I started this website to better my process and accelerate learning. It served this purpose. Now, after +C$100,000 in bets placed during 2016, I feel confident I’ve found the right mix of time spent & strategy to pursue. I think I’ve now done enough public testing of ideas with both my own betting and historical statistical analysis.

I fully expect to bet much more in 2017 than 2016, but am no longer going to update this site every card. If you still want to see what I’m doing I plan to update as best I can, unless I find this profitable enough I don’t want others to catch on or unprofitable enough it’s no longer worth my time.

See you soon.

UFC 207 – December 30, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the night up ~$400 or so. I added a bunch of live betting hedges, which had the net impact of reducing gains. Overall was an OK night, but in the context of well over $12k in bets nothing to be too happy about. I was away from my desk and computer this card and made the mistake of over complicating the strategy, which led me to make some less than optimal sizing decisions in live betting. Lesson learnt.

UFC 206 – December 10, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Lost $820 Mein bets, lost $600 Krylov, lost $335 Saggo, lost $200 Holloway by decision, lost $190 Pettis, lost $50 on parlay and lost $100 Makdessi for total gross losses of $2,295. Won $110 Gastelum, won $199 Holloway and won $1,204 Cerrone TKO/KO for total gross wins of $1,513. Total net losses were $782.

UFC 206 – December 10, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Summary below:

  • $370 Mein -110. $400 Mein within distance +120. $50 Mein R1 +250. Mein has stayed in the gym, is truly world class, still young and his mind & motivations seem right. Highest conviction fight of the night.
  • $600 Krylov +105. I think he has better feet & more diverse striking, which I’m betting will outweigh relative disadvantage on the ground.
  • $340 Cerrone TKO/KO +359. Doesn’t settle well but Brown had his first concussion prior to the Ellenberger fight.
  • $335 Saggo +180. If it goes to decision, which is likely, don’t want to go against the local with these odds.
  • Holloway $298 -150. $190 Pettis +160. $200 Halloway by Decision +185.

More to come but out of time.

UFC Fight Night 102 – December 9, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the night down ~$2,250 losing all five bets placed. I thought I was appropriately factoring in the lack of conviction by weighting <3% per fight, but that was clearly not enough. Last card I took favorites, this card I wanted to make a point to not make that a habit. I’m learning how to weigh trusting in the strategy vs. trusting in how I think fights will go, which is a dynamic I’m still figuring out.

The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale – December 3, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

A new experience for The Open Roll, ended the night up $476 dollars with winnings coming from not a single underdog. Since the pre-fight summary I added $50 on Johnson within distance that I lost, $10 on Hall by decision that paid out $60, $1,105 Maynard that was lost & $1,491 Hall that paid out $1,193.

I don’t expect this style of betting to continue, but as highlighted in the pre-fight summary this was a rare occasion where my understanding of the match-ups combined with the historical statistics told me to hold off betting the dogs en masse. Maybe it was luck, but I’m happy with the outcome.

The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale – December 3, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

My process is far from perfect, but this card I’m not seeing a lot of apparent value meaning the characteristics I see that have worked historically to generate returns betting on underdogs within a large enough sample isn’t apparent looking at the match-ups as a whole. With that in mind bets are below:

  • $10 Elliot TKO/KO +2,000.
  • $400 Benavidez -188.
  • $400 Masvidal -229.
  • $10 Parlay DJ -930, Davis / McMann over 2.5 rounds -244, Maynard / Hall over 1.5 rounds -170, Schnell / Font over 1.5 rounds -170, Clark / Stansbury over 1.5 rounds -145 and Moreno / Benoit over 1.5 rounds -189.

UFC Fight Night 101 – November 26, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Additions post the pre-fight summary include $100 Zhikui +115 (lost), $50 Herrera +117 (lost), $300 Brown +128 (won), $200 Kasuya +160 (lost), $100 Noke +120 (lost), $600 Akhmedov -113 (won), $1,317.56 Whittaker +125 (won) & $1,550 Brunson +101 (lost).

Overall ended the night up $2,421 on total bets placed of $6,514 (~37% ROI) & total potential downside of ~$2,266 (~107%).

