UFC 251: Breaking Down the Best Value Picks for Gamblers

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2020

UFC 251: Breaking Down the Best Value Picks for Gamblers

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    Will the champ retain his title at UFC 251?
    Will the champ retain his title at UFC 251?Mike Roach/Getty Images

    So you wanna score some dough betting on UFC fights.

    The good news is that backing fighters from your favorite combat sport is lots of fun. 

    The bad news is that winning those bets is way harder than you think.

    Lucky for you, Bleacher Report has compiled its list of the best value picks for gamblers heading into UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

    Click through to read our good, better and best bets, and leave your own in the comments below.

Good Value

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    There's a new featherweight champion, and he's not to be messed with.
    There's a new featherweight champion, and he's not to be messed with.Paul Kane/Getty Images

    Imagine being UFC featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski right about now. 

    The 31-year-old Australian has won 18 straight fights, including all eight of his UFC contests, but he sort of remains in a holding pattern because people just can't seem to wrap their heads around him being so much better than former champ Max Holloway already. 

    But Volkanovski dominated Holloway last year at UFC 245, and there's a great chance he'll look even better when they meet this time around. 

    Look, Holloway is a legend, but Volkanovksi is the legit boss at 145 right now. He's a physical marvel who somehow packs 220 pounds worth of power into his 145-pound frame, and he's a savvy competitor who looks like he'll reign atop the featherweight division for a long time.

    Good Bet: Back Volkanovski by any method at -220 (bet $100 to win $45.45)

Better Value

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    Andrade provides solid value at UFC 251.
    Andrade provides solid value at UFC 251.STR/Getty Images

    Everyone seems to love Rose Namajunas so much that she amazingly remains the favorite over the same fighter who just scored a massive slam knockout over her in her last fight. 

    That upset win at UFC 237 gave Jessica Andrade the UFC women's strawweight title, which she promptly lost in her next fight to rising powerhouse Weili Zhang. 

    So it would seem the UFC's thinking here is to put Namajunas in a spot where the 28-year-old American can right a perceived wrong and earn the next crack at the champ.

    I know Namajunas was winning the last fight against Andrade right up until she got splattered on the mat by the slam. But that's what Andrade's game is, and I think she might be able to do something similar to Namajunas on Fight Island.

    Better Bet: Back Andrade by any method at +175 (bet $100 to win $175)

Best Value

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    Masvidal is in prime position to pull a major upset.
    Masvidal is in prime position to pull a major upset.Mike Roach/Getty Images

    This is the part where I'm supposed to tell you to never back a fighter based on your feelings, but here I am tipping Jorge Masvidal to beat Kamaru Usman in the main event. 

    To make things super clear, the bet probably doesn't make sense from the data-driven model that bettors should almost always employ when making their picks. Usman's wrestling game is second to none at 170, and if you review his striking stats, you'll see he's actually as good or better than Masvidal in just about every important category. 

    But sometimes you just have to go with your gut. In fact, sometimes the price of the upset pick combines with the situational aspects of a fight to make that the right move. 

    At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

    Such is the case with Masvidal beating Usman on Fight Island. 

    Masvidal reinvented himself after successive losses in 2017. He's not nearly the same fighter he was in the past, and I think he has the right blend of power and prowess to score the upset win over Usman.

    Usman spent all camp preparing himself to face his original opponent, Gilbert Burns, this weekend. Something tells me Masvidal kept his training regime up with the sole purpose of being ready to face Usman next. 

    That's what will separate the fighters come fight night. When things get tough, Masdvial will rise to the occasion because he's remained entirely focused since his last fight at UFC 244 on taking that title belt away from Usman. 

    Best Bet: Back Masvidal by any method at +250

Bonus Big-Money Pick

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    Can VanZant score the shocker?
    Can VanZant score the shocker?Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    There's no way Paige VanZant should be priced at +650 against Amanda Ribas. Sure, Ribas is a rising contender who looks like the favorite heading into the fight, but Ribas at -1000 is just plain ridiculous. 

    VanZant is way too tough and experienced a fighter for a line like that. I'm not telling you to bet the house on VanZant scoring the epic upset. But what I am saying is you should take a small portion of the money you plan to bet this weekend and take a chance on VanZant hitting big.

    VanZant is a solid striker competing in what could be her last fight with the company. She's got nothing to lose. If she gets the chance to score the finish over Ribas, she'll do it.

    Bonus Big-Money Bet: Back VanZant by any method at +650


    Odds via Caesars Palace on 7/7/2020. Unless otherwise noted, all stats via UFC Record Book.