How to Bet on MMA

How to Read MMA Moneylines

A moneyline bet involves you picking a team to win the game outright. This method remains the classic standard for entry-level sports wagers, remaining popular for its simplicity in analysis and understanding.

For example, consider the current odds for Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway trilogy fight for UFC’s featherweight title at UFC 274.

In this scenario, Volkanovski is the favorite (meaning oddsmakers expect the pick to win), while Holloway is the underdog. Sportsbooks universally denote the favorites with a minus sign (-) and underdogs with the plus sign (+).

What do the numbers behind the signs mean? Profiting $100 off Volkanovski necessitates a $190 bet. A correct bettor wagering $100 on Volkanovski earns a payout of $153. The original money is returned in full, in addition to a profit of $53.

Betting on the underdog always pays better, because the bettor trades a higher chance of losing with a higher return if the less-likely bet pays. In this case, a $100 wager on Holloway earns  $260 — the $100 returns alongside $160 welcomed with open arms and wallets. 

Major Types of MMA Bets

MMA betting is a different beast than any other prowling the sports betting safari. Whether hunting for pheasants or profit, you must know what you’re dealing with first.

Betting solely on the winner remains the most direct and popular way to bet on MMA. Regardless, much like there are many MMA styles, there are many ways to profit off the sport that intertwines them.

Most sportsbooks accept bets on the method of finish. Knockouts and technical knockouts group together. A knockout is self-explanatory. A TKO behaves similarly, the key difference being the losing fighter is conscious. 

A TKO mainly occurs when a fighter can no longer apply intelligent defense at the discretion of the referee. The referee also rewards the victorious fighter with a TKO via doctor’s stoppage from a legal blow (usually as the result of a bad cut/laceration that causes enough blood to compromise a fighter’s vision to hazardous levels), as well as a corner’s stoppage (throwing in the towel), or fight-stopping injury caused from a legal strike. 

A submission victory constitutes a grappling hold that forces a fighter to tap rhythmically or go unconscious. Verbal submissions blur the flatline between knockout and submission. A fighter tapping to strikes, or verbally indicating to the referee he cannot continue or is compromised concludes the fight by verbal submission.

Some sportsbooks dissent with a submission ruling. This subjective occurrence is very rare, as most matchups either go to a decision or necessitate intervention to protect fighters from themselves. 

Major sportsbooks feature the option to bet on the round of finish, typically parlayed with the victor. Most UFC contests endure three rounds. All UFC title fights and most main events last five rounds. Matchmaking modifies the rounds for special occasions, though never for title fights. 

If neither fighter finishes the opponent in the allotted time, three judges’ scorecards determine the outcome. In recognition of fights going the distance, options exist to bet on an unanimous decision (meaning all judges score a fight for a fighter), split decision (two of three judges score the fight in favor of one fighter) or a draw.

These bets are incredibly risky and typically carry very strong odds, due to the overwhelming number of other outcomes derailing the wagers.

Alternative MMA Prop Bets

Some sportsbooks allow bettors to bet on significant strikes landed, usually in the form of an over/under for a specific fighter and/or a combined figure. Asking which fighter will land more significant strikes simplifies the prop bet. In general, the lighter the weight class, the greater the volume of punches thrown and landed, due to the inherent lack of power traded for speed and stamina.

Significant strikes cause apparent damage. The ambiguity of that definition sparks fiery debate. Considering significant strikes as heavy blows that land (or leg kicks that connect flush extinguishes bettors’ worries.

How MMA Parlays Work

Parlays fuse multiple bets into one wager with a higher payout. To win a parlay, all bets need to succeed. The entire payoff disintegrates if even just one leg of even 10 fails. Singular seconds and mistakes end fights as fast as the referee starts them In a combat sport where the goal is for trained martial artists to incapacitate opponents or cause enough duress to gain victory.

As such, bettors absorb incredible risks when electing to chase parlays in MMA. A couple of well-placed combination wagers on fights bettors feel particularly confident in accelerates earning potential. That said, almost every MMA fighter gets caught by the wrong punch at some point in arguably the most unpredictable major sport in the world. 

MMA Expert Picks

We’ve issued some knockouts of our own when it comes to betting on UFC action. We correctly picked seven of nine possible main card predictions for the last two major UFC events as of this FAQ’s creation, including perfectly forecasting Charles Oliveira’s headlining submission victory at UFC 274.

We achieved a spotless value pick track record in that span, including a parlay that would’ve more than doubled your money at UFC 273. OddsJam staff members have followed MMA for decades.

OddsJam Betting Guidelines for MMA

MMA Public Betting

Public money is the amount of money the majority of people are placing on one side of a bet.

Reverting to the Volkanovski/Holloway example, if 80% of all bets placed are on Volkanovski -190,  the public money is on Volkanovski.

The average bettor is not the best one and is often wrong, or else Las Vegas would resemble a ghost town, instead of a glitzy extravaganza. The bet percentage differs from the overall money percentage. In the above example, maybe 20% of the overall money being wagered might be on Volkanovski.

In other words, there are bigger bets placed on Holloway. The most common betting range online is between $10 and $25. The other most-common wager is simply less than $10. 

