With the Coronavirus causing mass postponements and cancellations across almost all major sports, bettors are left scratching their heads wondering what is left to wager on. Luckily, one sport is still up and running and taking in bets: the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
On Thursday, UFC president Dana White told ESPN, "Instead of panicking, we're actually getting out there and working with doctors, health officials and the government to figure out how we keep the sport safe and how we can continue to put on events."
Saturday's Fight Night 170 features at 12-bout card and takes places at Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil. It will be a closed door event with no fans in the stands due to Coronavirus concerns. However, it will be broadcast live on ESPN (3 p.m. ET/Noon PT). It's expected to get an influx of casual betting since it's the only game in town.
Even if you aren't familiar with UFC betting, you can still monitor line movement to pinpoint where sharp action is going. In some ways, locating smart money in a sport like UFC is easier because it's an overlooked market and oddsmakers are only moving numbers due to smart money.
Also, when betting UFC be sure to shop for the best line. Since it's predominantly a moneyline sport, different books will offer different lines. The discrepancies can be vast. As a result, no matter who you end up betting on, make sure you have multiple outs and get the best number. Some books may list a favorite at -150 while others offer -145 or -160. By shopping around and betting the favorite at the book listed -145 you just saved yourself five to 10 cents. As always, the key is minimizing your risk and maximizing your reward.
For more sports betting analysis and updates, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 9-11 a.m. ET on The Lombardi Line. Yes, we are still broadcasting live! We'll be breaking down all the latest moves and sharp betting angles for Saturday's action.
Until then, let's discuss a trio of Saturday Fight Night bouts receiving smart money from respected pro bettors.
Damir Hadzovic (13-5) vs. Renato Moicano (13-3-1)
This lightweight fight is on the main card. Moicano is fighting in his backyard as a native Brazilian while Hadzovic and Herzegovina. Moicano enjoys a 2-inch height advantage (5-11 vs 5-9) while Hadzovic is a bit heavier (155 pounds vs 145). Moicano is also three years younger (30 vs 33). Moicano opened as a -350 favorite. Pros aren't worried by the the big favorite price and have gotten down on Moicano, pushing the line up to -375. Hadzovic has moved from + 260 to + 277. We've also seen some smart money hit the over. The total rounds opened at 2.5 with even -110 juice and has moved to over 2.5 at -175.
Amanda Ribas (8-1) vs. Randa Markos (10-8-1)
This Women's Strawweight preliminary card matchup features one of the biggest lines of the night. Ribas is a hometown phenom from Brazili while Markos hails from Iraq. Both fighters are identical in terms of size (5-4 and 115 pounds). The one big difference is their age gap. Ribas is only 26 years old while Markos is 34. Ribas has a slightly longer reach (66 inches vs 63.5). Ribas opened as a massive -345 favorite and has since been bet up to -365, signaling pro money laying the big moneyline price in her favor. Markos has moved from + 258 to + 270. Sharp money also expects at least three rounds in this one. The total rounds opened at 2.5 with even -110 juice on both sides but has moved to 2.5 over -330.
Kevin Lee (18-5) vs Charles Oliveira (28-8)
This lightweight fight is the main event on Saturday night. Lee is the visiting American while Oliveira hails from Brazil and enjoys home octagon advantage. Both fighters are 5-8, but Lee is younger (27 vs. 30), heavier (177 vs.155) and has a longer reach (77 inches vs 74). This line opened with Lee listed as a -140 favorite and sharp money has pushed the line up to -155. Oliveira has moved from + 110 to + 125. Oliveira has won six straight fights coming into this bout. We've also seen wiseguys get down on the under. The total rounds opened at 2.5 with even -110 juice on both sides but has since moved to 2.5 under at -155.