How to Bet on UFC & MMA

The skinny about moneyline odds

If you bet on football, basketball or hockey you may be used to over/under point spreads (ex. 5o -125).

Point spreads don’t mean a whole lot when the sport is two huge, brawny guys pounding each-other to jelly. This is why bookmakers use a system for UFC fights called moneyline.

American bookies favour moneyline for various types of sports betting. In fact, moneyline is sometimes referred to as American odds.

Moneyline tries to even the playing field by stacking odds a little against favourite contenders. The system is meant to keep bettors from breaking the bank by simply betting on favourites.

The fighter with a minus (-) sign in front of his betting line will be the favourite, while the underdog’s line starts with a plus (+) sign. The three digits following “+” or “-“ is how much you need to bet to win $100.

For example, if UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva was fighting a tomato can his line might be -400, which means 4 to 1 odds.

Say the above fight is happening now. For every $4 you bet on it, you make a $1 profit if Silva wins. If you bet on his lesser-known opponent at +140, and he wins, you collect $1.4, plus your initial dollar.

Sound simple enough? Good. Now get ready to rumble. We’ll talk about parlaying.

Parlays: when betting on one fight just isn’t enough

A parlay is when you bet against the outcome of more than one fight.

A parlay is obviously much harder to win because you have to be right about all your picks to take home the kitty. If you’re right, however, you win much bigger than you would on a single fight. This is because odds against winning stack up in a cumulative way.

Think about a coin toss. If you call heads once you have a 50-50 chance of winning. If you call heads four times in a row your chances shrink to half of 50% and so on until your chances shrink to around 6.5%.

Likewise in a parlay bet, the odds against picking correct winners in three different fights becomes a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. The greater risk yields greater rewards when you collect.

In a nutshell, this is how parlays work.