Expert Betting Strategy Guide for MMA

For Beginner
mma betting

MMA is formally known as “Mixed Martial Arts”. The sport has been growing in popularity over the past 5 years with huge superstars coming from the fight game. MMA is a very hard sport to bet on. This is because it only takes one mistake and the fight is over. A fighter could come in with the wrong game plan and fighters end up losing the match. This guide will give you the best information on the fight game, and the strategies you can use to increase your chances of winning. This guide features the following items:

  • Why you should bet on MMA
  • When to bet on MMA
  • Good Bets - Bad Bets
  • Research, research, research
  • Online MMA Betting FAQ

Background on MMA 

The martial arts world is new when compared to boxing. A sport that’s been around for 100s of years. In recent times the fight game has blown up and come onto the scene with organizations such as the UFC and Bellator. The aim of the sport is for a fighter grapple, strike and wrestle opponents to win. They can do this in many different ways. Such as:

  • K.O or T.K.O 
  • Submission 
  • Unanimous Decision or Split Decision   

Compared to boxing, the MMA is way more gruesome and bloody making it a fan favorite sport. There are lots of different things you’ll have to look into when deciding to bet. We will give you the best things to look out for. Before we get into the best strategies let’s look at the rules. 

The Rules of MMA 

MMA has a set of rules which need to be followed. The sport allows fighters to strike their opponent with knees, kicks, elbows, shoulders, and fists. This means the fight needs rules to ensure fighters don’t attack their opponents unprofessionally. Here are some of the main rules;

  • No attacks to the eyes, groin, back of the head, spine, throat.
  • You are not allowed to bite your opponent.
  • You cannot grab the cage to benefit the fight.
  • No headbutting opponents. 
  • No kicking an opponent in the head while they are on the ground.

The points system is also really simple. It’s similar to boxing. The fighters will get scored 10 points if they win the round and 9 points if they lose the round. The fighter with the most points at the end of the fight wins. The fights have 3 rounds for the undercard and 5 rounds for the main event/title fight. Each round lasts 5 minutes and on some occasions, they can be 3 minutes. It depends on the organization. These are the general rules. Different states will have small changes in the rules. But they aren’t so different that the fight outcome might change. Fighters can use many forms of fighting techniques. Some of the techniques are;

  • Wrestling 
  • Boxing
  • Kickboxing 
  • Jiu-Jitsu 
  • Judo 
  • Taekwondo

Betting on MMA 

It is hard to bet on an outcome as fighters are all so evenly matched. It’s not like boxing where you can see a clear favorite. The fighters have to learn different styles of fighting. It can become difficult. This levels out the playing field for fighters. You’ll still get the fighters that are natural strikers and others that are natural wrestlers. But in this new age of MMA, fighters are becoming much better-rounded. Specific styles match up better against others. It’s beneficial to know which ones match up better. We will mention this in; Strategies for Betting on MMA. 

MMA-UFC-Betting

Why You Should Bet on MMA

You might be thinking, why should I start betting on MMA over other conventional sports? We can understand your hesitance for venturing into such a relatively new sport. Here are our top 3 reasons why you definitely should start betting on MMA.

  1. Bad lines

Precisely because of the newness of betting on this thrilling sport compared to other sports, bookmakers haven't perfected betting odds and lines as much as with other, older sports. You are bound to find a better deal betting on MMA than with others.

Most sportsbooks base their lines on statistical data combined with the sports' specialists information. In MMA, there is not that much data available, and MMA specialists with knowledge about betting lines are hard to come by. This means it is much more likely that bookmakers set terrible lines. They are hard to find, but these unique opportunities are out there.

  1. The Ignorant Public

MMA is an emotional sport, and so are most of the bettors who place wagers on it. Online sportsbooks thrive on these kinds of people. The majority of the betting public tends to be not so great at long-term betting. Odds are continuously changing during the lead-up to a match, which we will explain in greater detail further in the article. With most punters betting on the favorite, the odds change, and it becomes more appealing to choose for the other fighter. Following this, the general public will shift their attention to that other fighter, and the odds change once again. This cycle keeps on repeating until the fight starts.

MMA lines move a lot nowadays. There are press conferences and news snippets everywhere, shifting the popularity of one fighter to the other continuously. Keep an eye out how the public image for that fighter looks and check how that affects the odds. With enough time and knowledge, you can certainly take advantage of this. 

