MMA: Sherdog's Pros Can't Pick the Winners

For the casual fan, betting money on a UFC fight might be done only for a bit of fun, and when you bet, you're probably just going to pick your favorite fighter.

For the gambling degenerates out there, gambling has nothing to do with fun, and in search for a good pick, a gambling degenerate is always searching for an edge.

If your edge has anything to do with Sherdog's pro picks, you've probably been leaking a lot of money.

For the past 25 UFC numbered cards or so, Sherdog has been featuring an article tallying picks from professional fighters and trainers. One might imagine that professional fighters might be in a good position to handicap UFC fights, but my numbers tell a different story.

I took Sherdog's pro pick tallies in the main events of numbered UFC events from UFC 87 to UFC 111 in order to see how the pros would have done if they had gambled on their picks. I couldn't find any tallies from before UFC 87, otherwise I would have included those results as well.

I'm no statistician, but the results were still fairly simple to calculate:

For the purposes of simpiler calculations, I took out the "can't decide" picks. Lacking a main event pick for UFC 111, I substituted the Mir/Carwin pick in its place.

Professional fighters pick the right fighter more often than not, but that's pretty easy to do when you've got main events like Silva versus Cote. So instead of simply looking at the main fights, I calculated how well these pros would have done if they had been gambling on their picks.

If they bet $100 on every pro pick, the fighters could have lost a total of $8037.48 since UFC 87.

If the loss or gain of any particular event is totalled, and then divided by the number of picks, then a you get the average pro loss or gain. If you add the average pro losses and gains for every event, the total is -$285.53. That means that taking the average pro loss or gain on a $100 bet for every UFC main card since UFC 87 could have cost you $285.53.

If there is a silver lining for the Sherdog pro picks, it's that betting just on the fighter with more picks in the Sherdog pro picks would have earned you some money.

If you had bet $100 on each of the 25 fights I included in my calculations, you could have earned a whopping $7.99 by now, not including any fees or taxes. I think you could use that money to buy a Double Big Mac value meal or something.

That's not bad for a $2500 investment.

Still, you would have done better just by betting the odds on favorites for every single fight, in which case you might have won nearly $100 more.

by Darren Wong

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