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UFC 229 Betting: Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor

The main event of UFC 229 will be the biggest MMA fight the sport has ever seen. On Saturday, October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, “The Notorious One” Conor McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon. McGregor will face undefeated Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, trying to take back the title that was stripped from him in April. It won’t be easy; the UFC 229 fight odds at press time have Nurmagomedov as the –170 favorite, just like he was at the open.

This might be the biggest fight in MMA history, but it’s not the only one on the card. Eleven other bouts are in the works, starting on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30 PM ET, then moving to Fox Sports 1 at 6:30 PM before the main pay-per-view card gets underway at 10 PM. Here’s how the top three fights on the UFC 229 odds board are shaping up.


UFC 229 Odds: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor 

The Khabib vs. McGregor odds may be the same as they were when they opened two weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been static the whole time. The early action was on Nurmagomedov (26-0 lifetime, 10-0 UFC), driving his price up to –185 before fans of McGregor (21-3 lifetime, 9-1 UFC) came in and evened things up; in theory, those fans will come out in even larger numbers as bell time approaches.

Nurmagomedov has his supporters, too. He’s been practicing MMA for 10 years now, and he’s never lost a fight – but at the same time, Nurmagomedov has just one title fight under his belt, and it was against the heavily overmatched Al Iaquinta (+400) for the vacant Lightweight title. McGregor represents a major step up in competition. However, the former champ is also coming back to the Octagon after nearly two years away, during which he reportedly made nine figures for boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr. Where is McGregor’s head at right now? How about his conditioning?


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UFC 229 Odds: Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis

The UFC 229 betting odds for the co-main event also have the more popular fighter pegged as the underdog. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (21-7 lifetime, 8-6 UFC) is the former Lightweight champion, but he’s a +230 dog for his bout with Tony Ferguson (26-3 lifetime, 16-1 UFC) – the former interim champion. Ferguson was supposed to face Nurmagomedov in April, but he had to pull out with a sprained knee and was stripped of the title.

Much like the main event, there’s been some recent action on the popular Pettis, driving Ferguson’s price down from –335 to –300 on the UFC 229 lines. But Pettis has a much tougher hill to climb than McGregor if he wants to get back in the title picture. Since dropping the Lightweight belt to Rafael dos Anjos three years ago at UFC 185, Pettis has lost four of seven fights, including a failed attempt to move down to the Featherweight division. Ferguson’s only loss in the Octagon was to Michael Johnson in 2012, and that was after his left arm was broken in Round 2 – Ferguson finished the fight and lost by unanimous decision. He’s defeated each of his 10 opponents since, six times via submission.


UFC 229 Odds: Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes

Speaking of submissions, Ovince Saint Preux (23-11 lifetime, 11-6 UFC) knows several different ways to choke you out or make you tap. But he’ll have a hard time doing that to Dominick Reyes (9-0 lifetime, 3-0 UFC), who seems to be made of rubber. Reyes is the –200 UFC odds favorite in this fight; his MMA odds have held steady since the open. This is his first major fight inside the Octagon, and if he can put away the respected Saint Preux, Reyes will be on the short track towards getting a shot at Daniel Cormier’s Light Heavyweight belt.


Other UFC 229 Betting Odds 

If you’re serious about MMA, you’ll definitely want to catch both preliminary cards at UFC 229 as well as the main card. Former Lightweight contender Gray Maynard will be on Fight Pass facing Nik Lentz (–235). Then Sergio Pettis – Anthony’s younger brother – will make his case for a Flyweight title shot when he takes on Jussier Formiga (+135) on Fox Sports 1. Lines for all these fights are available right now at Bovada Sportsbook; keep an eye out as well for the full menu of UFC 229 prop bets as we get closer to October 6.


Bet on the UFC


How to Bet on the UFC: UFC Betting Explained

There was a time when boxing was the biggest combat sport in the world. These days, more people are betting on mixed martial arts – especially when it’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) putting on the show. This promotion has skyrocketed since its first pay-per-view card in 1993, back when it was no holds barred; new rules and regulations have turned the UFC into a sweet science all its own, allowing the company to spread across the globe. This UFC Betting 101 introduction will show you how to bet on MMA at Bovada Sportsbook, from basic wagers to simple strategies you can use to knock out your competition.


