Bellator 217 takes place Saturday, February 23 at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. The offshore sportsbooks recently opened up the odds for the main card, and here they are.
Bellator 217 Opening Odds Reactions
James Gallagher -475
Steven Graham +325
Peter Queally -460
Myles Price +320
Richie Smullen -350
Adam Gustab +250
Charlie Ward -300
Jamie Stephenson +220
And here are my initial reactions to the Bellator 217 opening odds:
- Despite a surprising KO loss to Ricky Bandejas in his last outing, Gallagher remains one of Bellator’s top prospects, and someone who Bellator president Scott Coker fingered as a potential featherweight tournament entrant. Before he does that, he’ll have to get by Graham, and this is a fight Bellator booked for Gallagher to win. Just 22, Gallagher is one of Ireland’s most popular fighters and gets to headline this event. Though he lost his last fight, you can’t ignore the fact he won the first seven fights of his career, with six of those wins coming by submission. I believe this is a mentally strong fighter who will be able to bounce back from his most recent setback. On paper, Graham has more momentum coming into this bout as he’s won four straight fights by stoppage. But he’s fought a very low level of competition, and before his most recent win streak he had been knocked out in three straight fights. Graham is being brought in to lose, and I think that’s exactly what happens as I see Gallagher finishing him in stunning fashion. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s value on him at these high odds, but I do expect him to win and wouldn’t blame anyone for parlaying him here.
- Another big favorite on the card is Queally, another Irish fighter. However, I’m not as confident that he wins as I am with Gallagher. Queally’s coming off of the first knockout win of his MMA career, but prior to that had fought to 15 straight decisions. I don’t like the lack of finishing ability at all, and it’s not like he’s fought a high level of competition throughout his career. His opponent, Price, is also Irish and is coming off of a decision loss to Norman Parke in Brave CF. He’s a flawed fighter who has been finished numerous times in his career, but he does have more finishing ability than Queally, and he’s fought tougher competition in his MMA career. I’m not exactly sure why Queally is such a huge favorite in this one, and at the opening odds it appears to be a dog-or-pass situation. I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable laying the juice on Queally, that’s for sure.
- The other big favorite, Smullen, should get his hand raised, but again, do you want to lay a huge number on an unproven fighter? I’m not sure it’s worth it. Smullen lost to Luis Pena by submission in his UFC debut and was released, signing with Bellator. He’s Irish, so it makes sense Bellator signed him for this card, but I don’t think he’s as good as some of his fans think he is. Fortunately for Smullen, Bellator found a fighter in Gustab who is coming off of back-to-back stoppage losses. On paper, Smullen should be the better fighter and probably get the win by stoppage. I just don’t think it’s worth laying this huge number on him. This is more of a pass situation than anything.