I’ve already given you my prediction and betting advice for the main event at UFC 218 (Aldo vs Holloway). Now that the moneylines and props are out for the rest of the card, it’s time for a UFC 218 deep dive.
Which underdogs have value? Which fights should bettors avoid? How can you put together a potentially lucrative parlay from the fights on tap? Let’s take a look.
There is no big ‘dog calling out to me at UFC 218. But there is one man on this card who could defy some relatively steep odds.
Francis Ngannou (-270) vs. Alistair Overeem (+230)
Alistair Overeem might get merked by a bigger and more powerful puncher in Francis Ngannou, but at +230, he is worth throwing a few pennies at. Normally I would put this fight in the stay-away category, but this is a big test for Ngannou, a man who really hasn’t been tested yet.
Overeem is a veteran of the sport and, although his chin might be suspect, he has one of the best fight IQs in the heavyweight division. His in-cage smarts and technical kickboxing ability could give us a big upset along with a nice profit. Don’t go crazy on this, though. Ngannou deserves to be favored, just not by this much. Overeem is worth a small bet.
Felice Herrig (-140) vs. Cortney Casey (+110)
Cortney Casey isn’t a huge dog, but her +105 moneyline would still net you a decent return and/or boost a parlay. Both fighters have looked solid, but stylistically, Casey seems to have the size and strength to give Herrig problems. The only woman who has been able to match Casey’s physicality was Claudia Gadelha and that woman is one of the best in the division. If Casey can pour on the pressure, she could overwhelm Herrig and pick up a small upset win here. Again, don’t go crazy and throw down your whole bankroll, but Casey is worth a couple of shekels.
This card has a lot of what I call Amy Winehouse Fights (no, no, no!) with live dogs and too many unpredictable variables. As mentioned, Ngannou vs. Overeem would normally fall in this category, but you didn’t come here just to be told to stay away from every fight on the card. Overreem is simply the best underdog play from a lackluster litter.
Justin Gaethje (-175) vs. Eddie Alvarez (+155)
For the most part, the odds on this bout are realistic and, although this could be an entertaining war to watch, there is not much value in betting on either of these two men. Right now, I have Gaethje as the favorite to win, but the 63.6% implied probability carried by his -175 odds is a little too high, while Alvarez at +155 (39.2% implied probability) is basically bang-on. I see this as a 60/40 fight. So, to make it a smart bet, you’d want to get Alvarez at around +185. So enjoy this fight, but avoid betting on it. If you do want to wager on it, have a look at the props.
- David Teymur (-175) vs. Drakkar Klose (+155)
- Razak Alhassan (-240) vs. Sabah Homasi (+200)
- Alex Oliveira (-200) vs. Yancy Medeiros (+170)
The Best Prop Bets
Paul Felder vs Charles Oliveira: won’t start round 3 (-145)
This card has the potential to be bananas, so when in Rome! This matchup has violent finish written all over it, and this prop gives you some solid value. The same goes for the following prop: Justin Gaethje vs. Eddie Alvarez vs : “won’t start round 3” (-134). I’m tempted to make a small wager on both.
Felice Herrig vs Cortney Casey: over 2.5 rounds (-225)
Playing the over in the women’s division is statistically a very safe bet. I’m not sure about betting on this straight up, but it could add legs to a parlay. In this fight, we have two game competitors who are both extremely durable and technically sound. Although I see Casey pulling the slight upset in this fight, I don’t see her finishing.
The Parlay Play
I’m not overly confident in any outcome for the top four fights on the main card. I won’t be including them in any of my UFC 218 parlays. That doesn’t leave us much to pick from, but we can still build a solid parlay from the remaining fights.
I like Tecia Torres (-250) beating Michelle Waterson; she is a little bundle of fury who mixes a frantic pace with high-level wrestling. So let’s start with Torres and add another favorite in Justin Willis (-225) who also has the grappling skills to pay the bills. Willis has 20 pounds on Allen Crowder, who has shown that he has a limited gas tank that’s liable to run out mid-fight.
Those two favorites make for a nice two-fight parlay. But my favorite parlay for this card is those two plus Cortney Casey as a small underdog.
Tecia Torres (-250) + Justin Willis (-225) + Courtney Casey (+110): Bet $100 = $324.70 (Bovada)