Betting on the UFC

The UFC holds dozens of events every year, with somewhere around a dozen fights on every card. The major events are pay-per-views, and smaller shows are aired on cable television and UFC Fight Pass; each card will feature a main event, often a title fight for one of the promotion’s 12 weight divisions, as well as a co-main event. Here are the different ways you can get in on the UFC betting action:


UFC Moneyline Betting

This has been the standard way to bet on combat sports for well over a century. UFC moneyline odds are a form of fixed-odds betting, where you choose one of the two fighters to win straight-up, no point spread attached. In North America, these odds are typically expressed using the American odds format. To better understand exactly what are UFC moneyline odds, let’s look at the famous August 2016 Welterweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202:

Diaz              +120
McGregor       –150

Unless it’s a pick’em, every fight has a favorite and an underdog. The favorite will always have a negative sign next to their MMA odds; in this matchup, McGregor was the –150 favorite, paying out $100 for every $150 wagered (smaller and larger bets are allowed). The underdog usually has a positive sign next to their odds, although that’s not always the case with two closely matched opponents. In this fight, Diaz was the +120 underdog, paying out $120 for every $100 wagered.


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UFC Parlay Betting

A parlay bet is a combination bet that lets you group together a number of individual moneyline wagers. If you get all your picks right, your payout increases exponentially, but if you get a single pick wrong, the parlay loses. You can put anywhere between two and 12 moneyline bets in your UFC parlays. The more lines you add, the higher the potential payout. So how do UFC parlay bets work? Let’s say you wanted to combine the McGregor-Diaz fight at UFC 202 with the co-main event, a Light Heavyweight bout between Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Glover Teixeira:

Teixeira           +175
Johnson           –225

Here, Johnson was the –225 favorite, while Teixeira was the +175 underdog. If you parlayed Johnson together with McGregor, congratulations: Both favorites won their fights. Betting $50 on each of them separately would have earned you $44.44 in profit, but since you parlayed them instead, you earned $140.74. You can calculate your potential payouts by multiplying the odds for each fight in your parlay, either by hand or with an online parlay calculator. Even better, Bovada Sportsbook will do the math for you when you’re filling out your bet slip.


UFC Futures Betting

If you’ve been stumped trying to figure out just what is a UFC futures bet, we’ve got you covered. In general, the UFC odds for each card will be made available well in advance, but every once in a while, speculative odds will be published for a fight that may or may not take place in the future. This can happen when two really big-name fighters appear to be on a collision course. If there’s enough interest in their potential fight, UFC futures odds will go up on the board. You’ll find them under “UFC Futures” when you open the UFC menu at Bovada Sportsbook.

Betting on UFC futures looks exactly the same as betting on the moneyline. There will be a favorite and an underdog, and the odds for each fighter will adjust depending on how much action they draw. Once their prospective fight is made official, those odds will be taken off the UFC futures board and put on the regular market.


UFC Prop Betting

Aside from the moneyline, UFC prop bets (short for proposition bets) are the most popular way to bet on MMA’s most popular promotion. Rather than picking a straight-up winner, UFC props ask you to wager on things like method of victory (KO/TKO/DQ, submission or decision), and whether the fight will go OVER or UNDER a certain number of rounds.

Much like the Super Bowl, betting on UFC props can be both fun and profitable. The more popular the fight, the more props you’ll have at your disposal; you might be able to bet on whether a fighter will win during a specific round, or whether they’ll win by unanimous decision. Don’t forget to look for these props anytime you’re considering a bet on the UFC.


UFC Betting Tips

Think you know your way around the Octagon better than most people? If you’ve been following the sport for some time, you’ve probably developed a solid base of knowledge that can help you beat the UFC odds. But even if you’re betting on MMA for the first time, you can gain an advantage by remembering two simple rules of thumb:

Everything You Need To Know About Betting on The UFC

1. Styles make fights. Every UFC fighter comes from a certain MMA background. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is common, but a well-rounded practitioner will bring other martial arts to the table, be it wrestling, boxing, karate, Muay Thai, sambo, judo, or other forms. Ideally, your chosen fighter will be strong in the two basic elements of MMA: striking, and grappling. They’ll also be strong on both offense and defense. If you see a fighter who’s gifted at ground-and-pound going up against someone who isn’t skilled at defending from underneath, that’s a mismatch that you can take advantage of.

2. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. There are 12 different weight classes in the UFC: eight male, and four female. The lightest division is Women’s Strawweight (up to 115 pounds), and the heaviest is Heavyweight (male, 206-265 pounds). As a rule, the lighter divisions have more of their fights end in decision, while the heavier classes will see more knockouts. You can use this knowledge, combined with the styles and past records of each fighter, to take advantage of the UFC props. For example, a Women’s Strawweight bout will end in a decision roughly 70% of the time; put two defensive strikers in the Octagon together, and a decision becomes even more likely.


Because the UFC has become so popular, detailed biographies of most fighters are available on the internet, showing their MMA backgrounds, which belts they’ve been awarded, and the results for all their previous fights – both in MMA and other combat sports. A little research will go a long way in helping you make sharper UFC picks. In the meantime, you now have everything you need to get started betting on the UFC. For more information, check out the FAQ and Help guide at Bovada Sportsbook, and feel free to contact Customer Service if you need further assistance.


*Odds as of September 10, 2018