Sunday, August 9, 2009

How To Gamble on the UFC: Understanding Betting Lines

So you've decided that you know enough about The Ultimate Fighting Championship to start backing your word with some cold hard cash. Before you go running to your bookie with a fistful of dollars, it might be worth your while to first learn how the whole system works.

Before we start anything, it's 100% critical that you be familiar with every martial art you may see in the UFC. Gambling successfully is all about what you know. The more you know, the more educated your bet and the better your chances are at winning. I wrote up an intro to the most common martial arts in the UFC, I suggest you take a look. I included a YouTube video with each art so you can get the basic idea.

The following article explains the concept of betting lines and a basic favorite/underdog betting strategy. More will come regularly

Betting lines

Betting lines tell you the odds of your fighter as well as their potential payout. In the American system, you'll see something like this:

Lyoto Machida (-500)
Mauricio Rua (+300)

The numbers and calculations, though they may appear complicated, are actually very simple.
Firstly, + represents an underdog and - represents a favorite.

Underdog betting
In the case of the underdog, the number represents how much money you'd win if you bet $100

A $100 bet on Rua (+300) would give you a potential winning of $300
A $15 bet on Rua (+300) would give you a potential winning of $45

I'm a heavy believer in betting on the underdog. Why? Look at the payoff stats. Using these lines as an example, betting the underdog gives me a 300% return. With these potential winnings, I only need to be right 1 out of 3 times to break even. In a series of 3, the odds of me getting 3 wrong when the line is +300 (I'll explain how to calculate odds from the betting line soon) is 42.2%. This means that, in a given series of three +300 lines, there is a 67.8% chance of you breaking even. In contrast, with a line that is -500, like the favorite seen above, the payoff is 20%. With a payoff like that, breaking even means only making 1 mistake out of 6 picks. The odds of you picking 5 winners, even with a -500 line, is 32.6%

Favorite betting
In the case of the favorite, the number represents how much you'd have to bet to win $100

A $500 bet on Machida (-500) would give you a potential winning of $100
A $15 bet on Machida (-500) would give you a potential winning of $3

Calculating odds based on lines

For the favorite (-)

(betting line + 100)/Betting line


For the underdog (+)

100/(betting line + 100)