Israel Adesanya has become more play-able, Amanda Nunes steers bettors to props, and the Petr Yan versus Aljamain Sterling bout is a toss-up.
Those are the big betting developments over the past week for the three world-title fights headlining UFC 259 from Las Vegas on Saturday night.
It’s a fertile betting market, especially for gamblers who play some unconventional angles.
Let’s look at the card and wagering angles.
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UFC 259 odds
Here are UFC 259 odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Israel Adesanya -235 versus Jan Blachowicz +187
- Amanda Nunes -1000 versus Megan Anderson + 650
- Petr Yan -115 versus Aljamain Sterling -106
- Islam Makhachev -360 versus Drew Dober +275
- Aleksandar Rakic -157 versus Thiago Santos +120
- Casey Kenney -137 versus Dominick Cruz + 110
- Song Yadong -152 versus Kyler Phillips +125
- Askar Askarov -143 versus Joseph Benavidez +110
- Jordan Espinosa -110 versus Tim Elliott -110
- Carlos Ulberg -250 versus Kennedy Nzechukwu +200
Follow the money trail
Adesanya plummeted from -278 to -230 (now -235) and Blachowicz went from +220, an irresistible number for his backers, to +185. The new betting line made Adesanya more attractive if his backers want to make one last run-up before the fight.
“That’s a good-sized move,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told TheLines. “I’m not surprised by it, given the high quality of the fighters. These kinds of things usually happen quite early. You put up the line, maybe people thought it was a little off, so you move it. You take a couple of hits on it, but that’s OK.”
- Nunes went from a prohibitive -1250 to a prohibitive -1000. Anderson saw enough action to move from +750 to +650.
- Yan and Sterling have drawn persistent action, enough to keep moving the line. A wave of Sterling money pushed him from +120 to -110 midweek. Bettors who nabbed him at +120 feel good about their value after watching this move. He was at -106 Friday night. For Yan’s bettors, waiting until now was smarter than diving in at -143 last week. The back-and-forth betting action reflects the parity of the fighters.
- Kenney has been pushed up from -126.
- Ulberg continues to be a runaway train, driving his betting odds from below -200 to -240. He was -250 Friday night.
Take what they give you
As mentioned above, DraftKings Sportsbook bettors can get $100 in free bets for a $1 wager on either fighter. The free bets are four $25 picks, a nice touch because it takes the pressure off of connecting on a subsequent $1 wager. To take advantage of this deal from DK, sign up here.
PointsBet has listed its first boost of the fight. Adesanya has been hiked to +150 from +110 for a KO/TKO. That’s a nice spike for bettors leaning in that direction. Sign up for PointsBet by going here.
FanDuel Sportsbook usually puts up a late odd boost close to the beginning of the card. Give that a look here on Saturday.
Main event betting
Consider methods of victory for the main event if you’re betting Adesanya. For Blachowicz, consider that after you’ve already played the favorable moneyline odds. Some action moved his KO/TKO odds down too.
- KO/TKO +130
- Decision +250
- Submission +2000
- KO/TKO +333 (down from +450)
- Decision +800
- Submission +800
Also consider the “How the Fight Will End” prop at FanDuel Sportsbook. It provides a hedge by rewarding the outcome, regardless of which fighter wins. It pays less, but covers more possibilities than isolated bets on one fighter.
- KO/TKO -165
- Points +175
- Submission +700
In this bet, it doesn’t matter who wins.
The many sides of Nunes
Props, parlays and impromptu stabs at a big payout mark the fighter who is heavily favored. Nunes has better prop value than one might expect given her untouchable moneyline status. Her props are prominent across the sportsbooks of FanDuel, William Hill and DraftKings.
You can still make money on her by forecasting how the fight will end at FanDuel:
- KO/TKO -135
- Submission + 195
- Points +400
Nunes also is +100 to win by KO/TKO and priced at +150 to + 2000 for any bettor who hits the exact stoppage rounds at DraftKings.
And here’s a simple one at DraftKings: the distance of the fight. Over 1.5 rounds is -134. Under is +100.
If you think the board is right at -134 and this fight will go at least a round and a half, you can take a stab that it makes it through Round 2. There’s a Nunes prop to prevail in the grouping of Rounds 3-4. It pays +450.
That’s quite a menu for a seemingly unbettable fight.
Stylistic note: Anderson’s last four fights have ended in the first round. Both fighters will be aggressive. Anderson, at 6-foot-0, is one of Nunes’ tallest opponents to date. Will that buy her some time?
Nunes has been a superstar and a betting magnet. She last fought in UFC 250 on June 6, 2020, where she drew a $1 million wager at -600 against Felicia Spencer for a total payout of $1,166,666.70. That was the largest MMA bet ever taken at William Hill.
Her odds are even more prohibitive here.
“There will be a ton of parlays to Nunes, but because of the straight bets – we’ll need the favorite to win for sure,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “Any time you can get a quality underdog at such a high price, people are going to jump at that. There will be a lot of parlays with Adesanya too. We’ll probably be rooting for Blachowicz to break up all those parlays since his price is much lower for the straight bets than Anderson.”
How to Watch
- Early Prelims 6 p.m. Fight Pass
- Prelims 8 p.m. ESPN and ESPN+
- Main Card 10 p.m. Purchase on ESPN +