UFC Fight Night 101 – November 26, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Time of writing bets total $2,297. More details below:

  • $397 Knight +150. Hooker is big and tough with hometown advantage, but think Knight is better on the mat, better on the feet and just as tough.
  • $100 Brown +120.
  • $450 Kelly +200. I’ve done really well with Kelly historically. He embodies almost all the elements you love to see when betting on an underdog. I’m hoping the old dog has at least one more left in him.
  • $450 Taylor +105. Think Taylor is really tough, a better athlete, has more power and will be able to get inside. The fight should open up from there.
  • $100 Pedro +120. I like Pedro’s background, mindset and what I’ve seen on film.
  • $135 Kasuya +158.
  • $450 Noke +130. Hate betting against anyone from Dagestan, but I like the line.
  • $15 Holbrook submission +800. There’s a chance.
  • $200 Whittaker +125. I hate betting against the better wrestler, but Whittaker might be special enough to be the exception… don’t feel good about it though.

UFC Fight Night 99 – November 19, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the card down $646. Only changes post pre-fight summary was addition of $470 on Volkhov at +130 (which worked out) and $268 on Mustafaev at +130 (which didn’t work out). I was right on the value thing with unpopular cards here & this card didn’t work well for the dog, which prompted me to run correlations of the strategy based on ppv / fox viewership to see if there’s a strong enough R2 to change things. Will let you know if that’s the case.

UFC Fight Night 99 – November 19, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

I’m of the belief cards with relatively low interest tend to have lines priced more accurately, thinking sharps have more to do with setting the price than ‘dumb’ money coming in. With +25 UFC fights scheduled today, I think FN 99 could be one of those cards so I’ve decided to bet a lower percentage of the roll than I would typically on the strategy. Also, I didn’t have time to do the work I needed to make any conviction bets so am spreading it around fairly evenly. ~$1,538 total bets in more detail below:

  • $250 Ho Kwak at +180.
  • $250 Dudieva at +180.
  • $250 Yakovlev at +150.
  • $250 Godbeer at +130.
  • $250 Bagautinov at +180.
  • $134 Marshman at +210.
  • $134 Lobov at +210.
  • $20 Hall within distance at +650.

UFC 205 – November 12, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Overall I ended the night down ~$35. Changes after the pre-fight summary included addition of $550 on Eddie which I lost and taking the other side of $100 parlay Weidman + Thompson + Conor which worked out.

I made the mistake of outsizing my bet on Eddie, which is something I’m trying to get away from. I also clearly underestimated McGregor. Very impressive performance.

UFC 205 – November 12, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

  • $150 Eddie at +136 closed out with $177 McGregor at -118. Hoping get some exposure to Eddie at better odds than current.
  • $167 Woodley at +170.
  • $150 Yoel +150 & $67 Yoel +160.
  • $191 Stephens at +275.
  • $53 Johnson +260 & $13 Johnson submission at +2630.
  • $303 Luque +125 closed out with $303 Muhammad +100.
  • $133 Miller +150.
  • $30 Boetsch within distance +220.

Total bets placed $1,738, and fully expect that number to grow as the night goes on.