  1. Information everywhere

In other sports, it's almost impossible to access the players when they are in training. You barely get to see what the players do in their practices, let alone at home in their run-up to a match/game. MMA has changed the rules here, showing itself way more to the public.

Many fighters still have to keep ordinary jobs on the side, train in regular gyms, and sometimes practice with many other people. Meaning they are a lot more accessible than other athletes.

As a result, more information becomes available for you to base your prediction on. Social media and specific forums added even more details to that, with the MMA athletes openly using these media.

When to Bet on MMA

Like we said, lines in online betting with MMA change rapidly due to the changes in the number of bets a single fighter might get. One of the critical things to betting on MMA is understanding how the betting odds work. When you have trouble with this, it becomes hard to find value bets. To know what we mean by this, read on.

  • Why do the odds change?

Fights are announced months, sometimes over 6, in advance. Once a battle is scheduled, online bets are almost instantly available. Sportsbooks will set the odds for this bet at a rate, with a specific thought in mind. This thought is, of course, making a profit. Each sportsbook needs to even up the amount of money placed on each side so that they can make a profit, regardless of which fighter wins. To cover costs, online bookmakers will take a small percentage of every bet, called juice, to make ends meet. 

  • How do the odds change?

Most matches are not evenly matched. Either one of the fighters is better or perhaps even more popular. Sportsbooks will take these public images and use them to encourage betting on the other side, the underdog. They will release lines with which they assume that people will bet evenly on. Once this changes, they will adjust accordingly based on how the bets come in. For example, let's look at the lines for the fight between Conor Mcgregor and Donald Cerrone, where Mcgregor is the clear favorite for the win. 

  • Conor Mcgregor money line: - 160
  • Donald Cerrone money line: + 130

These were the odds right after the fight got announced. Mcgregor is considered the favorite, and this resonates in the line of -160. You need to wager $160 to win $100 in this case. Cerrone is the underdog here, +130 means you have to wager $100 to win $130. 

The public believed that Mcgregor is the favorite and will win the fight, so they placed the majority of the best on him. Forcing the sportsbooks to act or they lose a lot of money when Mcgregor does win. They adjusted the odds quickly to make Cerrone more appealing to bet on. The following change in odds happened in just over a month:

  • Conor Mcgregor money line: -230
  • Donald Cerrone money line: +190

As you can tell, this is a significant shift in odds in comparison to the first announcement. Severely limiting the winnings, you get if you bet on Mcgregor and enhancing them if you predict Cerrone to win. 

MMA-UFC-Betting

This strategy is key to knowing the best time to place a bet on MMA. If you are betting on the underdog / least favorite, it may be best to wait until the odds have been re-evaluated. We recommend doing your research to find out what the most profitable time to bet is.

The Markets Available

There are lots of markets you can bet on. The luxury of the sport is that it’s unlikely you’re going to get a draw. However, it does happen because the judges can score the fight in completely opposite ways, resulting in a draw. Here are some of the markets you can expect to see; 

  • Fight Winner 

You can bet on who will win the fight. 

  • Round Betting

You can bet on the round the fight will end. You’ll even be able to make under and over bets. e.g. if you bet on the fight going over 2 rounds and it goes to round 3. You will win the bet.  

  • Winning Method 

There are a few ways a fight can end. We mentioned the winning methods above. In case you forgot. Fighters can win via K.O, T.K.O, Submission, and a decision. You can even bet on the winning method and which round it will be. Those odds are higher than just picking a round or just a method. 

Strategies for Betting on MMA 

There are many strategies you can use. It’s not about picking just one strategy. It’s about putting them all together and picking the right kind of bets. Here are some of the strategies you can use;

  • Fighter Resume 

You can look at the fighter’s resume and their winning streak. Fighters with a winning streak are always high on confidence. However, there is a catch to winning streaks. The opponent could be fighting low-level opposition in their win streak. If they are stepping up they could get blown away by a veteran who’s lost a few fights but is still very good. Look at both the winning streak and the opponents level.

