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UFC 86 odds, betting lines and analysis for 'Jackson vs Griffin'

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ufc 86 betting odds

Desert Dog back from the depths of the unknown with tips and "Smart Bets" for UFC 86: "Jackson vs Griffin" this Saturday, July 5, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It’s a pay-per-view (PPV) fight card that is loaded with tight, evenly-matched fights.

Of course, coaches from this season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and number one contender Forrest Griffin, are set to go to war in the main event of the evening. In addition, middleweights Ricardo Almeida and Patrick Cote will hook 'em up to possibly determine the next man to challenge 185-pound czar, Anderson Silva.

Two competitive lightweight bouts round out the televised main card, as well as a welterweight showdown between Josh Koscheck and Chris Lytle.

It’s clearly solid card in terms of tough match ups — even though this PPV seems to be flying well below the radar. And that's a good thing for us because often the "sleeper" shows represent the best money-making betting possibilities.

Let’s get to it.

Here are the "Smart Bets" for UFC 86:
(Note: + = Underdog; - = Favorite)

Main card picks:

Quinton "Rampage: Jackson -260 (Bet $100 to win $38)
Ricardo Almeida -130 (Bet $100 to win $77)
Tyson Griffin -350 (Bet $100 to win $29)
Corey Hill (If odds are favorable ... see below)
Melvin Guillard (If odds are favorable ... see below)

NOTE: recommends to place wagers (FREE $60 play with sign up). However, is also a good place to bet and compare odds.)

ufc 86 betting

Whatever your bets are for UFC 86 (these are merely for you to use as a guide) make sure you look at the realistic outcomes and use solid bets to cover your bigger risks. You don’t have to bet on them all, just stick to the fighters you know and match ups that give that best probability on a financial windfall.

Now onto a more detailed breakdown of the fights for those bettors who require a little more reassurance.

Main card bouts:

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (-260) vs Forest Griffin (+200)

Rampage has set himself apart in the last two years, beating Dan Henderson, Chuck Liddell, Marvin "Beastman" Eastman and Matt Lindland -- all great fighters. He's on a roll. Or perhaps he likes his money roll -- Jackson has found that the "green" is a hell of a motivator for training. His last fight with Henderson showed his tremendous improvement in conditioning. His striking and gorilla pounding are still as impressive as before, but now with a set of lungs he's able to last with fast technical fighters on the feet or on the ground.

His weakness, however, is still on his back and to some extent aggressive technical strikers can give him problems. Weakness is a bit of a misnomer though. Jackson is looking very solid these days and this match up works well for him.

Forrest only has two likely ways to pull out a victory in this fight: grind out a decision or catch Quinton in a submission during a scramble. Forrest just doesn't knock people out, especially block heads like Rampage. He has excellent ground skills, but is self admittedly lacking in the area of takedowns. He will have the gas tank to go full speed with Jackson for five rounds and is perhaps technically better in all areas.

But this is a fight and technique often gets thrown out the window when someone gets punched in the face really hard.

Unfortunately for Forrest, Quinton is likely to be the aggressor for more of the fight and with his solid chin and ability to explode at any time, I think he'll pull out another decision to defend his title.

Prediction: Quinton Jackson via decision (Bet: 1 unit to win .385) BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Patrick Cote (+100) vs Ricardo Almeida (-130)

Oh yeah, this is a sweet match up. Almeida slid back into action in the UFC with a powerful submission first round submission in his fight with Rob Yundt . It didn't provide much of a chance to measure his conditioning or see how the whole fight package looked.

Regardless, in the brief time he was standing he looked comfortable with good movement and sharpness on his striking, but what's one minute going to tell you? What's not in question is his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, -- the guy is a killah!

Put simply, Cote will want absolutely nothing to do with Ricky on the ground in any position.

Cote has been a roll as of late winning his last four fights, three of which were technical knockouts. Of course the only person in that group with any ground skills was Kendall Grove. In fact, the last time he faced a solid submission grappler was against Travis Lutter. And the "Serial Killer" made easy work of him. Cote is going to have to get on his bike and stay out of the clinch. He's got a shot if he can stay upright and test Almeida's chin otherwise he's tapping out of this one.

Almeida is one of the most skilled fighters in the division and I believe he will be a true force to reckon with. This fight will be a big wake up call that he's back and part of the mix. The odds look nice here with the fight set basically as even. There’s a chance that the odds for Ricardo will improve by the day before the fight when commoner money starts flowing in.

Prediction: Almeida via submission (Bet: 1 unit to win 0.769) BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Josh Koscheck (-330) vs Chris Lytle (+220)

This match up has a lot in common with Chris's fight with Matt Hughes. He'll be outmatched in terms of strength and wrestling and will likely spend a decent amount of time on his back. Lytle has excellent ground skills, but basically used them to neutralize Hughes' sub attempts. In the end Hughes was simply able to lay and pray for three rounds.

The big difference in this fight is that when things go to the ground with Kos on top he'll be looking to lay leather on Lytle ... not submissions. This is good for both fighters because Kos will have his best chance at ending the fight, but in doing so he will have to give up some control providing openings for Chris to work submissions.

Every round starts standing and Kos seems to have something to prove to himself in the standup game. He's got some great power shots but they're still pretty predictable and I think Lytle will have an overall advantage in striking. This fight really depends on Kos using a solid game plan and maintaining a tight defense while laying the leather on Lytle.

The odds should be a lot tighter here. In the end I think Koscheck wins, but there's no way he should be a big favorite. It's tempting to drop a small bet on Lytle just because of the odds, but I'm not liking the looks of it. I'll stay away from this one, but that doesn't mean you have to. The value is there for a bet on Lytle.

Prediction: Koscheck via technical knockout BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Joe Stevenson (-220) vs Gleison Tibau (+175)

This appears to be a tough match up for Gleison -- it is a very similar match up to his fight with Tyson Griffin. And in that fight he found it exceedingly difficult to control the better wrestler after a takedown. I will say that Stevenson's striking has improved markedly and it's good enough to keep Gleison from controlling each round. I doubt Joe will be able to sink his favorite guillotine on the very skilled Tibau, he will control him both standing and on the ground. Don't look for either guy being able to finish -- it's got all the makings for a three-round battle for position. Oh well.

Prediction: Stevenson via decision

ufc 86 betting

Tyson Griffin (-350) vs Marcus Aurelio (+250)

Aurelio looked fantastic in his last fight. Of course it was against a very inexperienced Ryan Roberts who took the fight on super short notice. Aurelio has a great pedigree, but he's going in against one of the top lightweights in the world and realistically all of his skills are trumped or stifled by Griffin's abilities, conditioning and strength. No need for depth here because Tyson can only beat himself in this fight.

Prediction: Griffin via technical knockout (he'll finally get what he's been looking for -- Bet 1 units to win 0.285) BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Jorge Gurgel (+105) vs Cole Miller (-135)

This is an interesting fight and a hard one to call.

Gurgel has made a great name for himself as an instructor and trainer, but he's really struggled to find his own in the UFC. With a UFC record of 3-2 and all of his fights going to decision fans seem to be losing some patience with him. His standup is respectable but it's not putting anyone away. He has yet to really focus on his ground game in any of his fights -- so let’s hope he puts all those great ground sills to use in this one; because he's never going to touch Cole Miller's chin standing up.

Miller's striking and reach advantage should be just enough to carry him through this fight. His ground skills may not be as acclaimed as Gurgel's but they are very well applied. His last fight showed a weakness in dealing with a powerful ground and pound game, but he won't to worry about that on this night. I see the American Top Team trained Miller being able to maintain control in every aspect of this fight.

It's unfortunate for Gurgel, but I think he's headed for another decision and it's one he'll likely lose.

Prediction: Miller via decision BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Corey Hill (NA) vs Justin Buchholz (NA)

Corey Hill -- the oddly tall (6’4") lightweight contestant from season five of TUF -- made his UFC debut six months ago against Joe Veres, winning via technical knockout in the second round. The Miletich-trained fighter will look to make it two in a row against the Alaskan Buchholz. Corey’s training with the Miletich camp should continue to round out his skill set and of course he’ll always have one thing that can’t be taught: size and reach.

