UFC 249 Picks & Predictions: Our Experts’ Favorite Bets for Ferguson-Gaethje, Hardy-De Castro & Cowboy-Pettis

Credit:

Zuffa LLC.

  • Looking for some last-minute UFC 249 picks? You've come to the right place.
  • Below, our betting experts reveal their best bets for the entire card, including predictions on some of the biggest UFC 249 fights: Ferguson vs. Gaethje, Hardy vs. De Castro and Cowboy vs. Pettis.

In the words of the great Bruce Buffer: It’s time! Barring anymore unforeseen circumstances, the UFC is on pace to become the first sport with human contact in the United States in nearly two months. The card is short one fight since Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night, but the show will roll on and our combat experts will still be making their bets.

See the picks they’re making for UFC 249 below and don’t forget you can now track your UFC bets in the app automatically when you sign up for BetSync.

Sean Zerillo: Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro

MMA Betting Analyst at The Action Network

Roughly 55% of fights end before the scorecards in the UFC — but at the heavyweight level, that number jumps up to over 70%.

And when you two gigantic thumpers like Hardy and Yorgan ready to swing, the number has to be closer to 80%.

In a heavyweight battle like that, it’s hard to make either fighter a substantial favorite.

I think that Yorgan’s true odds are around +120 (implied 45.5%), and I bet him at +187 (implied 35%) — which I tracked in the Action app. 

If you multiply 45.5%, against a 75% knockout rate, you get odds of +194 (implied 34%) — so anything over +200 on Yorgan by knockout is fair value too.

It’s Yorgan or nothing.

The Pick: Yorgan De Castro (+165)

[Bet now at PointsBet. NJ and IN only.]

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Sean Koerner: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje

Director of Predictive Analytics at The Action Network

My favorite play for the DFS slate is Tony Ferguson. He has the highest projection in my model (111.5) along with the highest ceiling projection (139.5). Ferguson is only the seventh-most expensive fighter on the slate, making him a must-play, in my opinion. It’s worth pointing out that his opponent, Justin Gaethje, is also a great play this week.


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Every single one of my lineups will have either one of these fighters in it, and you could even make the case to play both fighters in the same lineup could pay off. For starters, this is only one of two fights that is a 5 round fight. If it happens to go the distance (the market is implying a 19% chance), that will be two extra rounds of stats each fighter could rack up over the field. That scenario will likely see a ton of significant strikes from each fighter, and we could see lineups with both fighters takedown tournaments if that were to happen.

The more prudent strategy, however, would be to have Ferguson in roughly 70% of your lineups with 40% Gathje (10% with both). Click here for my full UFC 249 DFS preview.

Malik Smith: Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone

MMA/Boxing Editor at The Action Network

Cowboy is a fan favorite, but he’s been off his game for a while. In his past three fights, Cerrone was out-landed 163-85 by his opponents, including being out-landed 19 strikes to zero against Conor McGregor in January.

It also doesn’t help that Cowboy mentioned that he feels himself getting old in a pre-fight interview with ESPN. A comment like that doesn’t give me much hope that he will bring the level of activity he’ll need to win this fight.

At his current odds (+116), Cerrone’s implied probability gives him about a 44% chance of winning, but I wonder how much his popularity factors into that number. With that said, I’m fading him and taking Pettis to snap his two-fight losing streak this weekend.

The Pick: Anthony Pettis (-145)

[Bet now at PointsBet. NJ and IN only.]

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Dann Stupp: Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar

MMA Managing Editor at The Athletic

Although Jeremy Stephens has been a tempting underdog pick for a lot of folks heading into UFC 249, I focused on this bout for another bet: the fight goes the distance (-150). Calvin Kattar is a sizable and rightful favorite in this main-card matchup, but I fully expect it to go to the judges’ scorecards after three tough rounds.

Stephens has lost via stoppage just once in the past seven-and-a-half years, and he meets an equally durable vet in Kattar, who’s been stopped just once in his career — 12 years ago. I expect resilience to again rule the day in this featherweight clash.

Both fighters have the power to stop an opponent with a single strike, but with 70 combined bouts between them, I think each will make the needed adjustments to weather the storm as the fight wears on. I give Kattar a slight edge in accuracy but wouldn’t be surprised if Stephens has the higher output. Either way, I think the fighters’ veteran savvy will push this bout to the 15-minute limit.

The Pick: Fight will go the distance (-150)

[Bet now at PointsBet. NJ and IN only.]

Link your PointsBet and Action accounts so your UFC 249 bets automatically sync over to the app.

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