Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, or BJJ, is a sport with a high rate of return in comparison to other combat sports. The tournament-style competitions and specific odds and props to each promotion can make it difficult to place confident bets even if you’re familiar with BJJ.
We’re here to clear that up. Jiu-jitsu and other grappling competitions are gaining popularity quickly, and there are some betting opportunities that you won’t want to miss out on.
This guide will outline the elements of the sport, how to select winners, and how to make the expert advice here at The Sports Geek work for your wallet.
BJJ Betting Tips for Absolute Beginners
In this section, we’ll be answering the fundamental questions of what BJJ is all about. We’ll be skipping the history and specifics of the martial art itself. I want to tell you everything you need to know to get acclimated to the sport and enjoy betting on and watching your first event.
Where do I place my bets on BJJ?
The sport has several names: combat grappling, BJJ, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Jiu-jitsu, and sport grappling. You may see that these names are used interchangeably.
You may even see them classified as different names while visiting different betting websites. However, most sites are classifying BJJ as an MMA or Martial Arts prop bet category.
You’ll make sure that your betting ticket has the correct information, mostly you’ll be betting on either a specific athlete or an athlete’s decision or submission victory.
There aren’t currently other prop bet opportunities in jiu-jitsu.
If you don’t understand the rules of the tournament you’re betting on, reading up on victory conditions of the tournament in one of our betting analyses will clear up any questions.
What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a grappling art like wrestling. There is no striking of any kind, though, in combat, BJJ open palm strikes, kicks, and slams are allowed.
Most tournaments are centered around submitting the opponent.
A submission, like in MMA, is when a choke or breaking mechanic is applied to a joint. The fighter must tap out, signifying they don’t want to continue, or be injured severely by the joint lock. If a fighter is passed out from a choke, this is also considered a submission.
Fighters in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can start a match by looking for a takedown or sit to a ‘guard’ to fight from the bottom position.
You’ll see leg locks, arm locks, and chokes on a regular basis.
Takedowns are an important part of BJJ, which includes wrestling-style shooting and judo-style throws and trips.
What is Gi and No-Gi?
Gi is the jacket and pants used in some BJJ matches. It looks like a Judo or Karate uniform, but is often thinner than Judo and thicker than Karate.
You can grab it, choke with it, and utilize it in all sorts of ways to win. No-gi implies you won’t be wearing a gi. Rash Guards are typically worn though athletes could compete shirtless. You can not grab clothing at all in no-gi competition.
In the majority of betting on mainstream sites, no-gi is more popular for sports betting in 2021.
How Are Decisions Scored in BJJ?
Points are given out differently depending on the type of fight. The majority of promotions with betting available are using the ‘judges scorecard’ method. Meaning that the viewer doesn’t see the score while the match is happening, a decision is simply announced in the event neither fighter wins by submission.
Points are allotted for submission attempts, the closer the submission the higher the value.
Some tournaments also offer points for takedowns, sweeps (moving from bottom position to top), and advantageous positions (positions where the opponent has less attacking options than you do.)
How Do I Know What’s Happening in BJJ?
BJJ can be confusing to an audience that doesn’t train the art themselves. However, here are a few things you can look for even if you don’t have a clue about BJJ.
Aggression is good but won’t score without also changing position or attacking a joint lock.
If one limb isn’t isolated entirely, then it’s probably not a quality submission. Submissions generally have one opponent isolating an arm, leg, or neck from the rest of the body. Isolated limbs = submission points.
You don’t need to stay glued to the screen for a boring match. Grab a drink when fighters start stalling, even the diehard fans will talk over a boring match-up.
Getting Expert Betting Picks for Jiu-Jitsu
At The Sports Geek, I’ve been analyzing for over fifteen years. For all major competitions, we’ll be looking at a fighter’s record, weight class, age, and physical stats.
For most BJJ happening in the pro no-gi ruleset
There are few sites offering statistics that would be helpful, such as rate of takedowns, rate of submission attempts, athlete weaknesses such as vulnerability to specific movements and positions, and other minutiae that we’ll see available as the sport grows.
For now, betting experts like me are watching matches from each athlete in competition closely and determining winners using our time, effort, and expertise.
Understanding the Odds and Betting for BJJ
In BJJ, there are different types of odds depending on the style of competition. The two main odds we’ve seen so far are tournament odds and single bout odds.
In tournament odds, you’ll be betting on a winner for a bracket.
For example, in an eight-man bracket, you’ll bet on who will win the bracket outright. Brackets tend to happen in a single night, with multiple matches taking place and a single winner crowned per weight class.
Just like in any other sports bracket:
The winners will fight the winner of the match adjacent to them on the bracket. Most of these tournaments have eight competitors per bracket. On some occasions, teams of four or five are used. You’ll still simply select the team you think will win the bracket.
In single bout odds, you’re not just selecting the winner but one of a few specific outcomes. It will look something like this:
Win By Decision
Win By Submission
In the single bout, there is rarely a draw, though it is possible, and that prop bet may be available in the future. Notice that you’ll be required to bet on not just who will win but how.
Submissions are more difficult to achieve, but depending on the fighter, the odds of a submission outcome may be lower than a decision.
BJJ is currently ruled by a few front runners, so I’m surprised that more negative moneylines (odds with the – symbol, paying a fractional return), but with the sport being new to the mainstream, we may see betting and odds change over the next few years.
Bjj Prop Betting
Currently, no prop bets are available for BJJ. However, soon we will see bets on how many submissions are achieved in single tournaments, point differentials, and individual props on fights inside of tournament brackets.
