Plan ahead and take the plunge early, if applicable. That’s the blueprint for MMA bettors as UFC 258 approaches.
Kamaru Usman is -278 and rising at DraftKings Sportsbook against Gilbert Burns (+220) in his welterweight title defense that headlines the card.
Here are the early odds for UFC 258, which occurs at the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 13.
UFC 258 odds
The following UFC 258 odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Kamaru Usman -278 versus Gilbert Burns +220
- Alexa Grasso -137 versus Maycee Barber +110
- Kelvin Gastelum -225 versus Ian Heinisch +175
- Julian Marquez -177 versus Maki Pitolo +140
- Jimmie Rivera -150 versus Pedro Munhoz +120
More bouts will be added closer to the event.
Do the Usman versus Burns odds, with recent action driving Usman near the tough-to-bet -300 range, look familiar? They do to Dustin Poirier versus Conor McGregor bettors in the wake of Poirier’s shocking upset of McGregor last month. Talk about timing.
Poirier started in the +240 range with McGregor about -235 across the major books. The bettors played it wisely, depending on their perspective. McGregor bettors jumped early, as they should have, because his numbers exceeded -300 the week of the fight. Poirier bettors waited and thrived.
Few gave Poirier, who had essentially been stopped by one McGregor punch in 2014, a chance. So the price went up. And up. Until, at +275, some Poirier bettors pulled a lucrative trigger. Poirier scored a significant upset, winning in Round 2.
“We had a guy who put $85,000 on Poirier at +275,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, told TheLines. “You talk about a big hit. And that wasn’t all of it. He bet another $30-40,000 on the distance of the fight, that it would end in Round 2.
“He picked up $300,000 or so.”
The betting principle, more than the amount, emerges as a lesson. This gambler made THREE exceptionally smart moves:
- The player first picked a great underdog in Poirier
- Followed by wagering on the moneyline after the price rose substantially
- And then made a nice cover on the prop, displaying a sharp gambling perspective
How was it covered? By selecting the right stoppage round, the gambler took action on both fighters and thus protected the moneyline bet with the rounds prop.
Although the gambler’s big money was on Poirier, if McGregor had prevailed in Round 2, the prop would have compensated for much of the lost moneyline bet. In this case, the stoppage was a bonus because Poirier triumphed.
Props had abounded with McGregor stoppage rounds and they paid handsomely the further the fight went. The styles of the fighters indicated the bout may not last the distance.
The odds board had negative numbers for the fight to end inside of regulation. Why not try a specific stoppage round and include Poirier, even though few gave him a chance?
This resembles having an angle on a horse and covering it via exacta box.
Main event matchup
Extend the inclusion principle to Usman versus Burns. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, a week before this event, any submission triumph in the Usman-Burns bout is +550. A KO/TKO is worth +135 and the points is -115.
Which outcome matches the way you feel about this fight? If the angle of how it ends feels stronger than who wins, there’s good money to be made with a correct winning-method forecast. And it doesn’t matter who captures the fight.
Trying to be exact, and extracting a big payday by nailing the stoppage round with the right fighter is a good way to expand the ticket. But being right on any of the winning methods will generate profit.
If you try to hone in on a submission, Burns wins 44% of the time by that route. Most of these came against lesser competition, but this shows he likes that attempted method of victory.
Usman and Burns recorded decision victories over Tyron Woodley in 2018 and 2019. Burns, the No. 2 contender, is a live dog.
Both fighters are on a roll. Usman’s only career loss came in 2013. He’s won 16 in a row since and has stopped nine of his last 11 opponents. Burns has captured his last six, including four by decision, one by TKO and one by submission.
Usman has a five-inch reach advantage, good especially from a standup position.
Find your angle on the undercards
You can make as much money on an undercard fight as with a high-profile main event.
Barber and Grasso present an interesting contrast in the co-main.
Grasso’s fights have been going long. All the way. Eight of her last nine outings have ended in decisions.
Barber is the opposite. She recorded six straight victories inside the distance before losing via decision in her last effort against Roxanne Modafferi.
Most of the women’s bouts since UFC returned last May have gone the full route. One factor is that many are contested over three-round undercard distances, not five as in the main events. But there are exceptions. There were two stoppages in UFC 257, both by underdogs and one paid quite well.
Marina Rodriguez stunned Amanda Ribas, delivering a second-round TKO as a +250 underdog.
Julianna Pena, at +110, notched a third-round submission over Sara McMann in a prelim fight.
Neither of these matches gained the pre-fight acclaim of Poirier-McGregor. But the bettors who cashed-in found opportunity.
Undercard money spends just as well as main event money.