UFC 285 Best Bets - Props & Parlays
Prop bets & parlay action to beef up your bankroll!
Hey there degenerates, we’re baaaaack! It’s been a long hiatus for us here at MMABestBets.com, but we’re coming back with a whole new format, regular weekly programming, and a whole lot more great picks for all you folks at home to help make you a few (thousand!) bucks anytime there’s some good action.
For now, we’re dipping our toes in with the beefiest card of the new year thus far, though that’s the tip of the iceberg of a different train of thought that’s best left to our new upcoming ***SPOILER WARNING*** Musings section, where we’ll be diving into topics surrounding the politics of the fight game, strategy, fighter breakdowns / fight reviews, scoring / judging and much more.
Don’t worry, our focus will always be to provide the juiciest picks and poorly handicapped lines, but will be blowing off a bit of steam at the current state of affairs in MMA journalism with our mmaMusings. Anyway as intro’s go, this is becoming quite a long one, so we’ll keep the rest short. The MMA GOAT returns at 285. Is he too old? Is he too slow at heavyweight? Will he be rusty after 3 years outside the cage? Is Cyril better than he ever was in the first place? We’ll surely find (some of these things) out!
First things first, a bit of housekeeping: as part of our new format, we will be rating each card and each line with a confidence rating utilizing the following A-F scale:
A: ASSHOLE — as in you’ll feel like an asshole if you don’t take these lines. These are the locks. Nothing barring your complete misfortune will bust these picks. If they go the other way, judges were bought, blind, or its time to buy the opposite of a lottery ticket.
B: BETTER NOT MISS THIS — these aren’t quite locks, but have only one or two unlikely ways in which the line might get blown up, miracles & acts of God excluded.
C: COULD GO EITHER WAY — these are value-rich lines that are right about 50-50 in terms of probability, based on my handicapping. Could be a big win, could be a big bust. Bet accordingly.
D. DONT BANK ON THIS — these are wildcard picks, live dogs against likely superior competition (and massive odds), and other oddities intended to beef your lines up past 100x. Giving advice and living by your advice are totally unrelated.
F. FUCK YOU — an extremely specific or low likelihood outcome or massive favorite odds where they shouldn’t be, on the rare occasion I criticize a heavy favorite line… If you hit on this line, fuck you. If you complain about me giving you this pick and it busting... I think you get the picture. Zero fucks must be given if you're throwing down on these lines. Yeah, go ahead degens, parlay these...
All right, lets go:
Event: UFC 285
Event Line Value Rating: C-
This card is definitely a toss up in many fights for many reasons. Some good value still exists, but adjust your risk management / bankroll management for this event accordingly.
Event Fight Value Rating (ESPN+ era ratings): A/A-
You all better be watching this card. While I still have a lot to say that we’ll save for another day about value for dollar compared with pre-ESPN+ era / pre-pandemic events, I will not be complaining much about the quality of this card. Sure, there’s a couple fights which fit my qualification for a “Wouldn’t be in the UFC pre-Endeavor” label of low quality, but they should still offer decent action (and I’m super excited for the debut of Loik Radzhabov, a solid pickup from the PFL). Let’s not get it twisted, the prelims of this PPV card are not anything to write home about on their own, with the exception of Cody vs Trevin and Brunson vs Dricus, which are ***fire*** (and of course Loiks’s debut!)… But just look at the top of that card. Juiiiiicy!
Fights & Picks:
Bo Nickal vs Jamie “The Night Wolf” Pickett
Disgusting Lines: -
2000 straight up for Bo Nickal . I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything in this range is not worth it.
It’s not beefing up your parlays, and in the off chance that Bo snaps his ankle and the doctor stops it, you’re out a million bucks Drake.
That said, in this case, I can’t hate on the oddsmakers, can’t give this line an F, as much as I love shitting on bad handicapping this line is fairly reasonable. So still stay away, but I can’t blame the person and/or algorithm that led to this decision. I’m sweating Bo that much… Say what you will. Bo knows…
That said, the -275 line for Bo in the first round is solid (B rating), cover on Rd 2 (C-) +375 and/or on prop lines below — juice up some cover parlays!
