Fantasy Sports Betting

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
11 minute read

Fantasy Sports Betting OnlineFantasy sports betting encompasses several different forms of fantasy sports, including season-long fantasy sports and daily fantasy. It has become a lot more than a fantasy football league with a few of your buddies. After reading this you will be an expert at the ins and outs of fantasy sports and how sports betting knowledge is vital to success in all forms of fantasy betting.

There are two types of fantasy sports, season-long fantasy sports, and daily fantasy sports. Season-long fantasy sports have been around for decades. These come with buy-in at the beginning of the season, a draft, and prizes. The second time is daily fantasy sports which is similar but is played over a shorter period (daily or weekly) and involve entry fees for each contest entered. Typically, prize pools are much larger than season-long fantasy leagues, but also have much higher fees or rake.

We will cover both season-long and daily fantasy sports (DFS) in this article but will focus a bit more on daily fantasy. If fantasy sports betting isn’t for you has plenty of content on how to bet on real sports online for you to read.

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Fantasy sports – How Does It Work?

The main takeaway from all forms of fantasy sports is that the goal is to score more points than your opponents. How many players you draft, the size of your roster or lineup, along with the number of competitors, will all vary. There are lots of rules and variations, but the basis is drafting players for a specified period and beating the competition. For yearly contests, this an entire season (unless a trade is made) and for daily games, it’s usually a day but can be up to a week. One important aspect of fantasy sports is understanding the rules of your league or contest and doing your best tailor your team(s) to those rules.

Why Should Bettors Pay Attention To This Market?

fantasy sports bettingSports betting is extremely helpful when playing fantasy sports. However, it works both ways. You can certainly increase your profitability in fantasy sports if you are aware of how sports betting markets work. Most successful gamblers bet sports and at least, dabble, in fantasy betting formats.

While daily fantasy markets are becoming tougher to beat, there is still a lot of profit to be had, particularly when it comes to sports like the NFL. Yearly or season-long leagues are much softer. Sports betting is less valuable there, but NFL season win totals is a great way to project how good a team might be for fantasy purposes.

What’s Exciting About This For Bettors?

Fantasy sports are exciting and if you can use sports betting to enhance your profitability. Those who haven’t played NFL daily fantasy are missing out. It’s some of the most fun you can have when playing or betting on sports. It’s one heck of a rush. Even if you’re a total amateur, putting in a few dollars and building just a single lineup will make your NFL Sunday far more exciting.

Daily Fantasy Sports Types

If you have ever played a season-long fantasy league – you will be right at home when it comes to daily fantasy sports. It’s not identical to season-long fantasy sports, but the parallels are there, and the fundamental objective is the same: score more fantasy points than your opponents.

Daily Fantasy Sports TypesThe most significant difference in DFS is the salary cap format and the fact that you can play against hundreds of thousands of different opponents. There is no single ownership of a particular player. In daily fantasy sports contests, it’s possible that ownership overlaps on players, especially when there are pricing “mistakes” due to injury or a role change.

In the end, though, it’s about building the best lineup. No matter the sport, the goal is to score more fantasy points than the other entries in your contests. However, the type of lineup you build depends on a few factors. While the scoring, rules, and lineup building remain the same, there are two types of DFS contests: cash games and GPPs.

Cash Fantasy Games

Cash fantasy games are contests with that usually have a smaller number of opponents with the objective to finish in the upper half or top-third of the field. Head-to-heads and 50/50s are the main types of cash game formats in daily fantasy. However, triple ups and even multipliers also fall into the cash game category for most players. Cash games do not have massive prize pools and in most cases, must fill, for the contests to be valid. Cash game strategy focuses on finding the best player values and less on player ownership.

Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)

Tournaments or guaranteed prize pools is where the big money can be won when playing DFS. DraftKings, the largest daily fantasy, gives away $1 million every week of the NFL regular season. GPPs have prize pools in the hundreds of thousands and anywhere from a thousand entries to hundreds of thousands of entries. Selecting the top values still has merit in tournaments, but player ownership numbers are a substantial factor as you need to be contrarian to win large tournaments.

How To Bet On Fantasy Sports

The steps below will be focused on daily fantasy sports. Season-long fantasy sports have been around long enough that the process is known by most anyone interested in playing. Get a group of friends together, create a league, and decide on the rules and the buy-in. Daily fantasy contests are a little more complicated, but no worries, we have you covered. It’s still a relatively simple process that involves signing up at daily fantasy site, depositing, creating some lineups, and entering them into real-money contests.

  1. Choose A Daily Fantasy Site – There are lots of options in the DFS industry, but the main sites such as DraftKings account for nearly 90% of all daily fantasy sports gambling. We would recommend signing up there to start your DFS career.
  2. Sign Up To The Site – There used to be a time when you could to be able to get large deposit bonuses when signing up for DFS sites. That time is long gone. While the sites do offer VIP Programs, the most you may get at a daily fantasy site these days is a $20 bonus or voucher. If you’re interested in large deposit bonuses – start betting sports online.
  3. Make A Deposit – Depositing at a DFS site is simple. Nearly all major credit and debit cards are accepted, including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. Cashier options also include PayPal, which is recommended for withdrawals instead of a check.
  4. Create A Lineup For Fantasy Sport – Choose which DFS sport you want to try your hand at and create a lineup. Once you have created your lineup, then you will be able to join different contests. Many large GPPs will allow you to enter hundreds of different lineups. How many lineups you wish to create and enter is up to you.
  5. Join Contests – Once you have created your lineup(s), then it’s time to enter contests. Buy-ins range from free-to-enter to thousands of dollars. The type of contests you wish to join (cash games or GPPs) is up to you. You can enter lineups into multiple contests.

