Featured Content

How Do MMA Betting Odds Work?


How Do MMA Odds Work?

by Matt Lo Cascio

The onset of legal gambling in Illinois and many other states has spurred MMA gambling to become very popular. The fights are already exciting, but when you have a vested interest in the outcome, your heart beats a little faster and you end up teetering on the edge of your seat. You might even yell at the TV.

But before you lay down some cash on a fight you have to know how MMA betting odds work.


Let’s start with the basics of MMA Odds. The first thing to know is MMA odds in America will have a + or – sign in front of a number. Let’s use an imaginary MMA fight as an example. And since it’s merely an example, let’s get a little wacky with it. How about Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko? We’ll assume the favorite in this fight would be Fedor. That would make Brock Lesnar the underdog. Favorites always have a minus sign in front of a number, while the underdog will have a plus. In our imaginary fight, Fedor would be the favorite at -180, while Lesnar would be the underdog at +120.

For favorites, the number represents the amount you would need to bet in order to win $100. So if I bet $180 and Fedor wins, I would receive $100 in winnings as well as my $180 wager back.

For underdogs, the odds work a bit differently. The plus sign indicates the amount of money you would win per each $100 wagered. So if I put $100 down on Lesnar and he wins, I would receive $120 in winnings plus my initial $100 wager back.


Betting favorites or underdogs is just one way to wager on MMA. There are many other MMA betting options like parlays, fractional odds, and props. Parlays are more difficult to win because you must select at least two fighters and they both must win in order to cash on that wager. The good news is the odds always increase in parlays which make the payouts bigger.

Parlay odds are difficult to figure out. Every betting site will show you updated odds as you add fighters to your bet slip. But if you wanted to see what your parlay odds will be before visiting your preferred betting site, you can use a parlay calculator. For example, let’s say I picked a fighter that was +245 and parlayed that with a fighter who was +325. If you bet $100 on that parlay and won, you would win over $1400. You can even parlay six fighters. A mix of favorites and underdogs in a six-fighter parlay could be worth over $10,000 with just a $100 bet.

Fractional odds aren’t used much in MMA, but they are used when you want to place a bet on a team or player in a non-game situation. Let’s say you were a baseball fan and prior to opening day wanted to bet on the Chicago White Sox to win the World Series. You would see odds around 10/1. That means you would win $10 for every $1 you bet.

Props, aka prop bets or proposition bets, are bets that are placed on something happening during an event and not necessarily a final result. An example would be betting on how many takedowns Khabib Nurmagomedov might land in a fight. You would be offered an over or under on those takedowns. Khabib is the takedown king, so maybe the over/under number would be four takedowns. You could bet either side of that and it wouldn’t matter if Khabib won or lost the fight. Other popular MMA prop bets include picking the round the fight will end as well as the method of finish.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is the former play-by-play announcer for the XFO and other organizations, and he has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided, and more.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *