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Posted on July 7, 2012 by Jack Thurman

UFC 148 Betting: Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva v Chael Sonnen
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The main event of UFC 148 will be a rematch of the UFC 114 battle between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva with the promotions’ middleweight title at stake. Sonnen dominated Silva for the entire fight in the first battle only to fall victim to a desperation triangle choke attempt in the fifth round that allowed the champion to retain his belt. Since then Silva has dominated two overmatched challengers while Sonnen has survived a couple of tough challenges intended to ‘prove’ that he ‘deserved’ a rematch in the UFC’s offensive serfdom where fighters are beholden to the promotion.

After the previous fight Silva quickly went into ‘damage control mode’, explaining that his performance was due to a rib injury that he’d suffered in training. His fanboys are buying that explanation, but objectively speaking it’s unwise to believe anything that a fighter says after a fight to justify a poor performance. Silva’s entire career is something of a curious case–he’s been billed as the ‘pound for pound’ best fighter in the sport by the UFC and most fans and media accept this meme. Despite this honorific he’s never put on what could be considered a ‘defining fight’. His best performance is likely a submission win over Dan Henderson early in his UFC career but even that needs a footnote–Henderson controlled the first round with his superior wrestling but made the dubious decision to stand and bang with a superior striker. Since then Silva’s resume is a long list of over the hill veterans (Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort) and overmatched journeymen hyped up by the UFC as plausible contenders.

Chael Sonnen may be the best ‘heel’ in the sport–he’s made a career out of making fans hate him–but he’s an exceptional fighter. Most significantly, his Team Quest ‘ground and pound’ style and superior wrestling is a horrible tactical matchup for Silva. Even if you buy into the Silva hype–and many do–you have to accept that every fighter through history has faced opponents that are simply ‘bad matchups’. In boxing there are countless examples–De La Hoya had Mosley, Mosley had Vernon Forrest, Mosley and Felix Trinidad both struggled with one dimensional Ricardo Mayorga so on and so forth.

Our job, however, isn’t to validate or denigrate the legacy of Anderson Silva. We’re looking for betting value and it’s clearly on the underdog here. At +250 theoretical breakeven is just under 28%. Conversely at Silva’s chalk price of -300 the theoretical breakeven (or implied probability) is 75%. Unless you’re the biggest Silva ‘mark’ in the world it’s difficult to have watched the previous fight and suggest that there’s an overlay in laying the wood with the favorite. In our view this fight is no worse than an evenly matched ‘coinflip’ and obviously if you can bet one side of a coin flip at +250 you’ll do very well in life. Silva may or may not have had an injury in the first fight, but betting based on a fighter’s post bout mea culpa is a good way to lose your money. We’d rather take the value with the dog in a fight that is much more even than the line suggests.

Bet Chael Sonnen +250 over Anderson Silva

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