Strikeforce Grand Prix Semi Finals: Bettor Breakdown

Quick Pick: Muhammad Lawal (-140 Favorite) vs. Roger Gracie (+110 Underdog)
The Bet: Roger Gracie defeats Muhammad Lawal (Bet $10 to win $11.10)

One thing you should be on the lookout for while placing a bet is if a fighter is overlooking his opponent.
In a recent interview with USA Today, when asked what his game-plan is Lawal stated, “I’m going to take him down. I’m going to pound him.” From the looks of it, “King Mo” is overlooking Roger Gracie. His bout against Gracie is going to be his first test in competition against someone with elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. Gracie’s ground game is the best in the sport today and if “King Mo” thinks he can put him to rest by swinging his limbs around and leaving himself exposed, he’s got another thing coming to him. Also throw in the fact that Gracie has been training with Georges St. Pierre and his head coach Firas Zahbi, you have all the reasons why you should place a bet on the underdog right there. Start off with a small bet, though, as it’s still early on in the night.
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Question: In terms of mixed martial arts, what are the most popular bets to make?

Answer: In any types of sports gambling, the three most popular bets to make are straight bets, parlays and future bets. The straight bet is the most common bet made and the most simple. Usually, you will simply be betting on the fighter you think is going to when. Perfect example is placing $10 on Roger Gracie defeating “King Mo”. It’s a vanilla bet; no frills.

A parlay bet is essentially linking two or more straight bets in one wager. The benefit of the parlay bet is that you will end up getting a higher payoff since the chances of every one of those outcomes being right is less likely. At UFC 131, a bettor placed $200 on a twelve fight parlay, got every single fight right, and walked away with $50,000+.

A future bet is something completely different from the straight or parlay bets, but just as simple to understand. A future bet asks you what you think will be the outcome of a big event months or even a year before it happens. The perfect example every year is the Super Bowl. You can bet on who you think will win the Super Bowl a year before it happens, and the odds will be better because you can’t predict what injuries or trades are going to happen during the season. The New England Patriots are a +335 favorite right now (Bet $10 to win $33.50) and depending on how good or bad they do during the season, their odds will go up or down. The closer you get to the end of the season, the easier it will be to predict the winner and the odds will only become less and less beneficial. Another perfect example of this is the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
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Future Bet: Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament Winner
The Bet: Josh Barnett (+150) (Bet $10 to win 15.00)

You can forget about betting on the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup, because if you’re looking for a safe way to win money this is it. Josh Barnett originally walked into this tournament as the third favorite under Alistair Overeem and Fedor Emelianenko and seeing as they’re no longer under the Strikeforce banner, Barnett could easily walk away with this thing. While this is a risky bet, it’s financially more beneficial than betting on Barnett beating Kharitonov tonight.

Barnett is walking into his bout against Kharitonov as a -308 favorite, which means you would have to drop $33.00 to win $10.56 in a straight bet. Seeing as Kharitonov really is a dangerous striker and if Barnett can’t get the fight to the ground quick enough, you’re running the risk of losing a larger sum of money for such a small gain. If you are a patient person who can wait for a bigger payoff down the road, you’d want to lay a bet on Josh Barnett winning the whole tournament. Looking down the list of fighters left in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, I don’t see how they can defeat a prepared Josh Barnett.

vs. Sergei Kharitonov: With such a controversial and storied record already behind him, it’s safe to say that Barnett’s career is winding down. He’s already learned his lesson in the past and he is not going to risk his chances of getting in the UFC by standing and trading shots with Kharitonov. In his last fight, Barnett took no chances and brought the fight to the ground almost immediately and smothered Brett Rogers, ultimately winning the bout by submission. Clearly Kharitonov is more skilled than Rogers when it comes to grappling, but Barnett’s wrestling abilities are among the best. Kharitonov has cost himself victories by walking into submissions before, and I think he can do it again tonight.

vs. Daniel Cormier: Granted Cormier is a replacement, there’s a great chance he can find his way to the finals after beating Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. If he does, he’s going to be met by a veteran of the game with a very aggressive and unorthodox style of wrestling. Cormier hasn’t fought anyone like Barnett before and while I don’t think he’ll leave himself susceptible to submissions, Barnett can easily grind out a decision victory.

vs. Antonio Silva: Antonio Silva serves as Barnett’s biggest threat in the remaining four of this tournament and if things go as expected this weekend, the two will be meeting in the finals sometime in 2012. As previously mentioned, Barnett is too careful of a fighter to fall into his opponent’s trap; the last place he wants to be is trading bombs with Antonio Silva or under-him getting hammer-fisted. Silva’s gas tank has been tested and has shown signs of weakness, so Barnett’s approach would likely be a grinding wrestling attack on the ground. Like I said last Bettor Breakdown, a top-level jiu-jitsu grappler will get trumped by intelligent wrestling nine times out of ten. Not only is Barnett an intelligent wrestler, but he’s been in the cage with elite grapplers before and is fully aware of all the different traps he can walk into.

**Disclaimer: The betting advice in this column is only a suggestion. If you or anyone you know has a gambling problem, please visit www.ncpgambling.org. Remember, play with patience and intelligence or don’t play at all.**

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