How to Bet UFC Parlays

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Conor McGregor of Ireland (L) and Dustin Poirier exchange blows in the first round. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

Mixed Martial Arts and particularly the UFC, are slowly becoming the most bet-on combat sport globally. Its sheer volume of Fight Night events and monthly pay-per-views has garnered millions of fans worldwide. Key figures of the sport like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and the UFC President himself, Dana White, have assisted the sport in becoming a top player in the rating battle that subsequently generate viewership.

Behind a high volume of sports fandom, you should always see the betting markets and sportsbooks that create them creeping behind – and MMA is no different. But unlike most popular American sports such as NBA Basketball or NFL football, the betting markets supply different values and ethics that have created a new field of sports handicapping that requires sufficient research.

The average American sports bettor often leans towards betting against or for the spread (ATS), but spread betting does not exist in an organization like the UFC. Your typical moneyline wagers are available, but because MMA fights can often release a significant amount of juiced betting lines, handicappers find themselves staking a high percentage of their bankroll to receive a small profit. This is where UFC parlays become a game-changer.

Most professional handicappers would disagree that parlays are sufficient to create a long-term profitable bankroll, and they aren’t wrong. However, mixed martial arts is the exception and can sometimes be the most romantic method of wagering on MMA.

Parlays Are Different in MMA

Sure, spread betting parlays is widely known to cause more damage than good. But from my personal experience, utilizing the UFC moneyline markets within a parlay can generate a comfortable long-term profit.

A bettor usually combines single bets into a parlay to multiply their UFC odds – the payout is derived from the odds of individual bets. The most common mistake is when bettors become greedy; MMA can be a volatile sport with slight favourites –I would always suggest that two legs per parlay should be a limit.

Heavy favourites in MMA have been highly reliable despite its mentioned volatility. With the correct dedication to researching each singular fight, combining a heavy favourite (-300 and above) with a slight to considerable favorite (-130 to -200) has personally lifted my long-term profits. This isn’t to say you can randomly select two fighters and expect positive outcomes – you must dedicate yourself to finding the perfect plays.

When fighters are gifted with -300 odds or above, their expected probability of winning is high for a reason. Of course, upsets do happen from time to time, but sportsbooks aren’t uneducated in this department. Fighters assigned with unattractive odds are usually dominant in their performances. When finding a heavy favorite and combining them with a slight favorite, you’re relying on the slight/moderate favorite to win. The difference-maker is the odds; looking for even odds of +100 or above when combining two fighters is my personal favorite practice.

While the risk is always higher with parlay betting because anyone loses means an overall loss, it can still be worthwhile if your opinions on the individual fighters are strong.

Parlay Calculators and Implied Probability

A common misconception is that parlay betting in the UFC always gives a better more risk; this is not the case. In my example of combining two fighters for a parlay wager, despite relying on ontwo fighters to win, if the implied probability is the same as one single fighter, then your risk to reward hasn’t altered all that much. Utilizing a parlay calculator can assist bettors in understanding the implied probability that their parlay is offering.

Example: Fighter A is priced at -275, and Fighter B is priced at -170. When you combine both fighters into a parlay, the newly instated odds would be around+100. This Is a 50% implied probability and isn’t different from betting on one single fighter at +100 odds – the 50% probability doesn’t alter because you’ve chosen two fighters; you are simply combining a selection of fighters who technically have a greater chance of winning in the first place.

The most crucial aspect of constructing your parlay bets is to get creative and know your craft. Certain fighters aren’t deserving of their -300 odds, and sometimes the bookmaker can over/undervalue a fighter. Oddsmakers are human, human error is expected, so understanding martial arts and the fighters involved is imperative. Randomly selecting favorites to win will only damage your growth as a bettor but will hurt your long-term return on investment on your UFC picks.