Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC 184: Degenerate Gambler’s Corner

2015 PICKS

Last event: 2-9 (18.2%)

Year to date: 43-24 (64.2%)

Going 2-9 on picks last week might seem miserable on the surface, but last week’s Fight Night event from Porto Alegre was historic in terms of how many upsets there were. In fact, betting favorites went 1-10 on the night. Since I tend to judge my picks in the context of how good they were relative to the betting lines, I’m not going to beat myself up for my picks last week.


Favorite % Underdog %
 Ronda Rousey 79.2% Cat Zingano 20.8%
 Raquel Pennington 64.5% Holly Holm 35.5%
 Jake Ellenberger 78.3% Josh Koscheck 21.7%
 Richard Walsh 59.1% Alan Jouban 40.9%
 Gleison Tibau 50.8% Tony Ferguson 49.2%
 Roan Carneiro 54.3% Mark Munoz 45.7%
 Roman Salazar 77.0% Norifumi Yamamoto 23.0%
 Dhiego Lima 57.7% Tim Means 42.3%
 Derrick Lewis 83.7% Ruan Potts 16.3%
 James Krause 58.6% Valmir Lazaro 41.4%
 Alexander Torres 58.6% Masio Fullen 41.4%

Let’s address the elephant in the room… Raquel Pennington being named the favorite to defeat Holly Holm by my model. All the model knows is that Holm is a fighter making her UFC debut, that she’s 33 years old, 7-0, and none of her seven wins were against anybody particularly impressive. The model is treating her as a standard debuting UFC fighter when she’s clearly not. So my pick to win is Holm as I have information the model doesn’t have.

Even discounting that fight, there are plenty of fights where my model disagrees with the betting lines. Richard Walsh, Gleison Tibau, Roan Carneiro, and Roman Salazar are all substantial underdogs, but my model favors each of them (Tibau by the slimmest of margins). It’s safe to say this is the most my model has disagreed with the betting public since I debuted it for UFC 182.


Last event: +$45.67

Starting bankroll: $100.00

Current bankroll: $176.09

Total investment: $123.85

Total profit: $76.09

Return on investment: 61.4%

As poor as last week’s event was for straight picks, it was phenomenal for degenerate gambling. The biggest gain was on 6-1 underdog Frankie Saenz, who used takedowns, ground strikes, and movement to grind out a decision victory against Iuri Alcantara. Sam Alvey at +285 was also a big winner as he knocked out Cezar Ferreira in the first round. The overall result is a massive gain of $45.67 and a bankroll increase of 35%. Not a bad night!

For this event I have…

Roman Salazar +158: $2.73 to win $4.31

Raquel Pennington +500: $2.21 to win $11.05

Richard Walsh +360: $1.50 to win $5.40

Roan Carneiro +260: $0.95 to win $2.47

Alexander Torres +140: $0.68 to win $0.95

Gleison Tibau +220: $0.65 to win $1.43

The way the Kelly criterion handles such a big disparity between the model estimates and the betting lines on so many fights is to actually recommend small bets only. It’s a bit counter-intuitive but that’s the way it works. (I haven’t wrapped my head around why that is from a mathematical standpoint, but I’m OK with it.)

I also missed out on some much better prices. Salazar was once at +290 and Pennington was at +600. Even so, the model sees tremendous value in both fighters, even at current prices.

Mandatory disclaimer: I am NOT a betting professional and I do not recommend you follow my bets in any serious way. I am doing this for fun and as an experiment, not as a livelihood. Whatever bets you make are done at your own risk.

Best of luck and enjoy the fights!


6 responses to “UFC 184: Degenerate Gambler’s Corner

  1. Nick February 28, 2015 at 9:28 am

    I can easily see all 6 of those bets hitting tonight. Good luck.

  2. olddirtyfighter February 28, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    “The way the Kelly criterion handles such a big disparity between the model estimates and the betting lines on so many fights is to actually recommend small bets only.”

    This is not true. The bigger is your edge, the bigger is your bet.

  3. Howard Morton February 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    5 units@ +114 Rousey/Holm/Ellenberger
    5 units@+130 Salazar
    5 units@ +235 Carneiro

    Good luck to everyone.

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