UFC 205 – November 12, 2016 – Pre-Line Analysis

  • McGregor vs. Alvarez: Truly believe Eddie is the better fighter all around, but if McGregor has gotten in his head he won’t be on the night. At +138 think this risk is more than made up for in the price.
  • Woodley vs. Thompson: Thompson should be the favorite, but with odds implying Woodley has a ~37% chance of winning I’ll likely bet a small weighting on the dog. There’s been moments in Thompson’s past fights where he showed certain vulnerabilities, and Woodley is athletic, smart & durable enough I think he’ll have a good a chance as anyone trying to expose them.
  • Jedrzejcyk vs. Kowalkiewicz: If Karolina had a takedown game, I think she might be able to be competitive enough on the feet to work her way inside, but with absolutely no takedowns in her last three it would be presumptuous to base a bet on this belief. Joanna is -350 and that feels about right. I’m a pass.
  • Weidman vs. Romero: I don’t see good reason to have either much outside of 45% (has Weidman even fought anyone comparable to Yoel?), so with Romero at +153 I’ll be taking the dog.
  • Cerrone vs. Gastelum: When Cerrone shows up he should have favorite odds against almost anyone in the division. Gastelum has a chance for sure, but at +145 I don’t see a ton of value. Likely a pass.
  • Tate vs. Pennington: Both of these woman are great in dog fights, but with Tate the better resume & Raquel’s coach on TUF 18 she should be the favorite. At +164 on Pennington it’s interesting, but will hope this line gets better before making it anything meaningful.
  • Edgar vs. Stephens: Based on history Edgar should be the favorite, but Stephens was competitive with Holloway every round, and is coming off a win over Barao which is still no easy feat. With Stephens at +299, I’m just debating sizing right now.
  • Johnson vs. Nurmagomedov: Khabib is likely going to ride Johnson for three rounds, and with the line at -250 / +230 the bookies seem to agree. Likely a pass.
  • Evans vs. Kennedy: Evans’ I think is chinny, which is enough to make me think +211 makes sense. Likely a pass.
  • Luque vs. Muhammad: Give Belal the slightest edge on the feet, edge on the chin, and give Luque the edge on the mat. Will likely take either if we get much outside of +130.
  • Miller vs. Alves: Alves’ last fight was May 2015, and he didn’t look very good in his last two (although against two very good opponents). Alves has great power in his kicks and is an above average counterpuncher with fight ending power, but at +153 for Miller who keeps a high pace, is durable & has better cardio, I think it’s worth a bet.
  • Natal vs. Boetsch: Boetsch always has more than a chance to land a bomb and get the KO, but Natal’s decision game is strong and he’s gone the distance with better strikers before. +145 Boetsch likely a pass.
  • Chookagian vs. Carmouche: I really don’t know enough about either, except that “Blonde Fighter” and “Girlrilla” might be of the worst but best nicknames in the UFC.

UFC Fight Night 98 – November 5, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the night down ~$189 on total bets placed of ~$2,740 or negative ~7% ROI. I added a bet on Soto when the line moved which helped, but prop bets on RDA / Ferguson, loss on Novelli (split decision) and loss on Arantes were main contributors to keeping me in the red. UFC 205 up in six days, which is shaping up to have a lot of potential. Stay tuned.

UFC Fight Night 98 – November 5, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

$2,540 bets placed. Details below:

  • $100 RDA / Ferguson will not go the 5 round distance at -138, $100 under 3.5 rounds at +109. Both men very good finishers and pressure with high output. Little chance of lay and pray from either side.
  • $25 on Sanchez at +200. I’m most worried about Diego’s chin, so against a leg lock guy like Held worth a sprinkle.
  • $1,000 on Dariush at +120, partially hedged with $896.70 on Magomedov at -115. Fairly evenly matched fight, so didn’t fully hedge leaving some risk on Dariush.
  • $233 on Arantes at +180. Not thinking Arantes most likely to win, but at +180 I think it will be competitive enough this bet makes sense.
  • $25 on Soto at -102. Even on short notice think Soto is better than coin flip.
  • $25 on Nicholson at +180. Nicholson unlikely to win, but worth a small sprinkle.
  • $235 on Novelli at +161. Think Novelli’s hands are better than Reye’s. Expect him to have made some adjustments since the Teymur bout.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

I lost $1,377 on Bisping / Hendo to end before 5 rounds, $132.5 on other prop bets on Bisping / Hendo, $400 on Doane, $300 on Omielanczuk and $5 on Belfort. I won $660 on Statsiak & $435 on Manuwa. Net losses were $1,119.5.

