With MMA in full swing since this summer, you can expect to see weekly betting articles from us here at Line Movement, as I’ll be providing you with everything from fight analysis to the potential plays I like for the UFC’s offering this weekend.
UFC Vegas 15 is headlined by a fun heavyweight fight between Curtis Blaydes (-370) and Derrick Lewis (+310).
Despite having no issue with Blaydes being set as the odds-on favorite, I find myself somewhat-surprisingly siding with the underdog in this spot. I’m a big fan of both Blaydes and wrestle-first fighters alike, but suspect that this matchup carries certain stylistic trappings that could be accentuated by the division in which it takes place in.
MMA is a volatile enough sport to bet on by its own merit, but heavyweight is an even more unpredictable animal altogether. For that reason, I always recommend squinting at betting spreads that are north of a 2-1 spread in this weight class, regardless of what side you’re on.
Although Blaydes wrestling his way to victory seems like the obvious outcome on paper, I wonder what happens if the former NJCAA champ is unable to find a finish. Not only did Blaydes appear to tire in his first five-round affair opposite Alexander Volkov earlier this year, but the 29-year-old heavyweight’s aggression seems to have him hardwired to do two things: smash and go hard.
However, considering that Blaydes will be up against a deceptively durable knockout artist who is known for staging comebacks, I believe that things could get sketchy for the perceived favorite should this fight see rounds 4 or 5. I don’t suggest anyone following me off this cliff in regards to picking Lewis or sprinkling on the money line, but I also warn anyone looking to lay heavy chalk on Blaydes in what has all the makings for a trap fight.
The co-main event in Las Vegas features an interesting light heavyweight matchup between Anthony Smith (-135) and Devin Clark (+115).
Regardless of whether or not you find interest in either of these particular fighters, I would argue that this offering becomes much more enticing when looking at this betting line.
I’m not sure if it’s the opposing nature of each man’s last two fights that are at play or the public thinking that Smith is now washed, but I don’t quite understand the opening line of -160 and where it’s moved since. Sure, Smith isn’t exactly a process-driven fighter and wrestling is likely his weakest link; I just can’t trust a fighter who constantly looks like he’s about to spontaneously combust like Clark does.
In fact, Clark – with the help of his father bellowing him on from his corner – was barely able to keep it together against his past two opponents. Whereas Smith, whose been consistently facing top 15 fighters, has been having to walk through a completely different kind of fire.
Unless Smith really is shot (which I don’t think he is), then I think that -135 is too low a line to not take a stab at, as this could look like a discount in hindsight. But if you’re looking to fade Smith and bet the dog, then I suggest waiting closer till fight time to capitalize on everyone from self-proclaimed sharps to casuals backing the more familiar name.
As per usual with my content, I’ll offer my honest analysis as I try to explain my angles and attempt to add to your insight when it comes to both breaking down and betting on fights.
This article is for entertainment purposes only, as I stress to anyone, that gambles to do so legally and responsibly.
Live dog: Bill Algeo +155
In one of the more attractive matchups on the card, Algeo looks to get his first UFC win opposite the colorful character that is Spike Carlyle (-175).
Despite Carlyle coming up short in his UFC debut against Billy Quarantillo, the matchmakers saw fit to give “The Alpha Ginger” another somewhat similar test in Algeo.
Algeo may not have the same comeback qualities or boxing savvy as Quarantillo, but he’s a tall and talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is built tough for the long haul. Algeo throws a lot more kicks than Quarantillo or Carlyle, as his low-handed style is supported by a rock-solid chin and ability to quickly change attack angles. Whereas Carlyle, who holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a black belt in judo, is an absolute powerhouse who is looking for the finish from Jump Street.
However, after seeing a proven product like Ricardo Lamas have difficulty in putting away a short-notice Algeo, I find it much easier to make a case for the durable 31-year-old to survive the storm. And as we’ve seen in Carlyle’s past fights, the 27-year-old marauder seems to be somewhat of a first-round fighter, as things tend to sketchy when the action extends past the first frame.
For that reason, I’ll be falling into my normal flow of things by backing the more process-driven man in Algeo – especially if he’s available at underdog odds.
Parlay piece: Kai Kamaka III -300
Despite ‘dependable chalk’ being an oxymoron when it comes to MMA betting, I do believe that Kamaka is one of the more reliable parlay pieces that this weekend’s card offers.
Kamaka will be facing Contender Series product Jonathan Pearce (+250), as he steps in for Sean Woodson.
However, akin to his short-notice UFC debut against Tony Kelley, Kamaka has been staying ready by splitting his time between Hawaii and Las Vegas, working with everyone from PFL standout Ray Cooper III to “Sugar” Ray Sefo. More importantly, this will be Pearce’s first cut to featherweight in a long time, as the 28-year-old fighter has suffered some of his toughest losses in the lower weight classes.
In addition, Pearce will also have a tough stylistic row to hoe in the form of Kamaka. Not only is the Hawaiian fighter a better wrestler than Pearce, but Kamaka is also a solid striker who carries a filthy left hook that has Pearce’s name written all over it.
So long as the durable Kamaka doesn’t get rocked by a Pearce uppercut, then I see the 25-year-old islander making hay this Saturday. Pair him up with another talent like Miguel Baeza at -150 (which is also an entry point for a straight play), and you’re looking at a return in the neighborhood of +122.
Regardless of what you’re betting, bet responsibly, my friends!