UPDATED – UFC on FX 7 / Odds vs. Ratings (01-19-2013)

18 Jan , 2013,

This is not an attempt to suggest the rating system is more accurate than gambling odds.  Gamblers can analyze each fight individually, while the rating system uses a variety of mathematical routines to supply a primary fighter rating that is focused on ranking recent achievement, with a secondary priority of gauging future expectation.

With that said, there are some caveats to using the rating vs. odds comparison straight-up — the “Gotcha” list:

  1. System inability to project the exact effects of a recent divisional change.
  2. System inability to project the exact effects of recent inactivity.
  3. Poor matchmaking / limited careers / “changing of the guard”.
  4. Notable home advantage.
  5. System inability to project style differences.
  6. System inability to factor in bad judging decisions.

But this stuff (especially #5) is pretty much common sense.  We try to partially factor in #1-#3 when we compute the ratings, but #5 and #6 is something that the human can factor in, that the system can’t.  For the sake of these articles, we’ll attempt to factor in #4 when relevant.  Home advantage can have a slight effect, but likely not enough to sway the “I’d bet on” decision.

Experienced gamblers know that it’s not about being right the most, it’s about making the most money.  So in the usual table, I’ll add the “I’d bet on” column and analyze the rating/odds gap plus points #1-4 that I listed above.I’ll leave #5 and #6 to the fully subjective analyses (except for when Leonard Garcia is involved for #6) — of which I’m sure there will be plenty.

The gotchas aren’t necessarily comprehensive, but I have noted them as I come across them and when they are considered in the decision.

Having said all that, let’s get started:

Ratings vs. Odds

Fight Odds Favorite Rating Favorite I’d bet on “Gotchas”
Trinaldo vs. Keith Trinaldo (-401 / Large) Trinaldo (2.93x / Very Large) Trinaldo
Prado vs. Alcantara Prado (-249 / Moderate) Alcantara (1.92x / Large) Alcantara #1, #3
Alcantara vs. Nobre Alcantara (-440 / Large) Alcantara (2.95x / Very Large) PASS #1
Barboza vs. Martins Barboza (-307 / Large) Barboza (1.71x / Moderate) PASS #3
Nunes vs. Lentz Nunes (-169 / Small) Nunes (1.63x / Moderate) Nunes
Markes vs. Craig Markes (-308 / Large) Craig (1.14x / Very Small) Craig #3, #4
Castro vs. Vieira Vieira (-206 / Moderate) Vieira (3.04x / Very Large) Vieira
Tavares vs. Nurmagomedov Nurmagomedov (-185 / Moderate) Nurmagomedov (1.38x / Small) PASS #4
Gonzaga vs. Rothwell Gonzaga (-117 / Pick ‘Em) Rothwell (1.14x / Very Small) PASS
Dollaway vs. Sarafian Sarafian (-177 / Small) Dollaway (3.22x / Very Large) Dollaway
Belfort vs. Bisping Belfort (-113 / Pick ‘Em) Belfort (1.18x / Very Small) PASS

Now, to the results — given the odds above:

The PASS suggests that the odds and ratings difference are nearly identical and/or there are too many gotchas, so neither fighter is a good bet.

There are three favorites worth backing: Trinaldo, Nunes, and Vieira.


This leaves THREE underdogs worth considering:

All three underdogs, Dollaway, I. Alcantara, and Craig are similar in that the oddsmakers are clearly looking past the ledgers, of which Brazilian ones are sketchy to begin with.  Their opponents are favored for stylistic and skill purposes, so tread lightly.


  1. jcs January 20, 2013 at 12:32 am Reply

    Big win for Josh Sampo tonight over Alexis Vila too…. many doubted Sampo’s lofty ranking, not anymore..

  2. Nick January 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm Reply

    Picked the underdogs correctly – Dollaway, I. Alcantara

  3. jcs January 19, 2013 at 11:40 am Reply

    I forgot this was in Brazil. Khabib becomes a pass.

  4. Nick January 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm Reply

    My favorite type of article on the site. Love these. Thanks.

  5. oleg January 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm Reply

    Too many unknowns here. I’ll go out on a limb and pick Lentz over Nunes.

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