Prior to Open Roll it had been profitable making outsized bets on conviction calls. Since then it hasn’t gone as well. When you strike out enough times swinging for the fences, sometimes you need to go back to trying to hit singles and focus on just getting on base. I’m now looking to make less outsized calls on my weightings, and let the strategy, which has worked out well, take a more prominent roll in my P/L card to card.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Short on time. Bet summary below:

  • $1,377 or 24% weighting on Bisping / Henderson to end before 5 rounds are up at -280. $5 on Henderson R1 +550. $27.5 on Bisping R1 +350. $100 under 2.5 rounds at -150.
  • $400 or 7% on Statsiak at +165.
  • $400 or 7% on Doane at +470.
  • $300 or 5.2% on Manuwa at +145.
  • $300 or 5.2% on Omielanczuk at +160.
  • $5 Belfort R1 at +650.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Grant vs. Statsiak

Time of writing best odds for Grant are -170 vs. Statsiak +164 or implied 38% chance of winning.

After watching tape on both men before checking the line I thought Statsiak would be the favourite. His take down game looked better, he looks stronger & I think it looks close on the feet.

50% chance of winning implies a ~19% weighting on Kelly.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Entwistle vs. Font

Time of writing Font is -295 vs. Entwistle +274 or ~27% chance of winning.

Font went three rounds with Lineker, Entwistle takes your knee or loses in the first. He says he’s learnt his lesson on strategy & changed his mindset, and I kind of believe him, but that’s still not enough.

Will not be betting on this one.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Pickett vs. Alcantara

Time of writing best odds for Alcantara is -158 vs. Pickett +148 or ~40% chance of winning.

In want to say this one will likely be close, Picket has home town advantage and this will likely go to the judges therefore Pickett is a live dog worth some play, but with a broken back and inability to train a full camp I can’t convince myself this is the case at +147.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Bektic vs. Doane

Time of writing Bektic is -588 vs. Doane at +559 or implied 15% chance of winning.

There is a ton of hype behind Bektic… the guy’s fought three times in the UFC against entry low rung opponents and he’s already being compared by some to GSP. I agree he looks really good, but this line is stupid. Doane looked phenomenal before that unreal guillotine transition Munhoz hit on him, he out wrestled in certain stretches Jerrod Sanders and had a competitive R2 & arguably won R3 against Alcantara in 2014 (which is ages ago). Also, Bektic can get dragged into fire fights at times and has been hit in those situations (Skelly would have TKO’d Bektic on illegal knee, but wobbled him with his hands moments earlier). Doane has good cardio, good chin, is the type of fighter you can tell actually likes to scrap & has shown the ability to get back to his feet when he’s been in bad situations on the ground.

Giving Doane ~35% chance of winning (division historically dogs have won ~34% of the time) implies ~23% weighing on Kelly. Will determine size of my bet on fight day.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Saint Preux vs. Manuwa

Time of writing Saint Preux is -157 vs. Manuwa +147 or ~40% implied chance of winning. I think there’s value on Manuwa.

Even with some worries around the chin, I was hoping Manuwa would be around +150 or better just thinking St Preux’s stock is likely leaning to the inflated side post the Jones bout. If we could be sure this one stayed standing the whole time, I’d give Manuwa the slightest edge. Tempted based on Saint Preux’s history to not worry about this much, but even Johnson & Gustafsson knew to take Manuwa to the ground, so I’d have to think he’ll try (& likely be moderately successful) to do the same (if it lasts long enough).

~45% odds on Manuwa on Kelly implies ~7.5% portfolio weighting. I won’t be this high if I do decide to bet.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Belfort vs. Mousasi

Time of writing Mousasi is -303 vs. Belfort at +289 or ~26% chance of winning.

Belfort post USADA is still very dangerous in the first round & does have very good instincts, but he’s not even close to the perennial contender he once was. Mousasi looks to be at his peak & I believe has a good chance of beating anyone in the division on a given night.

No doubt Mousasi should be the favourite, but by how much? Middleweight is tough. Since Nov 2014, average edge betting the dog has been ~16% with +200-300 winning ~41% of the time and +300-400 ~35% of the time. It makes sense too, these guys hit hard & move well, while only ~34% of the past 100 fights at this weight class have gone to decision.

I’m tempted to play this one with round props, but it appears to be priced for an early finish already. Might sprinkle a R1 bet on Belfort, but likely will pass.

