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Faulty MMA Handicapping Practices

MMA Betting: Faulty Handicapping Practices

By Loot, MMA Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

A lot of elements creep into our handicapping that are natural in a sport like MMA. Some of them aren’t very desirable. We can know that and still do it because it seems so natural. But as we gain experience, we depend on them less and less, as we notice that they simply don’t work and only blind us from using the necessary strategy to properly handicap a fight.

One is the common-opponent theory. Often times, the fighters had guys they both fought. If one of the fighters lost to a common opponent while the other guy beat him, it’s hard to not take that seriously. A lot of times, it seems like a fair enough measuring stick. Fighter A beat Fighter B, who beat Fighter C. Therefore, Fighter A should beat Fighter C.

It doesn’t work out that way and using the common opponent standard is a not a reliable compass. In fact, it only distracts us from the fact that this sport is ruled by the dynamic that lies between two different styles. Just because a fighter is successful against a certain style doesn’t mean he will be effective against a different one. When we place too much importance on the common opponents, it can get us away from that.

When we analyze a fight, we give and dock fighters credit for different things. We might give a fighter points for having a big punch, while taking points away from a guy who is horrible on the ground. And we go down the line, attributing point values of different forms to the fighters we handicap.

Where we run into trouble is when we try to out-think the oddsmakers along the lines of breaking fighters down. A fighter might not have made it to the UFC yet, but you’re not the only one who ever heard of him. That, you can bank on. Sure, we can find fighters who are over and under-valued, but that’s not the point. We should focus on the match-up component quirks where we can find a real edge, rather than solely trying to redo the oddsmakers appraisal of the individual fighters.

Sometimes, things seem too obvious--almost too good to be true. You see a fighter who is vulnerable to chokes fighting a guy with an uncanny ability to apply the finishing choke and in your mind it’s a wrap. You’re going to wager on the guy who is adept at choke submissions. It’s just too easy and when it is that simple--there is usually no real money in it.

You see a big-punching fighter on a winning streak facing a guy who’s been stretched out a few times lately, what is your inkling? You bet the guy with the big punch. And the bet might win. In the long-run, however, it is not a profitable play--believe it or not. In fights where a fighter’s advantage is so easy to see, everyone else noticed it too. It sucks the value right out of wagers like that.

Betting Tip: Another faulty practice that 95% of all bettors fall into is paying too much for their betting odds. Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Some simply offer better pricing than the rest! Find the absolute lowest odds on favorite and highest odds on underdogs at 5Dimes.

The same thing happens in other sports. In baseball, a pitcher who gives up a lot of long balls is facing a big-slugging lineup and you figure he’s going to get torched. An NBA team giving up the most points in the league is playing a top offense and you assume it will be a huge blowout. The top passing offense in the NFL is playing the league’s worst secondary. You predict a lopsided beating.

Two things are working against you in situations like this. One is that it doesn’t work out as often as you’d think. A certain match-up might be in your favor and by a lot, but it often just blinds up from many other elements we should also be considering. We just stay omni-focused on the obvious one. Secondly, you know in your gut that succeeding in MMA wagering is based on true gems of insight, feel, and analysis--not elementary observations. If you’re betting on the obvious, it’s going to be the big favorite. When betting like that, you have to be right far more often than you’re wrong. While the obvious will win its share of times, it is doubtful that it would do so at the rate you need to stay ahead in the long-run.

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