Welcome to the SharpSide mixed martial arts (MMA) betting guide!
MMA has always been a progressive sport, both in terms of the competition itself and how it views the world of gambling. It’s rare that you find MMA content that is analyzing a fight or tournament without referencing the betting odds. It’s not just for entertainment purposes, either. The use of betting odds in MMA help viewers, no matter how casual of diehard they are, understand the matchups better. Simply put, MMA and gambling go hand in hand. The MMA industry continues to flourish, regulated and legalized sports betting becomes more and more available, and together the two have helped each other grow.
If you’re interested in the MMA, you’re likely interested in betting on it. In the least, understanding how MMA betting works will help you better understand the sport, its competitors, and the fights. That’s why this MMA betting guide is here.
Common MMA Bet Types
The most common types of MMA wagers are moneyline/match bets on who will win a fight, over/under bets on the number of rounds a fight will last, and parlays. If you’re familiar with sports betting in general, then you will find yourself understanding moneyline, over/under, and parlay bets in MMA rather easily.
A money line bet (otherwise known as a match bet) is a bet on the outcome of a fight, with odds given for each side of the matchup. Just as you’d place a moneyline wager on a football or basketball game by simply picking one team to win over the other, with an MMA moneyline bet you’d pick one fighter to win over the other.
MMA Moneyline Bet Example:
Khabib Nurmagomedov (-170)
Conor McGregor (+140)
In this example, the odds you’d receive by betting on Khabib Nurmagomedov would be -170. That means Nurmagomedov is the favorite, denoted by the minus sign, and then you’d have to bet $170 to win $100. Conor McGregor is the underdog, denoted by the plus sign, and a bet of $100 would pay $140 if McGregor won.
An over/under (otherwise known as a total) bet is one where you are betting on a fight’s length. In football, basketball, or baseball, an over/under or total would have you betting on the total number of points or runs scored and if the total will come in over or under a specific amount. In MMA, you’re betting if a fight will go shorter or longer than a certain amount of time, generally given in rounds.
MMA Over/Under Bet Example:
Over 2.5 Rounds (-125)
Under 2.5 Rounds (+105)
In this example of an over/under bet, you would decide if you want to take the over or under on 2.5 rounds for the fight, with the over being favored due to the -125 odds.
An MMA parlay is the same as a parlay when betting other sports. It is by pairing two or more bets together for a chance at hitting a better payday. Keep in mind that when betting a parlay, one must hit all legs of the parlay for the entire parlay wager to be determined a winner.
MMA Parlay Bet Example:
Khabib Nurmagomedov (-170)
Under 2.5 Rounds (+105)
Using the previous two examples and turning them into a parlay, one could bet Nurmagomedov to win the fight at -170 and for the fight to last less than 2.5 rounds, so the under at +105. Using these two odds, the parlay payout would calculate to +225, so if you bet $100, you’d win $225 for a total payout of $325.
Additional MMA Wagers
As MMA and betting grow in popularity and become more widely available, more wagering options have become available as well. Additional MMA wagers that can usually be found include bets on which fighter will win each round and how each fighter will win, with the latter being commonly referred to as a method-of-victory bet.
MMA Round Betting
With MMA round betting, sports bettors can place wagers on specific rounds, just as one would do in boxing. This is also similar to football or basketball when betting on quarters or halves of a game.
In MMA, bettors can wager on a specific fighter to win a specific round, or sometimes bet if a specific round will end in a draw. Some sportsbooks offer live round betting, allowing gamblers to place wagers on upcoming rounds in the middle of a fight. These live MMA wagers are generally made in between rounds when the fighters are in their corners preparing for the next round.
Some sportsbooks may also offer bets for a fighter to win in a specific round. For example, you might be able to bet Nurmagomedov to win in Round 2 with odds given to handicap the outcome.
MMA Method-of-Victory Bet
One of the most entertaining types of MMA bets is the method-of-victory wager. With these, bettors can attempt to pick how a fighter will win. This takes things a step further than the simpler moneyline bets that can be made.
Using the Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight example, with method-of-victory bets you’d likely be able to select if either fighter will be by knockout, submission, or in a decision. The odds for each will likely differ, as each fighter has different strengths of combat.
Common method-of-victory bet types are inside the distance (otherwise known as ITD), knockout (KO), submission, and decision.
Sometimes, sportsbooks offer bets on the type of decision that determines the outcome of a fight. A unanimous decision is a decision where all of the judges agree on the winner. A split decision is a decision where two judges score the fight in favor of one fighter and the third judge scores it in favor of the other. A majority decision is a decision where two judges score the fight in favor of one fighter and the third judge scores it as a draw.
Best MMA Betting Resources
Although MMA and betting go hand in hand, there tends to be fewer resources available than one would be able to find if searching for information and advice on how to bet the NFL or NBA. That isn’t to say the material isn’t out there, though. You just have to know where to look.
RotoGrinders MMA Premium
One of the first places you should start is the RotoGrinders MMA Premium section. Now, we know what you’re probably thinking. What does daily fantasy sports (DFS) information have to do with sports betting? With MMA, the resources are very similar. When playing MMA DFS, you’re looking to pick winners in a lot of cases and that can translate well to the betting space. The analysis you get from an expert such as SharpSide and RotoGrinders MMA guru Brett Appley can apply to both DFS and MMA sports betting, and you’d be silly not to consume all of the great content Appley is supplying.
From a RotoGrinders MMA Premium subscription you’ll receive comprehensive fight breakdowns, projections, expert rankings, strategy advice, and access to MMA Premium chat.
SharpSide MMA Betting First Look
Allow us to toot our own horn for a second, but the SharpSide MMA Betting First Look is a great column leading into a fight card that helps to identify why the odds are set at a certain price, how the line movement can be categorized, and where the money is likely flowing. This information can be vital in helping you determine the best wager to place for an upcoming MMA card.
In today’s world, social media can be considered a king. Oftentimes, news hits social media before it hits anywhere else, especially on Twitter. Because of that, you’ll want to be sure you’re following all of the top MMA insiders so you know the second news breaks in order to act, or wager, accordingly.
Brett Appley – Lead MMA analyst for SharpSide and RotoGrinders
Ariel Helwani – MMA jouralist, currently working for ESPN
UFC – Top MMA promotion company
Bellator – MMA promotion company
MMA Junkie – News and media outlet covering the UFC and all things MMA
Sherdog – News and media outlet covering the UFC and all things MMA
Bloody Elbow – Official MMA blog of SB Nation
MMA Fighting – Website for news and media covering all things MMA
Dana White – President of the UFC
Joe Rogan – MMA commentator and analyst
Chael Sonnen – Retired MMA fighter turned analyst
Dan Hardy – Retired MMA fighter turned analyst
Dominick Cruz – FOX and UFC color commentator and analyst
Be sure to check back as we update this page with more MMA betting information that can serve as a guide to all MMA sports bettors out there. We hope this MMA betting guide helps you cash in big.