Over the past few weeks the sport of boxing has given us some excellent opportunities to profit by showcasing a couple of highly anticipated rematches.
The reason I believe they offer sports bettors an edge is simple. Besides the data available from previous bouts, we also have seen how the fighters truly match up stylistically.
Bottom line: What appears to be the case on paper at times just doesn’t come to fruition when they face off. But when we have a couple of rounds to study and then can couple that with the mindset of both fighters heading into the rematch, at times the winner or at least the “value” side jumps off the board.
Next Saturday night prior to New Years Eve in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand Garden Arena will play host to UFC 155. The main event features the second meeting between UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos (15-1) and the former heavyweight title holder, who undoubtedly has earned his No. 1 contender status, Cain Velasquez (10-1).
Oddsmakers installed Dos Santos as a -170 favorite and bettors immediately forced the adjustment by backing the champion. The line currently rests as high as -200. The take-back on the challenger Velasquez is +140 but that should climb even higher as more fans begin to get their money down closer to fight night.
Unlike most rematches, this one doesn’t offer us much by viewing the previous bout since it was over by the 1:04 mark of the very first round. Dos Santos entered the cage as the challenger on that night but exited with the heavyweight strap after landing only 8 strikes, ultimately winning by KO/TKO.
Velasquez to his credit also landed 7 strikes of his own but it was evident who possessed the better stand-up. In fact, Dos Santos is considered one of the most skilled boxers in MMA.
For Velazsquez, he’ll need to use his superior wrestling to take the champion down if he wants any chance of redemption. Although he’s the more accurate striker, Dos Santos obviously has the heavier hands. The problem he faces is the champion’s ability to defend take-downs at a rate of 88%, never being taken down more than once in any of his professional fights.
For Dos Santos, the blueprint will obviously be the same and even though he is currently a brown belt under the Nogueiras, which is comparable to a black belt for most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, his advantage is on the feet. Therefore the champion will once again try to use his footwork and catch the challenger coming in if he attempts to shoot in for a takedown.
Finally, the key to determining a winner comes down to whether the bout lasts longer than the first did. I believe it will and that benefits Velasquez whose conditioning is second to none. Personally, I do think the challenger will be able to take Dos Santos down in the rematch, but if he can’t do some damage with his ground and pound, the end result will be the same.
As bettors we have to at times give the oddsmakers their due and accept the fact they’ve gotten it right. Based on my “win probability” for both fighters the current line reflects there is very little value on either man. Although I’m a huge fan of Dos Santos, my money will most likely be on the dog, especially if the price on Velasquez is even more generous come fight night.
Bonus UFC 155 picks: Joe Lauzon; Eddie Wineland, Melvin Guillard, Derek Brunson.
Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN. Follow him on Twitter@vegasrunner, at Pregame.com and on AM 1100 ESPN (also FM 98.9) on Fridays and Sundays from 11 pm to midnight when he co-hosts First Preview. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected].