Sportsbooks ready for Fight Island

UFC returns this weekend with new locked-down venue and virus altered main event.

Dana White will finally debut his “Fight Island” on Saturday night as the location for UFC 251. The island, actually called Yas Island, is located off the coast of Abu Dhabi.  Once there, fighters and a limited number of UFC staff and media will be contained in a ‘bubble’ with frequent Covid-19 testing protocol and little ability to leave/reenter the safe zone.  It was also reported by ESPN that everyone traveling to the island will be required to quarantine for 48 hours or until their initial test results are complete. CCTV cameras will monitor all quarantining individuals on Fight Island to be sure that they comply. 

If you’re thinking Fight island sounds like a prison with no fun permitted, you’d be mistaken.  Fight Islanders will have access to a beachside training facility, a golf course, multiple hotels and restaurants. 

UFC intends to return to the mainland for multiple August and September events in Las Vegas. While, more strict virus prevention measures are expected at these fights compared to those previously held by UFC in May, it will be interesting to see if White and company proceed with the plan. Covid-19 numbers are rapidly increasing in almost every US state, including Nevada. So, it’s possible that Fight Island could host more bouts sooner than later if that trend continues. 

Burns off Fight Island after positive test.

Covid-19 has already cassed a major change to the fight card for UFC 251, with Gilbert Burns having to bow out of the main event against Kamaru Usman after testing positive. Jorge Masvidal will replace Burns in the UFC welterweight title bought.  Masvidal now enters Fight Island without much time to prepare, which could explain why the Vegas odds have him as a massive underdog. DraftKings Sportsbook has Usman -265 vs. Masvidal +210 on their board.  While Caeasars Sportsbook currently lists the fight at Usman -300 vs. Masvidal +250. These are cost prohibitive numbers for casual bettors looking to take Usman as a heavy favorite here. 

Fight Island betting action being fueled by a flurry of new online sportsbook deals.

Fortunately, some of the best US sportsbooks have responded with enticing UFC boosters and bonuses aimed at making this mismatched Masvidal vs Usman fight more appealing to bettors.  PointsBet, for example, is one of the top new legal betting sites open for business in NJ, IN and IA.  Seeing an opportunity to stir up extra betting action, the PointsBet team issued one of their famous Crowd Boosters for UFC 251. Crowd Boosters mean that ‘you decide the boost’ because the odds improve for every 100 bets taken by the house on Usman to win the fight.  The line opened at -300 and is sinking as we speak. In the past we have seen similar Crowd Boosters on Connor McGregor and Deontay Wilder move all the way from heavy favorite to plus money by the time the bell rang. Bettors love the crowd boosters even more at PointsBet because they actually get the best and final odds, no matter when they make the bet.  So, if you take the crowd booster at Usman -275, and it moves to +100 by the time the fight begins, then the odds on your bet card change from -275 to +100 automatically.  

Another option for getting better odds on Masvidal vs Usman and all the UFC 251 fights is to take the double profit boosts that they are offering at DraftKings Sportsbook.  DK players in PA, IN, IA, NJ and WV can opt-in and use two 50% profit boost ‘coupons’, that increase the payouts on any UFC 251 bet, including fight props.

However the best way to win more on Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal, will be to take your action to a new sportsbook that some bettors still don’t know about.  That would be BetMGM, which is now live and legal in NJ, WV, IN and CO. Either the promo wizards at the MGM online sportsbook have a hunch on an upset by the underdog Masvidal, or they have decided to give away the whole house on this one in attempt to court new players ahead of the upcoming NBA restart.  

Every new customer who bets at least $1 on Usman to win on BetMGM, will get $100 in free bets if he does. This really is a $1 to $100 ‘bet & get’, a rare sighting in the online sports betting world and a bonus that will not be beaten by any other book.

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