The Big Moves
All Results Documented ~ No Stale Lines Ever

“2” BEST BETS : UFC 214 MAIN EVENT + GARCIA-BRONER

Fight fans of both boxing and mixed martial arts have plenty to be excited about, as the next 2 months offer up a collection of of highly anticipated bouts. In fact, this coming Saturday night both sports present cards which feature main-events that at least on paper, appear to be extremely competitive and without a doubt, exciting fights. As a lifelong fan of combat sports I’m captivated like most to watch how these bouts unfold. And as an advantage player who’s in pursuit of isolating positions that give me the “best of it”, I’m even more delighted to see an abundance of betting value on the board.

 

It all begins inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY where the WBC Diamond light welterweight title will be up for grabs between Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KO’s) and Adrien Broner (33-2-0-1, 24 KO’s). The bout will be contested at a catch-weight of “140 lbs”, with Garcia going up in weight and Broner coming down, when compared to the weight limit each competed at of late.

 

Odds makers initially installed Garcia as a heavy favorite, with sports books offshore opening the line as high as -1000. That price didn’t last long, as support for the underdog Broner hit the betting windows immediately. Within the first 5 days of taking action, book makers were forced to significantly adjust the betting odds. As we go to print, Garcia is currently listed as low as -250 here in Las Vegas, with the take-back on Broner now +210.

 

As mentioned in this column for years now, unlike the majority of major sports where recreational bettors have a bias towards favorites, when it comes to the fight game they’ve historically supported underdogs. The reason for this is that casual bettors want to risk a little money for a chance to win a lot, rather than put up a lot for a little. I expect that trend to continue for this bout, even after such a forceful line move.

 

Bottom line, I can’t find fault in anyone who was able to get their money down on Broner early on. It appears odds makers did not have a good grasp of the betting public’s perception, and that has ultimately left them exposed on the underdog side. Rest assured there were plenty of tickets written with Broner as high as +600, and even more written at +500. Therefore unless multiple betting syndicates decide to back the favorite and help minimize risk for the book, their liability should continue to grow.

 

Rather than break this bout down stylistically, and identify the technical advantages I believe Garcia possesses over Broner, let’s simply talk line value. Although hardcore fight fans are well aware of just how good Garcia is, it’s obvious from the betting action that casual fans do not. So until the market catches up and concludes he’s a “Top Pound for Pound” fighter, the opportunity to take advantage is present.

 

Finally, the opening price of Garcia -1000 may have been a bit high but definitely a closer reflection to a “true line” than a “fair line”. And at that price, I would have almost certainly passed on placing a wager. But at the current odds or lower, I’ll be backing up my opinion with my money.

 

BEST BET = MIKEY GARCIA 

 

 

Out on the west coast, the Honda Center in Anaheim, Ca plays host to a loaded UFC 214 card. From bottom to top, this event showcases multiple “must see” fights, especially on the main-card. Yet once again as much as I’m a fan of both boxing and mixed martial arts, I’m even more a fan of money. And the UFC did not disappoint by giving us bettors just as much to look forward to on Saturday as they did the fight fans.

 

Let’s go ahead and focus on the main-event for my column, since it’s one of the promotion’s most highly anticipated rematches of 2017. Current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1) gets to avenge his only professional loss, against former title holder Jon Jones (22-1).

 

They faced each other over 2 years ago at UFC 182. At that time, Jones entered the Octagon with the 205 lb strap and as a -210 favorite to retain it. That’s exactly what Jones was able to do, and when the rematch was initially set, the champion was listed as an even bigger favorite to beat Cormier again. Odds makers installed Jones anywhere from -270 to -350, but their rematch scheduled for UFC 197 and then UFC 200 never materialized as a result of Jones’ problems outside of competition. Since his personal issues have been well documented, I won’t waste your time or mine gossiping.

 

For UFC 214, currently the challenger Jones is a -250 favorite with the take-back on the champion Cormier +210. The total rounds prop is listed at 4.5, with the “over” favored at -170. The first fight went the full 5 rounds with Jones capturing a unanimous decision victory.

 

As we head into the rematch the biggest concerns are how will the long layoff effect Jon Jones, and how much has Daniel Cormier improved in the almost 30 months since they met ? Obviously for bettors, how those 2 questions are answered will most likely determine who they back.

 

Personally as much as I believe Cormier is one of the best light-heavyweights in all of mma, he is NOT the best light heavyweight. That distinction belongs to his opponent for this fight, Jon Jones. Now I’m not saying Cormier is not the legitimate 205 lb UFC champion, but what I am saying is that he has yet to beat the most dominate light heavyweight of his own era.

 

Bottom line, though Jones will have to contest with ring rust, it’s not something which he hasn’t overcome before. Also, as much as Cormier continues to add to his skill set as a mixed martial artist, his greatest asset is his wrestling. Few if any have entered the Octagon with “DC’s” storied amateur wrestling career but we saw how Jones was able to negate any advantage.

 

Of greater note, even though a fighter can become more efficient, more technical, and more well rounded, it’s impossible to gain more length. Jones will have more than a 12 inch reach advantage, coupled with a 5 inch height advantage in the rematch. That edge proved to be the greatest problem for Cormier in their first bout. He was unable to land enough shots to do any damage, nor was he able to handle Jones’ on the mat like he’s done to others so easily.

 

Finally, we have another opportunity to take advantage of line value which is even more important than competently analyzing a fight. This is why I decided to skip the technical break down I usually favor, for a more militant approach.

 

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 30+ yrs of wagering and moving steam for many of the sharpest crews in different sports, it’s that “it’s a numbers game”. Better yet, the very first thing I was told when I walked into the first office I worked at was, “we don’t bet teams here, we bet numbers”. In other words, we all know that Amazon and Google are excellent and even elite companies, but at what price does their stock offer value.

 

It’s ultimately the same with sports, where we already know the probability of Jon Jones beating Daniel Cormier is greater than the other way around….but how much greater ? At the very least I made my “true line” Jones -300, which equates to a 75% probability, and to be completely honest I believe I am being pretty generous to Cormier.

 

BEST BET = JON JONES

 

In closing, don’t ever forget that value is simply determined by comparing the betting line to the probability, and it has nothing to do with whether the bet is on an underdog or a favorite. Every wiseguy I know would lay -5000 to win $100 if they were confident the true odds were -7000.

 

Granted there is less room for error when laying chalk, but when favorites are offering the type of value the 2 above are, then win or lose it’s a bet I’m willing to make every chance I get. We’re on a nice run, having cashed a handful of favs & dogs along the way…Now let’s keep it going this Saturday night.