UFC 165 Odds and Betting Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 9/19/2013
The UFC heads back to Toronto again for UFC 165. The home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors will play host to not one but two title fights on Saturday night. The one everyone wants to see if the Light Heavyweight Championship between champ Jon Jones and giant contender Alexander Gustafsson. The co-headliner features Renan Barao defending his interim Bantamweight title against Eddie Wineland in a fight that was supposed to happen at UFC 161 but was delayed due to a foot injury from Barao.
Both title fights have the potential to be good, and they top a main card that is better than several we have seen recently. Here’s how the five fights on the main card break down (all odds are from Bovada):
Light Heavyweight championship - Jon Jones (-850) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+525)
With Anderson Silva out of the title picture, Jones is easily the second most hyped champion in the sport. These odds certainly suggest that the public is a big fan. Jones is clearly a formidable force and the deserving favorite. I don’t get much pleasure out of betting on a guy with odds like that, though. The question here, then, is whether Gustafsson stands enough of a chance to justify a gamble. The short answer is, sadly, probably not. Gustafsson is vulnerable on the ground — Phil Davis had him tapping out in less than one round at UFC 112 — and Jones is relentless and talented when it comes to getting the position he wants. If the fight were shorter, then the Swede could have a better chance of scoring some points and gaining an edge. In five rounds, though, there is just too much time for Jones to exert his superiority. That means that this fight isn’t really bettable — outside, perhaps, of some prop bets if you are desperate for some action.
Pick: Jon Jones
Bantamweight championship - Renan Barao (-700) vs. Eddie Wineland (+450)
Same question — can Wineland be trusted at his big price. Despite the injury situation for Barao, the answer is again no. Barao was very impressive last time out against Michael McDonald, and McDonald showed how talented he is with a dominating win next time out. Wineland has skills, but Barao has beaten better and is well-positioned to do so again. Again, though, I don’t see this fight as particularly bettable.
Pick: Renan Barao
Heavyweight - Matt Mitrione (-120) vs. Brendan Schaub (-110)
Mitrione is 35 years old and has yet to really establish himself in a serious way in the UFC. I hate to pick on guys younger than me, but Mitrione is getting old, and it has shown. He has some game still, but I just can’t justify his favoritism here. Schaub has won five of seven, and the two losses are somewhat respectable. He has a better range of tools, is younger, and has more good experience. He gets the clear edge in this one.
Pick: Brendan Schaub
Middleweight - Costas Philippou (-190) vs. Francis Carmont (+155)
Both guys have won five in a row, and both guys are just a win or two away from serious title shot consideration. There are high stakes here, in other words. Carmont essentially bores his opponents to death — getting a grip and holding on. Philippou is a tough matchup for that, though. He is very good defensively, and he is explosive when given the right opportunity. Carmont could dictate the tempo of the fight — and he has to in order to give himself a chance — but Philippou is far better positioned.
Pick: Costas Philippou
Lightweight - Khabib Nurmagomedov (-250) vs. Pat Healy (+195)
I wish I could say that Healy was going to win in a cakewalk just because his name is so much easier to type. Sadly not the case, though. Both of these guys have serious potential, and one of them is going to get a title shot at some point. While Healy is a solid fighter, it’s Nurmagomedov that seems to have the higher upside. He should be getting the bigger push from the UFC. This is the type of fight designed to prove what the Russian is made of and inflate his credentials. This one could be the fight of the night.
Pick: Khabib Nurmagomedov
For each card I make a $500 bet — most often a parlay. In this case, that is the approach we will take as well. There is more risk here than usual, but the payoff will be decent.
$500 parlay: Take Schaub, Philippou and Nurmagomedov. Potential profit of $1539.71.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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