MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Thoughts On Early Dillashaw/Barao 2 Line Movement

ufc-london Yesterday, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the odds for the upcoming UFC bantamweight title fight between champion TJ Dillashaw and former champion Renan Barao. Here are my thoughts on the early line movement so far. First off, let me just say this wasn’t an easy line to set. Consider that in the pair’s first matchup, Barao closed as a -965 betting favorite while Dillashaw closed as a +765 underdog. And yet, despite the crazy odds, Dillashaw absolutely dominated Barao for nearly five full rounds before taking the time with a head kick TKO late in the fifth. So setting a line for the rematch was not an easy thing to do. It was even harder because Dillashaw and Barao had been set to square off in a rematch at UFC 177 before Barao got sick on weigh-in day and the fight was scratched. Prior to the fight getting scratched, Dillashaw was under a 2-to-1 favorite for the rematch. But after starching replacement opponent Joe Soto, and after Barao looked average in a win over Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night 58, the line for this rematch (the third time the fight has been booked) became even tougher to create. Ultimately, Nick Kalikas opened Dillashaw at -190 and Barao at +150. As someone who was confident Barao would win the first fight but who realized quickly that Dillashaw is simply the better fighter, I was actually planning on betting Dillashaw at -190. I guess a lot of other people were thinking the same thing, because less than 24 hours later, Dillashaw is up to -280 and Barao is all the way up to +200. Of course, this line is still fresh and since the fight is in April I expect a whole lot of back-and-forth action, but I think it’s pretty clear most are going to side with Dillashaw this time around. At this point in time, it’s hard to see any sort of value in Dillashaw, but at the same time, I don’t know if there’s any in Barao, either. But if the line creeps higher — if Barao gets to like +300 — then at that point, you have to wonder if there’s value on the dog. One thing is for sure, though, and that’s that this is going to be a good fight, and the fans in Montreal, Quebec, Canada are going to be treated to a show. It will be interesting to see over the course of the next few months how the line for this fight moves, so make sure to pay attention, because keeping a close eye on it could garner you some better odds for your preferred side in the fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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