UFC 251, NASCAR And Pro Soccer’s Return: They’re What To Bet On This Weekend

The debut of UFC Fight Island, the resumption of MLS and the continuation of NASCAR mark a stacked weekend wager plate for New Jersey online betting.

It’s quite a package. And there’s an odds boost on tap, too.

So let’s dive in.

UFC: Showcase of elites

Here’s the lineup of Saturday’s fights for UFC 251, which has sparked significance with three title bouts and a couple of rematches.

Below is a closer look at the odds from DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks in NJ. Odds are as of Friday (all times are EST).

Main card: DraftKings odds (10 p.m.)

UFC main cardFightersDraftKings Odds
Welterweight titleKamara Usman vs Jorge Masvidal-230 (Usman)
+185 (Masvidal)
Featherweight titleAlexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway-215 (Volkanovski)
+170 (Holloway)
Bantamweight titlePetr Yan vs Jose Aldo-225 (Yan)
+180 (Aldo)
RematchRose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade-215 (Namajunas)
+175 (Andrade)
Opening boutAmanda Ribas vs Paige Van Zant-775 (Ribas)
+500 (Van Zant)

Top preliminary card bouts: FanDuel odds (8 p.m.)

UFC preliminary cardFightersFanDuel odds
205 lbsVolkan Oezdemir vs Jiri Prochazka-158 (Oezdemir)
+134 (Prochazka)
170 lbsMuslim Salikhov vs Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos-136 (Salikhov)
+116 (dos Santos)
145 lbsMakwan Amirkhani vs Dan Henry-215 (Amirkhani)
+180 (Henry)
155 lbsLeonardo Santos vs Roman Bogatov-178 (Santos)
+150 (Bogatov)

There are more preliminary bouts beginning at 6 p.m.

UFC fight overview

The number 6, 7 and 10 UFC pound-for-pound performers appear in the top two fights on Saturday’s card.

Usman, the number 6 pound-for-pound performer, defends his welterweight title against Masvidal.

The bout originated when Usman’s original opponent, Gilbert Burns, withdrew after testing positive for coronavirus. Masvidal had been lobbying for an Usman fight anyway, and he got it sooner than later.

Volkanovski and Holloway, the respective number 7 and 10 UFC pound-for-pound athletes, clash in a rematch. Volkanovski took away Holloway’s featherweight title with a convincing decision win last December.

Now Holloway wants it back from Volkanovski, a clear favorite.

Andrade vs Namajunas 2 is a rematch of an earlier Andrade victory, yet Andrade is a decided underdog. Both fighters are former strawweight division champions. Andrade is the number one division contender and Namajunas No. 2.

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UFC betting overview and a FanDuel odds boost

It’s been fun to watch the procession of betting all week in the main event.

Usman stood at -265 early in the week at DraftKings Sportsbook. But the money came in on Masvidal. The odds dropped again, to -225, and still more money, 67% of the handle and 57% of the bets, went down on Masvidal.

Odds dropped to -200 and, bingo, here came the Usman money, spiking the wager to -250. By Friday, it was -230.

Bettors have certain floors and ceilings they use to determine when to place a wager. That was showcased here.

Usman is considered a distance fighter, while Masvidal is aggressive and comes off a TKO victory against Nate Diaz in November.

Volkanovski is -110 at DraftKings for a repeat decision win, and Holloway is +275 to turn the tables and regain his title by decision.

The Namajunas–Andrade odds are striking. Andrade won their first encounter with a second-round knockout but remains a sizable underdog. Namajunas has been receiving about two-thirds of the money.

Bettors aren’t convinced that Andrade, who overcame being dominated in the first round before stopping Namajunas, can do it again.

Andrade being overlooked is a gift for her backers. FanDuel Sportsbook opened at Namajunas -200, and it got as low as -178 before jumping up to -190 on Friday. At DraftKings, she jumped to -215 on Friday.

Andrade is +175 at DraftKings and +160 at FanDuel as of Friday.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings have excellent odds boosts and promo enticements. In fact, FanDuel has a huge odds boost that’s worth a look for new sportsbook users. Here are the details:

  • 25/1 odds on any fighter to win their championship bout
  • $5 max bet required
  • Available in-app only

Once the new user registers, they will get a pop-up directing them to download the FanDuel Sportsbook app to claim the odds boost. The offer will appear on the user’s profile once they make a deposit.

There’s no reason not to chip in $5 for a chance at these odds.

MLS kicks into gear with abbreviated tournament

How much did you miss it?

Major League Soccer, aka MLS, returned this week, and here’s a game to get New Jersey sports betting fans back in the groove.

Saturday’s New York Red Bulls–Atlanta United game will draw interest, and DraftKings offers a packed slate of odds.

The Red Bulls are +255 on the moneyline against Atlanta, which is -104.

If the Red Bulls don’t produce the most goals, how about the most corners? That would be +190 for them and -175 for Atlanta. A tie in that department is +650.

The first goal? Atlanta is -175, the Red Bulls are +123.

Over 2.5 goals combined for the contest is -167.

There is a litany of correct score projections. A scoreless tie is +1400.

From the Atlanta perspective, a 2-1 loss is 10-1. A 2-1 win is +700.

There are numerous goal-scoring props for individual players, too. We won’t go into detail on that here, but suffice it to say, there are plenty of betting opportunities on MLS this weekend.

The MLS is Back Tournament is the first time the league is slated to play since the season was suspended due to COVID-19 on March 12. It kicked off July 8 and will run until Aug. 11.

The entirety of this tournament will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports, where 54 matches (39 group stage, 15 knockout round) will be played.

All 26 MLS teams will be participating in the event, where the minimum of matches per club is set at three and the maximum is seven per finalist.

NASCAR betting: Are props where it’s at?

Kevin Harvick is doing something unusual with NASCAR. He’s moving the line.

The red-hot driver has captured two of the last three events, and his odds are dropping before the Quaker State 400 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Harvick is +375 at FanDuel and +400 at DraftKings to win. He started the week at +575. Bettors who booked that early will be happy they got a deal.

Shoppers for Chase Elliott will see him at +800 at DraftKings, +550 at FanDuel. Denny Hamlin is +650 at DraftKings, +550 at Fan Duel.

Most of the top drivers are in negative numbers for a Top 10 finish (you are laying money on them and getting less than even money), so props may be a good source to bet.

Top manufacturers and top finishes in a group of four also provide betting allure by producing several races within the race.

With that in mind, Harvick’s hot streak propelled him to the top of the NASCAR driver standings. They look like this:

Kevin Harvick637
Chase Elliott552
Brad Keselowski549
Ryan Blaney534
Denny Hamlin528

And here are the manufacturers’ standings:


Some associations: Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney drive for Ford. Elliott is the top driver for Chevrolet. Hamlin is Toyota’s top threat.

Two of these sports — NASCAR and UFC — have thrived on repeated exposure and betting interest since their returns in May. MLS has a solid foundation with bettors and is enjoying its return to play.

And there’s more to come, with MLB and NBA planning late July resumptions.

Sports betting in NJ is finally on an upswing.

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.