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Han Solo hated being told the chances. But that was a long time ago…. Today’s sports fans are continuously bombarded with data and data, even at a very simple and straightforward sport like MMA. As any sport grows, the metrics which measure it and the numbers that report it evolve and progress. But there’s 1 set of numbers that are omnipresent from the beginning of just about any game, in the back street to the big leagues: the gambling odds.
In MMA, the Tale of the Tape outlines the basic physique of every fighter, while their recordings summarize their performance history within the game. But it’s the betting line that’s the most immediate and direct hint to what is about to occur when the cage door shuts on two fighters. So let us take a closer look at exactly what the odds can tell us about MMA, matchmaking, and upsets. Hey Han Solo, “earmuffs.”
Putting the Extreme to Extreme Sports In an academic sense, betting lines are basically the market cost for a certain event or result. These costs can proceed according to betting activity leading up to the event. When a UFC battle begins, that gambling line is the people final guess at the probability of each fighter winning, with roughly half of bettors picking each side of this line. Many experts make daring and positive predictions about fights, and they’re all wrong a good part of the time. But what about the chances? How do we tell if they are correct? And what do we learn from looking at them ?
The fact is that only a small portion of fights are truly evenly matched according to odds makers. So called”Pick’Em” struggles composed just 12% of all matchups in the UFC because 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 correct to perform up that possibility, because upsets occur in approximately 30% of fights where there is a definite favorite and underdog. So the next time you take a look at a fight card expecting no surprises, then just don’t forget that on average there’ll be three or two upsets on any given night.
What Do Odds Makers Know?
At a macro sense, cage fighting is fundamentally hard to predict for many different factors. The youthful game is competed by individuals, and there are no teammates in the cage to pick up slack or help cover for mistakes. Individual competitors only fight only minutes per excursion, and, if they’re lucky, just a few times each year. And let’s not overlook the raw and primal forces at work at the cage, where a single attack or mistake of position can finish the fight in seconds.
The volatility of these factors means there is absolutely nothing as a guaranteed win once you’re allowing one trained competitor unmitigated access to do violence on another. The game is totally dynamic, often intense, and with only a few round breaks to reset the activity. These are also the reasons we observe and love the sport: it’s fast, angry, and anything could happen. It’s the polar opposite of this real statistician’s sport, baseball.

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