By Jared Jones
I appreciate honesty in writing. I am also a tremendous hypocrite, which is why I often resort to trickery, tomfoolery, and outright fabrications when discussing this thing we call MMA with you Taters. I’m less a blogger, more a magician — a line that I would never suggest you use to pick up women with — and more often than not I resort to a near constant influx of red herrings and other intentional misdirects to even make it through a post. But amidst all the deceit and double-crosses, I do actually manage to squeeze in a few instances of genuine honesty with you readers, more often than not in the Gambling Addiction Enabler pieces I contribute when Dan “Get Off Me” George doesn’t feel up to it.
So when I turned to the introductory page of Jason Rothman’s Betting on MMA to find the statements located directly below, I was pretty much assured that I’d be getting exactly what I wanted out of his look into the world of MMA gambling.
This book is about making money from betting on the sport of mixed martial arts. And that is the only thing this book is about.
If you do not know what a triangle choke is, then this book is not for you.
And indeed, Rothman’s guide analyzing everything from money line odds to fighter attributes to the power of hype makes no attempt to wow you with its prose. The writing style, though sometimes cryptic and a bit repetitive, is simply a means to an end. That end is making you money, and although I have yet to put any of Rothman’s teachings into practice, I can assure you that Betting on MMA offers enough genuine insight and real-life examples to make it a must own for any MMA fan who fancies themselves a gambler.
It isn’t often that a book cover can serve as a manifest for the book itself, but Rothman (or perhaps his pubisher) has succeeded in that right as well. The cover (pictured above) features Phil Baroni in a classic fist-pose with Warren Buffet, which although clearly photoshopped, more or less dictates the two themes that will be prevalent throughout the book: Brutal honesty and business savvy.
The book itself is divided into three segments: “The Fundamentals,” “MMA Speculating,” and two appendices providing the aforementioned real-life examples of Rothman’s theories being put into practice. Using the principles of “value investing” as laid out by multibillionaire Warren Buffet, Rothman does a great job of convincing his audience that wagering on an MMA match is much easier than it looks.
“The Fundamentals” places most of its emphasis on a mathematical process of analyzing a given fighter’s chances based on their betting lines, which Rothman dubs “Handicapping Fights.” Without giving too much away, Rothman lays out a simple method of comparing/measuring both the current odds of a given fighter against the approximate chances of victory you give said fighter to determine whether or not there is a large enough “margin of safety” to place a bet. Coming from someone who usually relied on only the latter to determine his fight picks, this section is an ingenious bit of information that will surely affect my gambling methods going forward.
Part two of Betting on MMA focuses on some of the extraneous factors that surround a given fighter in the weeks/months before a fight (hype, for instance) but also takes a look at the more discernible determinants that could alter a bet. A fighters paths to victory (a.k.a how they can win the fight), his/her age, injury rumors — these are all details that MMA gambling fans should keep a look out for before placing their bets. But Rothman goes even further than that, placing an additional emphasis on staying away from fighters who “look soft” come weigh-in time. Although he uses a perfect example in Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos 1 (Cain was coming off multiple debilitating injuries), two more recent examples that strike me are Mark Munoz in his fight with Chris Weidman and Patrick Cote against Alessio Sakara last weekend. Say what you want about the ending of the latter, but in both cases, two guys showed up looking heavier around the waist than normal and paid dearly for it. Rothman also details several other fight-alternating factors, such as a given fighters “chin” and how losing a title fight can affect a fighter’s performance in the long run.
The third section of Rothman’s book provides a couple examples of low risk, big reward bets he calls “Big Game Hunting” and displays two real-life “case studies” in which Rothman puts his teachings into practice. Again, in order to see just what fights he bet on and using what logic, you’ll have to pick the book up for yourself, but suffice it to say, Rothman was spot on in both cases and the information is presented as such.
That is not to say that Rothman doesn’t paint with too broad a brush at times. For instance, when analyzing the third fight between B.J. Penn and Matt Hughes at UFC 123 using his “Paths to Victory” assessment, Rothman claims that Hughes had no method through which he could win the fight and therefore wouldn’t justify a bet, despite the fact that Hughes had managed to both exploit Penn’s lack of cardio at 170 and his own size advantage when he defeated Penn in the pair’s second showing at UFC 63. Granted, I would have never bet on Hughes in that fight and Rothman was ultimately correct in his analysis, but to claim that Hughes had no way of winning seems a little presumptuous. It is a small complaint that is purely subjective, and truly one of the only ones I could find while reviewing the book. Other than the somewhat odd spacing of words and sentences at times, which I will chalk up as a mistake on the publisher’s part.
At 100 pages on the nose, Betting on MMA is succinct enough to read through in an hour or two, yet thorough enough to provide a lifetime’s worth of knowledge when it comes to gambling on MMA. You can purchase a paperback version of Betting on MMA here, a Kindle version here, or check out Rothman’s official site for all your gambling needs here.