There wasn’t much in the way of breaking MMA news today, so instead of giving a rundown of the day’s headlines and new fight announcements like I typically do, I’ll instead analyze the new betting lines that were today released at 5Dimes Sportsbook for the upcoming UFC 163 and Bellator 97 cards. I’ll start with the new UFC 163 lines. The first new line that was released today is for the middleweight matchup between TUF Brazil 1 winner Cezar Mutante and Thiago Santos (not the Bellator heavyweight). Mutante is currently sitting at -430, with the comeback on Santos at +310. I have to admit I don’t know much about Santos but I don’t think he should be as big of an underdog he is because I honestly think Mutante is overrated in this spot and so if there’s value as far as a bet goes, it’s on Santos. In saying that, I still have to lean Mutante because he’s fought better competition and is a more talented fighter, but with his chin issues and the fact he’s been on the sidelines for over a year, I highly recommend passing on a bet on Mutante and instead look for other fights on the card to make a bet on. And one fighter I do believe is worth his line is flyweight John Lineker, who is currently -410 with the comeback on his opponent Jose Tome at +290. I think Lineker is one of the best flyweights in the UFC and I really do believe he’s going to win this fight in highlight-reel fashion, so I recommend betting on him in this spot, even at his high price. And finally the last new UFC 163 line released today is for the middleweight fight between Thales Leites and Tom Watson. Leites is currently -125 with the comeback on Watson at -115. This is a very competitive fight and the definition of a pass for me because I don’t have a great read on the matchup. But since it’s taking place in Brazil, I have to favor Leites and if I was recommend playing either guy it would definitely be the Brazilian, who is fighting for the first time in the Octagon since UFC 101. As far as the Bellator 97 lines go, all five fights feature massive favorites: Michael Chandler at -825, Ben Askren at -430, King Mo at -765, Vitaly Minakov at -350 and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire at -490. I do believe that although all five of these favorites are overpriced, they really should all win their matchups. Still, I’m tempted by the dogs prices on David Rickels at +475, Jacob Noe at +455 and Ryan Martinez at +250 as I believe all three of these fighters have a better chance at winning than the odds indicate. However, I’m going to wait until Wednesday (fight day) before placing any wagers as I want to see which way the lines move first to make sure I get maximum value before placing a bet. This is a great week to be a fan of MMA and also a bettor as both UFC 163 and Bellator 97 will provide some opportunities to make some cash and entertain at the same time.
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