Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler Betting Odds, Preview, Pick: How To Bet UFC 268 Opener

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler Betting Odds, Preview, Pick: How To Bet UFC 268 Opener article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Justin Gaethje (left) and Michael Chandler.

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler Odds

Gaethje Odds
Chandler Odds
1.5 (-115 / -115)
Madison Square Garden
Approx. 10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute UFC odds here.

Two top-five lightweights will face off in what could be the most explosive bout on the UFC 268 main card, when No. 2-ranked Justin Gaethje faces No. 4 Michael Chandler. Both fighters are coming off losses in title fights, so this should be a high-level matchup between two skilled finishers.

Below I preview how these fighters stack up and which side has betting value in the opening fight of Saturday's Pay-Per-View. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time9:446:26
Weight (pounds)155 lbs.155 lbs.
Reach (inches)70"71"
Date of birth11/14/19884/24/1986
Sig Strikes Per Min7.464.49
SS Accuracy59%50%
SS Absorbed Per Min7.993.87
SS Defense55%49%
Take Down Avg0.02.03
TD Acc0%41%
TD Def69%71%
Submission Avg0.01.6

The main card opener is potentially the most violent fight on Saturday's card, and oddsmakers consider it the second-likeliest bout to end inside the distance (listed -300, or 75% implied) at UFC 268.

I projected the line higher at 80%, or -400 implied, and I show value on this lightweight bout to end inside of the distance.

Chandler is at his most dangerous in the first round before tailing off. He's very explosive in the opening exchanges and pressures forward with big hooks and overhands, but he muscles everything and seemingly saps his energy rather quickly.

Gaethje, who trains in Colorado, has excellent cardio. And he's become one of the most accurate strikers in UFC history (59%) under the tutelage of Trevor Wittman.

Gaethje fires powerful leg kicks at high volume, and Chandler has been hurt in the past by that technique. Moreover, he's an extremely dangerous striker in the pocket, and Chandler's durability is seemingly limited.

Gaethje has been knocked out twice — against Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez — in the later stages of wars where he eventually overextended. Chandler went down from a check left hook to submission specialist Charles Oliveira, his fourth career TKO loss from punches.

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Gaethje vs. Chandler Pick

It's entirely possible that Chandler catches Gaethje early and swarms him for a stoppage win. However, suppose this fight extends for any duration. In that case, Gaethje is the far likelier minute winner down the stretch, and he'll be able to carry his power and accuracy into the second and third round.

You could live bet Gaethje after Round 1.

That said, I don't see value on either side of this fight – even though I wanted to play Gaethje by knockout (projected -114) or inside the distance (projected -130). Additionally, I considered betting Gaethje to win in Round 1, but I couldn't justify the play from a projection standpoint.

I would play the Under 1.5 rounds and also bet the fight to end inside the distance. This is an excellent spot for violence.

The Pick: Under 1.5 Rounds (+100, 0.25u) | Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-275, 0.25u)

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