UFC 261 Picks and Best Bets

UFC 261 Picks and Best Bets: Kamaru Usman has won 9 of his 13 UFC bouts by decision, cashing for +9 units on the ‘to Win by Decision’ prop in his UFC career. However, Usman has had three title defenses in his reign as champion, and has stoppage victories in 2 of those 3 title bouts. Usman will try to make up for what he called a poor performance against Jorge Masvidal back at UFC 251 in July of last year, as he promises to win by stoppage over ‘Gamebred’ in their rematch at UFC 261 on Saturday, April 24th in Jacksonville.

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AlMac’s Best Bets

2.5% (1u)Rose Namajunas to Win Fight+1751XBet
2.5% (1u)Uriah Hall to Win Fight+1255Dimes
2.5% (1u)Shevchenko/Andrade Over 3.5 Rounds-136CoolBet
2.5% (1u)Hall/Weidman (Fight Doesn’t Go Distance)-118CoolBet
2.5% (1u)Crute/Smith Under 1.5 Rounds+160Pinnacle
2.5% (1u)Usman/Masvidal Over 4.5 Rounds, Valentina Shevchenko (to Win) (Parlay)-118BetCris
2.5% (1u)Brendan Allen (to Win), Kamaru Usman (to Win) (Parlay)+103CoolBet
2.5% (1u)Batgerel Danaa (to Win), Conelly/Sabatini Over 2.5 Rounds (Parlay)+118Pinnacle
2.4% (0.96u)Jeff Molina (to Win Fight)-112CoolBet
2.4% (0.96u)Jimmy Crute (to Win Fight), Vargas/Rong Over 1.5 Rounds (Parlay)+129CoolBet
2% (0.8u)Molina/Aoir Under 2.5 Rounds+195BetCris
1.7% (0.68u)Randy Brown (to Win Fight)-150BetCris
1.7% (0.68u)Brown/Oliveira (Fight Doesn’t Go Distance)-106CoolBet
1.6% (0.64u)Crute/Smith (Fight Doesn’t Go Distance)-1491XBet
1.1% (0.44u)Sekulic/Grant Over 2.5 Rounds+111Pinnacle
1.1% (0.44u)Danaa/Natividad Under 2.5 Rounds+125CoolBet
1% (0.4u)Stefan Sekulic (to Win Fight)+179CoolBet
1% (0.4u)Zhang/Namajunas Under 4.5 Rounds+110BetCris
1% (0.4u)Carnelossi/Liang Over 1.5 Rounds-135CoolBet
1% (0.4u)Carnelossi/Liang Over 2.5 Rounds+135CoolBet
1% (0.4u)Allen/Roberson Over 1.5 Rounds-145BetCris
1% (0.4u)Allen/Roberson (Fight Goes Distance)+211BetCris
1% (0.4u)Rodrigo Vargas (to Win Fight)+184CoolBet
1% (0.4u)Vargas/Rong (Fight Gos Distance)+150CoolBet
1% (0.4u)Tristan Connelly (to Win Fight)+200Pinnacle
@AlMacOdds MMA Record (Since 2020): 629-552, +17.38u
Verified via BetMMA.tips
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Usman vs. Masvidal: Since making his UFC debut in 2015, Kamaru Usman has won 9 of his 13 fights by way of decision, going 9-4 for +9 units profit on the ‘to Win by Decision’ prop. Usman has also gone ‘Over’ the betting total in 10 of his 13 UFC appearances, going 10-3 for +3.69 units. Meanwhile, Jorge Masvidal has won by stoppage in 7 of his 19 octagon appearances, going 7-12 for +5.28 units on the ‘to Win Inside the Distance’ prop. Masvidal has never lost by stoppage in the UFC, with all 7 of his losses coming by way of decision. Bettors who have backed every one of Jorge Masvidal’s opponents on the ‘to Win by Decision’ prop since his UFC debut in 2013 have gone 7-12 for +2.06 units profit. 

Based on these fighter betting trends, it looks like the best value on the board in this fight is on Kamaru Usman to win by decision at -115. Masvidal has a narrow path to victory, with essentially a puncher’s chance at defeating one of the greatest welterweights of all time in Usman. The longer the fight goes, the more it will favor the Champion. Although Usman called for a stoppage victory over Masvidal, there is a very good chance that Jorge can land a shot or two on Usman early, turning the fight into a grappling affair. Take Usman by Decision at -115 (via SportsInteraction), or you can also back this position by taking the ‘Over 4.5 Rounds’ prop at -185 (via Pinnacle) or the ‘Fight goes the Distance’ prop at -175 (via WilliamHill). All of these plays, along with Usman on the moneyline (hoping that money comes in on Masvidal on fight night), are worth taking either straight or combined with another +EV wager. 

Zhang/Namajunas: Coming into this weekend’s event, the ‘Over’ in the UFC Women’s Strawweight division has cashed in 23 of the last 34 UFC bouts dating back to the start of 2020. While the ‘Over’ has failed to turn a profit at -2.71 units, there is betting value on this prop, based on the betting trend, at -209 or better, or by fading it at +209 or better. The betting favorite has cashed at a 64.7% rate since the start of 2020, going 22-12, but has also failed to turn a profit. Based on the betting trend, the favorite has value in this division at -183 or better and has fading value at +183 or better.

