MMA Betting: Will Conor McGregor Save The UFC?


Jason Lake

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 2:13 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 2:13 PM UTC

Forget about UFC 200: This Saturday night, Conor McGregor fights at UFC 202, and if the MMA odds are right, the fate of the entire promotion hangs in the balance.

Conor McGregor is right: Without him, UFC 200 just wasn't the same. There isn't much star power left in the Octagon with all these champions falling left and right. McGregor is the UFC's last meal ticket. But what if he loses again to Nate Diaz this Saturday at UFC 202? Where does that leave the promotion?

This is what happens when the money takes over. McGregor may have thoroughly dominated the Featherweight division, and hell yes, the people want to see him fight Diaz again. They're going to pack that big new arena in Las Vegas, and they're going to shell out millions of dollars for the pay-per-view. Fine and dandy. The UFC odds at press time have McGregor as the –130 favorite, so maybe he does get his revenge. But at those odds, there's about a 43-percent chance Diaz kills the golden goose instead.


Pounds > Dollars
Maybe McGregor should be picking on someone his own size. Moving up to Lightweight and challenging Rafael dos Anjos for the title would have been fine – if only dos Anjos hadn't gotten injured. Taking the next step to Welterweight makes Saturday's fight something of a freakshow. It also devalues the Featherweight title, which has been sitting idle since last December.

Not that the title matters from a betting perspective. The freakshow part is our concern here; Diaz is three inches taller at 6-foot, with a two-inch reach advantage. He's naturally much bigger than McGregor. This tree might be too tall for our hero to chop down. We can give him the benefit of the doubt for losing their first fight in March, which was cobbled together on short notice. Maybe all he needs is a full training camp to get back on track. But that uncertainty makes him a dubious UFC pick.


This Won't Take Long
That's why people here at the ranch are looking at the props market instead. We've already recommended the “Fight doesn't go to decision” prop at –333; as we go to press, that price has moved to –400 at WillliamHill, and –485 at Sportbet. Hope you bought in early on that one.

Having said that, our assigned target today is the moneyline, and the betting public has been loading up on McGregor the last few days. We expect that pattern to continue up until the close unless there are further developments along the way. Diaz is the obvious contrarian pick in this situation. Make it a small bet if you're joining in; this is a high-variance play, riddled with known unknowns. Wait until Saturday for a better price on Diaz, enjoy the show, and may the Octagon be with you.


Free UFC Pick: Diaz +115
Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb
Record: 7-0 ML, 1-1 Totals, 7-2 Props (+12.05 units)

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