UFC 204 – October 8, 2016 – Bisping vs. Henderson

Time of writing best odds are Michael Bisping -223 vs. Dan Henderson at +201 or implied ~33% chance of winning this Middleweight Championship bout. I think there’s value here on a certain prop…

A few things on Henderson to consider… he is 46. He’s been KO’d three times in the past three years. In his past six since 2014 Henderson has not once gone three rounds, going to the second just one time. Hendo has won three times in his past nine fights, taking real damage in all but one of the wins. Henderson on average in his last six has absorbed 3.8 strikes per minute, and it’s tough to see this metric improving against someone with the output of Bisping… all due respect to a legendary fighter, but I think Hendo’s chin is gone and that it will take less than ten solid connections to the head to put him away, if Bisping can get there. Henderson has better than a punchers chance with that awkward sledge hammer of a right hand, but that’s all I’d be willing to give odds to.

A few things on Bisping to consider… he last KO’d Luke Rockhold landing 5.8 strikes per minute in the first 3:36 of R1. Prior to that Bisping won a five round decision over Anderson Silva landing 4.3 strikes per minute. If Bisping is as active as I expect, this fight shouldn’t leave the first…

Where could this view be wrong? First ask if you think Henderson will try to take Bisping down? With zero take downs in has past eight fights, that’s not likely. Do I think Bisping tries to take Henderson down? With zero take downs in has past nine fights, that’s not likely. Do I think Bisping comes out tentative & doesn’t push the action? R1 of his last six, he’s averaged 3.8 strikes per minute attempting on average 12.1 per minute, with the lowest output 9.1 attempts per minute landing 2.6 per minute against Leites. Not that this is relevant, but at UFC 100 last time these two met R1 Bisping attempted 13.4 striker per minute landing 2.2 per minute. Do I think Henderson comes out tentative & doesn’t push the action? clown question bro, it’s just not in his DNA.

Odds this fight doesn’t go to decision is currently -278 or ~73.5%. For a minute let’s assume this fight only remains standing half the 25 minutes & Bisping can only land half his average rate of 4.5 strikes per minute of his last six fights – that still implies ~28 significant strikes to Henderson, which is a level I really don’t believe he can absorb & stay standing. On the other hand, Henderson only needs to land one bomb to potentially finish this. Weird unpredictable thing happen in this sport all the time, but I’m still very confident in giving 80% odds this bout does not see the final bell of the fifth round. This math implies 24% weighting on Kelly. I currently have $1,377 or 24% weighting, and am thinking I’m probably too conservative, so would guess this bet increases in some form before fight night.

UFC Fight Night 96 – October 1, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Overall ended the night down $535 or ~25%, losing ~8% of my bankroll on the night. Largest detractor was $700 lost on John Dodson’s split decision loss. I thought Dodson won, landing the bigger shots, far more accurate, out-striking Lineker in every single round & getting the only take-down of the fight, but oh well… part of this game and reminder of partial reasoning of why it makes sense to favour the dog in many circumstances.

Blind underdog strategy would have driven a 97% return on the night, largest potential gain for this approach since UFC 196. I’m picking only a few fights per card to overweight, so it’s no surprise my results are much different. Since starting The Open Roll I’ve outperformed this strategy (withing a reasonable range of per fight weightings) and last nights results don’t change this.

Overall, no big takeaways from my perspective. I think I’ll have more time for next weekends card, which will be a nice change.

UFC Fight Night 96 – October 1, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Short on time again. Total bets placed is $2,097 or 33% of the portfolio. Potential downside is $858 (14% of the portfolio & 41% of bets placed), while potential upside is $921 (14% of the portfolio & 44% of bets placed). Picks and brief rationale below:

  • $700 or 11% weight on Dodson at -124. Dodson wins I get $565, Lineker wins I lose $700. I think Dodson is faster, has more power and takes better angles.
  • $456 on Cutelaba at -140 & $294 on Wilson at +155. Cutelaba wins I get $31, Wilson wins I break-even.
  • $294 on Marquardt at +165 & $288 on McCrory at -143. Nate wins I get $198, McCrory wins I lose $93. Marquardt has lost his chin and is almost 40, but I still think he’s a much better fighter, has KO power facing a KO’able opponent, and McCrory’s hands are mediocre. At 38% implied chance of winning for Nate I think this bet makes sense.
  • $65 or 1% weight on East at +195. East wins I get $127, Blaydes wins I lose $65.

