‘Degenerate gambler’ Jon Anik discusses rise of MMA betting
Joey Oddessa made the lines for UFC 1, and it has been growing ever since. UFC commentator Jon Anik spoke recently with MMAjunkie about his love for sports gambling. He argues coherently that odds can provide a compelling backstory, and is delighted that odds are now shown during broadcasts.
“This is something I was always talking about when it wasn’t necessarily accepted,” he said. “So it’s been a little gratifying to see it get embraced.”
He also explained that you don’t bet on whether a fighter will win or lose.
Unlike a spread on a football game where one team is getting a certain amount of points (ex. Saints +7), in MMA fights the line on the game is called a money line:
Jessica Andrade (-310)
Tecia Torres (+230)
In their fight at UFC on FOX 28, Andrade was the favorite, meaning if you bet $310 on her and she wins, you would only profit $100. If she were to lose though, you would lose the full $310.
If you were to bet on Torres at +230, if you bet $100 on her and she wins the fight, you will profit $230. If she were to lose the fight, you would lose your original $100 bet.
“You’re not betting the fighter; you’re betting the number,” he explained. “I don’t think the Toronto Raptors are going to win the NBA championship. But I’m not betting the Toronto Raptors. I’m betting the number, which right now is 28-1, and I see more value on them than the other Eastern powers – Cleveland and Boston.
“Even if you think Jessica Andrade is going to win, -280, -300 might be prohibitive for you, and the +240 might be appealing for Torres. So always remember, you’re betting numbers, not teams. You’re betting numbers, not fighters.”
“When Conor McGregor fights, they’re doing major action – seven-figure action on Conor McGregor fights. As a degenerate, lifelong gambler, that’s very exciting for me.
“I don’t think it’ll ever consistently be on an NFL level, but I’ve always looked at it as another lens through which to look at a sporting event, and I don’t take it for much more than it is.”