them into one parlay and earn far greater winnings if your bet is successful. You bet is busted if just one of your fighters loses, so it is a riskier option, but the rewards are much greater.