  • Styles Make Fights

This is a big strategy to look out for. In general, a good wrestler will beat a striker within the octagon. It has been proven time and time again. Some of the greatest champions of all time were wrestlers. The fighters build off their wrestling and usually win fights. They can get stuck against very good strikers who can hold their own in wrestling. But it’s hard to find someone who is excellent at everything. It is usually the top 3 ranked fighters who are good at all fighting types. In case you are skeptical, have a look at the rankings and it's usually the top fighters that have a wrestling background. 

  • Fight Location 

Many readers think that the octagon doesn’t travel around the world and it's always here in America. A lot of fighters travel across the globe to compete. This can have bad effects on their performances on the fight-night. Usually, because they are tired and have jet lag. It’s an advantage to fight at home instead of a foreign country. The home crowd can affect the fight as well. They can cheer on their home fighter and boo the foreign fighter. It can affect a fighter's performance on the night.    

  • Look at the fighter’s news 

A fighter could be changing things up for their fight camp: Splitting with their long-time coach. Moving their whole camp to another location. There are times where news spills about a fighter breaking a finger or having a minor injury. It all adds up and can sway the fight. 

  • Bet In-Play 

A fight can be one-sided in the first few rounds. This can be a big chance to make a bet. Some fighters switch on during later parts of a fight. This can happen and you could choose to bet on them to have a last-minute rally. 

Anything can happen in the octagon. MMA is very unpredictable. You could follow the whole strategy perfectly. All it takes is for the fighter to twitch the wrong way, and a foot slams into their face. It also means the odds are great. 

How to Make an MMA Bet 

MMA-UFC-Betting

Making a sports bet is really easy. Here are some steps you can follow. 

  1. Open a sports betting account at one of our recommended online sportsbooks. 
  2. Make your first deposit. Don’t forget to use the bonuses the sportsbooks give out to new customers. 
  3. Open the sportsbook, and head over to the MMA section. 
  4. Pick the type of bet you want to make and add it to your betting slip. You can build up an accumulator if you’d like. 
  5. Head over to your bet slip and put in how much you’d like to bet. The odds will show up at the bottom of the slip if you’ve made an accumulator. It will even tell you your potential winnings.  
  6. Press confirm and your bet is made! 

Good Bets - Bad bets

As it is custom in sports betting, there are multiple types of bets for MMA. All of them have their use and can perhaps net you that big prize. Here at Betting Guide NJ, we want to distinguish the proper bets, where you can easily find value from the bad bets, which are mostly luck-based.

We will fight our way through most of the bets currently available and give a short explanation of them.

The Good

  • Money line 

Fairly straightforward, you bet on the winner of the match, no strings attached. Value is easily found here as favorites win an overwhelming amount of the time.

  • Over/Under round bet 

Here you predict if a fight will go longer or shorter than a particular round. Depending on the fighters' styles, you can indeed find value here. When they both have a defensive manner, a long fight is almost guaranteed, the same goes for a short fight with two aggressive combatants. When there are one defensive style fighter and an aggressive one as his opponent, the predicting gets more tricky. 

  • Method of victory bet

In MMA, there are three ways of winning a fight:

  • Submission
  • (T)KO
  • Decision 

Again, looking up the style of fighters is essential here to predict correctly. You don't have to predict who will win the fight; you have to determine how the battle will end.

The Bad

  • Exact round betting

Instead of the over/under round betting, here you predict the exact round in which the fight finishes. If an MMA fight goes the distance, it consists of 3 rounds, 5 minutes each. It sounds tempting to place a bet here, seeing as the odds given are often high. Unfortunately, this bet is more unpredictable than you might think. Only when the data points to fighters nearly always finishing in the same round should you consider this bet.

  • Parlay bets

The card (all the fights during an event) of the evening features the main event and some lesser events, often between 4 to 8. Besides betting on them individually, you can bet on them cumulatively. Predict 2, 3, or 4 outcomes all at once, and the lines become astronomical. The only downside here is that you have to predict the outcome of all fights correctly. Get only one wrong, and you lose the entire bet. 

  • Prop betting

Last but not least, we have the prop bets. Prop bets are exotic wagers that focus on the details of the fight, two of the most popular UFC prop bets have already been mentioned (method of victory and round bet), others include:

  • Fight to go the distance
  • Points Handicap
  • Fighter Of The Night (FOTN) awards

Prop bets can be highly lucrative. Most of the time, they are extremely risky and require more luck than skill to get right.

