Han Solo despised being told the odds. But that has been quite a while ago…. Today’s sports fans are constantly bombarded with information and data, even in a simple and straightforward sport like MMA. As any game grows, the metrics which quantify it and the statistics that report it all evolve and advance. But there is one set of numbers that are omnipresent in the inception of just about any game, in the back alley to the big leagues: the gambling odds.
In MMA, the Tale of the Tape outlines the basic physique of each fighter, while their recordings summarize their performance history within the sport. But it’s the betting line that’s the most direct and immediate hint to what is going to occur when the cage door shuts on two fighters. So let’s take a closer look at exactly what the odds could tell us about MMA, matchmaking, and upsets. Hey Han Solo, “earmuffs.”
Putting into Extreme Sports In an academic sense, betting lines are basically the market price for some event or outcome. These costs can proceed based on betting activity leading up to the event. And when a UFC fight starts, that betting line is the public’s closing figure at the probability of every fighter winning, with roughly half of bettors choosing each side of the line. Many specialists make daring and confident predictions about struggles, and they’re all wrong a good part of the time. However, what about the odds? How do we tell if they are right? And what do we learn from looking at them ?
The fact is that just a small portion of fights are truly evenly matched according to odds makers. So called”Pick’Em” struggles composed only 12 percent of matchups from the UFC since 2007, with the remainder of fights having a clear favorite and”underdog.” UFC President Dana White cites these betting lines to help build the story around matchups, frequently to point out why a specific fighter might be a”live dog.” White’s right to play up that chance, since upsets occur in roughly 30 percent of fights where there’s a clear favorite and underdog. So next time you take a look at a battle card expecting no surprises, then just remember that on average there’ll be two or three upsets on any given night.
What Do Odds Makers Know?
In a macro sense, cage fighting is inherently difficult to predict for a variety of factors. The youthful game is competed by people, and there are no teammates in the cage to pick up slack or assist cover mistakes. Individual competitors only fight only minutes per outing, also, if they’re lucky, just a few times per year. And let’s not overlook that the raw and primal forces at work at the cage, in which one strike or error of position can end the struggle in seconds.
The volatility of these factors means there’s absolutely no such thing as a guaranteed win once you’re allowing one trained competitor unmitigated access to do violence on another. The sport is totally dynamic, often intense, and with just a few round fractures to reset the activity. These are also the reasons we watch and love the game: it is fast, furious, and anything could happen. It is the polar opposite of the real statistician’s sport, baseball.
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