Sharps (a term for professional bettors) look for line advantages. Results often stray from where public money is going, making following the herd a bad idea, especially if public money on one side accounts for more than 80%. “Fading the public” refers to betting against the crowd in these scenarios.

Our article covers sharps in more depth. 

OddsJam MMA Projections

Implied Probability is a percentage derived by converting the given betting odds that represent the likelihood of that outcome occurring. For a complete look at implied profitability, view our detailed explanation here.

This percentage factors in the bookmaker’s profit margin as well (consider the juice/vig). The three formats that odds are packaged in are American, Decimal and Fractional.

OddsJam has an odds converter calculator that calculates all three major odds formats, including the implied probability of those odds, all within an instant. OddsJam’s Perfect Line odds are available to our Industry Plan subscribers for a monthly fee that is covered quickly by the 3% daily profits we generate while placing sports bets.

MMA Betting Data

  • We provide the most comprehensive and updated odds from the most sportsbooks out there. If you want to place a specific bet, you can use OddsJam’s game pages to find the sportsbook offering you the best odds.
  • OddsJams offers odd breakdowns for all different types of bets you want to make from moneylines and point spreads to player props and alternative markets — make sure you’re using OddsJam to find the sportsbook offering you the best odds on your bet.
  • We’ve thoroughly reviewed nearly every major sportsbook to provide you a complete snapshot of which one offers you the best starting and continuous value as a customer for your specific sports interests and betting needs! 
  • Not in the action, but wondering if you can join? Our sports betting legalization tracker updates viewers on the status of the ever-changing and growing world of legal sports gambling.

Betting Calculators: 

  • Our free play calculator, also known as a free bet conversion calculator, determines the rate at which you can turn a free bet into cash. 
  • Our no vig fair odds calculator is used to back out “fair” odds from a market (meaning no juice). This tool can be used to compare markets and odds, as well as find the implied win percentages for a given team.
  • Our odds converter calculator calculates all three major odds formats, including the implied probability of those odds, all within an instant. 
  • Our parlay calculator determines the final odds, or total payout, of your bet simply by entering each leg of your parlay. Keep in mind that all legs of a parlay must succeed for the bet to pay off. If just one fails, the entire wager loses. 
  • Our vig calculator will show you how much the sportsbook is charging to accept wagers in that market. Odds should be entered in American format. Simply enter the odds for both sides of a wager to determine the juice or “vig” of a given sportsbook. 

Betting Tools:

  • Expected value (or EV) is a statistical calculation that results in the anticipated value of a bet at some point. It does this by taking the probability of a win, times the amount you win, and subtracting the probability you lose times the amount you’ll lose. Our live positive EV betting tool shows positive expected value betting opportunities across all sports sorted by the highest expected profit margin of each bet. It uses the OddsJam Perfect Line as a point of comparison to identify the “fair” or “no-vig” odds and identifies profitable mismatches at other sportsbooks.
  • Sportsbooks all offer many different promotions resulting in free bets and site credits in the form of deposit bonuses. Using OddsJam’s Free Bet Conversion Tool you can convert these free bets and credits directly into cash. To learn more about how exactly this works, read this blog post on free bet conversions. The tool displays betting opportunities for all sports sorted by the percentage of your free bet you can convert to cash.
  • OddsJam also has a Low Hold betting tool that allows you to find bets with low vig. The hold is a measure of the house edge, or vig, on each bet. Bettors can use these bets to bet through minimums on deposit bonuses or matches without having to pay too much in vig.
  • OddsJam also offers live, in-game odds that refresh every single second so you never miss a good betting opportunity, even during live games. OddsJam’s Live Odds Pass gives you positive EV, and middle bets during games to give you more profitable betting opportunities than anywhere else.
  • OddsJam’s Bet Tracker makes it incredibly easy to track your bets as you place them – just click the + button to the left of each betting opportunity and enter your stake and it’s as easy as that.
  • OddsJam’s Bet Tracking tool also automatically tracks the closing line value (or CLV) from the sharpest sportsbook in the world. This will give you an idea of how profitable your bet is by seeing if you beat the closing line (i.e. got better odds). Profitable bettors should aim to beat the closing line more than 50% of the time.

How do I Read MMA Odds?

Sportsbooks universally denote the favorites with a minus sign (-) and underdogs with the plus sign (+). Dollar amounts always refer to how much money needs to be wagered to profit $100 from a favorite, or how much money one wins from betting $100 on an underdog. Prop bets range from method of victory to rounds fought and strikes landed. 

Where Can I Bet on MMA?

The UFC’s popularity spans the globe and continues its ascent as one of the world’s fastest-growing sports in visibility and participation. Bovada reigns as the combat sports betting champion. Keep in mind it is an offshore sportsbook, meaning it will have more juice/vig than domestic competitors.

What Happens to my Bet if There’s a No-Contest?

All major sportsbooks stipulate that combat sports fights “must have action” for the bet to be official. The phrase means as long as the fighters compete within the sportsbook’s time frame (usually 24 hours), the bet counts.

All major sportsbooks refund fights that end via premature means like a fight stopped by an accidental foul that the referee rules a no contest. Overturns from appeals or drug tests fail to trigger bet reimbursements.

Our no-contest article dives deeper into this rare situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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