Is Alistair Overeem to finish at UFC 156 a good bet?
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”
As I have said before, the number one mistake that MMA bettors make is betting too often. And this week I am avoiding that mistake. Earlier in the week I had big plans to bet on an Alistair Overeem to finish, but when the odds came out my plans were dismantled.
My original hypothesis was as follows. Overeem’s odds to win were going for around -390, which says he has about an 80% chance to win the fight, and his to-finish prop odds were not out yet. Usually there is a decent chance that the prop odds are mispriced, and I was hoping that Overeem’s to-finish odds would be around 50/50, maybe something like -120. In this scenario, I would be getting a big margin of safety. I figured that Overeem is about an 80% favorite to win this fight, and most of the time that he wins I figured that he will win with a finish inside the distance. Out of Overeem’s 36 wins in MMA, only two have been by decision.
Overeem’s tendency to finish, coupled with Silva’s chin issues, makes me fairly certain that an Overeem finish is likely. Say Overeem is indeed an 80% favorite to win, and say that about 90% of the time that he wins he’ll win by finishing Silva. This puts Overeem’s odds of winning by a finish at around 72% (.8 x .9). If Overeem’s moneyline odds to finish the fight were about 50/50, then I would be getting a nice 20% margin of safety and I would have a bet
Unfortunately, my plans were ruined when the prop odds came out. The moneyline odds on Overeem to win inside the distance by finishing Silva are -260, which computes to 72%. This is exactly where my own handicap is, and as a result I am not getting the margin of safety that I need in order to have a bet.
The key to MMA betting is being patient, picking your spots, and firing big when you find a great opportunity. Earlier in the week I made a hypothesis that Overeem to finish might be a good betting opportunity, and I was planning to research this fight in depth. But then the moneyline odds came out and put an end to my plans. There is no value in an Overeem to finish bet with the odds at -260, and there is no value in a straight Overeem to win bet at -390.
The odds are priced correctly on this fight. As an MMA bettor, sometimes, in fact most of the time, you must accept that the odds are priced correctly and that there is no betting opportunity. This is one of those times. Just like how Warren Buffett only invests when he is getting value, we should only bet on MMA when we are getting value from the moneyline. In this case, with Overeem’s moneyline odds priced correctly, we would not get any value out of betting on him. Sometimes the toughest aspect of betting on MMA is knowing when not to bet, and this is one of those times. Sit back, enjoy this fight as a fan, and save your money for a more profitable betting opportunity.
Jason Rothman is the author of the eBook Betting on MMA: Easy Money From the Toughest Sport. Check out his blog at bettingonmmabook.com.