UFC Fight Night 95 – September 24, 2016 – Pre-Fight Summary

Before looking at what the odds makers think, I make an effort to ignore others opinions and progress my own first. I made it through about half the fights and then checked the odds. I didn’t see my own views much different than the lines. At time of writing I have no bets on for this card, but thought it was worth passing on some of the initial views:

  • Cyborg vs. Lansberg: Even if Cyborg passes out on the scale from dehydration she should still be 80% type odds.
  • Barao vs. Nover: Barao might be declining some, but he’s still a top five guy in the division. I’d expect to see Nover 20% type odds.
  • Silva vs. Nelson: Silva has no chin. Nelson’s chin is made of titanium covered by a beard made of steel wool. 80% type odds.
  • Trinaldo vs. Felder: Really like Felder and think he has more than a shot, I’m just not finding good enough reason he should be favored against old man Trinaldo on home soil. Trinaldo ~60% type odds feels about right.
  • Santos vs. Spicely: Santos should be 70% type odds or more. Spicely would be wise to take this to ground, I’m just not sure he can get it there.
  • Pepey vs. De La Torre: This fight has the potential to be the most exciting on the card. My sense is Pepey should be 60% type odds. He opens himself up, but I think he’s likely more skilled almost everywhere.
  • Burns vs. Prazeres: Think this one is close, but moderately favor Burns on age, speed and cardio.

UFC Fight Night 94 – September 17, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

I don’t know what else to say besides that it was a bad night of betting. Since starting The Open Roll I’ve shared my experience & views on 12 separate cards betting over $42,000. UFC FN 94 was the first time I’d lost every bet I placed on a card – losses amounted to $806, which isn’t the worst (~13% of the bank roll) in the context of the volatility I’m expecting, but it’s disappointing for other reasons. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I made mistakes I’d made in the past, which should never happen. Also, despite losing every bet, 8 of the 9 fights (~89%) the fighter I gave over 50% probability to ended up winning, making me further question my strategy.

UFC Fight Night 94 – September 17, 2016 – Pre-Line Analysis

Before looking at what the odds makers think, I make an effort to ignore others opinions and progress my own first. I believe the result of this approach is a more confident view of potential outcomes and a focus on fights I have the most conviction in. My initial thoughts are:

  • Poirier vs. Johnson: Poirier is the better striker, has shown greater threat for KO (against a very hittable Johnson) and is carrying more momentum. Initial thought is Poirier should be ~65%.
  • Hall vs. Brunson: Hall has the potential to KO anyone in the division. Brunson has the potential to outwrestle anyone in the division. I’m not convinced Hall has yet figured out how to be as effective a striker to win when faced with the threat of the takedown, while Brunson has shown he can still work his game against dangerous strikers. I like Brunson here ~65% ish type odds or better.
  • Dunham vs. Glenn: Glenn’s first UFC fight in his 21st fight at 27 years old. Watching Glenn’s last he looked far too willing to stand in the pocket & trade given his limited head movement, lack of feints and no great threat of the KO. Lauzon’s game plan was to stand in the pocket & trade with Dunham, and that didn’t work well, making me think if Glenn takes the same approach it really won’t end well. I’d expect Dunham to be ~70% type odds here, likely to win by KO or submission.
  • Perez vs. Morales: I think Perez should be a slight favorite here, but no more than -150. I can’t identify a lot in the film that leads me to think Perez is better, but training out of AKA and having UFC experience I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.
  • Carneiro vs. Robertson: No opinion.
  • Wade vs. Makhachev: Makhachev trains with Khabilov, who last beat Wade handily, so this should help. I believe these two men are fairly evenly matched, so I’m hoping less experience & last KO loss by Makhachev will get me some decent pricing on him, but this should be close to a pick em.
  • Benitez vs. Sicilia: Modestly favor Benitez, but doubt I’ll bet on it & still need to do more work.
  • Montano vs. Muhammad: Montano is the bigger man, is far greater a threat to end the fight than Muhammad is, should have the edge on the mat and is decent enough at moving his feet & taking angles against an opponent who fights relatively stationary with limited head movement. But if he can’t end this one early and it does stay standing, he’s shown tendencies to not stay very active in the right ways (e.g. sub par fight IQ), leaving it tough to have confidence he’ll likely win a decision. Layer on Muhammad looks to have a solid chin, Montano has been out for over a year, and Muhammad has potential to be the better striker (especially in later rounds), I’d think this one is close to a pick em.
  • Quinonez vs. Gomez: No opinion.
  • Montano vs. Brown: I think Brown’s reach advantage & arguably better footwork could be the difference here, leading me to slightly favour the NYC native in this one.

