Where do you find an edge for UFC 253? The favorites took the first hit of betting money for the two championship fights that are set for Saturday at Fight Island. Gamblers can either find alternate routes for value or slam the moneyline with impunity, even at less-than-attractive prices.
DraftKings Sportsbook told TheLines that Israel Adesanya has 65% of the handle for the defense of his middleweight title against Paulo Costa, while Dominick Reyes garners 86% of the money in his attempt to claim the vacant light-heavyweight title when he faces Jan Blachowicz.
Kai Kara-France has 72% of the take in his bout against Brandon Royval, while Ketlen Vieira has the most on the card at 92%. Vieira will take on Sijara Eubanks.
The most evenly split fight is also reflected in the odds. Hakeem Dawodu and Zubaira Tukhogov, who started at a mutual -110, remain the most bettable fight on the moneyline. Tukhogov has 55% of the handle in the fight that reflects the most parity.
Taking the favorites with pride
Since the UFC return in mid-May, bettors have not been shy about taking the win line – even at unattractive odds – if they believe in a fighter. Johnny Avello, the director of sportsbook operations at DraftKings, considers -200 the cutoff point at which many bettors will either seek another fight or dabble in a prop.
Avello therefore believes the odds for UFC 253 haven’t gotten too expensive for many of the favorites and betting interest will be maintained. Odds have slowly ticked up on the favorites, but the chalk fighters haven’t been priced out of the market.
“The UFC is still doing well,” Avello told TheLines. “The UFC continues to hold its own, even as we have been bringing other sports back into the fold. Some people are not betting as much as before, when the UFC was isolated, but we continue to get a decent write on the UFC and it will do okay again on Saturday.”
Adesanya has three stoppage victories and a pair of five-round decisions in his last five UFC fights. He comes off a five-round decision triumph over Yoel Romero in March. Costa also decisioned Romero and his backers are glad the odds aren’t tighter. Given the common-opponent factor, +150 is a good price for Costa.
- Reyes suffered his only career loss in his last outing, a controversial setback against division champion Jon Jones in February. Jones later announced he would vacate the title, enabling this fight to be contested for the belt.
- Blachowicz has noteworthy credentials. He comes off three straight victories, including a noteworthy first-round KO of Corey Anderson in February. Anderson had decisioned Blachowicz in 2015.
With all the fights, picking an exact round of a stoppage will be lucrative.
Methods of victory are tough to predict, but Royval backers may seek more than +188. When he wins, it’s by submission 60% of the time. That returns +700 and is a natural bet extension for his backers.
Dawodu and Tukhugov is a solid bet either way on the moneyline. Dawodu has four straight wins. Tukhogov is difficult to figure out. He had a win, a loss and a draw, all by split decision, in three straight fights. Tukhogov took the judges out of it in his last effort, scoring a first-round triumph.
Gamblers who want more bang for their betting buck can also scour the website board for odds boosts. They bring some bets back into playable mode.
Take PointsBet for example. The site posted booster odds for Adesanya, first at -135 and then -125, rather than +175. It also pays +110 for both Adesanya and Reyes to triumph. Two chalks. Two unplayable prices by themselves. But one bettable play if you like them in a creative effort by PointsBet to entice betting interest.
UFC 253 odds
Here’s the lineup with updated DraftKings odds as of Thursday afternoon.
- Israel Adesanya -182 vs. Paulo Costa + 150
- Dominick Reyes -286 vs. Jan Blachowicz +230
- Kai Kara France -240 vs. Brandon Royval +188
- Zubaira Tukhugov -121 vs. Hakeem Dawodu +100
- Ketlen Vieira -177 vs. Sijara Eubanks +140.
- Brad Riddell -355 vs Alex DaSilva +270
- Jake Matthews -750 vs Diego Sanchez +490
- Shane Young -122 vs Ludovit Klein +100
- Aleksa Gamur -160 vs William Knight +138