UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Colby Covington vs Tyron Woodley

This one has been a long time coming!

Colby “Chaos” Covington has been terrorizing the UFC’s Welterweight Division ever since he made his debut with the organization around this time of year back in 2014.

6 years, 10 wins, and 2 losses later, Colby Covington finds himself in a rebound fight on the heels of a devastating loss in his bid to upset Kamaru Usman and win the UFC’s Welterweight World Title.

Colby broke his jaw in that fight but the judges had it scored even heading into the 5th round.

Covington has plenty of haters and rightfully so. That’s what he is going for.

I get it. People wanted so badly to see him get destroyed and yes, his jaw was absolutely wrecked and he was finished convincingly by the champion.

But, he did pretty darn well in that fight technically, and the heart he showed late in the fight was extraordinary.

Thankfully, I have never had my jaw broken and I hope I never do but I imagine it is a pretty sickening feeling.

That’s what I hear from some folks that have had to deal with that injury and that’s what I feel when I see it.

Covington still stayed in the fight, returned fire, and never mentally broke.

You just don’t have the physiological capacity to take a good punch on a bone that is broken in two.

It appears that Covington has all healed up, though, and is ready for a gigantic return fight.

Not only is he fighting someone he has talked massive amounts of poop about but Colby is also a 3.5 to 1 favorite.

That’s a lot of pressure.

He had some pressure in the Usman fight also because surprise surprise, he talked a lot of crap in the build-up to that one also.

Usman is one of the most dominant world champions in the entire UFC so he was the understandable underdog in that fight.

You lose in the final fight-deciding round after your jaw gives way and you can’t take any more shots.

That’s a crushing defeat, sure, but at the same time, Colby Covington proved to himself that he belongs in the Octagon with the best fighters in the world and has the ability to win a world title.

I’m not doubting his belief all along but that’s my take from the fight.

The one thing I didn’t want to see from Covington was returning to the Octagon too soon.

It has now been 9 months and I believe he has had the time to overcome any mental and emotional quandaries brought on by such a traumatic event.

We know his jaw is okay too because he still has one of the biggest mouths in sports.

His opponent in Saturday night’s main event, Tyron Woodley, does not appear to be the fighter he once was.

I know his last two opponents were the current division champ and #1 contender but Tyron looked terrible.

It’s as simple as that.

I think Kamaru Usman is Woodley’s kryptonite and will probably dominate him every time they fight.

Tyron had a much better opportunity to defeat Gilbert Burns, though, as that fight on paper, was pretty even.

Woodley just won’t pull the trigger, though, for whatever reason.

He backs up with minimal or no pressure from his opponent and he throws one strike a minute.

You’re not giving yourself a very good chance at victory, obviously, with such a bad strategy.

He has said that he promises a knockout of Covington but I am not buying it.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us this week.

Let’s take a gander at those and see if we can possibly find a method of victory or round total action because the moneyline is a bit out of reach.

Colby Covington (-340) vs Tyron Woodley (+280)

Fight Goes To a Decision
-210
Fight Does Not Go To a Decision
+160

The only round total betting line available really is the over 4.5 rounds and the odds and probabilities on the fight going to a decision or not are virtually the same.

Something tells me this one is ending before the 25-minute mark.

Normally when either of these two men fights, they are doing so inside of the 30 foot Octagon since they are usually main event fighters on big cards/pay per views.

We are at the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas still so there will be far less space to work with for these two.

Covington is a grinder but 25 minutes of action in that smaller cage could produce a finish.

Will it, though?

We don’t know so let’s not pretend we do.

That is the first rule of sports betting.

I’m gonna get Buddhist on you guys for a second.

Acceptance is huge. It takes so much pressure off and it allows us to take a mostly objective quantitative scientific approach to handicapping and picking sporting events.

Notice I didn’t say predicting sporting events.

I’m not sure about you but that one makes my ego feel right nice. I must have ESP if I can predict things.

With a confidence level beginning to border on delusional, you’re a big mistake waiting to happen.

We have to accept that we are not psychics.

There is no such thing as a sure thing.

I don’t know who is going to win!

I don’t know when or how the fight will end.

I sure as heck don’t know how the judges are going to score a relatively close fight.

