UFC 229 Betting: Khabib vs. McGregor Odds

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The long wait is almost over. It’s been nearly two years since we last saw Conor McGregor inside the Octagon, with both the UFC Featherweight and Lightweight belts draped over his shoulders. McGregor had both belts taken away due to inactivity, but he can win back the Lightweight title on Saturday, October 6 when he faces Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 229, live on pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


McGregor (21-3 lifetime, 9-1 UFC) just might be the most popular MMA fighter of all-time, but here’s something we’ve hardly ever seen before: “The Notorious One” as the underdog. At press time, the UFC 229 fight odds have Nurmagomedov (26-0 lifetime, 10-0 UFC) priced at –155. But the Khabib-McGregor odds are trending in the former champ’s direction; McGregor opened at +140 in early August, moved to +150 in early betting, and is now available at +125. He might even be the favorite before bell time.



UFC 229 Odds: Why Bet on Khabib Nurmagomedov

For McGregor, the UFC 229 betting odds are a simple case of “What have you done for me lately?” As much as the Irishman’s legend has grown over the past five years, while he was busy earning nine figures fighting (and losing to) Floyd Mayweather Jr. inside the squared circle, Nurmagomedov was holding court inside the Octagon. “The Eagle” ran his lifetime MMA record to 26-0 with back-to-back decisions over Edson Barboza and Al Iaquinta, easily beating the latter to win the vacant Lightweight championship.


There aren’t many fighters who can match Nurmagomedov’s accomplishments. Before he made his UFC debut in 2012, the Russian native was a champion in both pankration and Combat Sambo. Nurmagomedov comes from both a fighting family and a fighting culture in Dagestan; he started training under his father Abdulmanap at age 8, and his cousin Abubakar is a welterweight in the Professional Fighters League. Nurmagomedov was born to do this. McGregor rather played soccer as a kid before taking up boxing at age 12.



UFC 229 Odds: Why Bet on Conor McGregor

Having said that, McGregor has grown by leaps and bounds since then. He fell in with the right people when he started training under John Kavanagh 10 years ago at Straight Blast Gym. Kavanagh is an Irish MMA pioneer, with 2nd-degree Black belts in both karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu; that versatility has been passed down to his students, including both McGregor and Gunnar Nelson. Their hybrid fighting style is very difficult to prepare for.


The Khabib vs. McGregor odds may also be giving Nurmagomedov too much credit. He’s proven himself worthy against second-tier competition, but “The Eagle” has yet to face any of the topmost fighters in the Lightweight division. McGregor, on the other hand, has tested himself against the best of the best – and continues to push the envelope. Fighting Nate Diaz twice in the Welterweight division, and even facing Mayweather, have given McGregor broad and valuable big-fight experience that Nurmagomedov still lacks.



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More UFC 229 Fight Lines: Online Betting Breakdown

The McGregor-Nurmagomedov fight may overshadow the rest of the UFC 229 card, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t tune in right from the get-go. The early preliminaries begin at 4:30 PM ET on UFC Fight Pass, where you’ll see former Lightweight contender Gray Maynard (+175) take on Nik Lentz in what should be an excellent grappling display. Then it’s on to Fox Sports 1 at 6:30 PM, and an important Flyweight matchup between No. 2-ranked Sergio Pettis (–170) and No. 5 Jussier Formiga.


The main card at 10 PM is stacked with five must-see fights, including the co-main event between Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (older brother to Sergio) and Tony Ferguson. Recent action on Ferguson has driven his price up to –360 on the UFC 229 odds; he’s the former interim Lightweight champion, but Ferguson missed his latest chance to fight Nurmagomedov after suffering a knee injury and was stripped of the belt. If he beats Pettis as expected, Ferguson will presumably get his title shot against whomever wins the main event.







How to Bet on UFC 229: UFC Betting Explained 

In case you’re new to betting on the UFC, or you just need a refresher, here’s a quick look at how things work. Most of the UFC 229 betting action will be on the moneyline, where you pick one of the two fighters to win straight-up. Nurmagomedov is the –170 favorite in the main event, meaning that for every $170 you wager, you’ll win $100 if the champ gets the victory. It doesn’t have to be exactly $170 – you can bet $17 to win $10, or $100 to win $58.82. As the +140 underdog, McGregor will pay out $140 for every $100 wagered, provided he wins the fight. In the rare event of a draw or No Contest/No Decision, all bets will be returned.


There are many other ways to bet on UFC 229. As we get closer to bell time, odds will be listed for how many rounds the major fights on the card will last; you can bet Over or Under the posted total. You can parlay moneylines and/or totals together for a combo bet that will pay out handsomely if all your picks come true. And don’t forget about the many UFC 229 prop bets we can expect to see for Khabib vs. McGregor. Millions of people will be watching, and anytime you get that many people involved, the betting action is bound to be hot and heavy.



Khabib vs. McGregor Betting: What You Need to Know

Before we wrap up, here are a few things to keep in mind as October 6 draws near:

- There are 10 different UFC 229 prop bets available at press time for McGregor-Nurmagomedov; the champion is a slight –105 favorite to win inside the distance.

- Mayweather has announced he will face Manny Pacquiao again sometime shortly, so any thought of him taking on McGregor inside the Octagon is a non-issue for now.

- McGregor’s only other UFC fight as the underdog was three years ago against Jose Aldo, who was the slight favorite at –125 after opening at +115.

- Nurmagomedov was also the underdog just once: in 2012, against Gleison Tibau (–170).

- Nurmagomedov is both the first Russian and first Muslim to win a UFC title.

- McGregor still faces a lawsuit over his promotional team’s April 5 attack of a bus containing Nurmagomedov and several other fighters.

- McGregor became a father for the first time on May 5, 2017. Nurmagomedov has two children, a daughter and a son.

- Nurmagomedov has earned just one performance bonus in the UFC, for his victory over Barboza. McGregor has earned nine bonuses in 10 UFC fights.



Khabib-McGregor Betting Tips

Most of the people who’ll be betting on UFC 229 will simply bet a small sum on their favorite fighters for a little added entertainment. McGregor is obviously one of the most popular athletes on the planet, so there’s a very good chance his odds will get shorter as October 7 draws near. The more money there is on one fighter, the more the odds will adjust, encouraging people to bet the other side and keep the action balanced for easy bookkeeping.


Knowing this ahead of time can help you time your wagers to get the best value possible. If you like McGregor, it might be a good idea to get your money in now, before the betting public wades in. If you like Nurmagomedov, you might want to wait closer to fight night – but not too close, because that’s when the wiseguys will likely jump back in and put big money down on the champion. Either way, get ready for the biggest fight the UFC has seen in quite some time, and stay tuned to Bovada Sportsbook for fresh UFC 229 odds and analysis.



*Odds as of September 28, 2018


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