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Thread: How to bet UFC 218

  1. #1 How to bet UFC 218 
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    How to bet UFC 218
    Reed Kuhn
    ESPN INSDER

    December opens with a doubleheader UFC weekend that is a worthy kickoff to a strong final month of fights, leading up to the year-end finale. At UFC 218 in Detroit we're getting a featherweight title, plus two arguable title eliminators at the two extremes of heavyweight and flyweight, depending on outcomes.

    There's a lot at stake in the final three fights, plus several fun matchups further down the card. So let's look at how the matchups compare to the betting lines.

    Flyweight: No. 2 Henry Cejudo (-250) vs No. 4 Sergio Pettis (+210)

    Cejudo has had a bumpy road from Olympic gold to the Octagon, entering as a highly regarded contender who then had trouble making weight. His skill set remains one of the best candidates to create problems for current champion Demetrious Johnson, but only if Cejudo puts those skills to better use. A dominant wrestler, and sneaky powerful boxer, he's is a double-threat who has been bested by only the even more diversely skilled champion.

    Pettis also saw a bumpy start in the UFC but has shown tremendous development since. He's young, rangy, and willing to trade leather where his precision and pace can win him rounds. While Cejudo has the power edge in the standup, his reluctance to pull the trigger could cost him on the cards. The big question here will be whether Cejudo uses his wrestling more consistently, or if he risks a points game against Pettis on the feet.

    Insider recommends: Both fighters are finally hitting their stride, and this could be a worthy title eliminator. We agree with a lean toward Cejudo but have to acknowledge that he has failed to deploy his wrestling reliably. And on paper, Pettis' striking could cause problems and might win him two out of three rounds. A small upset play on Pettis pays plus-200 or more, and a prop on Pettis by decision returns plus-320.

    Heavyweight: No. 4 Francis Ngannou (-260) vs No. 2 Alistair Overeem (+220)

    Heavyweight fights are notorious for volatility, and this fight will be no different. Stylistically, we have two men who avoid the ground, and both have been most successful with their striking. But in terms of striking metrics, there are significant differences that make for opposite fight scenarios.

    Overeem is the UFC's most accurate power striker, landing half of all distance power head strikes he throws. Despite a very reserved pace, often fueling crowd boos, the combination of his power, precision, and striking skills maintain him as a knockout threat for every round, bell to bell. Meanwhile, Ngannou, precise and powerful in his own right, is highly aggressive but eats more punches while pressing forward. While Overeem's durability is now among the lowest in the division, the combination of styles could invite Ngannou into danger that Overeem is perfectly suited to exploit. And as is often the case in a heavyweight matchup, the first man to land a clean shot could win in an instant.

    Insider recommends: Ngannou as a minus-200 or more favorite is understandable but also dangerous if he rushes forward against a sniper like Overeem. At current prices, we'll pass. But should Overeem's line return closer to plus-300, it might be worth an upset pick. Otherwise consider Ngannou at current prices in a parlay, or straight up if the line gets cheaper.

    Flyweight title: champion Max Holloway (-310) vs No. 1 Jose Aldo (+255)

    When Max Holloway TKO'd Jose Aldo earlier this year, he unified the featherweight title and helped close the door on the Conor McGregor era at 145 pounds. McGregor was the last man to defeat Holloway, which was 12 fights ago in 2013, when Holloway was just 21 years old. Holloway has run through the division's best ever since, and now enters the Aldo rematch as a sizable betting favorite riding one of the UFC's best win streaks.

    Holloway and Aldo turned in a striking duel in their first fight, and history is likely to repeat. Neither attempt many takedowns, but both are excellent at defending them. And standing is where they prefer to work, thanks to the success they've each seen on the feet. Both have scored numerous knockdowns, and both are precise with their punches. The primary difference is that Holloway pushed the pace with aggression, and Aldo is slightly more reserved and evasive, though harder to hit.

    Insider recommends: We agree with Holloway as the favorite based on the original fight and current trajectories. But near minus-300 odds for Holloway is a steep price to pay given Aldo's skill set. Minor adjustments could see Aldo stand more effectively in the pocket, though durability still favors the young champ. While the lean is for Holloway, we'd hope for a lower price come fight night, or take the "over 2.5 rounds" at minus-150 for better value assuming Aldo is more aware of threats posed this time around.

    Closing lines

    Parlay hunters should consider pairing Tecia Torres at minus-200 with Alex Oliveira at plus-210 for a nearly even return. A prop boost would be Overeem-Ngannou "do not go the distance" at plus-350.
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  2. #2  
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    No opinion on this material fellas, just posting for others to read...
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