You can put a lot of pressure on yourself and set yourself up for the inevitable disappointment of losing a bet you were sure would win.

Accept that you don’t know anything.

You have your probability that you set for each fighter and/or the round totals and you compare those with implied probabilities of the odds you see on the sportsbooks.

If you have an edge, make a play that is size dependent on the size of the edge you have on the sportsbooks.

The fight does not go to a decision betting line is set at (+160). I think that’s great value for a 5-round fight.

Please Note:
I know that both guys are incredibly durable and the heavy favorite wins more decisions than not. We could go a couple of different directions with a play for this fight.

First off, we could bet Tyron Woodley at the best price we have ever seen for him.

(+260) is a lot!

I just can’t do it, though.

It still bothers me that my casual UFC fan friends told me how Burns was going to run through Tyron Woodley and I did my best sell of T-Wood ever.

Losing sometimes is part of the game but getting blown out like we did after picking Woodley against Burns was painful.

  • Tyron just doesn’t let his hands go or even attempt any takedowns.
  • He is willing to do virtually nothing for 25 minutes to not get knocked out.
  • Woodley was a lot hungrier and thus much more dangerous before he won the title.
  • It doesn’t appear that he has got that ferocity and will to kill back since then, though.

Now, we can go with Colby by decision or take the fight does not go to a decision line.

How is that, you ask?

Well, I accept that the fight could play out both ways.

Now, I have to quantify my probabilities.

The Colby Covington by decision betting line is currently at (-145).

That is obviously much more expensive than our other proposed betting option but it could be much more likely.

I only have a feeling that this one will end inside the distance.

What do the numbers say?

After finishing four of his first five wins, Colby Covington was the winner of 5 consecutive decisions before he challenged Kamaru Usman for the title.

The explanation for this is pretty simple. He started to face a higher level of competition.

His style is not exactly like welterweight great Georges St Pierre.

GSP wasn’t really a pressure fighter.

Colby is going to push until you fall, squeeze until you pop, and bend you until you break.

GSP’s main goal was just to win the fight and his skills were that much better than his opponents so there were several title fights where he barely had to try.

Covington is a savage. People don’t want to hear it because he has painted himself so well as the heel but he is a gamer, and I think he really likes breaking men.

Whether Tyron was broken mentally or not, Kamaru Usman couldn’t finish him and neither could Gilbert Burns.

Nate The Great Marquardt remains the only fighter to ever finish Tyron Woodley when he did it for the Strikeforce Welterweight World Title.

I give Colby Covington a 65% chance to win a decision in this one and with his current betting line around 59%, we can throw a unit on there.

Hoping for a finish and the (+160) payout will likely be fun but I think it will quickly turn to frustration as Colby pitter patter and clinches his way to a unanimous decision victory.

I’m not saying it’s a terrible bet but we can’t ignore history and the 100% of the past points to this one going the distance.

My Pick
Colby Covington by Decision!

In Conclusion

Saturday night’s fight card is packed with big names and exciting matchups.

The main event, though, might only give us one of those.

Covington and Woodley are really big names.

One just fought for the belt and the other just lost the belt less than a year ago.

I can’t promise nor do I predict an exciting fight in the main event.

Neither man has an exciting style. I do like watching the cumulative effect of Colby Covington’s pressure over the course of a fight, especially if it goes 5 rounds.

What he is doing in the moment is like eh but when you see his opponents’ faces after a few rounds, you start to understand that fighting isn’t all about knockouts, takedowns, and submissions.

Colby’s combination of pressure boxing and wrestling is only matched by a few.

The champ Kamaru Usman has a very similar style and he can’t be denied, of course.

That’s it, though.

You could put Khabib up there, of course, but Colby uses his boxing much more.

If history tells us anything, Covington will grind out a decision.

The betting line is slightly juiced which I’m not crazy about but main event betting normally doesn’t have better value than any other one fight on the rest of a fight card.

The main event gets a lot of attention from bettors as well as the company and the media.

This can really skew the betting line or they can get it just right like they did with this moneyline.

Get your bets in now because we are attacking the most likely route to victory after the moneyline is too juiced for us to have an edge on the sportsbooks.

The betting odds on our play with likely become less valuable the closer we get to fight time.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.