UFC Kansas City was a memorable one for me, I had my most successful DraftKings night ever, pushing five figures of profit. Thanks to everyone who reached out to me, I sincerely appreciate it.
I also received a lot of winning screenshots from various subscribers including Stidger24 who tied with me for 1st place in the $27, so congrats to him and everyone else who was able to profit!
I felt good about this week coming in, of course it doesn’t always play out the way you expect, but I have a good idea of who would win most of the fights. There were many huge favorites, and six or more fighters at the top everyone was dying to plug in.
What I like about this is that it left very few cheap underdogs worth rostering. I’ve said it a million times, but I love to focus on the mid range because I’m more confident I can find the underdogs who will win from that range, and you need six wins to win a gpp. With so many amazing plays at the top, I thought people would try too hard to fit them in, and that would force them on cheap dogs, leaving the mid range underowned.
The other part I liked was even from the mid range there were very few dogs I liked. I thought fighters like Anthony Smith, Bobby Green and Louis Smolka were worth dart throws but not much more. Smith isn’t better than Sanchez, I think that was pretty clear from the fight, and props to him for the amazing comeback, but he needed something crazy like that to happen to win. Green could have won, but I didn’t love his upside. Smolka had the upside, but I thought it was a terrible matchup for him.
In the mid range, I used Waterson (good odds to win), Collier (good odds to win and finish), Whittaker (good odds to win and finish), Vieira (good odds to win) and Moicano (good odds to win). I didn’t have many shares of Vieira, though, because I thought she would score low even in a win. I didn’t have many shares of Moicano because I thought he would lose, but I did see a path to victory for him.
I didn’t love Waterson’s upside but her odds rose late in the day and she was one of few fighters below 8.1k who I thought could win.
For me, the entire night came down to Whittaker. When he fought Derek Brunson he was an underdog and people were sleeping on him, and I essentially went all in, and it was one of my best nights ever.
I thought it was a pretty obvious spot for him again, especially given the price, so I was expecting a big ownership from the public. Clearly people are still sleeping on him. Jacare is obviously a talented fighter and one of the best in the world, and many chose to go that route.
In my $3 entries I played a few lineups with Jacare (out of 29 lineups), but in the $27 which was my focus, I went all in on Whittaker again. There was nobody that came near his chances to finish compared to the price, at least in my eyes. Part of it was a gut feel, but I thought he was the best underdog play by far. And unlike Waterson, Moicano, etc., I actually thought Whittaker would win. All the analysis I’ve done on him over the past year has led me to believe he’s one of the division’s elite, and it’s no secret that I’ve been on him for all of his fights at 185.
Could I have split my entries with him and Jacare, sure, but there weren’t many other underdogs I liked, and sometimes you just have to trust your analysis, so I made the decision to ride or die with him again.
11 lineups in the $27 Takedown:
Now, I use the same basic process to create my gpp lineups every week, and sometimes it correlates exactly to my opinions on fights and sometimes it does not. Since I am so focused on the mid range, sometimes I end up with more exposure than I’d like, and that’s kind of what happened here.
As you can see, I went all in on Whittaker, and I paired him with at least one of Waterson, Moicano, Collier or Vieira.
The Collier/Clark fight was interesting because my slight lean was toward Collier, especially with the price. I made a few lineups with Collier and Whittaker and I was more confident in those than anything else. The ones I didn’t pair Whittaker/Collier ended up with Clark, simply because he was cheap and allowed me to get higher priced fighters, and he had a great chance to score highly.
If I hadn’t gone all in on Whittaker, I would have ended up with several Collier/Moicano, Collier/Waterson, Collier/Vieira lineups that would have swung my exposure the opposite direction.
That fight had one of the best chances to end in a finish, and both fighters were priced cheap enough that if one did score well, they would end up on the winning lineup. Still, Clark and Collier were only owned 20% and 24% respectively, which is atrociously low. There’s a big edge in MMA because people are afraid to target close fights in which they aren’t sure of the winner. It was much easier to target bigger names or more confident ones, and say, ehh it’s not worth the risk since I don’t know who is going to win.
Based on the data this fight was going to score well, and that’s why I essentially went all in on it.
The Namajunas/Waterson fight was one I did not expect to have much exposure to. But as I said, Waterson was only one of a few cheap fighters who I thought could win, so I felt kindof forced to roster her a few times.
Rose had the better odds to win and finish, and she was in a similar spot to Clark, in the sense that if I rostered her it left me with a ton more salary to spend at the top. I could have used more Stephens, Evans-Smith, Sterling, Jacare, but I she was cheaper and had a similar expectation.
I said it all week but the recency bias was crazy surrounding that fight, so many people were heavy on Waterson and I didn’t really a reason for it. Sure Waterson could have won, but I felt strongly that her recent performance against PVZ vs. Namajunas’ performance against Kowalkiewicz (a much better fighter) was the driving factor. Waterson came in at 33%, Namajunas came in at 25%.
My three big guns at the top were Sanchez, Elliot and Duquensoy. Demetrious Johnson was the biggest lock of them all to score 100+ points, but I don’t start my lineups at the top, almost never. If I had money left over for him sure, but I never did.
I liked Cummings enough but I chose to ride with Duquensoy over him, so if I did have money left over, that was the guy I was going to target. His odds to finish in the first round were + 105, by far the best on the card and an insane prop for a 135 fight. Plus his odds rose to -1000 + at the end of the day, making him the most likely to win.
Now, I still would have preferred Cummings or DJ over Sanchez and Elliot straight up, only for the safety, but I clearly didn’t have money to spend up two times that high, so I needed some cheaper guys. I had an all out fade of Sterling based on his low upside, and I thought Sanchez and Elliot would go overlooked.
What I’ve noticed since the scoring chances is that grapplings dominate, we’ve said it time and again. And you don’t need to get a finish to score well, in fact an early finish prohibits you from scoring elite numbers. Both Elliot and Sanchez needed grapple heavy gameplans to win, and I thought both would score high in a win. I wasn’t as confident in them as the top tier, but again, it’s about the potential.
I was surprised Sanchez had a high ownership at 33%, but his ITD prop was one of the best on the cards and he was below 9k, so clearly based on my exposure I thought he was a great play. I ended up with 10 lineups with him out of 11, many paired with Elliot. If Sanchez had survived an extra minute of that fight and won a decision, he probably would have scored 100 points. With him losing and scoring 60 points, I only had the one lineup left without him.
Speaking of Elliot, I was stunned when I saw him at 20%. Everyone all week was talking about how much of a scramble fest this would be. My only concern with Elliot is that he would take Smolka down and wouldn’t let him up, and not get the finish. He was also a bit more expensive than Sanchez, which is why I had less exposure. Still, he was one of my heaviest plays because I thought he had the potential for the fight to play out the way it did.
I was also shocked that Smolka came in as high as he did, he clearly was not the better wrestler and that in my opinion was going to decide the fight. Borg dominated him and scored 100 points and I said all week Elliot had a good chance to duplicate that. Elliot landed 12 takedowns, with 14 advances, plus 3 reversals, 57 sig strikes and a win by decision, and he scored a record-breaking 175.5 points. Unreal.