Finding Betting Value on Loaded UFC 217 Card

bisping st pierre

Andreas Hale

Friday, November 3, 2017 4:56 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 4:56 PM GMT

Saturday's UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden is an exciting card that features a ton of great fights, led by Michael Bisping vs. all-time great Georges St-Pierre, but where is the betting value?

Free UFC Pick: Gall -115Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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The UFC returns to Madison Square Garden in New York for the second time with a fully loaded card Saturday that features the return of an all-time great, a heated rivalry finally coming to a head and a woman who is primed to blow past Ronda Rousey as the most dominant female fighter in the UFC (all apologies to Cris Cyborg but she hasn’t been here long enough).

Starting with the main event, Georges St-Pierre returns to the Octagon for the first time in nearly four years as he moves up to middleweight to challenge Michael Bisping for his 185-pound title. Betting on either fighter is a nightmare as the line finds GSP at -115 and Bisping at -105. And the truth is that there are far too many variables to consider. How will GSP look after being gone four years and coming in 15 pounds heavier? Bisping may be the champion, but his overall resume isn’t terribly impressive. Aside from his stunning knockout of Luke Rockhold, he barely got by both Dan Henderson and Anderson Silva, who were well past their prime years.  

But if you feel so inclined to place a wager, there’s a way to find some value. If you like Bisping, it would be wise to take him and pair it with the under 4.5 rounds at +130. The reason being that if Bisping is going to get rid of GSP, it’ll likely be due to being the bigger man and St-Pierre’s cage rust. If GSP is not what he used to be, Bisping will look to find out quickly. As long as he can stuff the takedown, he’ll be able to outstrip GSP and possibly bludgeon him to a finish. He won’t look to waste any time playing around with his food.

If you believe in GSP, you have to believe that his excellent MMA wrestling will play a major role in this fight. Considering that Bisping has proven to be relatively durable and will hold a size advantage, a knockout is unlikely. St-Pierre won’t look to box but control every aspect of this fight with his wrestling. More important, GSP hasn’t finished an opponent since earning a corner stoppage against the undersized B.J. Penn back in 2009. GSP at -115 and the over at -150 would be the way to go.

But this is certainly a fight to avoid.

The second title fight on the card finds former teammates turned heated rivals Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw finally settling their difference in the Octagon for Garbrandt’s bantamweight title.

Garbrandt is a pretty wide favorite at -185 with Dillashaw at +160. This is a tough fight to pick as these two know each other very well. However, Garbrandt looked exceptional against Dominick Cruz in his last fight where his boxing and footwork stifled Cruz for five rounds. Considering that Dillashaw deploys a very similar strategy that uses feints and footwork to find openings, this could play out very similar to Garbrandt’s title win last December. Dillashaw isn’t as polished in the striking department as Garbrandt, and the champion won’t fall for the same feints that other fighters have.

While it is true that the Cruz whom Garbrandt fought wasn’t the one Dillashaw fought last January, there are far too many similarities in Cruz and Dillashaw that Garbrandt can pick off of. Unfortunately, SBR's sportsbooks have seen this in a similar fashion, which explains the line. Dillashaw is a very live underdog, but he’s going to have to do something very different to knock Garbrandt off his square. Also of note:Dillashaw hasn’t been stopped since losing to John Dodson in The Ultimate Fighter finale back in 2011 when he competed as a flyweight. The line for under 3.5 rounds is +155, but something tells me that Dillashaw will be in this for the long haul.

The third title fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas is also one that you may want to stay away from. Jedrzejczyk is a massive favorite at -700 while Namajunas comes in at +500. And it’s tough to argue with the line considering Jedrzejczyk’s dominance as champion and Namajunas being only 6-3 with a recent loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz last year. The primary issue here is Jedrzejczyk’s volume striking and magnificent cardio that seemingly ramps up as the fight goes on. Namajunas has only gone past the 3rd round once and that was a relatively one sided drubbing that she handed to Paige VanZant.

There is some appeal with the fight going under 3.5 rounds at +170. But given Jedrzejczyk’s track record where she’s only finished one opponent in under three rounds (Carla Esparza) during her UFC tenure, you’d be wise to stay away from that as well.

So, where’s the value?

Former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (+215) is facing the undefeated Paulo Borrachinha (-255). Hendricks has completely fallen off of a cliff since being welterweight champion and has lost four of his last five fights. He’s struggled with his weight and that has translated to the Octagon. Although Borrachinha might be too much of a favorite, the value is in this fight never seeing the judges' scorecards. Borrachinha has never gone to a decision and Hendricks has been extremely vulnerable. The under 1.5 rounds is currently at -115 but see what you can find for the fight ending inside of the distance.

James Vick is also a surprisingly big underdog against Joe Duffy. Duffy — who is known to most as the man who beat Conor McGregor before he ended up in the UFC — is a -200 favorite while Vick is sitting at +170. Duffy is extremely talented, but Vick has only has one loss to Beneil Dariush but has otherwise been excellent. He’s long and rangy, which could give Duffy problems. I like Vick here with those odds.

Last but certainly not least is Mickey Gall vs. Randy Brown. Gall steamrolled CM Punk in his UFC debut and then snuffed out Sage Northcutt in his encore. He’s only 4-0, but the tenacity and ability appear to be there. Brown is coming off of a loss to Bilal Muhammad but has otherwise been solid. Gall is a slight favorite at -120 with Brown being the underdog at +100. Given Gall’s ability and hunger, I fully expect him to take advantage of the opportunity and use his stellar wrestling to ground and get the victory. With the line steadily moving in favor of Gall, take the young fighter as soon as you can.

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