The UFC is in the spotlight.
With the rest of the sports world left on America’s sideline, UFC 249 became the center of attention Saturday night. And the sports betting handle was bigger than ever.
According to SI.com, some sportsbooks reported that UFC 249 was the most-bet MMA event ever before the fights even started. That total certainly climbed even higher as more wagers poured in during the 12 fights on the card.
“We received more betting action on UFC 249 than we have for any regular season NFL game,” said Mattias Stetz, the C.O.O of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse. “It was even 33% more popular than Conor McGregor’s return to UFC this past January. The bettors are delighted to see the UFC again.”
The pay-per-view numbers were also strong. Yahoo Sports reported more than 700,000 buys for ESPN’s Pay-Per-View.
“We absolutely destroyed it,” UFC President Dana White told Yahoo Sports. “It was a home run by every measure. The early trends were good and they continued.”
UFC odds are live for UFC Fight Nights this week
The UFC will remain in the spotlight this week with two Fight Nights scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida.
UFC Fight Night Smith vs. Teixeira will feature an 11-fight card Wednesday, headlined by the main event, a light heavyweight bout between Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira.
PA sports betting apps have betting lines available on all of the fights, which will be broadcast starting at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.
Anthony Smith favored in light heavyweight main event
In the main event, the American Smith is -182 at BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse, with the Brazilian Teixeira at +150.
Much like UFC 249, there are wagers far beyond the moneyline, with bets available on the winning method, total rounds (the over/under is 2.5), and whether it will go the distance.
Pricing and options are fairly similar at FanDuel and DraftKings, but bettors would be wise to shop around, especially if lines fluctuate a little closer to the event. FOX Bet also has a number of bets boosted for for the UFC action.
The other Wednesday fights and their odds at BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse are as follows:
- Ben Rothwell (+115) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (-139)
- Alexander Hernandez (+100) vs. Drew Dober (-125)
- Ray Borg (+130) vs. Ricky Simon (-165)
- Marvin Vettori (-177) vs. Karl Roberson (+144)
- Philipe Lins (-162) vs. Andrei Arlovski (+130)
- Michael Johnson (+100) vs. Thiago Moises (-125)
- Sijara Eubanks (-360) vs. Sarah Moras (+280)
- Gabriel Benitez (+125) vs. Omar Morales (-162)
- Hunter Azure (-182) vs. Brian Kelleher (+145)
- Chase Sherman (-139) vs. Ike Villanueva (+110)
DraftKings has Walt Harris at -155 in heavyweight main event
After a short layoff, the UFC will return to Jacksonville once again on Saturday for UFC Fight Night Overeem vs. Harris.
In the heavyweight main event, DraftKings Sportsbook has American Walt Harris as a clear favorite in his bout with Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem. Overeem enters the fight at +130 at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Harris is -155.
Sportsbooks will once again have a healthy menu of betting options beyond the moneyline, which include method of victory, total number of rounds, and whether or not the fight goes the distance. Saturday’s card also features 11 fights, with the action airing on ESPN+ starting at 6 p.m.
Over at FanDuel the pricing varies somewhat, so bettors can find slightly different odds by visiting multiple sites. In addition to the main event, Saturday’s remaining fights and their prices at FanDuel are as follows:
- Claudia Gadelha (-190) vs. Angela Hill (+160)
- Edson Barboza (-124) vs. Dan Ige (+106)
- Eryk Anders (+132) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (-156)
- Song Yadong (-178) vs. Marlon Vera (+150)
- Matt Brown (+172) vs. Miguel Baeza (-205)
- Anthony Hernandez (-108) vs. Kevin Holland (-108)
- Mike Davis (-220) vs. Giga Chikadze (+184)
- Darren Elkins (-114) vs. Nate Landwehr (-102)
- Cortney Casey (-148) vs. Mara Romero Borella (+126)
- Rodrigo Nascimento (+104) vs. Don’tale Mayes (-122)
UFC enjoying the spotlight
After a strong response to UFC 249, the MMA organization hopes to continue its momentum with two more events this week.
For at least a little bit longer, the rest of the American sports world will be sitting out.
The UFC is alone on center stage. The spotlight is on.
And it’s time to shine.