UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw Main Card Betting Odds and Predictions

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw Main Card Betting Odds and Predictions

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    TIM LARSEN/Associated Press

    The UFC is heading back to the fight capital of the world for UFC 173—Las Vegas.

    Headlining the latest offering will be a bantamweight championship bout between No. 4-ranked TJ Dillashaw and champion Renan Barao.

    Barao has been dominant in recent years. He is on a 22-fight win streak and is unbeaten in his last 33 fights. Has fighting the cream of the crop limited his finishing abilities? Absolutely not. He has finished his opponents in each of his title defenses.

    Dillashaw comes in winning five of his last six bouts, and his lone loss in that span was a contentious decision to No. 2-ranked Raphael Assuncao that earned Fight of the Night honors.

    Also in action, Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier battle it out in a light heavyweight title eliminator.

    The goal with these previews is to help you make informed decisions, not to give you the biggest underdogs. No one wants you to toss money away. If you do just want to toss a few bones and have fun, I've included a parlay opportunity at the end.

    Ready to break down your betting chances for UFC 173? Here we go.

    All odds provided by BestFightOdds.com.

Jamie Varner (-185) vs. James Krause (+150)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    I'll preface this fight by saying that I don't think you can go wrong with a small play on either fighter. Whomever you feel more comfortable with is fine. The odds are close enough to where a play for either man will work.

    I lean Krause.

    No, it's not because he's an underdog and that will pay a little more, but I think his overall ability can get him past Varner.

    Varner's back will be against the wall, and in spite of losing two straight he has looked decent. I believe he will be a bit too comfortable on his feet, and that will allow Krause to implement some grappling to score points. Should it stay on the feet, Krause has the ability to catch him as well.

    This matchup is all about your comfort level. Either way, don't get too overzealous. This fight is only worth a small play from you.

    Prediction: James Krause

    The Play: A small play on Krause

Takeya Mizugaki (-175) vs. Francisco Rivera (+145)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The bantamweight clash between Takeya Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera may be the most intriguing on the card, and that makes deciding a play difficult.

    This is a fairly even matchup between the No. 6- and No. 10-ranked contenders, respectively. However, I will give a slight edge to the underdog.

    Mizugaki loves a good, old-fashioned brawl, and he does get hit frequently. If this is a brawl, the statistics favor Rivera.

    FightMetric has Mizugaki landing only 37 percent of his strikes, and his defense is only at 58 percent. Rivera bests him in both stats at 44 percent accuracy, and 68 percent defense. Add in Rivera's knockout power and I think this bout is ripe for an upset.

    I would not go crazy big on Rivera, but a moderate play would be the best route.

    Prediction: Francisco Rivera

    The Play: A moderate play on Rivera will suffice

Robbie Lawler (-230) vs. Jake Ellenberger (+180)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    This could be the fight to make a sizable play.

    No. 1-ranked contender Robbie Lawler takes on No. 5-ranked Jake Ellenberger in a fight that is largely flying under the radar.

    I see this fight playing out in one of two ways. First, Ellenberger plays it safe and wrestles with Lawler. If you think that is how the fight will go, getting Ellenberger at plus-180 is a nice play. However, I think it will go a different direction.

    Ellenberger has fallen in love with his power, but he is not the best striker. Lawler will take advantage of this.

    I love Lawler in this fight, and I love getting him at minus-230. You may even want to wait closer to fight day before making the play. We could see the odds get closer to minus-200. I feel comfortable with Lawler in this matchup.

    Prediction: Robbie Lawler

    The Play: Bank on Lawler

Dan Henderson (+525) vs. Daniel Cormier (-850)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Dan Henderson is a legend in this sport, and he finds himself at plus-525. What does that tell you?

    Daniel Cormier is the biggest favorite on the entire card. That is rather astonishing considering who he is fighting, but it is not out of line. There is very little chance that Henderson can win this fight. It is a great stylistic matchup for Cormier.

    Henderson's "H-Bomb" of a right hand may entice you to make a small play on him, but realize that he is unlikely to land the shot.

    Cormier has improved his striking and striking defense a lot since making his debut. His head movement and footwork is far superior to that of Henderson's. He will be able to see Henderson's big right hand coming from a mile away.

    There is not enough of a realistic shot for Henderson to pull off the upset to make a play on him.

    Prediction: Daniel Cormier

    The Play: Keep your wallet in your pocket

Renan Barao (-800) vs. TJ Dillashaw (+500)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    There is very little value in the main event. The only value is on Dillashaw, but his chance to upend the champion is limited at best.

    Barao handled Dillashaw's teammate Urijah Faber not once, but twice. Faber is a far better fighter than Dillashaw. That is to give you some perspective on Dillashaw's title chances this weekend. The odds are accurate.

    If you believe to your core that Dillashaw will win, then the plus-500 odds are tempting. I just don't see it.

    Barao has shown the ability to thwart the style that Dillashaw will bring into the cage. Barao is one of the largest favorites on the card because this seems like a one-sided fight on paper. The list of fighters who can challenge him at 135 is very short, and Dillashaw is not on it.

    Stay away from this fight. There is no margin to get suitable return on your investment.

    Prediction: Renan Barao

    The Play: Avoid this fight.


    Fun Full-Card Parlay: Sam Sicilia, Dave Michaud, Anthony Njokuani, Al Iaquinta, Chris Holdsworth, Tony Ferguson, Michael Chiesa, James Krause, Francisco Rivera, Robbie Lawler, Daniel Cormier, Renan Barao