UFC 203 – September 10, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Total wagers placed were ~$1,095. The only change post the pre-fight summary was an additional $120 on Gall at -400. I ended up losing $517 on the night, ~47% of bets placed and roughly ~7% of pre-card bankroll. Only two bets to payout were Bethe and Gall. Just one underdog on the entire card won. It’s worth noting, every card for the past six a simple underdog strategy has lost money, on average ~44% per card & ~262% in aggregate. It’s been tough, with my own bankroll (which I count based on net cumulative winnings) shrinking ~$7k or approximately in half over the same period… times like these force a guy to go back to the drawing board and rethink some core assumptions.

For a bit of background, I bet almost exclusively on underdogs. I do this because that’s what’s made the most money historically – I’m not interested in being right & high accuracy alone (like so many betting sites trying to sell you subscriptions are), I’m interested in being right relative to the odds & managing risk accordingly. This is how you make money over time. UFC underdog strategy on my math shows a ~2.6% edge over the past ~850 UFC fights, while more selective UFC underdog strategies have generated well over ~5% edge the past couple years betting over half of the total fights available. I believe this has been the case because consensus perception of how a bout should play out is often wrong – fighters are often inconsistent for unpredictable reasons, the margin between winning & losing is often much tighter than the odds imply, lines can reflect behavioural biases more than they reflect fundamental dynamics, judges & refs are inconsistent & biased, perception of how a fight should go is often rooted from biased & uneducated sources and the list goes on. This is all great and it’s cool betting on underdogs has worked in the past, but this recent losing streak is over a large sample and there’s some fundamental shifts taking place in concert which can’t be ignored… leads me to think betting on the underdog will not work as well in the future as it has in the past.

Some fundamental things are changing MMA betting making lines more efficiently priced & ultimately making it more difficult for an underdog strategy to be profitable – there are more educated eyes & dollars in the game today. Whether it’s UFC Fight Pass, Dan Hardy, Jack Slack or the countless other opinions available on potential fight outcomes via podcast or websites, it’s clearly much easier & quicker to understand key components of a match-up now than it has ever been. I also have reason to believe professional gamblers in general have turned more attention to MMA post some high-profile underdog wins (e.g. Diaz / McGregor 1, Holmes / Rousey), so the nature of the average bettor has also become more sophisticated. More bettors, smarter bettors and all with greater resources…

These dynamics can be seen in the prices. For example, at UFC 183 January 2015 the trailing 50-fight average underdog odds were over +290, while trailing 50-fight odds since Ultimate Fighter 23 July 2016 has been around +190, showing consistent trend for lower potential payouts over time. The UFC is probably doing a better job of making match-ups, but I also think bettors have gotten better at pricing fights. More concerning, today’s trailing 50-fight average underdog winning percentage & edge is at the lowest point it’s ever been since my database goes back (which is November 2014).

So what does this mean for the strategy and what do I need to change to adjust for this reality?

I still think mispricing will exist, I just think it will be less common and potentially shorter lived than in the past. This means I’m going to need to be more selective – more than ever I need to stick to where I have good reason to believe I have a competitive advantage, understand the risk, understand the other side of the bet & why they’re likely wrong and see a clear margin of safety to the Kelly Criterion. The second thing that comes to mind is I’ll potentially need to be more open to different betting return profiles. For example, I have a representative sample that shows I’ve picked the winner ~68% of the time (on over half the fights per card over the period, so I’m not cherry picking; also, this has shown an edge to the odds, which is ultimately what matters), which opens some doors to new strategies potentially…

This new landscape is going to be tough, and it may not be worth my time to continue… I love MMA & watching fights, but the opportunity cost to doing this at this level is real… I’ll give it to Christmas, then decide whether it’s worth continuing.

