For two weeks, Florida was sports betting territory. But we know it was only two weeks.
As quickly as sports betting launched, it folded. And while sports fans across the state felt the sting, there are a variety of daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms that provide contests for a variety of sports (esports included).
While DFS tempers the amount that users can bet, the chances of losing money making bets on DFS contests are just as high as while placing sports wagers. With that in mind, it’s essential to understand the principles of responsible betting so the fun can be had without losing a fortune.
Know the rules
DFS sites are pretty straightforward but can still be confusing for new users. They typically offer a variety of contests. In some cases, they limit the skill level of those who compete in contests.
For example, DFS platform Monkey Knife Fight offers prop-style contests. Say a user wants to enter a “More or Less” NBA contest. He or she will be presented with two players. Each player has an over-under scoring total.
To win the contest, the user must pick the over-under correctly for both players.
MKF is somewhat of a nontraditional DFS platform, though. A more traditional experience is found with DraftKings and FanDuel, both of which offer lineup-focused contests.
Users pay an entry fee to get into a contest. They have a salary cap from which they can choose a lineup of players who have prices that vary based on their value. Users select their players and submit their lineup.
Know what you have to do to get a prize
The rules for winning a prop–style contest on MKF are pretty simple: Guess both props correctly in a More or Less contest, for example, and win the prize. Typical prizes are factors of one (2x, 3x, 5x, 10x, etc.).
Traditional DFS contests like those offered on DraftKings and FanDuel are usually either guaranteed prize pools (GPP) or cash games.
Guaranteed prize pools pay prizes to a relatively small percentage of the highest–scoring lineups. The higher you finish, the bigger the prize. With that in mind, it’s harder to win.
Cash games, on the other hand, offer the same prize to all winners, which is usually those with a score that places them in the top 50% of the contest.
Another option is heads-up contests such as those offered by Yahoo DFS. In these contests, users play head-to-head with another user. The team that scores the most points wins the prize.
Underdog Fantasy offers Best Ball contests, Battle Royale and Pick’ems.
Know the strategies
Prop–style contests are harder than they look at first glance. Even a single over-under is tough to gauge at times. Adding a second over-under to the mix increases the chance of losing a contest. PrizePicks is a popular prop-style fantasy site.
Fantasy football app Sleeper offers a DFS game called “Squads,” which offers prop-style contests similar to MKF. During the final week of the NFL season, the app offered the following over-under pairing:
- Jonathan Taylor vs. the Jaguars: 115 rushing yards
- Rob Gronkowski vs. the Panthers: 65.5 receiving yards
Taylor’s matchup against the Jaguars was a favorable one, as the Jags’ run defense wasn’t strong, and the Colts needed a win to get to the playoffs. Gronkowski looked like a strong play because the Bucs were missing wideout Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans was dealing with a hamstring injury. Both lines begged for the over.
Gronk smashed the over with 137 yards, but Taylor was held to just 77 yards. Because the user is required to make at least two over-under predictions, more risk is brought into the contest. Additionally, some DFS platforms offer less-favorable lines than sportsbooks.
As for traditional contests, the strategies differ for GPP and cash. In GPP contests, users who choose the obvious players tend to miss out on prizes. Those who pick one or two obvious players and then add players owned by a small percentage of teams have a better chance of winning.
In cash games, picking the obvious players is a better strategy. The user has to score more than half the other entries. If so, the user gets the same prize as the top scorer.
Know what you can lose
The golden rule of sports betting and DFS contests is never to bet what can’t afford to be lost. While DFS contests seem less dangerous, they can eat away at a user’s wallet. Many DFS GPP experts submit dozens of lineups to big-money contests.
One–hundred lineups at $25 per lineup adds up quickly. Furthermore, DFS contests can be just as addicting as bets offered by sportsbooks.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline by phone or text at 1-800-522-4700, or by live chat at www.ncpgambling.org/chat.