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Most Popular Fantasy Sports

most popular fantasy sports to bet onThe most popular sports for fantasy sports betting are also the sports that carry the most significant betting handle by sports gamblers. NFL football leads the way both in DFS and when it comes to wagering at online betting sites. Most other sports are secondary regarding popularity. However, the biggest daily fantasy sites offer a large list of options when it comes to DFS, such as soccer, e-Sports, and more.

Fantasy NFL Football

Football is the crown jewel of daily fantasy sports. It’s the one sport that most casual fans play, making it the softest regarding competition. It also has the largest prize pools. Tens of millions of dollars in GPPs are available each week across daily fantasy sites when it comes to NFL Football as it is the sport to learn first when it comes to betting on sports and daily fantasy.

Fantasy NBA Basketball

Betting on NBA basketball has soared in recent years, and fantasy sports bettors are not far behind in their appetite for hardwood action. DFS basketball is excellent for action junkies as the screen is always lighting up with all sorts of different statistics. Tournaments are not nearly as big as NFL, but the big sites have many large basketball GPPs each year, along with live finals.

Fantasy MLB Baseball

Baseball is full of wagering opportunities both when it comes to betting on MLB and playing MLB DFS. It’s far less popular than the NBA and NFL when it comes to the most popular daily fantasy sports, especially after the first two months of the season, but there contests every day of the baseball season.

Fantasy NHL Hockey

Hockey lags behind the other major sports, but the game still has a die-hard following. NHL contests are where the prize pools truly start to drop off compared to the other daily fantasy sports. Still, there is plenty of action each night if you’re interested in DFS hockey. However, your time may be better served betting on the NHL.

Fantasy NCAAF Football

DFS sites offer several other sports, but college football rounds out the top five most popular. Live finals and massive prize pools aren’t something that you will find with DFS college football, but just like betting on college football, the contests can be profitable if you put in the work.

Fantasy Sports Betting Strategies

Just like sports betting, developing a strategy is vital to success in daily fantasy sports and season-long leagues. There are several ways to gain an edge on your opponents if you’re utilizing the right data and implementing it into your process. These are a few basic strategies that will already put you a step ahead of most of your opponents.

Understand and Utilize Betting Odds

One of the areas that the average fantasy player is weak is when it comes to evaluating betting odds. While fantasy sports don’t involve points spreads or totals betting these markets can be highly predictive. When a total is high, the oddsmakers are predicting more points in that contest. In many cases, it makes sense to look to roster guys from that game. And, if the game as a low total, to avoid players from that game. Understanding line movement, especially when it comes to football will help you become a better sports bettor and fantasy player.

Bankroll Management

Bankroll Management fantasy sports bettingBoth sports bettors and daily fantasy players must take bankroll management seriously if they want to profit and stay in action. Fantasy sports, especially DFS, have lots of swings. Establishing a bankroll management plan and properly allocating your bankroll between cash games and tournaments is a must if you want to succeed. Even the best fantasy sports players can fall victim not managing their bankroll correctly.

DFS Contest Selection

Daily fantasy sports have become harder and harder each year. Fish are dropping out after they lose their initial deposit and the average player is getting better. There are no more bonuses, and the VIP programs are increasingly becoming less rewarding. Blindly entering contests without considering the skill of the players involved or the rake is a mistake that may cost you profitability. DFS has become a lot like poker.

Fantasy Sports Betting Legality

Fantasy Sports Betting legal concernsFantasy sports were able to skirt much of the laws related to online gambling and sports betting for many years. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) effectively outlawed online gambling in the United States but did allow a caveat for fantasy sports. It is likely that the language in the bill was there to protect season-long leagues, but out of it came daily fantasy sports, as well. The federal government never challenged the DFS sites, but they did take some heat from state legislatures around the country.

However, after sports betting became legal across the country in May 2018, the UIGEA and PASPA were effectively gutted. Daily fantasy sports are still not legal in every state across the country, but they are not breaking any federal statutes. That’s an opinion that is not likely to change anytime soon. In general, all forms of fantasy sports do not fall under gambling when it comes to the law or taxable income liability.

Fantasy Sports Betting Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Fantasy Sports Betting?

Fantasy sports betting is a type of online gambling where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams of real players of a professional sport and place bets on them.

How Much Money Is Involved In Fantasy Sports And Betting?

There is a lot of money involved in Fantasy sports. It is a $7 billion a year industry in the US. Online sports betting is much larger. Some have estimated that Americans wager $150 billion on sports bets each year.

Why Are Fantasy Sports Exempt From The Ban On Sports Betting?

The UIGEA carved out an exception for fantasy sports and horse racing. Daily fantasy came out of it as an option that was a lot closer to gambling. Since the ban on sports betting has been overturned, there is no exemption for daily fantasy sports.

How Does Sports Betting Affect Fantasy Football?

Sports betting has no direct effect on Fantasy Football. Sports tickets are entirely separate from fantasy outcomes. However, using sports betting odds to help you build fantasy lineups can be extremely valuable.

How Do Fantasy Sports Sites Get Around Illegal Betting?

They don’t. Daily fantasy sports sites and other fantasy sites have never been classified as gambling under US law. It was indeed a grey area while there was still a sports betting ban, but these days, daily fantasy certainly does not run afoul of federal law.

Which States Have Daily Fantasy Sports?

Most states allow daily fantasy sports with varying degrees of regulation. These days, there are just a few states that prohibit daily fantasy sports within their borders. Those states are Washington State, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Alabama, and Hawaii.

About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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