Fantasy Sports Explained
We offered a basic explanation of fantasy sports betting earlier and the reality is that it genuinely is quite simple. As a game of skill, it would serve you well to have an understanding of the sport you’re placing a bet on, but even rookies can give it a go by learning some of the pertinent tactics, adapting them, and improvising on the nuances of the game.
Fantasy betting merely requires you to assemble a team of players based on certain selection criteria. Your players then earn points for your virtual team based on their performance in real live games and if your total number of points is the highest, you’re the winner.
With traditional sports betting, bettors wager on the outcome of sports events, but in fantasy betting, you place bets with other bettors who’ve also created fantasy teams and the winner is the one whose team outperforms the rest.
While fantasy betting is considered a game of skill, there is an element of chance, too. Bettors — no matter their level of expertise or competence — are never guaranteed a win. Even with the best, top-rated players, teams can and do lose a match, tournament, season, etc. Some injuries occur and these unfortunate, unforeseen events negatively affect your odds, but they're part and parcel, and often add to the anticipation and excitement of games.
How To Play Fantasy Sports Betting
As previously mentioned, there are several ways to bet in fantasy sports betting, but the type of wager you choose depends on the sport and whether you’re participating in a league for an entire season, or opting for a stake in daily fantasy sports.
The rules for creating teams also differ by sport, but for the most part, you're given a budget or salary cap to choose players (they each have a price tag attached to them) for your team. Points and scoring systems also vary. For example, how your team earns points in soccer will be different from how they earn them in baseball or football. In football, a player in the wide receiver position would accumulate points based on his yards, touchdowns, etc. whereas a soccer player would rank for goals, penalties, etc.
You already know that fantasy leagues generally comprise playing against another fantasy team. In football, a winner is crowned if their team scores the most points among their starting lineup, so the goal is to pick a formation that will yield the best overall statistics, leading to more points, and, ultimately, the winner of the prize pool.
Some leagues don’t award 100% of the prize pool though. Instead, winners get a certain percentage of it, and there are smaller sums awarded to the runner-ups.
Fantasy sports bettors can also choose to play against a single opponent only. Their wagers placed would be equal in amount and the winner (who walks away with their opponent’s stake) is determined by whose team scores the most points.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports break the months-long full-season format of classic fantasy leagues into smaller, more action-packed chunks where you can choose your exact favorite players every day or week. There’s no heavy commitment involved, so you’re not stuck with, say, a poor choice of players (for months and months on end) that don’t deliver results or win you any money.
In daily fantasy sports, injuries and poor drafts and trades are not an issue as with the season-long version.
Sports-crazy fans and those keen on fantasy sports can look forward to nonstop fun and entertainment while selecting the precise starting lineup or team of their choice. There are also more opportunities to win because the contests are consistently on with daily and weekly wagering taking place.
The salary cap that puts a certain level of restraint on your selection is still in place, but it doesn’t necessarily hinder your control. Remember, it’s not always that the most expensive players are the best — this is especially true in daily fantasy sports.
Here are the steps to get started with fantasy betting:
1. Find a Reputable Sportsbook. Select a trusted fantasy site or sportsbook (more on this in just a bit).
2. Register or Sign in. Create an account if you’re new, or simply login.
3. Select a Fantasy Sport. Navigate to the daily fantasy sports offering and select the one you’re most confident in. You should have a fair amount of knowledge of the sport, as well as insights into players, teams, and gameplay.
4. Opt for a Game Type. Choose your betting or game type (we will cover this in the next section).
Choosing a Daily Fantasy Game Type and League Size
Free Roll Games
This is where we recommend you start your fantasy betting journey. The risk is non-existent because it’s free to play, so no deposit or wager is required and it allows you to win real money to boost your bankroll balance. You also still have the option to choose your preferred game type: Head-to-Head (H2H), Double Up (50/50), or a Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP).
Head-to-Head and Double Up
These game types offer you around a 50% chance to either win a set amount of cash or to literally double your money. In H2H games, you play against a single opponent, while 50/50 games require you to beat half the field. The upside of these types is that you don’t have to build the best team to win — instead, look at creating a more well-rounded team with safe options.
