UFC 241 A Stacked Card For Sports Bettors

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The UFC returns this weekend with its 241st pay-per-view card, set to take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The card is generating a lot of buzz thanks to three high-profile bouts scheduled for the end of the evening. NJ Online Gambling has you covered with the betting menu for the most anticipated contests.

Daniel Cormier (C) vs. Stipe Miocic

Cormier (22-1) and Miocic (18-3) will square off for the heavyweight championship in a rematch of their July 2018 bout. Both fighters had their moments in that contest, which ended with Cormier knocking out the proud Clevelander late in the first round with a short hook out of the clinch. Miocic hasn’t fought since, electing to hold out for a rematch rather than take a fight with someone lower in the rankings. Miocic had defended his heavyweight title three times before the loss to “DC,” the most in UFC heavyweight history.

Here’s a look at the lines at a handful of NJ books:

Given the result of their first fight last summer, Cormier, who has never lost to anyone not named Jon Jones, is the likely real-life favorite. He did appear to be gaining the momentum before the knockout. His approximate -140 line at multiple books probably has some thin value.

It doesn’t look like there’s much value to be had on Miocic, but if you consider that Miocic was the victim of a pretty bad eye poke not long before getting dropped and finished on the ground, then you could make the case that this fight will be much more competitive and perhaps +130 at BetStars is good enough for some skin in the game. It’s the punches you don’t see that are the most dangerous, and Cormier delivered one of those to his opponent. Cormier himself has said in interviews leading up to Saturday’s contest that he expects “a war” this time around, with Miocic being hungry to regain his gold. Wars in lower weight classes imply a full, five-round affair, but heavyweight fights don’t typically go the distance.

However, considering that DC has a legendary chin, combined with Miocic possibly seeking a safer, more technical fight, some skin in the game on Miocic by decision at +750 at FanDuel seems attractive if you like Miocic (shop around, though). Miocic has historically been a knockout artist, but it’s hard to see him finishing DC here. Miocic doesn’t have much of a kicking game.

Miocic by submission is +2100 when it probably should be +50000 to represent the appropriate implied odds, so stay away from that one unless you feel like making a donation to the books. He hasn’t submitted anyone in his pro career, and DC is a former Olympic wrestler.

Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis

Diaz (19-11) and Pettis (22-8) face off in one of the most anticipated bouts of this summer. There’s no belt on the line in this 170-pound contest, and there’s not even any real implications for the title chase. This is essentially a three-round grudge match. It’s also a superfight for the fans, as both fighters appear to be nearing the twilight of their respective storied careers.

Here’s a look at the prices:

  • FanDuel: Pettis -138, Diaz +114
  • PointsBet: Pettis -136, Diaz +108
  • William Hill: Pettis -138, Diaz +110
  • DraftKings: Pettis -134, Diaz +110
  • BetStars: Pettis -120, Diaz +100
  • 888Sport: Pettis -139, Diaz +115

This fight opened even closer to a pick’em, with sharp money finding its home on Pettis. It’s tough to find a ton of value on Pettis at his current price in the -140 range, so BetStars’ -120 line is the best spot for some value. Pettis has fought seven times since Diaz last fought in August 2016 (a decision loss to Conor McGregor). Pettis has been more much active, and he looked great in his last fight in March, scoring a stunning KO victory against former welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Pettis has fought the game’s best in recent years, while Diaz has sat out (albeit not due to any known injury).

Diaz at around +100 doesn’t appear attractive. His odds would be longer if he wasn’t such a fan favorite. 888Sport’s +115 price on Diaz likely doesn’t even have any razor-thin value. Hold off on betting on Diaz unless the sharp money continues to pour in on Pettis and the books make Diaz closer to a +150 ‘dog.

As for non-moneyline bets, the odds on a submission finish are intriguing. Diaz is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the UFC, with 12 of his 19 wins by making his opponents tap. Pettis has eight submission wins on his record. At FanDuel, you can get a submission finish by either athlete at +480, producing implied odds of about 17%. There could be some thin value here if you think they will beat each other up for a while and then someone will win by submission. If you subscribe to this thinking, shop around for some prices on a submission in round three. You can get a submission in the third round at +1800 at PointsBet.

Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa

On paper, this middleweight bout between Romero (13-3) and Costa (12-0) should produce fireworks. Both fighters have muscles that have muscles (not surprisingly, both have been dogged by PED accusations), and with a slew of knockouts on both of their résumés, someone could be hitting the canvas hard. With that said, it’s a three-round fight and there’s definitely a chance both play it on the safer side and the fight goes the distance. Sometimes when both fighters possess this much firepower, the bout doesn’t live up to the hype.

Here’s a look at the prices:

  • FanDuel: Romero -154, Costa +126
  • PointsBet: Romero -162, Costa +129
  • William Hill: Romero -150, Costa +120
  • DraftKings: Romero -167, Costa +135
  • BetStars: Romero -150, Costa +130
  • 888Sport: Romero -150, Costa +120

There could be some thin value on Romero, given Costa’s lack of experience against the top fighters in the division. His best victory in the UFC came in his last fight, against Uriah Hall in July 2018. However, Hall is on the decline and it’s hard to call that a huge win on Costa’s résumé. Romero has fought the best in the world for more than five years, and he most recently lost a split decision in a war against current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. The main concern about Romero is his age. At 42, he’s significantly older than the 28-year-old Brazilian. If you’re betting on Costa, you’re essentially betting that father time has caught up to Romero. It’s bound to eventually.

The sports betting markets are liking -400 for the fight not going the distance. You can get +270 on it going to the judge’s scorecards at PointsBet, and for the reasons previously stated, there might be some value on that price. An additional factor is Romero’s Olympic wrestling pedigree, which he doesn’t utilize often in his fights. However, against the larger and dangerous Costa, Romero may opt to bring the fight to the ground. And if he does, this fight could stand a much better chance than 27% implied odds of a decision result.

Image Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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