The reach advantage won’t be too pronounced in this with Justin being a tall lightweight as well at 6’. Corey’s striking looked to be very improved in his debut as well as some nice take down defense.

Buchholz who started with the Alaska Fight Championships and Icon Sports has held the lightweight title in both of these smaller shows. Making his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 12 he ran into a determined Matt Wiman and was choked early in the first round. Buchholz has shown that his strength is striking and typically his reach advantage –- not this time around, though. Justin will still hold an advantage in striking experience and likely on the ground as well, but honestly where Hill’s ground game stands is still unknown.

Joe Silva has put together a solid challenge for both of these fighters to determine who belongs in the UFC. Because Buchholz lost his debut he’ll likely come in as a moderately dog. As long as Corey’s odds are -175 or better I think he’s worth a half size bet, otherwise stay away.

Prediction: Hill via technical knockout (Bet: 0.5 units if odds are -175 or better) BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Melvin Guillard (NA) vs Dennis Siver (NA)

The Russian born Dennis Siver is riding the line with a UFC record of 1-2. He’s a compact fighter who reminds me a bit of Sean Sherk. He’s a demon in the clinch and has built a solid submission game around his grappling skills. His striking has very good power but poor technique, the majority of his strikes are wide hooks and overhand baseball pitches. That type of striking can easily be picked apart by a very fast fighter like Guillard.

Siver’s best bet in this fight is to clinch, throw and work.

Guillard has been a bit of an enigma in the UFC; his conditioning, power, and speed are absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, so is his propensity to make mistakes in fights. Melvin’s been in the fight game for six years now and quickly piled up 30 pro MMA fights; now he finally seems to be more realistic about where he fits into the MMA scene. He’s recently said he wants to be a champion, but knows that he’s not in the same league as BJ Penn and would likely have to look to the WEC for a realistic shot at a title.

In this fight he has the wrestling skill to stuff Siver’s takedowns and pick him apart with speed and footwork. If Melvin gets put on his back he’s got to keep it together, Siver is not as skilled as Stevenson or Clementi and if he believes he can stay out of trouble on the ground and get things back up he’ll work Siver over within two rounds.

Prediction: Guillard via technical knockout (Bet: 0.5 units if odds are -200 or better) BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

Gabriel Gonzaga (NA) vs. Justin McCully (NA)

I vote this fight "least likely undercard to be televised." This one has all the makings of an absolute snooze fest. McCully -- a long time training partner of Tito Ortiz -- was in one of the most mind numbing lay and pray fights EVER during his UFC debut more than a year ago. McCully has had more of a chance to train for this fight but I’m not holding my breath. His one skill appears to be prolonged takedowns followed by even more prolonged blanketing.

Gonzaga raged into the upper ranks of the heavyweights with his crazy upset over Mirko Cro Cop only to show his sluggish side in back-to-back technical knockout losses to Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum. Gonzaga has a huge edge in this fight in terms of skill, ability to finish, and most likely conditioning. My only hope is that Napao doesn’t take him down and then trade dry humping moves for three rounds.

On the upside Gonzaga knows he needs an impressive win to turn things around. The level of competition that Justin offers won’t be impressive but who knows maybe a flying armbar by a heavyweight would turn some heads!

Gabriel should win this fight nearly 90 percent of the time and it’s very likely the odds will come out showing that. I really doubt that there will be any money to be made on this fight unless you plug it into a parlay bet with a few other solid favorites.

Prediction: Gonzaga via submission BET NOW!

ufc 86 betting

That about does it for this installment of betting tips and advice. Remember to bet smart.

Betting is not for everyone. But if you want to take a stab at it head over to (Sign up today and get a FREE $75 play) or to compare competitive MMA lines visit

Enjoy the fights and good luck. Feel free to leave predictions and other thoughts in the comments section below. There have been a glut of readers sharing their thoughts and betting advice leading up to this particular main event -- perhaps more so than any other in recent memory.

Put your money where your mouth is ... and you might just be laughing all the way to the bank.

ufc 86 betting

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