Today marks a turning point in our long-awaited return to normalcy, at least in terms of wagering on sports. The UFC is back and takes center stage with an all night Saturday sweat. This is the first major American sporting event to take place since the Coronavirus lockdown upended our world nearly two months ago.
But the event isn't immune from controversy.
Late Friday night, news surfaced that Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza tested positive for coronavirus, along with two of his cornermen. Souza was set to face off against Uriah Hall, but the bout was canceled. Souza is now in quarantine. The other fighters tested negative, so UFC 249 will continue with 11 bouts at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The preliminary card begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN and the main card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view only.
Many action-thirsty bettors will be looking to get in on the fun today, but don't know where to start. Here are a few UFC betting tips to keep in mind.
If you've never been on UFC, get ready. It's one of the most intense, violent and action packed events to wager on. The most popular bet type for UFC is the moneyline. This is the classic straight up wager on who will win the fight.
The second most popular bet type is the over/under round total. It's pretty simple: You are betting on how long the fight will last.
Preliminary bouts can go up to three rounds, so most totals are set at 1.5 or 2.5. Championship or main event bouts usually last five rounds, so the totals can be up to 4.5. If you think it will "go the distance" (meaning all five rounds), you would bet the over.
The next most popular bet type if the method of victory bet. Here, you can bet on which fighter will win and by what method: Either submission, knockout/technical knockout (TKO), or decision.
In the top showdown of the night, Tony Ferguson (26-3) faces Justin Gaethje (21-2) for the lightweight interim title. Originally this fight was supposed to be Ferguson against Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Khabib was unable to fight due to travel restrictions so Gaethje has taken his place.
Ferguson, 36, is riding a 12-fight win straight and hasn't lost a bout in eight years. Of his 25 wins, 12 have come by knockout, 8 by submission and 5 by decision.
Gaethje, 31, known as "The Highlight," started his career a perfect 18-0 before losing a pair of bouts in a row in 2017 and 2018. He has since won three straight. Of his 21 wins, 18 have been by way of knockout, with one submission and two decisions.
The public is all over Ferguson with two-thirds of bets taking "El Cucuy" to win on the moneyline. As a result, Ferguson has moved from a roughly -170 favorite to -200, while Gaethje has fallen from + 150 to + 176. It may not be a long fight, either. The total opened at 2.5 rounds with even -110 juice on both sides but now the under 2.5 is being juiced up to -160.
More line movement
Ryan Spann -400 to -445 vs Sam Alvey
Greg Hardy -195 to -211 vs Yorgan De Castro
Calvin Kattar -252 to -275 vs Jeremy Stephens
Michelle Waterson + 130 to + 120 vs Carla Esparza