To be even bolder, go with a small play on Nunes by TKO at +375.
Heavyweight main event: No. The stats also do little to separate the two; they favor Aldo while striking but Edgar when he inevitably tires Aldo out and wins later rounds. Other fights show a fairly significant gap between opponents — especially the women’s bantamweight title fight. If lines go the other way, Velasquez to win straight up or in a parlay becomes even more affordable. Heavyweights are volatile because of their power, so if you use Velasquez as a parlay anchor, consider a small hedge on Browne by TKO; if the market indeed comes in behind Velasquez, that hedge could pay out more than +400 and mitigate your risk. Neither man should weather much of a storm, but on paper, Hunt’s durability is better. That volatility is compounded here with a drastic stylistic mismatch and further exacerbated by the unknown of Lesnar’s cage readiness after a 1,653-day layoff from the sport. Consider pairing him with heavily favored TJ Dillashaw in a parlay of high-performing favorites.
Insider recommends: If any of this weekend’s title fights is oddly in favor of the underdog challenger, at least when looking at the stats, it’s this one. Both women have submission skills, so it’s likely that whoever gains control on the ground will win those rounds but probably won’t get a finish.
Women’s bantamweight title: champion Miesha Tate (-250) vs. Against anyone else, Tate seems to hold her own while on her feet — and especially on the ground, where she pulled off her upset title win over former champion Holly Holm.
The UFC will end its annual International Fight Week and Fan Expo this year with a bang, in the form of one of the biggest milestone fight cards in its 24-year history. 4 Amanda Nunes (+210)
Heavyweight matchups exemplify the volatility in MMA, with a single punch often determining the outcome of a fight, no matter the odds. Wrestling has always been a valuable skill and equalizer in MMA, but it set Tate up for failure against Ronda Rousey because of Rousey’s dangerous submission skills on the ground.
Meanwhile, the odds for Edgar-Aldo 2 are tight. While this fight is unlikely to go the distance, as one man will do enough damage at some point to set up the finish, even the total of 1.5 rounds is a risky limit to test as they both have turned in improbably long fights before. Hunt is justifiably a slight favorite, but if Lesnar takes the fight to the ground early, he might never give Hunt a chance to work his offensive weapons.
Other fights on the main card have their fair share of star power, with former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez taking on Travis Browne and two former champions in Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo competing for the interim featherweight championship.
Before Tate became “Cupcake,” she was called “Takedown Tate,” thanks to her wrestling base. No. The best bet here is the “over 4.5 rounds” at -120, which counts on each fighter’s resiliency to force a close decision.
A main card parlay including Tate-Nunes over 1.5 rounds, Edgar-Aldo over 4.5 rounds, Velasquez to win and Lesnar-Hunt to finish inside the distance will return more than 3-to-1.
At least on paper, Nunes isn’t bad on the ground, and she is clearly better on her feet. With so much uncertainty and volatility here, take a small prop on finish, use the “fight ends inside the distance” as parlay fodder, and then sit back and enjoy the spectacle.
Closing lines: Other main card action
Before we consider the betting angles, here is how these competitors stack up in terms of overall fighting effectiveness.
click to enlarge
There’s very little separating many of the fighters from their respective opponents in several of the matchups, including the featherweight title fight. In an ideal situation, Hunt is capable of delivering some powerful punches of his own, as he has while defending himself from takedowns against prior opponents — even much larger ones. Wherever this fights goes, one man will have a huge advantage over the other, but it’s hard to predict how Lesnar’s offense will really look in 2016.
Insider recommends: At underdog prices, a prop on Lesnar by TKO at +250 or “inside the distance” at +190 is a nice upset play that is more likely than the odds suggest. Which favorites are justified and which underdogs have potential? Where does the betting value lie in the night’s top fights?
Raw data is provided by Fight Metric, with analysis by Reed Kuhn — author of ” Fightnomics: the Hidden Numbers and Science in Mixed Martial Arts.”
Velasquez is a -290 favorite, and a glance at the graph above reminds us how effective he is bell to bell — and also notes that Browne has typically taken more punishment than he has delivered. In fact, Nunes outperforms Tate in every notable performance metric in striking, both offensively and defensively. Edgar has the momentum behind him, which has pushed him into be the slightest of favorites, but Aldo’s technical striking, combined with his ability to stay on his feet, perfectly suits him in facing Edgar’s forward motion. That means Nunes will have a clear advantage at the start of the fight and for as long as it takes for Tate to close the gap and get things to the ground. 8 Mark Hunt (-170) vs Brock Lesnar (+150)
. Nunes isn’t a bad upset pick at more than +200, in a fight where we’ll know a lot more after the first round based on whether Tate is successful early with takedowns. Velasquez has multiple paths to victory, as long as he doesn’t get sloppy and eat a clean punch. The rest of the card is stacked with legends from top to bottom, including eight past or present champions and several potential future contenders.
Lesnar’s takedown offense is impressive, but in the rush forward he’ll need to survive a few punches, which he hasn’t always been able to do. Despite the last-minute removal of Jon Jones on a supposed doping violation, there will still be two titles on the line at UFC 200, along with the potential for a last-minute opponent for Daniel Cormier – either with or without title implications — that could bolster the event
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