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UFC On Fox 28: Stephens vs Emmett Odds and Pick

Jeremy Stephens(14-13) @ Josh Emmett(13-1)

  • Where: Amway Center. Orlando, FL
  • When: February 24, 2018 6:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Stephens (-165) vs Emmett (+135)

American boxing and wrestling fans may have short attention spans, but they don’t necessarily like watching 100 punches in 5 seconds. UFC’s Featherweight division, with its unpredictable grappling and intermittent flurries, is therefore a better draw than tiny boxers whirring at light-speed.

That’s good news for Fox Sports, which is broadcasting a main event between Featherweight contenders Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens at UFC on Fox 28 on Saturday night.

A quick glance at the betting board – and each competitor’s record – shows off another crucial difference between pure pugilism and the world of MMA. In a boxing ring, it would be unheard of for a fighter with a lone loss (and more than a dozen victories) to be the underdog against an athlete with a 27-14 W/L record.

Yet that is the scenario this weekend, as Stephens is a slim money line favorite despite being only slightly over .500 in UFC bouts.

Odds-makers clearly think that Emmett’s 13-1 record is the result of taking on too many patsies. But is consistent winning ever a bad thing?

Main Event: Jeremy Stephens vs Josh Emmett

Stephens strikes (excuse the pun) MSB as a weak favorite at (-165) for a number of reasons.

The 31-year-old has been putting some good wins together, including a recent TKO win over Dooho Choi. He has been able to scientifically attack the lower legs of other competitors, reducing their range and pressuring them into pitched brawls.

But Emmett could prove to be the wrong opponent at the wrong time. The 32-year-old “Grim Reaper” is an excellent counter-striker who will come at Stephens from unfamiliar angles, and his collegiate experience as a grappler comes in handy in the take-down department. If Stephens dances, prances and pushes the tempo with annoying lower-leg strikes, Emmett is likely to force the issue and bring the fight to the mat. Long stretches of wrestling would negate Stephens’ biggest advantage in this match – his stamina.

The bout could go either way. But remember Rule #1 of money line betting. If the underdog has a coin-flip chance of pulling off an upset, then it’s always a good wager. Take Emmett to surprise and win in Orlando.

Visit Bovada Sportsbook to wager on Josh Emmett to upset Jeremy Stephens and get a 50% sign-up bonus.

Now, let’s take a brief look at several other matches on a well-booked card.

Co-Main Event: Jessica Andrade vs Tecia Torres

Again, the fighter with more than five times as many losses (Andrade has 6 defeats to just 1 for Torres) is the prohibitive favorite in Saturday’s co-main event. Andrade is a brawler with tremendous striking ability, solid martial arts skills and a whale’s girth of tenacity, leading the betting board to a (-305) line on her winning chances.

But we’re also liking the underdog here, thanks to Torres’ skillful counter-attacking ability and Andrade’s vulnerability to combinations. Torres is a better technical striker and underrated wrestler who could win by TKO or decision if she doesn’t absorb any big bombs early.

Again, we’re not trying to impress with pure punditry – the goal is to win money. Torres’ odds are slightly too long at (+235), making The Tiny Tornado a value bet to prevail.

Ovince Saint Preux vs Ilir Latifi

Latifi – currently at “even” odds to win at Bovada – is being written-off by MMA pundits as ill-suited to defeat Saint Preux, a kicking specialist who wards-off grappling attempts with his dangerous legs.

But Latifi has won 4 of his last 5 bouts and needs this fight badly to enter the Light-Heavyweight title picture. We’re thinking the stone-faced Swede will surprise with a patient fight, waiting for Saint Preux to miss with a front-kick attempt before honing in for some strong, expert wrestling on the mat. Expect a decision victory for Latifi over a frustrated foe.

Maryna Moroz vs. Angela Hill

The 6:30 bout between 115 lb. fighters offers value on the favorite. Bettors are drawn to a wager on Moroz, a slight underdog, due to her 8-2 record and strong submission holds. But she’s inconsistent, often without a clear plan or path to combine strikes and get in position for her favorite armbar.

Hill, meanwhile, is a savvy fighter who recently took Jessica Andrade to the limit. Bettors are fascinated with Moroz’s reach and power, leaving Hill’s odds less-short than they might otherwise be. Take the (-155) favorite here.

Renan Barao vs Brian Kelleher

Max Griffin looks like a tasty underdog to some, fighting 3/1 favorite Mike Perry in the 8 PM slot. But for a better-percentage wager to add to your parlay, look at a gamble on New York’s Brian Kelleher his 7:30 Bantamweight battle with veteran Renan Barao.

Barao has taken off weight recently, and appears to be a nervous and wayward fighter in his later years. He foolishly engaged in a slug-fest with Jeremy Stephens in a recent loss, and was beaten to a pulp by Aljamain Sterling in California. Kelleher has had his ups and downs, but as a smart prizefighter with quickness and stamina, he’s got the advantage…and excellent (+130) odds at Bovada Sportsbook.

Check back soon for MSB’s preview of UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena on March 3rd.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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