UFC moves to “Fight Island” for a major card on Saturday night, including three title fights.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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Substantial betting and line movement for Muslim Salikhov
When betting first opened for the fight between Muslim Salikhov and Elizeu dos Santos, Salikhov was a small favorite at -115. The betting line has since shifted somewhat substantially, with Salikhov moving up to -134. Salikhov has been a popular pick in terms of bets, getting 57% of the action, but he’s been even more popular in terms of handle share at 68%. Salikhov is coming off of three straight victories dating back to 2018 and it’s clear that at least some DraftKings bettors saw an opportunity at that -115 opening number.
Overwhelming support for Rose Namajunas from DraftKings Sportsbook bettors
One of two women’s fights on UFC 251’s main card, the bout between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade is drawing some interesting action from bettors. Andrade actually ranks ahead of Namajunas as the No. 1 contender (Namajunas is No. 2), and Andrade won their last matchup back in May 2019. Andrade was on a four-fight winning streak following that victory until she lost to the now Women’s Strawweight Champion Weili Zhang. Despite all of that, Namajunas is still a -215 favorite for Saturday’s rematch.
DraftKings Sportsbook bettors are seemingly in agreement with the heavy line, backing Namajunas to avenge her TKO loss to the tune of 69% of the bets and 61% of the handle. Looking further into the win method splits, 88% of those wagers are landing on Namajunas, with 91% of the handle, while only 11% of the bets and 7% of the handle are on Andrade. It’s peculiar to see such overwhelming support for a favorite coming off a loss just last year in the same matchup, but it clearly illustrates a trend of bettors believing Namajunas will get the job done.
Strong “Puncher’s Chance” for Jorge Masvidal, according to bettors
Kamaru Usman was originally scheduled to face Gilbert Burns as the headline event for UFC 251, but a positive COVID-19 test forced Burns out and Jorge Masvidal in. Masvidal takes the fight on short notice and it’ll be an extremely tough challenge against a fighter in Usman who has won 11 straight fights en route to the welterweight division title. Usman would have been a large favorite against Burns and he’ll remain a large favorite against Masvidal, but taking the underdog for the upset here actually seems to be a pretty popular idea.
Masvidal, who does have a three-fight winning streak of his own, comes into this event as a +190 underdog. He’s getting 53% of the bets and 64% of the handle, which is significant considering that favorites tend to get the majority of the betting action more often than not. What’s especially notable is how much clearer that picture looks in the win method bets. Masvidal is getting 61% of the bets and 68% of the handle across the various win props, with 37% of the bets and 48% of the handle on him just to win by knockout (+250). So it’s not just that Masvidal is being regarded as live for an upset, there’s strong confidence that he’ll do so in dramatic fashion. It remains to be seen if there’s really something to this, or if the less-flashy Usman may be going overlooked.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
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