Saturday morning I had a softball tournament commitment and the afternoon an unanticipated need to call the exterminators at my place (don’t ask), so my apologies for not posting my bets and all the fight analysis heading into the card. Overall, I ended the card up ~$820 on bets placed of ~$4,020 (~20%) including hedges. Below are the bets in more detail:
- $1,000 on Edgar at +100 & $50 total on R4 & R5 finish for Edgar – lost $1,050 on Aldo’s win.
- $695 on Gastelum at +175 ($145) & -115 ($550), hedged $242 on Hendricks at -165 – won $481 net on Kelvin’s win.
- $600 on Nunes at +225 – won $1,350 on Nunes’ win.
- $250 on Browne at +224, hedged $40 on Valesquez R1 at +200 – lost $170 net on Cain’s win.
- $250 on Silva/Cormier over 2.5 rounds at +165, with $50 on Silva to finish the fight at +500 – won $363 net on the fight going past 2.5 rounds.
- $230 on Lesnar at +150, hedged with $292 on Hunt at -125 – won $53 net on Brock’s win.
- $100 on Assuncao at +299 – lost $100 on TJ’s win.
- $100 on Santos at +220 – lost $100 on Mousasi’s win.
- $100 on Zingano at -172 – lost $100 on Pena’s win.
- $50 on Miller by decision at +300 – lost $50 on Miller’s win.
- $20 on Lauzon R1 at +700 – won horseshoe $140 on Lauzon’s win.
This weekend worked out a bit better than expected on actual vs. expected returns for the fights overall (actual return $2,255 vs. odds implied return <$1,700), but I didn’t bet enough (only ~$14,700 bet over the weekend’s ~34 fights). The most obvious area for improvement I think is setting clearer criteria for my strategy and portfolio allocation decisions. This is what I’ve been thinking about this morning. I believe I’ve figured out a better way. More to come on this later.
How can you favor a fighter that hasn’t competed in the Octagon since 2011, is taking this fight on short notice after legitimately retiring & not training until the fight was booked just weeks ago, arguably motivated primarily by money and is facing an opponent coming off two consecutive round 1 KO wins?
Because it’s mother f—–g Brock Lesnar, that’s how! OK, maybe it’s not that straightforward…
First off, you need to consider the special USADA rules for Lesnar. I’m not claiming anything here, but absent greater information using some probabilistic thinking & imagination, this dynamic probably favours Lesnar to some degree. Second, if Lesnar gets Hunt to the ground, it’s a high probability Brock wins. I get Hunt has an underrated ability to scramble, defend against the takedown and Brock’s attempts to get him to the mat will likely be where he’s most vulnerable to Hunt’s fists… but just watch the last Mir fight again. Also, although both men are listed at 265, these two are not even close to being of similar size (Brock 81 inch reach vs. Hunt 72 inches). A trip to the mat with Brock on top could likely spell the end of this one. Third, Hunt’s ability to end fighters is slightly inflated right now after KO’ing Silva and Mir – no disrespect, but those two men I believe have a below average ability to take a punch at this point in their careers. Don’t get me wrong, I think Hunt has the ability to end Brock with his fists, I just don’t believe recent history provides the best proxy for how Brock’s melon might fair against similar blows. Fourth, Lesnar is wearing red & white and currently a legitimate farmer living in Saskatchewan. Those who know know, but there is good reason to think it’s not a winning proposition to bet against a Saskatchewan farmer in a scrap. Fifth, of the last 53 heavyweight fights in the UFC 20 or 38% were won by the underdog (average odds +210) with just 15 or 28% of the total going to decision. For some reason not many are giving this factor much credit, but at this weight class, no matter who might be the better fighter on paper, the margin of error for both is incredibly slim and there’s a very real likelihood Brock catches Hunt with those anvils attached to the end of his forearms and ends this fight early.
You can currently get Brock at +150, implying a 40% chance he comes out with his hand raised July 9th. As much as I’m tempted to start building a position today, given the uncertainty on how Lesnar looks coming in & the amount of fights taking place two days before the card, I am choosing to wait to see open workouts and how he carries himself on fight week before looking to wager.
Hendricks has way more fights at a higher level of competition but Johny hasn’t looked like his old self in his past couple outings, Gastelum is a beast wrestler himself with youth, speed & likely size on his side, and I think Gastelum will likely be wise enough to see Hendrick’s takedowns coming (southpaw who likes to drop his left knee for takedowns).
I like the younger man in this match-up, and at +160 today for Gastelum implies on Kelly a wager size far too high for my comfort level. I’m currently ~1% on Kevin at +175 and will look to increase this as we move closer to fight day, assuming same information and odds hold.
I’m tempted to say the bookies have this one right and it’s a coin flip. But then I think the first time these two met Aldo did not win easily, there is a risk Aldo is fighting too soon after being KO’d, Edgar has arguably shown more growth since the last time they met February 2013, Edgar has the momentum right now, trainers much smarter than myself believe Aldo’s kicks will be countered by Edgar takedowns and Edgar likely has the edge if we get to see rounds 4 & 5.
Edgar is currently +100 or an implied 50% chance of winning. 55% type probability on Edgar implies ten units. I’m not this bold, but at the time will look to move to ~2-3% portfolio weighting post the July 8th card, assuming current information and odds hold.
Best odds I can find today are Cormier +269 or implied ~27% chance of winning. I believe Jones will win this fight, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a closer look.
Yeah Cormier is the older fighter and he lost the first one, but there are still reasons to think he could make it much closer this time. Remember Cormier most likely won rounds 2 & 3 in their last match-up, Jones looked average in his last meeting with OSP, Cormier has been more active and Daniel has Cain & Chi Lewis-Parry this time around to help him in what will most likely be a much refined game plan out of AKA.
Let’s also consider some history, where in the past 20 match-ups in the Light Heavyweight division where the odds were above +300 for the underdog, ~30% of the time the dog pulled off the upset.
Cormier is arguably a top five pound-for-pound fighter in the world (officially #7 today), and hit Jones with 58 significant strikes in their first meeting including 40 to the head. It’s no coin flip, but to think Daniel has less than 30% chance of winning really doesn’t make a ton of sense.
On current odds to get to five units one needs to think Cormier has a ~31% chance of winning. On that thought process and weighting, the risk / reward feels OK here. I have zero units on it at current time, but will look to move to 5% as the two cards in as many days before come & go and new information on the fight comes available.
I’m not sizing believing the opportunity will arise, but the thought process today is there might be a chance to hedge via live betting during. We’ll see.