UFC 124 Picks and Betting Predictions St. Pierre vs. Koscheck
by Trevor Whenham - 12/10/2010
UFC returns to Montreal - an obviously successful location for them - for the fourth time since UFC 83 in April of 2008 on Saturday, Dec.11 for UFC 124. Interestingly, UFC 83 was where heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez made his UFC debut. This is the second time that Georges St. Pierre -- perhaps the area’s most popular athlete right now - headlines one of those cards. At UFC 83 he got his revenge on Matt Serra in convincing fashion.
For UFC 123 I invested a mythical $500 bankroll on the fights. I wound up with a whopping profit of $12.50. We’ll do the same this time, with hopes that the profit can buy us more than a burger and a beer.
Here’s how the main card breaks down (all odds are from Bodog) with my UFC picks and betting predictions (suggested $500 bet at the end of the article)::
Georges St. Pierre (-500) vs. Josh Koscheck (+300)
These two have met once before - St. Pierre won a unanimous decision at UFC 74. That fight wasn’t close.
The excuse for the fight this time around is that the two have been coaching on “The Ultimate Fighter 12”. Really, though, it’s happening because Koscheck is as close to a fitting opponent for the best fighter in the UFC that there is right now.
Handicapping this one presents a real challenge. St. Pierre is obviously the favorite according to those odds, and the odds aren’t particularly inaccurate here. The challenge, then, is to determine whether Koscheck’s chances of pulling off what would be a massive upset are big enough to make his odds profitable over the long term.
To win Koscheck will have to do what Serra did the last time St. Pierre lost - fearlessly go for broke. If Kos holds anything back then St. Pierre will exploit him and win the fight. Kos needs to take risks to try to do something that will hurt St. Pierre early and set the tone for the fight. That’s his only chance. It’s a reasonably slim chance, though, and that means that a bet on Koscheck is a big gamble - more of a gamble than I am interested in taking.
I can’t get too excited about betting on any fighter at odds of -500, but if I was then the pick in this fight would be very clear.
Pick: Georges St. Pierre.
Thiago Alves (-280) vs. John Howard (+220)
The biggest advantage that Howard has here is that Alves has to cut a ridiculous amount of weight to get down to the 170-pound limit for this fight. That could have an impact on his stamina.
The problem, though, is that Alves is a big puncher who uses his size to his advantage, and he is dangerous in so many more ways than Howard is.
Howard will put up a good fight, and there is a good chance that this will be fight of the night. However, in the end Alves has too much going for him not to be the clear choice.
Pick: Thiago Alves
Stefan Struve (-150) vs. Sean McCorkle (+120)
Struve is an oddity - he’s only 22, yet he already has six UFC fights under his belt. He has had some solid success, but I find the young heavyweight just ridiculous to watch - he’s six-foot-11 and really scrawny, so he looks more like a flamingo than a killer.
McCorkle is no midget himself - he’s six-foot-seven. This is just his second UFC fight, but his debut at UFC 119 was an impressive one. Unlike most opponents McCorkle won’t be totally overwhelmed by Struve’s height, and he is much thicker and stronger.
I just don’t think that Struve is a physical match here.
Pick: Sean McCorkle
Charles Oliveira (-130) vs. Jim Miller (even)
With the merger of the UFC with the WEC, the lightweight division may very well be the most interesting and deepest division there is now. As a result, every fight for every promising fighter in the division is absolutely crucial - a loss could set them back significantly in their pursuit of a title shot.
Both of these guys are promising - Miller never quits, and Oliveira is undefeated in 14 career fights and was very impressive in his last win.
Miller has a lot to offer, but Oliveira is just plain more talented, and he’ll come out on top in this one.
Pick: Charles Oliveira
Joe Stevenson (-325) vs. Mac Danzig (+250)
This fight does little for me. Since winning TUF 6, Danzig has dropped four of six fights. Stevenson has dropped three of five. I’d say that Stevenson has a clear edge, but I certainly don’t care enough about the fight to bet at these odds.
Pick: Joe Stevenson
The $500 bankroll for this fight will again be split between two fights:
$260 on Charles Oliveira (-130)
$240 on Sean McCorkle (+120)
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