UFC 207 betting & DFS playbook: Who to pick & whyBy Ryan Frederick | @ryanjfrederick | Dec 29, 2016 5:31 pm
Looking for some advice to gamble some of your Christmas cash Friday night? Here's suggestions, odds and tips for both betting and DFS for UFC 207.
UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes (13-4) vs. Ronda Rousey (12-1)
- Betting Odds: Nunes (+120), Rousey (-130)
- DraftKings Salaries: Nunes- $8,000, Rousey- $8,400
- Key Statistic: Rousey hasn't fought since November 2015
This is an interesting fight to say the least, mainly because there are a lot of question marks surrounding Rousey. Is she better than ever? Has she lost the passion to fight? Is it her last fight? Why is she being so quiet? We haven't seen much of her since she was knocked out by Holly Holm and while she looks in the best shape of her career heading into fight week, she has refused to do any kind of media, so fans don't know what to expect. Meanwhile, the dangerous Nunes is on a tear, winning four straight fights and becoming champion at UFC 200 by throttling Miesha Tate.
At her best, Rousey is a better fighter despite her not being as great on her feet. She has brought in new boxing training partners, but she hasn't switched camps, and she comes from one that many think stunts her growth as a fighter. Nunes is dangerous on her feet, but she fades in fights.
I don't expect this to go long and maybe not even get out of the first round. The longer it goes, it favors Rousey more. It favors Nunes on the feet, and Rousey on the mat. I think this is a toss-up fight, and a bet on either fighter is a good one. Both are good fantasy plays as well, so it's best to go with your gut. Mine favors Rousey winning by submission in the first.
UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (22-1) vs. Cody Garbrandt (10-0)
- Betting Odds: Cruz (-210), Garbrandt (+190)
- DraftKings Salaries: Cruz- $8,700, Garbrandt- $7,700
- Key Statistic: Garbrandt has nine wins by knockout
Both men are looking to cement their names in contention for the best fighter of 2016, and Garbrandt is looking to unseat Cruz as the best bantamweight in the world. Cruz has long been one of the best fighters in the sport, and despite his injury-plagued past, he hasn't lost a step inside the Octagon. He is also the smartest fighter in the sport, and he has made a career of beating guys from the Team Alpha Male camp. Garbrandt is the next in that line.
Cruz is a big favorite for good reason. Garbrandt is a knockout artist, but Cruz rarely gets hit. When he has, he isn't chinny at all, and can take a punch. Cruz has excellent movement and Garbrandt is going to have to chase him a lot. The guys from his camp haven't been able to emulate that, and the one who could, TJ Dillashaw, left the camp over a year ago.
I don't expect Garbrandt to knock him out, and I doubt he can outpoint Cruz over five rounds. Cruz will land a lot and score some takedowns and rack up fantasy points. He is the better bet and the better fantasy play, especially in a five-round fight.
TJ Dillashaw (13-3) vs. John Lineker (29-7)
- Betting Odds: Dillashaw (-240), Lineker (+220)
- DraftKings Salaries: Dillashaw- $8,800, Lineker- $7,400
- Key Statistic: Both men land over five significant strikes per minute
This is an incredibly interesting fight. Lineker is one of the toughest fighters in the sport and among the hardest-hitting fighters. He is also difficult to prepare for. Dillashaw has become a great fighter under the wing of Duane Ludwig, but he doesn't have the finishing instinct that Lineker has. He fights too safe at times, and it will hurt him against Lineker.
Lineker is an action fighter and he will bring the fight to Dillashaw. The former champion is in a vulnerable position, and I don't think this is a great match-up but one he had to take to get a title shot. Both men land a lot of strikes, and Dillashaw could look to take the fight to the mat, but Lineker is dangerous there too. Lineker has the power to end the fight with one punch.
This could be the best fight on the card. Dillashaw is a big favorite, so there is a lot of money to be made on Lineker in this fight. I actually think he will win the fight, which makes him the better fantasy play. I wouldn't play Dillashaw in fantasy lineups as his salary is at the price where you need a finish, and I don't see him finishing Lineker.
Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1 1 NC) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (16-5)
- Betting Odds: Kim (-140), Saffiedine (+130)
- DraftKings Salaries: Kim- $8,500, Saffiedine- $7,700
- Key Statistic: Kim averages three takedowns per 15 minutes
Kim and Saffiedine get the bump to the main card and both are looking to keep themselves in the top ten with an outside chance at contending for the title one day. Kim has won two straight and six of his last seven while Saffiedine has lost two of his last three. Kim is a judo artist with excellent judo throws, and while he is solid on his feet, he isn't a knockout artist.
Saffiedine is a harder hitter, but he leans more on the safe side as a points fighter. He hasn't shown that finishing instinct, which is further cemented by the fact he hasn't finished an opponent in over six years. In fact, Saffiedine has gone the distance in nine of his last ten fights. When it comes to a finish, Kim is the better bet, but I don't see Kim getting one here as Saffiedine is tough and durable.
I like Kim in this fight, but I wouldn't bet on either. I also wouldn't play either in fantasy. However, with only twenty fighters on the card and needing to have six in your lineups, if you are to play one, Kim is the better play due to takedowns and volume.
Louis Smolka (11-2) vs. Ray Borg (9-2)
- Betting Odds: Smolka (+125), Borg (-135)
- DraftKings Salaries: Smolka- $8,300, Borg- $7,900
- Key Statistic: Smolka has a five-inch reach advantage
Smolka and Borg open the main card in a flyweight bout as both look to move up the rankings. Borg missed weight badly though, so his progress may be stunted even with a win.