Guaranteed Prize Pool
These games are slightly harder, but the upside is that entry fees are low and if your selected team does well, the prizes are usually big. In a GPP tournament, you go up against a lot of other bettors, so your knowledge and grasp of players, etc. must be exceptionally good.
How to Pick the Best Fantasy Betting Site
Fantasy sports betting is not classified as traditional gambling because it’s seen more as a game of skill than one of luck or chance. But, while proficiency in your chosen fantasy sport is definitely important, the outcome is never clear-cut because you’re essentially placing a bet on a real game that you have no control over. Unless you’re playing a free fantasy game, placing any sort of wager on the results of a game means there will always be a level of risk involved.
Before we jump into how to choose a fantasy site, we must emphasize the importance of practicing responsible gambling. Before you play fantasy for real money, set a realistic budget and never exceed it.
Criteria when Choosing an eSports Site or Sportsbook
The best online betting site will vary from person to person, depending on specific games or tournaments and contests they want to place bets on — for many, even the types of bets offered are a consideration. Here are the key features of good eSports sites:
A Trusted License
Ensure your chosen sportsbook is licensed by a reputable gambling authority. A legal license means the site is continuously monitored and it serves as a surety that the bookie operates fairly and safely.
Navigate to the payment options and ensure that your chosen deposit and withdrawal methods are supported.
This is particularly important for new bettors. Playing free fantasy sports is just as thrilling, but it is risk-free and a great way to get a proper grasp of the game before going in with a real money wager.
Promos and Bonuses
Many eSports betting sites offer new customers promotions and bonuses to get their bankroll started. A cash bonus means bettors only have to worry about making their first deposit at a later stage.
In case something goes wrong, it’s essential to have a call center, helpline, or social media presence that provides service to bettors 24/7.
The sportsbook you choose for fantasy sports should have a fantastic user interface and it should use only the best software from leading providers in the industry.
Popular Fantasy Sports to Bet on
American football (and the NFL in particular) dominates fantasy in the US. The renowned virtual league boasts a fan base of over 35 million people, which equates to roughly 78% of fantasy players in the country.
Soccer is the leading fantasy sport in the UK with approximately 8 million active fantasy players. The fan base keeps rising thanks to the sport’s worldwide popularity. The Premier League — the largest soccer league in the world — owns its official fantasy game, the Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
In India, fantasy cricket ranks tops with a staggering following of more than 100 million players. The IPL and Twenty20 Cricket Championship are the primary virtual focuses and experts believe the following will jump to about 400 million in the next decade or so.
Basketball is top of the leaderboard in daily fantasy sports. Basketball fanatics can’t get enough of the action, so it makes sense that its eSports presence is huge too. The US currently has the most active users and clashes between the different teams in the NBA are the main fantasy focus.
Fantasy Betting Tips & Tricks for Success
Betting for real money? Give yourself an edge in the fantasy sports arena with these winning strategies:
Keep Track of Players
You should have a really good grasp of each player’s highs and lows, and the only way you’ll stay on top of these stats is by following live games. Understanding the typical performance of a player will help you predict their ability in future games.
Know the Sport
This goes hand-in-hand with knowing each player’s performance. To excel and make the most of fantasy opportunities, you must be a fan of the sport or possess a good understanding of the game.
Have a Strategy
Having a betting strategy is about having an understanding of the players’ performance and an excellent grasp of the sport at large. Having a poor strategy with no thought can ruin your fantasy season before it even gets underway. Drafting the best players doesn’t mean they all have to be ranked tops. It’s all about balance — and you should always consider saving some of your budget (the salary cap we spoke about earlier) for mid-season trades, etc.
Start with Less Pricey Leagues
We called out the most popular league sports to bet on in fantasy, but remember that those are also more expensive to play. If you’re new to fantasy sports betting, start with the cheaper leagues to save some cash (until you’re ready to up your stakes) and to become more familiar with how things work.
Always Have Fun
Sure, a bit of competitiveness is great, but at the end of the day, partaking (and even spectating) in any sport, real or virtual, is meant to be fun. Also, know your limits and practice responsible gambling.
About the author
Ethan Williams, a lively 24-year-old lad from the UK, brilliantly fuses his passion for online casinos with top-notch English localisation, creating bespoke casino guides for Britain's keen gaming lot.