UFC 252: Breaking Down the Best Value Picks for Gamblers

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2020

UFC 252: Breaking Down the Best Value Picks for Gamblers

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    It's being hailed as the biggest UFC heavyweight title fight in history, and that means there will be plenty of betting interest in the upcoming main event battle at UFC 252 between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former champ Daniel Cormier.

    That's why Bleacher Report compiled another big list of great value picks for gamblers to consider heading into UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Click through to read our good, better and best bets for the entire card, and be sure to leave your own best bets in the comments below.

Good Value

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    Is Marlon Vera likely to snag the win against Sean O'Malley?
    Is Marlon Vera likely to snag the win against Sean O'Malley?Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    You either believe bantamweight phenom Sean O'Malley is the next Conor McGregor or you don't.

    If you do believe that, then backing O'Malley at -310 is a bet of good value despite the limited return because the probability O'Malley beats Marlon Vera is much greater than the implied one given by the odds.

    At -310, the chances are that O'Malley beats Vera 75.6% of the time or roughly three out of every four times they fight.

    Look, Vera is absolutely the right kind of opponent for O'Malley from a UFC perspective. He's a tough competitor with a 9-5 record in the UFC. But the 12-0 across all MMA promotions O'Malley is simply on another level.

    He probably beats a fighter like Vera 80% or 90% of the time, so backing O'Malley is the right move for UFC 252.

    Back O'Malley by any method at -310 (bet $100 to win $32.30)

Better Value

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    Is Stipe Miocic really the favorite against Daniel Cormier?
    Is Stipe Miocic really the favorite against Daniel Cormier?Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    In my opinion, Miocic at -105 is a real steal here. Miocic is arguably the greatest UFC heavyweight fighter in history. He's physically larger than Cormier. He's four years younger. He stays in better shape than his opponent year-round.

    Sure, it's an interesting fight because of what happened the first two times, but even looking back at those fights it seems like Cormier might be a tad overconfident heading into the rubber match.

    The first fight was a first-round knockout for Cormier. Miocic was caught with a punch from close range that he never saw coming and that was it.

    But Miocic didn't let that happen the second time around. He used his reach and kept Cormier from employing the same kind of dirty boxing tactics he used in the first fight.

    Finally, Cormier had a lot of success during the first three rounds of the rematch only to be stopped in the fourth round by some wicked body shots.

    Some have suggested Cormier simply got tired in the fight and that his conditioning will be better this time around.

    What I'm suggesting is that Miocic is simply the bigger, better and more resilient fighter who will take punishment just like he always does in title fights and ultimately prevail by the end of it.

    Back Miocic by any method at -105 (bet $100 to win $95.20)

Best Value

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    Will Junior Dos Santos knock Jair Rozenstruik down a level?
    Will Junior Dos Santos knock Jair Rozenstruik down a level?Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Call me crazy, but I've never been on the Jair Rozenstruik bandwagon.

    Sure, the 32-year-old Surinamese striker adds some fun to the heavyweight division in general, but I've never bought into the idea that Rozenstruik was on his way to seriously compete as one of the division's elite contenders.

    Rozenstruik was getting beat by Alistair Overeem in December 2019 before he amazingly pulled off that last-second stoppage.

    That earned the cocky Rozenstruik a date with uncrowned heavyweight king Francis Ngannou, and "The Predator" wrecked him in just a few seconds.

    All that to say that Rozenstruik's stock is finally falling to its logical place, and former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos will be the fighter who ultimately turns him into a penny buy.

    Dos Santos has lost two straight fights but it came against Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes.

    Now Dos Santos, 36, gets the chance to derail Rozenstruik's career, and he'll likely do it based on his superb striking and overall more well-rounded fight game.

    Back Dos Santos by any method at +125 (bet $100 to win $125)

Bonus Big-Money Pick

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    Is this upset your big-money bet for the night?
    Is this upset your big-money bet for the night?Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Value bets aren't the only way to make money betting on UFC cards. Heck, they're not even the most fun way. In fact, sometimes it's most entertaining to simply take a flier on a big underdog in hopes of a larger score.

    Obviously, you have to be careful about who you are backing in a such a fight and why you're backing them, but so long as you have good reasons in your head about why a big-money play might hit, it's not a bad idea to take a small portion of your overall stake and put it behind a live dog.

    For UFC 252, Ion Cutelaba was the fighter who met that criteria. "The Hulk" is a 26-year-old Moldovan who fights angry and mean. While it's true his opponent Magomed Ankalaev was a hotly touted 28-year-old Russian prospect that seems like he was on his way up the ladder, and similarly correct in the equation is that Ankalaev appeared to be winning the first fight back in February before the referee stopped it to award the win to him via stoppage, it's also true that Cutebala should have been allowed to continue and seems to have been luring his prey in for the kill.

    That's why there's an immediate rematch, so I wasn't going to be super surprised to see the cagey underdog score an epic upset this time around.

    But all that got thrown out the window when Cutelaba had to drop off the card due to testing postivie for COVID-19. 

    Now, the card's underdogs are a hard group to back.

    If you absolutely have to take a big risk for fun this weekend at UFC 252, back Felice Herrig over Verna Jandroba and hope the American grind out a decision with her kickboxing skills. 

    Back Herrig by any method at +250 (bet $100 to win $250)


    Odds via Caesars Palace on 8/11/2020. Unless otherwise noted, all stats via UFC Record Book.