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UFC 116: By the Odds

There are lots of fun things you can bet on over the internet. Which celebrity will enter rehab next (John Stamos is a surprising favorite), who will be tabbed as Larry King's replacement on CNN (you can get 7-2 odds on Ryan Seacrest), and which celebrity couple will divorce next (smart money's on Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise).

But who needs celebrity tragedy when we have the human drama of MMA? Any fool can see that Lindsay Lohan has better odds of getting a DUI than Mary-Kate Olsen. It takes real insight to pick between two monsters like Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar.

With UFC 116 just a few hours away, let's take a look at what online oddsmakers think of the action and see if we can't spot a decent underdog pick or two.

Brock Lesnar (-140) vs. Shane Carwin (+110)

This line has moved closer to even as the fight nears, but some of the late money is coming in on Lesnar now as pro wrestling fans who doubt Carwin's ability to survive the F-5 lay their cash down on the reigning champ. With Lesnar being gone for so long and Carwin possessing such devastating punching power, this fight is essentially a pick-em. And no, I don't care what Paul Heyman says to the contrary.
My pick: Carwin. It's tough to call, but if you can find a little better odds Carwin's certainly worth small action.

Yoshihiro Akiyama (-250) vs. Chris Leben (+190)

Another UFC weekend, another Leben underdog bet staring us in the face. If you'll recall, the last time I picked Leben in this situation he won and paid off big. This time? I'm not quite so optimistic. If Akiyama follows the game plan laid out by Michael Bisping, he wins this. If he stands in front of Leben, he's getting clocked with that big left.
My pick: Akiyama, though I'd never bet on it. Leben's still not a bad pick at these odds.

Krzysztof Soszynski (-250) vs. Stephan Bonnar (+190)

Here we go again with these two. Soszynski looked like the better fighter in the first meeting, and Bonnar's toughness aside, I just don't see him doing all that much better in the rematch. He can take tremendous punishment, but he's generally at a loss for ways to finish a fight.
My pick: K-Sos. It's going to be brutal and it's probably going to be close. I'd save this one for a parlay bet.

Kurt Pellegrino (+160) vs. George Sotiropoulos (-200)

I'm a little surprised to see Sotiropoulos favored so heavily, but I can understand the reasoning behind it. He seems just a little sharper than Pellegrino. He's probably more well-rounded, if we're being honest, and not quite as banged up. You add his tricky little knee sleeves into the equation, and maybe he deserves to be the favorite.
My pick: Sotiropoulos. If you can get odds on Pellegrino in the 2-1 neighborhood, then I'd consider it. Otherwise, not so much.

Chris Lytle (-210) vs. Matt Brown (+170)

Don't expect this one to be a carbon copy of the first time they met. Brown's improved significantly over the last few years, and Lytle's gotten a little more focused on having thrilling fights rather than racking up careful wins. If Lytle fights smart, his skills and experience rule the day. If Brown can bait him into a shootout, it's anybody's fight.
My pick: Lytle. He won't be able to resist the urge to throw bombs forever, but the longer it goes the more it favors him.

Brendan Schaub (-275) vs. Chris Tuchscherer (+215)

Looking at this line, you have to wonder what oddsmakers think they've figured out about Schaub based on so little cage time. He's only had six fights and his lone UFC win is over Chase Gormley. By contrast, Tuchscherer's been around a little bit and, though he's more limited than Schaub, he has the ability to suffocate opponents with his wrestling and ground-and-pound.
My pick: Schaub, officially. But at +215 Tuchscherer is hard to pass up. He has a better chance than the bookies think, so small action is certainly justified.

Seth Petruzelli (+160) vs. Ricardo Romero (-200)

Seriously? Octagon rookie Ricardo Romero is a 2-1 favorite over Petruzelli? I guess knocking out Kimbo Slice just doesn't mean what it used to. Looking at his record, Romero seems like a tough guy with lots of potential. But he's spent his entire MMA career fighting in one promotion, and mostly against guys you've never heard of. The jump to the big show could be a jarring one for him.
My pick: Petruzelli. He needs this win and he knows it. Don't underestimate the power of desperation. Like Tim Armstrong says: when the field's wide open, I'll take the horse that's got the biggest heart.

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