Betting buzz: Three prop bets of interest for UFC 302: Makhachev-Poirier

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Everything that happens in sports has some additional context when viewed from a sports betting perspective. From season-changing injuries to record-setting moments and so much more, the sports news cycle will constantly and significantly affect the sports betting industry.

Our betting buzz file, with contributions from David Purdum, Doug Greenberg, Ian Parker and others, aims to provide fans a look at the sports betting stories that are driving the conversation.

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UFC 302: Prop bets to get the best value on Islam Makhachev

Parker: UFC 302 is around the corner and if you were looking to bet on Islam Makhachev in his title defense against Dustin Poirier, he is currently sitting at -550, so to lower that heavy juice lets take a look at a few props that will do that.

Best bet No. 1: Makhachev Inside the distance at -275

As big of a fan as I am of Poirier, it’s hard to see where he gets it done here against the champ. Unless he catches him with that famous left hook, I expect Islam to overwhelm Poirier the way Khabib Nurmagomedov did with his wrestling.

In his past three fights, we have seen Makhachev get it done by both TKO/KO and submission and I don’t see this fight going any different, so if you are looking to lower that -550 moneyline number, then take Inside the distance at -275.

Best bet No. 2: Makhachev to win and under 2.5 rounds -140

In six of his past seven fights, Makhachev has won inside the distance. In four of those fights, he has won in under 2.5 rounds. That prop currently sits at -140 and that’s a number I can certainly get behind. Poirier is as durable as it gets, however he tends to give up his back more often than not, and granted Benoit Saint-Denis couldn’t take advantage of that position, he’s not Makhachev.

Round 1 will I believe be at least two minutes standing up, and once Makhachev lands a few strikes he will switch it up and take Poirier to the ground. If he doesn’t get it done in Round 1, I see a similar situation happening that occurred in the Poirier vs Oliviera fight. Poirier looked good in Round 1, but once started taking some shots he gave up his back and it was over.

Best bet No. 3: Makhachev to win by submission +105

With a 64% finish rate and 44% of it by way of submission, at +105 it would not surprise me in the slightest bit if Makhachev overwhelmed Poirier with his wrestling eventually getting the RNC choke. We have seen Makhachev do it time and time again.

The other option I can see happening is him getting the mount and moving to a head and arm triangle. Poirier is a black belt in BJJ, but has been submitted before. When you are getting overwhelmed with strikes, you end up defenseless and opened to be subbed and I believe that is what will happen here.

Odds by ESPN BET.

May 22: Record $14.1 million bet on table tennis in March with Colorado sportsbooks

Purdum: Approximately $14.1 million was bet on table tennis in March with Colorado sportsbooks, a record for the state and more than was risked on golf, MMA and motorsports combined during the month.

Betting on table tennis took off during the COVID-19 pandemic, when almost all sports leagues were halted. At the time, tournaments in Russia and Ukraine, some of which were streamed on sportsbooks’ apps, were among the only events bettors could find to wager — despite some suspicious circumstances. Table tennis attracted $6.6 million in bets in May 2020 with Colorado books, the most of any sport.

Table tennis has had staying power with bettors, seeing a significant spike in the amount of money wagered in recent months. The $14.1 million bet on table tennis in March bested the previous record of $12.6 million in February. BetMGM Sportsbook said betting interest in table tennis is not unique to Colorado and that it can top MMA and golf in other states.

“Table tennis takes place just about 24/7,” Alex Rella, senior trader for BetMGM told ESPN in an email. “The sheer volume and speed just outweighs what MMA and golf offer each weekend. Our customers also love the speed of each game. The quick turnaround is very appealing in comparison to major American sports where it can take hours for a game to end.”

The most popular table tennis with bettors currently are held in Poland, according to BetMGM.


May 21: Massachusetts Gaming Commission discusses limiting bettors

Purdum: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held a public roundtable Tuesday to discuss the controversial bookmaking practice of limiting bettors.

Ten sportsbook operators in Massachusetts that were invited to the roundtable declined to participate, citing concerns over confidentiality of proprietary systems and risk management strategies, and instead requested a private session to discuss the topic.

According to MGC interim chair Jordan Maynard, the roundtable was prompted by complaints from consumers about having the amount they can wager reduced by the state’s sportsbooks. It included commentary from gambling industry consultants, an advocate for responsible gambling and a professional bettor. No new policies were enacted, but the committee continued further discussion of the topic.

In its written response to the MGC, Penn Entertainment, which operates ESPN BET, said it reserves the right to change betting and payout limits. “Penn may limit a patron for various reasons, including taking advantage of manipulating the sportsbook or abusing promotional play,” Samantha Haggerty, deputy chief compliance officer for Penn National, wrote.

In addition to Penn Entertainment, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics, Caesars Sportsbook, Encore Boston Harbor and BetMGM were among the sportsbooks that declined to participate and provided written confirmation to the MGC. A spokesperson for DraftKings said in a statement that “any meaningful discussion on wagering limits would necessarily involve the disclosure of DraftKings’ confidential risk management practices and other commercially sensitive business information.”

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