I don’t see this going to round 3, between the pace we’ve seen thus far from Bo & Pickett’s D, I just don’t see it. Pickett’s best chance is to catch Bo slipping on the feet, where he is yet to be extended and has come out fast with sharp hands in his first three fights. Unclear how well his stand up game stands up in an extended outing, but I doubt we’ll find out unless Jamie cleans his clock early and gets Bo off his game. That said, from the limited looks we’ve seen of his striking, it looks less varied than Jamie’s game and potentially less situationally informed, however he’s very early into his striking career and already looks sharper than the Night Wolf. I’m not going to be surprised if Bo wins the stand up as well, or even gets a finish in that arena, though I’m leaning towards a sub (GNP TKO very possible).
Other decent lines with a bit more upside to sprinkle into speculative parlays, or for some fun straight bets:
Nickal by Sub rd 1 (B-) +100
Nickal by TKO/KO rd 1 (B) +300
Nickal by TKO/KO rd 2 (C+) +800
Nickal by Sub rd 2 (C+) +650
Pickett by TKO/KO rd 1 (D) +3300
Pickett by TKO/KO any rd (D) +2000
The wrestling / grappling advantage is clear here and they are miles apart, plus Bo’s been pretty aggressive throwing hands in the little time he’s been in the cage thus far, and if that continues as expected it will open the takedowns up and make them come quickly and easily. Pickett has been smothered and choked out by lesser grapplers with lesser gas tanks. It’s a matter of time with Bo unless The Night Wolf gets a fast / flash KO. Selling out for that KO shot leaves him exposed for the takedown shot from Bo, but it’s his only shot. Bo’s not worried about the takedown shot on the comeback either, check his massive archive of wrestling footage to see the insane folkstyle transitions and scrambles which are his hallmark — he’s not going to get stuck on the ground and Jamie will be smart not to try it for risk of ending up reversed or in a submission attempt — yeah, Bo’s that good. Not that Jamie is a wizard on the ground himself, and has shown that to be a weakness, but his game is passable for a mid-level pro for sure. I hate to say it again, but Bo’s that good. Jamie better stay on his bike with a range boxing game if he wants to extend this, or sell out for a KO in the pocket early if he has any chance of an ITD win.
I’m not saying it’s impossible, and Pickett is formidable enough and can turn the lights off on anyone with the right shot, so the puncher’s chance is there. The experience difference is real and I always hark on this but I’m not sure it’s super valid in this case. Bo is a top level wrestler with insane NCAA experience. He’s done tons of rounds in high pressure situations in packed arenas and has never failed to perform under the lights. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know in MMA for sure, but I don’t see Pickett as being super willing and determined enough to press the issue
I’m too hot on the Bo train to cover on this one. Pickett is fairly well rounded and could get the better of a fight on the feet if it lasts any decent duration, and in the short exchanges he’s been in he seems like he’s leaving his chin out a bit and not ideal with head movement. But he’s so damn sharp even though he’s still learning and improving quickly and even with those defects his speed and aggression and grappling skill is likely to negate any holes in his game until he hits the upper echelon of the talent pool. I’ll be heavy on the first with a bit of a layoff on rd 2 since there’s a lot of upside there and a potential to reach the round. Call me crazy, and hypocritical for not rating this an A pick and still going on like this, but I’m all in on Bo within two. Bo knows.
Jalin “Tarantula” Turner vs Mateusz “Gamer” Gamrot
If Gamrot can keep the pace and stay in Jalin’s face, and avoid getting clipped, he’s got a good shot not only to take a wide decision but also to catch a likely submission, I’d say 2nd or 3rd. Jalin’s best chance is to win this one quickly, sniping from the outside, catching Gamer blitzing in, with mostly boxing and teeps / front kicks, or head kicks. He needs to keep the pace super high as well to keep Gamrot preoccupied and on the move and defending. Otherwise Gamer’s relentless pace will take over — caveat here being the cardio on short notice, and a slow tired Gamrot leaves his hands low and his chin exposed… But I’m not sure Turner will be fresh enough at that point to capitalize with his strikes. He’s got a shot, and my gut told me to bet the “Fight Does Not Go The Distance” Prop at -200… But now I’m heavily leaning Gamrot by Decision or Sub 2nd or 3rd rd, maybe a small cover on rd 1 TKO/KO for Turner. Lets go with that.