We are not discouraging you from placing your money on any of our bad bets. Do make sure you understand that it is a lot harder to find value in them than in our good bets.

MMA betting Tips: How to Develop Your MMA Betting Strategy

MMA-UFC-Betting

Gambling on Mixed Martial Arts has exploded all over the world, and it seems to have a huge impact on online sportsbooks in the US as well. Since MMA is relatively new to mainstream betting, this brutal sport has introduced unique opportunities for the ‘sharp bettors,’ and they’re all set to make big winnings. Of course, you can do the same if you know what you’re doing

Unlike every other major sport, MMA requires a very systematic and unique approach to make accurate predictions. There are so many fighters and so many organizations involved that it can be tough to keep up with the smart picks and the best in the game. 

Thankfully, we have put together some tips on MMA betting so you can pick your bets with more to go on than a gut feeling. The following MMA betting strategies should also be coupled with MMA knowledge so you can quickly be on your way to handsome winnings from online sportsbooks in the US. 

4 Crucial MMA betting Tips

  1. Understand Betting Odds

This isn’t just true in the case of MMA betting and understanding how betting odds work can help you make valuable and smart bets in every sport. 

For most even bets (bets where the possibility of each fighter winning is exactly the same), sportsbooks will pay gamblers at a rate of -110. This simply means that for every $100 you wager, you have a chance of winning $90.90. 

This, however, tends to get tricky when the odds of each fighter aren’t matched evenly. This usually happens because MMA fans support one more than the other. If this is the case, then online sportsbooks in the US will try to encourage bets for the other side. This is usually done by releasing an initial betting line that seems even but is adjusted in real-time, according to how the fight is coming along. 

Let’s suppose that Chael Sonnen is fighting Anderson Silva. Naturally, your online sportsbook believes that Silva is set for the win. In such a situation, betting odds will be released as follows:

  • Chael Sonnen +550
  • Anderson Silva -400

These odds clearly mean that Silva is the favorite and that Sonnen is the underdog. Naturally, every sports bettor will bet on Silva, which means the online sportsbook is going to lose a lot of money. This is why they may change the odds to something like this:

  • Chael Sonnen +750
  • Anderson Silva -600

If you had placed a $100 bet on Sonnen in the first set of odds, your profit would have been $550 if he beat Silva. In the second set of odds, if you placed the same bet, your profit will have moved up to $750. Similarly, the bets for Silva would have gotten worse in the second set of odds. 

This is why, in MMA betting, you shouldn’t just think about whom to bet on. You should also think about when to bet. 

  1. Betting in Every Fight

Of course, it can be tempting to place bets on each event, but this could turn out to be a very bad strategy in MMA betting. If you’re betting on every other event, you’re skimping on research, and this is the opposite of taking a calculated risk. The best way of making a strong prediction for MMA betting is to research fights. 

  1. The Importance of Locations

Many sports bettors assume that neglecting where the fight is set to happen is alright. This is probably because they don’t know the difference between every ring and octagon. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Two factors every MMA bettor should take into consideration are altitudes and the distance traveled. 

If you have ever been part of physical activities at higher altitudes, you may already know what we’re about to say. Higher altitudes mean less oxygen, and if a fighter is in perfect shape, it doesn’t mean they won’t struggle to fight a few thousand feet above sea level (like in Denver). 

The second thing you need to think about is how far your favorite fighter has traveled. If, for instance, a fighter flew in a day or two before the big fight, you can imagine how their jet lag can become a huge issue. Naturally, the further they travel, the worse the jet lag is going to get. 

Now, do you see how much research goes into MMA betting? 

  1. Following MMA News

This particular tip is kind of like a double-edged sword because following MMA news can be great AND terrible at the same time. Our last MMA betting tip should, therefore, be to distinguish between actual news and media hype. Honestly, this can be a little challenging, so you need to look for news that directly affects your favorite fighter. Let’s take a look at an example:

News #1:

Fighter A broke his finger during training.

News #2:

Fighter B is from Brazil, and Brazilian fighters have always won main events in a certain Arena. 

So which news should affect your MMA betting strategy? Naturally, News #2 has nothing to do with the actual outcome of the fight and therefore is clearly just media hype. You should not let your bets be based on this information alone. 

