UFC 274 Oliveira vs Gaethje Betting Preview, Odds, Picks (2022)

May 5, 2022 - 2:24 PM

This Saturday night’s UFC PPV offering features two title fights going down in Phoenix, Arizona. Rose Namajunas looks to defend her title against Carla Esparza, while Charles Oliveira will fight off Justin Gaethje in what should be a firefight for the Lightweight strap. I am looking to take advantage of a couple of spots I see in the betting market this weekend.

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Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje Under 2.5 Rounds (-145)

You know what they say, styles make fights. Fortunately for us, both fighters have exciting fighting styles and are sure to put on a show for the fans on Saturday evening.

On the one hand, we have Charles Oliveira. He owns the most submission victories in UFC history, including his first title defense in December when he submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. Twenty of his 32 career victories have come by submission, which will be a clear advantage in this matchup. While he has always been known for his submission grappling skills, the evolution of his striking has put the division on notice.

Justin Gaethje is a knockout artist, with 19 of his 23 career victories coming by knockout. He is a kill or be killed type of fighter and will be looking to put a pace on Oliveira early in this fight. He should have a striking advantage over Oliveira, and I expect him to have success beating up the leg of Oliveira with his nasty leg kicks. The biggest factor will be if Gaethje can keep this fight on the feet as Khabib Nurmagomedov was able to take him down and cut through him on the mat with little resistance.

Oliveira’s durability is a concern as he has been knocked out multiple times and had some close calls in recent fights where he was wobbled. I like targeting the under 2.5 rounds in this fight because a finish will materialize if either fighter can implement their game plan. The current line of (-145) means that this is expected to end inside the first 12 and a half minutes just 60% of the time, where I would cap it at (-225) or about 70% of the time.

Carla Esparza ML (+175)

Carla Esparza is looking to capture Strawweight gold against Rose Namajunas in a rematch eight years in the making. These two first fought back in 2014 in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter, which resulted in a third-round submission victory for Esparza.

Both fighters have improved by leaps and bounds since that fight, most notable on the Namajunas side. “Thug Rose” is a very technical striker and has various tools that she can utilize wherever the fight goes. On the feet, she will have a clear striking advantage over Esparza, but her takedown defense has historically struggled at just 51% in the UFC.

Esparza will need to lean on that wrestling as she averages over 3.5 takedowns per 15 minutes, and she is liable to get hurt if she gets into a kickboxing match with Namajunas. But I do expect the takedowns to be there as Weili Zhang took down Namajunas five times in her last fight, and Esparza is a more technical wrestler and will hold the position longer well.

In addition to avoiding getting clipped on the feet, Esparza will need to stay safe on the mat and avoid the submission attempts from Namajunas as well. She has only been submitted once in her career, and that was back in 2010, so I expect her to stay safe in the top position for the most part. Overall, it boils down to a big underdog odd for a fighter with a clear wrestling advantage and is likely to land multiple takedowns and find herself in favorable positions on the mat. Esparza is currently (+175), which means she is expected to win nearly 36% of the time, and I would like her at (+140) or about 41% of the time.

I did a full betting and DFS breakdown of UFC 247 on my YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out and subscribe for more UFC content!

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