Lines to consider:
Fight Does Not Go The Distance Prop (C-) -205
Gamrot by Decision +240 (C)
Gamrot in Rd 2 (D)
Gamrot in Rd 3 (D+)
Turner in Rd 1 +475 (D+)
Cody Garbrandt vs Trevin Jones
Lines to consider:
Fight does not go the distance -200 (C-)
I don’t think that Cody knows how to slowplay a fight anymore, or maybe he doesn’t want to go long since the Font fight. Can’t bank on this since he definitely has the movement and capability to make Trevin look slow for 3 rounds, but 5 star’s explosive athleticism and counter timing likely means they’re both going to end up touched up a bit, and Cody tends to brawl after getting tagged… In this fight, that’s a recipe for someone going to sleep, and while recent results indicate its likely to be Cody, I refuse to touch this. Too much uncertainty. Which brings me to…
Cody by decision — +450 (C+)
Trevin has a bad habit of losing decisions, often due to inactivity or ending up on his butt… I expect a +300 - +400 line here, which I’d rate a (C-). Given the odds compared to the rating, I’d take a shot (depending on sportsbook actual handicapping, of course. I’d probably avoid this line below that but could see it falling around +250 with stingier sportsbooks, might be inclined to take that up to that level on the low end, probably in a fractional parlay variation.
Jon Jones vs Cyril Gane
I’m going to be brief here because this is one of several matchups where I can see almost anything happening. That said, I give Jones the advantage, he’s never really been in trouble on the feet and expect him to give Cyril all kinds of trouble on the ground. The wrestling is miles apart, and if Jon looks anything like his old self, he should get Cyril down at will. Ring rust and father time may play into Cyril’s hands early, or a potential lack of conditioning late, but I don’t feel strongly about Gane’s chance to become the first man to ever spark Bones. If you insist on it I’d stick to Rds 1 or 5 KO/TKO for Cyril, I can’t imagine the guy who let Vitor overextend his elbow for 30 seconds will tap to anything Bon Gamin is slinging. Over 2.5 seems pretty safe.
Lines to consider:
Over 2.5 rounds -275 (B-)
Jones in rd 2 +900 (D)
Jones in rd 3 +1200 (D+)
Jones in rd 4 +1600 (D++)
Jones by Decision +205 (C-)
Gane by TKO/KO rd 1 +1400 (D)
Gane by TKO/KO rd 2 +1800 (D)
Gane by TKO/KO rd 5 +4000 (F)
Shavkat Rakhmonov by Submission 2nd rd +650 (D+)
Neal by Decision +850 (D+)
Loik straight up — -250 (B-)
— Money’s been coming in heavy on Ribovics driving up the value in Loik, who’s as solid as they come all around, as long as he’s fresh… But I don’t see him dropping more than 1 round due to exhaustion, he’s never been finished, and has fought a ton of killers, while Ribovics has crushed cans and looked great doing it. There’s levels to this game, give the veteran and perennial PFL bridesmaid your respect. As the line keeps shifting in favor of Ribovics, you may want to wait and try to snipe this one closer to -200. That would be a deal, and would earn a full B rating from me.
Valentina Inside The Distance -150 (B)
Valentina in rd 2 +450 (D)
Valentina in rd 3 +700 (D)
Valentina in rd 4 +1100 (D+)
Valentina Inside The Distance -150 (B)
Loik straight up -250 (B-)
Gamrot by Decision +240 (C)
Jones / Gane over 2.5 rds -275 (B-)
Maaaybe sneak in the following too, or swap this for one of those:
Bo in rd 1 -275 (B-)
That said, I like to keep my “safe” parlays at 4 legs or under…. And with the wildcards on this wildcard… :/
Now get to work putting together the rest, and have fun with it — this week is an MMA celebration!
That’s all for this week fellow degenerates — as always, get your picks in, tune in for what should be a spectacular event, and win big!
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