Conclusion 

MMA has only just become a popular sport. It can be a hard sport to bet on because everything can be so unpredictable. Following our guide will definitely increase your chances of winning. Sign up to our top-rated sportsbooks. You can find out more about them by checking out our online reviews page. We hope you have fun betting on MMA here in the USA.

MMA and UFC FAQ

  • What is the difference between MMA and the UFC?

    UFC stands for the ultimate fighting championship. They are an organization where fighters perform. MMA is a sport. This means MMA is the sport that is used in the UFC.
  • Should Fighters’ Style of Fighting Affect MMA Betting Strategies?

    When it comes to MMA betting, knowledge is profit. Naturally, each fighter has their own specialized fighting style along with a few styles they are learning or trying to dabble in.

    That said, some styles don’t match well with others, and this always works as a vital piece of information for MMA bettors. For instance, if a professional wrestler hasn’t been beaten by his opponents as yet, but he wouldn’t be able to stand his ground against a Muay Thai specialist.

    What you need to understand here is that every MMA fighter is going to have a different fighting style. More importantly, this information will be more important than the betting odds and what at least 90% of the MMA fans on this planet are tweeting about.
  • How Should Injuries Affect My Bets?

    Just because your favorite fighter says that they have recovered completely doesn’t mean that they have. Most professional fighters are battling injuries – both minute and significant. What you need to do is follow every small piece of news about this fighter and lookup for yourself what the actual healing time of this injury is. 

    MMA fighters have always been notorious for hitting the gym too quickly – even before their injuries have healed properly. This would, naturally, have a negative impact on their performance during a match. Granted, if a Jiu-Jitsu specialist hurt his finger, his injury won’t affect his overall performance. If, however, the same fighter tore the muscle in his groin, then this is going to be a big problem.

  • What About the Fighters’ Record?

    All too often, MMA bettors have a quick look at a fighter’s record and make a decision that’s solely based on this factor. While consistency should play a vital role in the confidence of a fighter, that’s not how MMA works. MMA fighters have to go head-to-head with many different kinds of opponents, and their record alone should not affect your bets. 

    Instead, you should try looking at your favorite fighter’s record with regards to their opponents. For instance, if they are set to fight a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rockstar, then check to see how they fared against BBJ fighters in the past. 

  • Should I Blindly Place Bets in Favor of MMA Rockstars?

    Yes, MMA fighters like Ronda Rousey, Anderson Silva, and Georges St-Pierre were a definite suicide to bet against, but this doesn’t case anymore. You shouldn’t always bet in favor of MMA rockstars because betting on underdogs for the win can be an immensely profitable strategy (because of the huge odds stacked against them). Again, a good MMA betting tip here would be that you should know every little detail about a fight before you place bets
  • What happens if the fighter doesn't make weight?

    Most sportsbooks will void all wagers for the bet if a fighter on the ticket is not allowed to participate.
  • What MMA markets are there to bet on?

    With the UFC as the dominating force in the industry, it almost seems like the MMA bettor doesn't have any other choices. While it is hard to find, there are some other markets available for you, even in New Jersey.
  • Can I bet during the match?

    Yes, live betting is possible. Odds update during the match, and there are even some specific prop bets for live betting.
  • What Other Sports Can I Bet On?

    You will never be short of choices on online sportsbooks in the US because there are hundreds of sports to choose from. Do make sure that you bet on those sports you know the most about.
  • Can I bet on sports like MMA in the US?

    Yes, you can bet on the sport in the US. A lot of sportsbooks will have markets in the sport for you to bet on. They might not have the full fight card, but they will have the main events.
  • How much should I bet?

    This is entirely up to you. You can bet $1, or you can bet all the way up to $10k. It is all about having fun. The more you bet the more you can win and the more you can lose.
  • Should I buy picks? And will it win?

    Buying someone else's picks can be tricky. You should always look at their track record to see if they win a lot. It’s not guaranteed that you will win the bet if you choose their picks. If you decide to buy a pick just know it isn't a 100% win.
  • What are the bonuses I can get in the US?

    There are lots of bonuses you can get here in the US. Some of them are the sign-up bonus, no deposit bonus, free bets bonus, cashback bonus, and reload bonus.