UFC 203 – September 10, 2016 – Pre-Line Analysis

Before analyzing what the odds makers think, I try to progress my own views first. Pre-line thoughts include:

  • Miocic vs. Overeem: I’m biased to modestly favour the hungrier wolf in this heavyweight match, but it’s close to coin flip I think. Outside of KO/TKO (which is very likely), Reem is dangerous & unpredictable enough standing I think to favour Miocic requires the belief he can keep the pressure on, find a way to reliably secure the takedown or somehow turn this more into a boxing match (I don’t think Reem can take many shots…), and even then it’s not clear he decisively has the edge in all these areas. I might be overthinking it & should just favour Miocic, who has HTA and is perceived to have the better chin, faster / better hands & quicker feet, but without great confidence in his ability to defend Reem’s kicks, close distance without eating a knee and make the adjustment to approach this one using +2x the feints he typically does, it just isn’t enough.
  • Werdum vs. Browne: Have to go with Werdum, but I suspect this view is less sure than what the line implies for reasons I don’t hear many speak on. Never underestimate the man with his back against the wall, and it’s very common for just split moments to decide the outcome of heavyweight bouts, but I can’t find good reason to think it’s likely Browne’s chances are better this time around.
  • Punk vs. Gall: I’m thinking Gall mops the floor with Punk (no disrespect), likely with the most ridiculous odds on the card. I watched less than five minutes of Punk’s sparring footage and based on that, assuming they didn’t plant it to make him look bad to mess with Gall, don’t see how he can win a fight against an athletic 24 year old BJJ brown belt who started training boxing at 13. The odds here should be at least five to one.
  • Faber vs. Rivera: Call me crazy, but I slightly favour the old man here. Rivera looks like he belongs with the best in the division, I was impressed by his performance against Alcantara & Faber is in the homestretch of his career, but after watching film I just can’t find good enough reason to think Faber’s perceived decline / stasis, along with Rivera’s potential growth, is enough to make Rivera a clear favorite (although I do think this will be close).
  • Andrade vs. Calderwood: Taking Andrade on nickname alone. Won’t bet on it though.
  • Eye vs. Correia: I like Bethe here at first glance, but haven’t done enough work and don’t know enough already to have a strong view.

That’s it for now, will be back with the final six bouts soon.

UFC Fight Night 93 – September 3, 2016 – Post-Fight Summary

Ended the night down $1,024 (~10% of the bank roll) on total bets placed of $1,478. Of the fights I picked would likely win in the pre-line summary 6 of 8 went the right way (75%), but unfortunately none of the winners once odds were posted came in as dogs (just two or three dogs of the 11 won on the card) and the props I placed didn’t go my way, although it was close.

  • Lost $430 Bader decision at +188, $120 Latifi R1 at +600 & $50 Latifi within distance at +300. Bader barely made it out of the first after getting rocked & won in the second kicking / kneeing Latifi in the head as he came in for a takedown. Fortunate timing giving Bader his first finish in his past eight fights.
  • Lost $320 Barnett vs. Arlovski within 1.5 rounds at +125 & $100 Barnett KO/TKO at +330. Both guys were very close to getting finished in the first 20 seconds (three separate shot to wobbly knees in 20 seconds!).
  • Lost $100 Issa at +133 & won $34 Lapilus decision at +300. Lapilus decision winnings offset my Issa bet so this was a wash.
  • Won $75 Gust by decision at +199 & lost $25 Blach within distance at +1015. Net winnings on Gust decision was $125.
  • Lost $90 Colombo vs. Danaho under 1.5 rounds at +130.
  • Won on $49 Hein decision at -110 & lost on $40 Bang within distance at +352. Bets washed.
  • Lost $25 Dalby at -125 & lost $20 Sobotta sub at +1025.