How to Bet on MMA?
Sports Betting is a fun and exciting challenge for many of us. Whether you bet for fun, to try to make some real money, or just to feel like you’re right about something, we all enjoy it. Personally, betting on Mixed Martial Arts is my favorite way to bet on sports.
The UFC has made mixed martial arts world-renowned, but they’re not the only promotion. There is Bellator, ONE, Rizin, Professional Fighters League, Eagle FC, and countless smaller local promotions.
Whether or not you just started watching MMA, have been watching for years, or just decided to now start betting, there’s a few things you should know about the betting side of MMA specifically. Keep reading to find out how to bet on MMA.
First off, I have a few things I view as necessary for betting MMA. Let’s start off with just the basics:
- Moneyline vs Spread: In MMA, there is no spread because points are not scored in a traditional sense. Instead, there are prop bets you can use to bet when a fight will end or how it will end.
- Over/Under betting: Fights in MMA are normally three five-minute rounds, unless it’s a title fight. Therefore most Over/Unders are placed at O/U 2.5 rounds. This means if the fight makes it halfway through the second round, the over hits.
- Heavy Favorites: In most sports this is applicable, but especially in MMA big favorites are almost always a no-no. Of course big favorites win majority of the time, but throwing on a -1000 favorite in MMA is so risky because of the randomness of a fight.
- Grapplers Gonna Grapple: Often times people favor an impressive striker over a boring wrestler. While I enjoy strikers, skilled grapplers are the best in the world at what they do and often have better gas tanks. Grappling heavy fighters are good bets, as long as you know they can last.
MMA is one of those sports where the betting community is active and social, on twitter especially. There are thousands of people everyday trying to tell you who will win and why, and how they know it will happen.
Personally, I avoid listening to others’ opinions as a way to make my decisions. I have my own theory on how to bet on MMA, but for now let’s look at some common approaches to MMA betting.
Everybody’s favorite bets… Underdogs! Everyone loves an underdog, especially because in betting that means more profit margin.
In 2007, Matt Serra upset Georges St. Pierre as a +850 underdog, shocking everyone, himself included.
Underdog bettors look for big underdogs that have value. As I mentioned earlier, hammering heavy favorites in MMA is usually a bad idea, so throwing on underdogs can bring a lot of value.
That being said, many so-called ‘dog hunters’ end up losing money because they only look for GIANT underdogs. Some of my favorite bets for MMA fights involve +120 to +180 underdogs.
Parlay betting is a part of every sport, but for MMA it is especially relevant because there are normally around 15 fights per night on a given MMA card. This means you can parlay fights in the same event and watch them all consecutively, which is extremely fun.
Parlay betting is how I started in MMA. Pick two or three fighters you’ve watched and are confident in and parlay them together. It’s an easy way to get value without putting down a ton of money, and you’re likely to hit one or two in your first couple tries.
Beware though; if you bet parlays and they start to miss, don’t chase your money back. Throwing parlays over and over throughout the night is a great way to make sure you don’t have any bankroll left sunday morning.
Prop betting is so exciting in MMA, and honestly can be very profitable when done with restraint. Props in MMA involve when the fight ends, how the fight ends (via submission, ko, or decision), if the fight goes the distance, who lands more total strikes, and much more.
Prop betting on Knockouts and Submissions is very fun, especially when you can beat line movements, which I’ll talk about more later.
Live betting MMA is my most toxic relationship. I’ve thrown on +500 underdogs and won while also throwing on -400 favorites and losing. It often comes down to discipline and knowing when to bet.
Be careful throwing live on heavy favorites. MMA judging is too fickle to trust. I always tend to lean towards live betting the underdog in a fairly even fight. You never know how the judges score it.
How to bet on MMA: My Personal Advice
Now that we’ve gone over some basic betting theories, let’s talk about what I’ve learned over the years of betting on and watching this sport.
Watch The Tape MMA is one of the rare sports where fighters post training videos constantly and are changing their abilities every day they train. Fighters also have tendencies you can track if you watch their fights online.
The more tape you watch, the more you understand how someone fights. Before betting on someone, you should always watch at least two of their fights and two of their opponents’ fights. This should give you a basic view of what each fighter can do.
Beat the line move- This is one that I swear by. By “beat the line move” I mean to make sure you’re aware of who the favorite is when the line drops. If you feel the line is way better than it should be, bet it immediately. If you think it’s an unfair line, wait for the public to bet it back to what it should be.
This is super important in MMA because sometimes the oddsmakers are just straight up incorrect. Just this past weekend I cashed a four unit bet on Terrance Mckinney at +105. If Vegas watched all of his amateur fights they wouldn’t have had the line like that.
Don’t bet with your heart- This is true for every sport, but MMA i feel it rings true for because you’re watching people hurt each other. It’s very tempting to bet on someone you like because of how great the feeling is to both make money and see them win a fight.
But this rarely works out well. In fact, I advise not betting on fights you care about. It’s a much healthier way to watch the fights and avoids people freaking out in your living room after losing a thousand dollar bet on their favorite fighter.
Be Smart Live Betting- As I said earlier live betting is one of my favorite ways to bet MMA, but its dangerous. Don’t get cocky if you live bet a good pick, and certainly be careful live betting heavy favorites. This is fighting, anything can happen.
Other than that I just suggest starting small with how much money you bet. Start off by determining a “unit” that you bet by; 10$, 100$, whatever is comfortable for you. Then bet more units on picks you’re more confident in so that you aren’t losing money on stupid, last minute bets.