An introduction to fantasy betting

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Mark | Poker Articles, Sports and Fantasy betting

Fantasy betting is a big deal in the US, but not so much in Europe yet (most likely because sports betting is not illegal in Europe). I like the community aspect of fantasy betting so much that I decided to devote a page on the pokerbankrollblog entirely to Sports and Fantasy betting. Hope you enjoy the first article about fantasy betting, submitted by Alex.

Many statistically minded sports fans are tempted to try their hand at sports betting.  After all, with a solid understanding of Sabermetrics, baseball handicapping should be pretty easy to beat.  Right?  Oddsmakers set the betting line based on the beliefs of the ignorant public.  How hard can it be to pick winners better than the public?

Unfortunately, achieving a positive expectation in sports handicapping is not so easy.  All it takes is one person with better information than you, and you’re facing an uphill climb.  Not only is the best handicapper likely to be betting the maximum amount allowable at any sportsbook they frequent, but differences in the odds from one sportsbook to another are quickly eliminated as line shoppers arbitrage away any significant differences.

So if you’re a sports expert who wants to profit from your knowledge, are there any easier ways to do so?  The answer is ‘yes’, as a new form legal online sports ‘betting’ has emerged recently.  A number of new daily fantasy sports sites have launched, and they all share a number of advantages over traditional sports betting.

-They are completely legal.  Thanks to fantasy sports being specifically excluded from laws affecting online sports betting, these sites are not illegal in any way.

-Money can be deposited via credit card or Paypal, and easily withdrawn via check.  There is none of the jumping through hoops and uncertainty found when transferring money to and from gambling websites.

-Because contests are based upon the performance of individual players, a much wider variety of contests are available.

Don’t get the wrong idea though, these are not traditional fantasy contests.  Rather than tying up your money for the full duration of the season, most of these contests just last one day.  You pick a team for the day, and results are based on the performance of your players that day.  Contests can range from heads up (two players) up to 100 players or more.  The sites that host the contests have the look and feel (and the business model) of online poker sites.

Some of the features that differentiate these sites from each other include:

-Widely varying user interfaces

-All sites offer ‘salary cap’ format contests, some also offer ‘live draft’ contests where player selection resembles a traditional fantasy sports draft.

-Varying rake, from as high as 20% to less than 10%.

-A variety of sports available.  Most sites offer baseball, football, and basketball.  Some also offer one or both of hockey and NASCAR.

-Chat features give some sites more of a communal feel than others.

Two of the more popular fantasy contest sites are and  Fantasysportslive was the first to launch and at this point offers the highest limit contests.  Snapdraft is the first site to be heavily advertised, and features the highest traffic at this stage.  Unfortunately, Fantasysportslive has done little to upgrade their product during the past two year, and Snapdraft has 20% rake, which eats away players bankrolls very quickly.

One recently launched site of this type is Fan duel.  Fan duel is part of a network of sites that operate on the same platform and share the same contests.  It has a more modern user interface than some of the competitors, and a reasonable 10% rake on most contests.  Traffic has been light so far, mainly because the launch took place in the slow season between football and baseball.  However, early sign-ups for a $100 freeroll baseball contest show the potential for a large traffic spike over the next few weeks.

Fan Duel has a few features that set it apart from other daily fantasy contest sites:

-Live draft contest format is available as well as the typical ‘salary cap’ contests
-A chat area allows players to get to know each other and engage in some friendly trash talking
-The contest ‘engine’ is very flexible and can support contests with a variety of scoring systems, roster configurations, and durations.

Check out fantasy betting at FanDuel

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