Smolka is coming off being submitted by Brandon Moreno in a big upset while Borg dropped a decision to Justin Scoggins in his last fight. Smolka has a big advantage in height and reach in this fight, coming in with five inches over Borg in each. Smolka is a good submission artist but he's had the tendency to get caught when he puts himself in a bad position.
Borg is a solid takedown artist and makes good use of his time in top position. Borg isn't much of a finisher on his feet and Smolka is the better finisher. Both men have similar wins by submission, and only Smolka has been stopped in his career.
I give the edge in this fight to Smolka, but both men are solid fantasy plays. I feel like this fight will go the distance and it could play a big role in fantasy lineups.
Johny Hendricks (17-5) vs. Neil Magny (18-5)
- Betting Odds: Hendricks (+110), Magny (-120)
- DraftKings Salaries: Hendricks- $8,000, Magny- $8,200
- Key Statistic: Hendricks has 55 takedowns in UFC competition, Magny has 34
Hendricks may have his last chance here at getting back into the title picture as he has lost his last two fights and missed weight again. Magny was on a tear at 170 pounds but has seen his momentum stall recently.
Whenever Hendricks has missed weight, it has hindered his performance as there is a noticeable decline. At his best, Hendricks has the hardest punch at 170 pounds, and a huge wrestling game to back that up. Magny also has a strong takedown game, and he uses his length well. He was hurt pretty badly by Lorenz Larkin in his last fight, and Hendricks can finish him if he is at his best.
This is a tossup fight, and both men are close in the odds and in fantasy. I like Hendricks in this one because of the better chance of a finish.
Antonio Carlos Junior (6-2 1 NC) vs. Marvin Vettori (11-2)
- Betting Odds: Carlos Junior (-135), Vettori (+125)
- DraftKings Salaries: Carlos Junior- $8,100, Vettori- $8,100
- Key Statistic: Carlos Junior has five submission wins, Vettori has eight
This is a solid battle of middleweight prospects. Vettori has won six straight fights and is coming in with a lot of momentum. Carlos Junior has struggled with consistency inside the Octagon as the former TUF Brazil winner has just three wins in six UFC appearances. Carlos Junior is big and athletic, has a fully developed game, and his grappling is very good. Vettori has some good takedowns and good submissions has he has submitted eight of his foes.
Vettori has won all eleven of his fights by stoppage and has never been stopped in his career. Carlos Junior, while an excellent grappler, has some deficiencies on his feet, and Vettori could take advantage there. It is almost a tossup in straight betting, and they have even fantasy salaries. Vettori is the better play in this fight as he has the better chance of scoring a finish, but both are solid plays. I feel Vettori has more opportunities for maximum scoring.
Mike Pyle (27-12-1) vs. Alex Garcia (13-3)
- Betting Odds: Pyle (+155), Garcia (-175)
- DraftKings Salaries: Pyle- $7,600, Garcia- $8,600
- Key Statistic: Pyle has been knocked out in five of his seven UFC losses
Pyle is a 41-year-old veteran of the sport, and his career is starting to come to an end. He is looking for one last big win when he takes on Garcia, who has struggled recently inside the Octagon. This is a good bounce back fight for Garcia, but he shouldn't take Pyle too lightly. Pyle is a very good fighter and he has 23 wins by stoppage on his record, but his chin is starting to let him down as he's been knocked out in three of his last four losses.
Garcia is an explosive puncher and he has good takedowns, but he shouldn't take Pyle lightly on the mat. Pyle can win this fight if he can get the fight in the clinch and wear Garcia down. His chin makes him hard to trust, though. I think this is Garcia's fight to lose, and I'm sensing a knockout happening here. He is the fantasy play in this one.
Brandon Thatch (11-4) vs. Niko Price (8-0)
- Betting Odds: Thatch (-175), Price (+155)
- DraftKings Salaries: Thatch- $9,000, Price- $7,200
- Key Statistic: Thatch has won all of his fights by stoppage
Thatch was a hot prospect at one time at 170 pounds, but he now finds himself in a must-win situation after losing his last three fights. Price is making his UFC debut on short notice with an undefeated record, and he has a good chance to score an upset. Thatch is a big welterweight and he has explosive striking skills.
All of Thatch's wins have seen him finish his opponent, with seven wins by knockout and four by submission. If he can find what he's been missing over the last few years, he is dangerous and this is his fight to lose. Price will try to grapple and find a submission, but he's far from the level of competition that Thatch has lost to. Thatch has the highest fantasy salary on the card, though I see him winning by a knockout as his striking is too explosive for Price.
Alex Oliveira (16-3-1 1 NC) vs. Tim Means (26-7-1)
- Betting Odds: Oliveira (-105), Means (-115)
- DraftKings Salaries: Oliveira- $7,800, Means- $8,400
- Key Statistic: Means has 22 wins by stoppage
This is one of the better fights on the card and opens the show on Fight Pass. Oliveira is going back up to 170 pounds after missing weight badly for a lightweight bout in his last fight, and he has good size to adjust to welterweight. Means is looking to win his third straight after back-to-back knockout wins, running his record to 22 stoppage wins in his 26 overall wins.
Means is aggressive on his feet and he strings together his punches well, and he is dangerous inside the pocket, in the clinch, and on top in the mat. Oliveira has good reach and he has more power on his feet. Oliveira is the better takedown artist, and he is good as well on the ground. This is a really close fight on paper.
Means has more finishing ability, and Oliveira has been submitted twice inside the Octagon. This fight could see a finish in either way, or it could go the distance. It'll probably go back-and-forth and will be good. I like Means as the better play in this fight as his finishing chances are higher.