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UFC 113: By the Odds

Even if you're not a degenerate gambler, betting odds are still a fun thing to look at before big fights. They represent the best guess at each fighter's chances of victory, provided by someone whose job it is to trick other people into placing enough losing bets against them. So yeah, they take this stuff seriously. Gambler beware.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the betting odds for tonight's UFC 113 event in Montreal and see if what we think of oddsmakers' assessments.

Lyoto Machida (-180) vs. "Shogun" Rua (+150)

Since both guys are going to have to change their strategies while also accounting for expected changes in the other guy's strategy, it's impossible to say what kind of fight this will end up being. All you can really go on is who you think the superior fighter is. That, and whether the judges in Montreal will actually score leg kicks in accordance with the considerable damage that they actually do.
My pick: Rua. As a slight underdog, he's hard to resist. By now he knows Machida isn't superhuman, and that might result in more aggression from him. There's a good chance we could see the old "Shogun" tonight, though perhaps a more tactical version.

Josh Koscheck (-250) vs. Paul Daley (+190)

Sorry, but the line on Daley isn't good enough to justify the risk. A bet on the Brit here is basically a bet that Koscheck will stand and trade for longer than he should. As long as he avoids that mental error, there's no reason Koscheck shouldn't dominate Daley on the mat.
My pick: Koscheck. With a title shot on the line, he's not going to take any unnecessary chances.

Sam Stout (-210) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+170)
Stephens is a tough kid, but that will only take you so far at this level. Stout is the more technically sound striker, and if the fight stays on the feet he should pick Stephens apart. I doubt Stephens can get him down and submit him, and Stout is too savvy a kickboxer to walk into a knockout punch.
My pick: Stout. He keeps getting better, and this fight is a great chance to show off his skills.

Kimbo Slice (-110) vs. Matt Mitrione (-120)
When you see both guys with minuses next to their name, that's a sign that even the professional handicappers aren't sure what to make of this fight. As we saw at yesterday's weigh-in, Mitrione will have a considerable size advantage, but he's still so inexperienced that nothing's a sure bet. Same goes for Kimbo, who appears to be in great shape, but may or may not have improved his overall game along with his physique.
My pick: Mitrione. For all his talk about how much he loves to bang, who has Slice knocked out lately? "Meathead" is bigger and stronger and should bully him around the cage.

Patrick Cote (-105) vs. Alan Belcher (-125)
Cote's coming off a long layoff due to a knee injury, but he will be fighting in his backyard, so you can decide for yourself what you think that's worth in an MMA bout. Belcher might have himself a four-fight win streak if not for the somewhat controversial decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100. As it is, he still has some impressive victories on his resume, as long as you can see past his disfigured Johnny Cash tattoo to see them.
My pick: Belcher. The time off is going to hurt Cote, and Belcher is a good fighter who just needs a little more polish. He's on the way up, while Cote might be headed down.

Joe Doerksen (+400) vs. Tom Lawlor (-600)
It's been a while since Doerksen beat anyone of note, and one gets the sense that if not for an injury to Tim Credeur and the UFC's desire to throw another Canadian on the card, he wouldn't be getting another go in the Octagon here.
My pick: Lawlor. The line is so outrageous that it wouldn't make sense to wager on, but "Filthy" Tom should win this however he wants to.

Quick Picks: Elsewhere on the prelims, I like Marcus Davis (-500) over Jonathan Goulet (+325), Johny Hendricks (-525) over TJ Grant (+350), Tim Hague (-250) over Joey Beltran (+190), Yoshiyuki Yoshida (-260) over Mike Guymon (+200), and Jason MacDonald (-170) over John Salter (+140).

Parlay Pick: Want to bundle your picks up into one big mess of hope and ill-fated financial planning? Try Koscheck + Stout + Lawlor + Hendricks + MacDonald. If that doesn't work, try a short-term CD.

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