Early betting action has been on the underdog Tyron Woodley for Saturday night’s welterweight title bout against Robbie Lawler, the main event of UFC 201 from Philips Arena in Atlanta, as odds on the champ have shortened significantly since opening numbers were posted. At MGM sports books in Las Vegas, oddsmakers opened Lawler as the -230 chalk, with Woodley offered for +150 on the takeback. The morning of the fight, MGM is dealing Lawler -150/Wooldey +120.
The total-rounds prop is set at 2.5 rounds, with the ‘over’ juiced to -150 and ‘under’ priced at’+130.
Woodley (15-3) has been out of action since earning a split-decision over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183 in January 2015. He was scheduled to fight Johny Hendricks at UFC 192 last October before Hendricks was pulled from the card. Woodley maintains that he does not expect ring rust to be a factor Saturday.
While the win over Gastelum was the second straight for Woodley, he has not won three consecutive fights since 2012. He is 5-3 over his last eight.
Lawler (27-10) comes into Saturday’s bout on a five-fight win streak, taking out some solid welterweights along the way, including Carlos Condit, Rory MacDonald and Hendricks in his last three. His fights tend to be doozies – four of his 10 since returning to the UFC in 2013 have earned fight of the night honors, and many MMA observers believe his fifth-round TKO over MacDonald was the best fight of 2015.
Lawler lands tons of shot, and he also takes a bunch. Per USA Today MMA writer Mike Bohn, since his return to UFC in February 2013, Lawler has landed 657 significant strikes and absorbed 691, both tops in the UFC.
Expect a good one on Saturday.
UFC 201 pick
The aforementioned early action has made a bet on Lawler more attractive. At more than 2/1 odds, where the fight opened, we’d be hesitant to fire on Lawler against an excellent opponent in what promises to be a slugfest. With Lawler’s price dropping to -150, though, we’re seeing value in backing the champ. To be clear, we are going against what appears to the sharp money tonight with our wager on Lawler as the short favorites.
Here are betting numbers for the full main card posted at The Wynn Las Vegas.
Robbie Lawler -150, Tyron Woodley +120 (Welterweight)
Rose Namajunas -210, Karolina Kowalkiewicz +180 (Strawweight)
Matt Brown -270, Jake Ellenberger +230 (Welterweight)
Erik Perez -170, Francisco Rivera +150 (Bantamweight)
Fredy Serrano -125, Ryan Benoit +105 (Flyweight)