Rose Namajunas has gone 7-3 in the UFC since making her debut back in 2014, turning a profit of +7.7 units on the moneyline in that stretch. A $100 bettor who has backed Rose ‘to Win Outright’ in each of her 10 UFC appearances has an ROI of +$77 per fight, win or lose. Namajunas has won four of her ten appearances by stoppage, going 4-6 on the ‘Inside the Distance’ prop, for +6.89 units profit.

Meanwhile, Weili Zhang has five appearances in the UFC and has won three of the five by way of the judge’s scorecards, going 3-2 on the ‘to Win by Decision’ prop for +4.65 units profit. Zhang has gone a perfect 5-0 since making her UFC debut back in 2018, putting up +3.77 units on the moneyline in that stretch.

It is another fight that sees somewhat of a champion’s advantage in play. At the same time, as far as ‘star power’ goes, it’s rather somewhat of a win-win situation for the UFC, regardless of who wins here. The UFC has invested a large amount of money into the Chinese MMA market, having opened a performance center in Shanghai in June of 2019. It’s not to suggest that there would be shenanigans go on if this fight goes the distance; however, we have seen a high amount of close title fights sway towards the champion on the judge’s scorecards as of late.

With this in mind, you have to think that the most obvious path to victory for Namajunas in this fight is to put Zhang away and get the stoppage. While you’re getting a hefty +415 on the ‘Inside the Distance’ line with Rose here, you are likely better off just taking the +175 moneyline (via 1XBet) on Rose rather than hoping she gets Zhang out of there. This is yet another situation where the longer the fight goes, the better chance the champion has to come away with the victory, but there is more market value on Namajunas at the current price. 

Shevchenko vs Andrade: The +400 underdog and the +105 price on the ‘Under’ would be the plays to make based on the division betting trends. However, there are outliers with these kinds of general betting trends, and if anyone is an outlier, it’s Valentina Shevchenko.

Shevchenko has won 5 of her 11 UFC appearances by way of decision, going the distance in 7 of those 11 bouts, with her only two losses coming against Amanda Nunes. If Andrade were fighting almost any other women in this division, the pick would more than likely be the Under, as Jessica Andrade has gone ‘Under’ the betting total in 10 of her 18 UFC appearances; you still can’t step in front of that Shevchenko train. Based on this analysis, the best bet on the board might be the ‘Over 3.5 Rounds’ prop, which is currently sitting at -125 (via 5Dimes).

Weidman vs Hall: Chris Weidman has lost by stoppage in 5 of his last 8 UFC appearances, with a $100 bettor having profited +$914 by backing everyone of Weidman’s last 8 opponents to win ‘Inside the Distance’. He is taking on Uriah Hall, who has won 6 of his last 12 appearances in the UFC by way of stoppage, and is coming in as the +125 underdog (via 5Dimes) against Weidman tonight, a spot that looks to have a ton of betting value.

Brown vs Oliveira: Randy Brown comes into Saturday’s bout with Alex Oliveira having won 4 of his 10 UFC appearances by way of stoppage, going 4-6 for +6.13 units profit on the ‘Inside the Distance’ prop. Meanwhile, Alex Oliveira has seven stoppage wins in his 19 octagon appearances and has profited +7.75 units on the ‘Inside the Distance’ prop himself. Based on the current lines, there looks to be market value on Randy Brown to win outright at -150 (via BetCris), as well as some very juicy value on the ‘Fight Goes the Distance: No’ prop at -106 (via CoolBet)

Grant vs Sekulic: Dwight Grant is 2-2 in the UFC and is coming off a TKO loss to Daniel Rodriguez last summer. He steps into the octagon against the Serbian Stefan Sekulic, who is making his sophomore appearance in the UFC, after losing to Ramazan Emeev by decision all the way back in 2018. Based on the betting trends, there looks to be market value on the ‘Over’ in this bought, as 66.7% of fights at welterweight over the last 16 months have gone beyond the betting total, and with the ‘Over 2.5 Rounds’ prop lined at +111 (via Pinnacle), it looks to be the best bet on the board from a value betting perspective. There also looks to be some marginal betting value on Sekulic in this spot. At +177 (via 1XBet), implied probability has Sekulic having about a 36.1% chance of winning this fight, when in reality, that number should be closer to 40%. It’s worth taking a small (1%) shot on a +177 fighter that should probably be closer to +150.

Carnelossi vs Liang: Two fighters that UFC fans likely know very little about kicks off the UFC 261 prelims, as Ariane Carnelossi makes her second octagon appearance, as she takes on the Chinese prospect Na Liang. Carnelossi had a relatively decent performance against Angela Hill back in 2019 and could have likely gone the distance before the cage side doctor called the fight due to a large cut Carnelossi suffered in the third round. She takes on Na Liang, who is making her UFC debut, fighting out of the UFC performance center in Shanghai. When looking at the market, it seems as though there is some betting value on the ‘Over 1.5 Rounds’ and ‘Over 2.5 Rounds’ props, as it seems as though the betting public feels this fight will be done rather quickly. When you consider the fact that 65.3% of fights this year have gone ‘Over’ the betting total, and 71.4% of fights at strawweight since 2019 have gone ‘Over,’ you have to take a long hard look at a position on this fight going wire to wire. You can currently bet the ‘Over 1.5’ at -135 and the ‘Over 2.5’ at +135 (via CoolBet)

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