Bellator 197 Opening Odds Reactions

Bellator 197 takes place Friday, April 14 at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. The offshore sportsbooks released the odds for several main card bouts, and here are the opening odds for those fights.

Bellator 197 Opening Odds

Michael Chandler -900
Brandon Girtz +500

Logan Storely -190
Joaquin Buckley +150

AJ McKee -300
Justin Lawrence +220

Kevin Ferguson Jr. -260
Devon Brock +180

Here are my initial thoughts on the four bouts:

– I definitely favor Chandler to beat Girtz, but wow, this is a pretty extreme opening line. As good as Chandler is, he’s a guy who has taken quite a bit of damage in his career and as we saw against Will Brooks a few years ago he can be finished if he gets hit on the right spot. Girtz has a ton of knockout power and despite coming into this bout on short notice he’s still a dangerous opponent for Chandler. Still, Chandler has the wrestling advantage and if he can get this fight to the ground he should be able to grind on Girtz and at least win a decision, if not get a stoppage. Chandler’s won five of his last six fights and has all sorts of momentum coming into this one, while Girtz is just 1-3 over his last four outings. So while I definitely see why Chandler is the favorite, I still feel like the line holds no betting value at this kind of juice.

– Storley is a terrific prospect with a wrestling backgroud. He’s 7-0 so far as a pro and is 2-0 in the Bellator cage alone. Buckley is also a solid prospect with an 8-1 record including a 3-1 mark in Bellator. However he was knocked out by an unknown fighter named Jackie Gosh in that loss and I don’t like that. Storley is an excellent wrestler and he should be able to take Buckley down and beat him on the ground. I’m not surprised the line has been steamed up as the opening line was too low.

– McKee is another great prospect in Bellator who is 10-0 so far as a pro with all of his fights coming in Bellator. The son of Antonio McKee keeps getting paired up with below-average competition and has been crushing them, so I wish the promotion would give this kid a push, but he’s only 23 and clearly Bellator wants to take it slow with him. Still, Lawrence is a pretty good step up in competition. The former UFC fighter is just 4-2 overall in Bellator but has won his last two fights. We have seen that he has some holes in his game though in past fights. I favor McKee here but this is a pretty big jump up in competition. Lawrence is a game fighter that should be a good test fo McKee, and I’ll be interested to see if and how he passes it.

– Ferguson vs. Brock should be good. Kimbo Slice Jr. is 2-1 as a pro with all of his fights coming under the Bellator banner while Brock won in his MMA debut earlier this year after a solid amateur career. I like Ferguson but considering how green he still is I wouldn’t be surprised if Brock was able to get the upset here.

Written by Adam Martin.

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