Tuesday, April 3, 2007

MMA Primer: How to read a MMA betting line

By Pramit Mohapatra

With the sport of mixed martial arts growing as it is and five professional MMA events in the 5 days starting April 4, MMA betting lines will soon become a regular part of sports vernacular. But these lines don't look quite like betting lines for other sports. So, how does a bettor read a MMA betting line?

In MMA betting, the bettor will see one of two types of numbers associated with a given fighter -- a positive number or a negative number. A fighter assigned a negative number is the favorite in the fight while a fighter assigned a positive number is the underdog. For the favorite, the negative number represents how much money a bettor needs to bet on this fighter in order to earn $100. For the underdog, the positive number represents how much money a bettor will win if the bettor bets $100 on that fighter. The larger the negative number for a fighter, the more of a favorite he is. The larger the positive number for a fighter, the more of an underdog he is.

For example, in Chuck Liddell's August 2006 UFC fight against Renato Sobral, Liddell was the favorite at -330 while Sobral was the underdog at +270. These numbers suggest that Liddell was a clear favorite (though not overwhelmingly so.) In this case, a bettor putting $330 on Liddell netted $100 for his win. On the other hand, if a bettor had placed $100 on Sobral and Sobral had won, that bettor would have netted $270.

As with bettings odds in all sports, an MMA betting line can tell you who the public generally favors in a particular contest.


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