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How Do MMA Odds Work? A Succinct Overview Of MMA Betting

Robert Green
Published: September 20, 2021
Updated: September 20, 2021

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Betting has always been a common occurrence among sports fans and, recently, MMA betting has become more popular. Betting on an MMA fight is not as straightforward as other sports and the process may seem confusing for new punters. If you want to bet on MMA fights and you are asking how MMA odds work, then here is all you need to know.

Due to stay-at-home orders in recent years, sports were limited and as MMA was one of the first sports to come back, it drew in a lot of younger fans who enjoy betting, as it increases the entertainment of the sport. With this dynamic, many new punters may not understand the mechanics of betting odds.

When betting on MMA fights, you will be faced with two systems, known as the American and the decimal format. We will look through both of these systems to help you understand how to bet correctly from anywhere.

close up of sports betting slip and pencil

Sportsbooks and Odds

You may already know this, but a sportsbook is an establishment that facilitates bets on various sporting events. This is the company you will use to place your bets and the company usually determines its own odds of a fight. However, some companies use the same odds as other places as it is easier, quicker, and more cost-effective.

In MMA, the odds are determined by which fighter is deemed more likely to win or lose the fight. This allows you to get an idea of how much money you are likely to win by betting on a certain fighter. The “favorite” is the fighter who has the highest likelihood of winning and, as a result, you will win less money betting on them.

How MMA Odds Are Determined

When odds are calculated in MMA, they always favor the sportsbook to minimize the risk of the establishment losing money. This means you need to be smart when placing your bets and understanding how the odds are determined can help in that regard.

When determining odds for MMA, there are several expert mathematicians and statisticians who are well-versed in sports analytics who help determine the various odds. They usually look at the previous fights of the two opponents as well as their previous injuries, form, and even the weather forecasts. 

They will also take into account each fighter’s known strengths and weaknesses. While you can look into these factors when making your bet, you can trust the given odds to some degree. However, it is important to have an educated idea of who is likely to win. 

How MMA Money Line Odds Work

The most common bet that punters place when betting on an MMA fight is money line odds. This is when punters place a bet based on the fighter they believe will win the fight. Other bets can be placed on how many rounds the fight will last. 

There are two main types of betting odds that are used by sportsbooks; American and decimal betting odds. It is good to understand these two techniques to be able to bet through different sportsbooks.

How American Betting Odds Work

The American system of odds is given in whole numbers, which can be negative or positive. The odds are preceded by a (-) sign or a (+) sign to denote whether it is a positive or negative value. Positive values portray longshots while negative values are seen as the favorite. 

The favorites are those deemed most likely to win, and therefore, it is harder to make money by betting on the favorite. 

Values preceded by a minus sign are the amount you need to bet to win a profit of $100. The positive values show how much you will make if you bet a $100 wager.

For example: If the odds are +325 for fighter A and -105 for fighter B, you will make $325 profit for each $100 you bet on fighter A. While, on the other hand, betting on fighter B means you need to place a bet of $105 to receive a profit of $100. 

The negative value of betting odds usually indicates the favorite to win the match. However, when the match is fairly equal, both fighters may have a negative value.

How Decimal Betting Odds Work

The decimal betting system works similarly to the American system. However, the figures are presented differently. Most countries that fall outside of North America utilize decimal odds, which are also known as European odds. 

Not only is the figure represented as a decimal, but it also includes the stake and the profit within the betting odds. If the odds are shown as 1.65 for fighter A, you would receive $165 if fighter A does win. This is made up of your $100 bet and the $65 profit you will receive. 

The fighter with the lower number is likely to be the favorite, while the higher numbers result in a bigger payout. To calculate how much you will win at certain odds, simply multiply the decimal number by the amount you would like to bet.


Are money line bets the only method of betting on a fight?

No, while money line bets are the more common type of bet made by MMA punters, there is also a total rounds bet. Some punters will attempt to estimate how many rounds the fight will last. 

Why do MMA odds change?

The odds will continuously shift right up until the betting window closes as more people place bets. This will shift based on the latest news about the fighters leading up to the match.

The Final Punt

Sports betting will always be a gamble, but understanding how the bets are structured will help you bet more wisely. If you are following the news about the fighters and the elements surrounding the fight, you can set up a strategy and calculate the percentage of a fighter winning, to hopefully make some money.

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