Where to Bet on BJJ
Betonline.ag has been the most consistent with offering BJJ betting. It’s our preferred site for placing BJJ bets. You’ll look under the ‘sports’ tab, then ‘martial arts,’ then click the event name specifically. Unfortunately, BJJ doesn’t have its own tab yet.
You’ll need to know the event name and find it under ‘martial arts.’
Available BJJ sporting events are typically WNO or ‘Who’s Number One,’ EBI, or Fight2Win. We’re hoping the ADCC events will be covered this year as well.
Place Your WNO 2021 Bet!
BJJ Athlete Strategies and Tournament Rules
Depending on the rules of each tournament, you’ll see athletes performing different strategies to win. Understanding these rules can stop you from making uninformed bets.
Submission Only Rules or EBI Rules
In submission-only rules, fighters are unable to win by a method other than a submission. Many of these matches do not have a time limit. In EBI rules, at the end of the time limit, you’ll go to a sudden death position.
Each fighter gets a chance at attempting to submit an opponent before they can escape a position. If neither fighter wins a submission, the fastest escape wins the match.
These rules have been gamified to the point where fighters no longer look for submissions. Instead they survive, conserving most of their energy for the end of the match up and win in sudden death. As a result the community is moving away from this rule set, though you may still see it.
Athletes favored over technicians
Encourages gaming of the ruleset
Overtime finishes are common
This is the most common rule set in professional BJJ. The fighters have between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on skill level, to fight it out. The judges’ scorecards are kept secret, scoring only one point per submission attempt and three points for a near submission.
Fighters are very aggressive in this version of BJJ. They’ll constantly be looking for attacks and finishes. Often the judges scorecard is highly contested by fans and fighters alike.
Expect to see an equal number submissions and decisions on cards with this rule set. It’s agreed that this offers the most ‘true to the art’ method of competition. Technicians of the sport win most often.
Technicians favored over athletes
Encourages a high rate of submission attacks
50/50 split of decisions and submissions
Abu Dhabi Combat Club is the oldest professional tournament for BJJ. The rule set includes no scoring of any points for the first five minutes, making the matches similar to F2W in the beginning.
After the first five minutes, takedowns and dominant positions are awarded. This gives us a mixture of the EBI and F2W results. Fighters often are heavily experimental early in the match, going for broke on submission attempts or simply waiting out the first five minutes until points can be scored.
You’ll see some fighters conserving energy for a takedown or dominant position late in the match, while others will look for submission victories regardless of the match time. If no fighters score points before time is up, advantages are given for near submissions and near advantageous positions.
Favors a variation of strategies, athletic abilities and technical abilities
Encourages more takedowns, and the advantage system discourages bottom position
Not adopted often outside of ADCC specific tournaments
Tips on BJJ Betting Analysis
It’s difficult to find fighter history and stats in a single place. Flograppling has fighter records specific to that organization, the same goes for the IBJJF or International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation. Finding ADCC performance records is all but impossible.
Find what history you can inside the ruleset you’re betting on. If a gi athlete is switching to a no-gi tournament, don’t give their gi wins too much weight.
Look for recent bout videos rather than their record.
Look for expert picks that include a record or tale of the tape for you.
If a fighter has few decision wins but several decision losses, they are the kind of athlete to burn themselves out looking for finishes. If the fighter has several decision wins, but fewer submission wins, they are looking to play conservatively and game the ruleset.
There’s nothing wrong with either method of competing, but look to find out how fighters are winning before you place a bet.
The sport is still young in popularity, so BJJ stats are difficult to find and often behind paywalls. Unless you’re shelling out the cash for deeper research, watch the most recent bouts online and read expert betting analysis, like the kind found here on The Sports Geek.
BJJ Betting FAQ
What is the best bet I can make on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Front runners win often, but not always. Since a negative odd favorite status is rare in BJJ, you’re looking for the fighter with the lowest positive fractional odds- a number with a + in front of it.
The F2W Championship 2021 is a great example of two front runners seeming like the right bet. Craig Jones is the favorite, but has been opening a school for the last two months. His focus has shifted from competition to running a school in Austin.
He’s the favorite, but are the oddsmakers taking these lifestyle stressors into account? Dive deep into the athlete’s lives, or listen to expert analysis.
Does Bjj have the same odds across all betting sites?
You’ll find that different oddsmakers will give more lucrative odds to gauge interest in the sport, to draw in new betters, and all sorts of other reasons.
Odds in BJJ, just like fight odds, change from when the odds are first released (opening odds) to just before the event (closing odds.) Your bet is locked in at the odds you paid for.
If the odds change on another site or on your site, you still get the odds you placed your wager at.
Should I bet on every tournament and event?
Only place bets you are confident in. If the analysis for a pick isn’t convincing, you can wait for the right time to place your bet.
Look for stats and a competition breakdown that gives you a good gut feeling about placing the bet. At thesportsgeek.com, we recently placed our first BJJ main event pick at +170 and we were correct.
This is a $2.70 total payout per dollar wagered. BJJ odds pay well since many of the outcomes are so specific, but follow the right analyst, and there’s plenty to win.
Do I have to use USD to bet on BJJ?
Not necessarily. You can also use cryptocurrencies and risk-free bets. Many online sportsbooks are offering bets placed up to a certain value with no money down.
You’ll be spending the house’s money to win the bets you placed.
Cryptocurrencies are often given bonuses in either odds or value, meaning you win more money for using crypto than you do the dollar.
What if I have a question about BJJ Betting that wasn’t answered here?
Drop it in the comment box below, and look forward to our 2022 update. I see changes coming to BJJ’s format and betting frequency as the sport becomes more popular.
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!