UFC Fight Night Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal Odds & Picks: Grab the Value on Wonderboy
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Thompson.
- Stephen Thompson went from a -120 favorite to a +100 dog vs. Geoff Neal and Sean Zerillo thinks now is the perfect to jump on Wonderboy's odds.
- Check out his preview of Saturday's UFC Fight Night main event.
Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal Odds
The final UFC Fight Night card of 2020 will pit No. 5-ranked Welterweight challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and No. 11-ranked welterweight challenger Geoff Neal against each other in the main event Saturday at the UFC Apex.
Neal will have been inactive for 371 days on fight night — he was slated to fight in August, but contracted COVID-19 and landed in the ICU — but has never lost in his six fights in the UFC. Thompson has also been out of the octagon for more than a year entering this matchup and is just 2-3 over his past five fights.
So which fighter has the edge in this matchup? I’ll break down the matchup and betting odds below, but you can find my full breakdown of Saturday’s card here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||13:49||5:53|
|Weight (pounds)||170 lbs.||170 lbs.|
|Date of birth||2/11/83||8/28/90|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.93||6.04|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.73||3.57|
|Take Down Avg||0.36||0.85|
Thompson vs. Neal Betting Pick
Like the Eubanks-Kianzad fight on the undercard, I see value in the main event from three different betting perspectives 1) underdog moneyline; 2) underdog decision prop; 3) fight goes the distance.
All three results are fairly correlated, however – I have Neal finishing Thompson inside the distance 80% of the time if he does win, for example – so I’m not going to place all three wagers.
But I do like the Thompson side of this fight, and I’m happy to play his moneyline (projected 57%) to -110 at a 4.5% edge.
However, I prefer his decision prop (projected +170, or 37%) at a much more significant edge relative to listed odds around +300 (implied 25%) or better; and I would play that prop to +200.
Neal is the younger, faster, and more powerful man, but stamina has been an issue for him in the past, and this is his first attempt going five rounds. Thompson has gone all 25 minutes on four occasions – which is notable because he hasn’t finished an opponent since 2016.
In a smaller cage at APEX, Thompson will have less room to maneuver outside of the octagon, and Neal should find it a bit easier to track him down and throw power shots.
But Wonderboy has proven excellent at avoiding pressure in the past – the primary concern is whether he has slowed down or taken a hit in terms of durability at age 37.
Despite the historical striking numbers (+2.1 landed per minute for Neal, +2.47 to +1.2 strike differential), Thompson is more likely to win minutes in this fight.
He was able to pick apart the highly aggressive Vicente Luque (138-77 on significant strikes) last November and will need to adjust to increased power from Neal in this spot. Still, I felt that the opening line (Thompson -115) was more representative of this matchup’s true odds.
Thompson closed at -130 against Luque, for instance, and looked about -400 after the fact. Now that “Wonderboy” has moved to plus-money against Neal, I’m happy to bet against a favorite who is taking a massive step up in competition.
Pick: Stephen Thompson (+102) | Stephen Thompson wins by Decision (+310)