For one weekend, Jersey City might be considered the hub of the sports betting in the U.S. The inaugural DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship (SBNC) kicked off Friday in the Garden State, drawing hundreds of sports bettors to a first-of-its-kind contest that boasts a $1 million top prize.
Bettors flew in from all over the country to put down the $10,000 entry fee for the event. A total of 242 entries were listed on the DraftKings leaderboard Saturday morning.
Still, participation is well behind pace to hit the $2.5 million guaranteed prize pool. Registration is open until 4:35 p.m. ET on Saturday. Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations at DraftKings, told TheLines this week that the company was prepared for the possibility of overlay and was “OK” with that.
Betting action resumes Saturday and continues through Sunday with the conclusion of the Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints game, at which point the first DraftKings SBNC winner will be crowned.
Day 1 leaderboard
A player under the DraftKings username “johnstorz” led the way after Day 1, turning his original $5,000 bankroll into $30,877.75 on Friday. Johnstorz hit a four-team NBA/NHL parlay for more than $17,000 to take a sizeable lead into Day 2 of the contest. He also nailed a three-team NBA parlay for $7,300.
Meanwhile, 10 players finished the opening day with nothing left in their bankroll. Among those going broke was Alex “Awesemo” Baker, who put his entire $5,000 bankroll on the under in the Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers game. Baker told TheLines this week: “I think you have to take a very high-variance approach with nearly half the money going to first.” He wasn’t fibbing.
Below is the top 10 on the leaderboard after Day 1. Up-to-the-minute updates can be found here.
Day 2 look-ahead
With Sunday betting for this event limited to only the two NFL playoff games, this expanded Saturday menu of sports and games could be the decider in crowning the first champion of this event. Here’s what bettors will find on the DraftKings Sportsbook app:
Soccer: Seven English Premier League (EPL) games plus four La Liga matches create a juicy soccer slate for bettors. How many contestants were up at the crack of dawn Saturday betting on the West Ham vs Arsenal game? We’ll have updates on that during the Day 2 Live Blog on Saturday.
NFL: Two divisional round games expect to capture the most attention from entrants in the Sports Betting National Championship. No shortage of props and in-game options for these games. The football action kicks off at 4:35 p.m. ET with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Indianapolis Colts. The Rams and Cowboys will follow in Los Angeles at 8:15 p.m. ET.
NBA: Eight NBA games also figure to be popular with bettors. The pro hardwood action starts at 3:30 p.m. ET with the Pistons and Clippers. Bulls/Jazz and Hornets/Kings close out the Saturday schedule at 10 p.m. ET.
NHL: The 12-game NHL schedule starts at 1 p.m. ET with a pair of east coast games in New York and New Jersey. Puckheads have plenty of options to fire on Saturday.
College basketball: Here’s where the sharps could separate themselves. More than 140 Division 1 games are scheduled for Saturday. While not all of them will be on the betting board, regular college hoops bettors could find an edge here. The first games tip off at noon ET.
Golf: The third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii tees off in the afternoon. A wide selection of player props and matchups are available as well as live winner odds.
How the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship works
- All participants must be located in New Jersey when placing bets for the contest.
- The buy-in for the event is $10,000 (more than 80 qualified on DraftKings leading up to the event). Each participant begins with a DK-funded $5,000 bankroll. The remaining portion of the buy-in goes toward the prize pool (minus a $300 contest fee).
- Bets can be placed on any sport on the DraftKings app Friday or Saturday. However, on Sunday only the two NFL divisional playoff games are available for the championship event. Betting closes upon the kickoff of the second NFL divisional playoff game on Sunday.
- Players must wager at least $1,000 on Friday and Saturday, and at least $2,000 on Sunday.
- All types of bets are in play, including straight bets, parlays, teasers, and props.
- Those requirements must be met in order for participants to retain a spot on the official leaderboard and qualify for the $1,000,000 grand prize, or for the subsequent payouts for lower finishes.
- The player with the biggest bankroll at the end of the weekend is determined the grand prize winner. Subsequent spots on the leaderboard will also be determined by bankroll size.
- The prize pool will be at least $2.5 million, with each direct buy-in above 531 entries increasing the prize pool by $4,700 apiece.
- Only one entry is allowed per person.
- All players take home the sum total of their bankroll at the end of the weekend. Those who have kept their leaderboard eligibility are also awarded any money they’ve earned through that channel.
Follow TheLines for updates
Our team will be on site Saturday and Sunday to cover the remainder of the DraftKings Sports Betting Championship. Follow the live blog here at TheLines for leaderboard updates, player interviews, photos and videos from the event, and more. And be sure to follow TheLines on Twitter for frequent updates all weekend.
Below you’ll find the DraftKings spreads, totals and money lines for all 16 games on the Week 1 schedule, starting with the Falcons/Eagles game on Thursday, Sept. 6. The week closes with a pair of Monday Night Football games on Sept. 10.
(Lines updated 9/6/18)
NFL Week 1 Lines DraftKings Sportsbook NJ
|8:20 p.m. (Thurs)||Atlanta Falcons|
|1 p.m. (Sunday)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
New Orleans Saints
|1 p.m.||Jacksonville Jaguars|
New York Giants
|1 p.m.||Buffalo Bills|
|1 p.m.||Cincinnati Bengals|
|1 p.m.||San Francisco 49ers|
|1 p.m.||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1 p.m.||Houston Texans|
New England Patriots
|1 p.m.||Tennessee Titans|
|4:05 p.m.||Kansas City Chiefs|
Los Angeles Chargers
|4:25 p.m.||Washington Redskins|
|4:25 p.m.||Dallas Cowboys|
|4.25 p.m.||Seattle Seahawks|
|8:20 p.m.||Chicago Bears|
Green Bay Packers
|7:10 p.m. (Monday)||New York Jets|
|10:10 p.m. (Monday)||Los Angeles Rams|
New bettors in New Jersey can sign up for a DraftKings Sportsbook account today and get a free match on a bet of up to $200. What better way to kick off the football season?
DraftKings is giving away a shipload of money in NFL Week 1. And you don’t need to know anything about fantasy sports to win.
In a new promotion, presumably designed to get fantasy players fired up for the new DraftKings Sportsbook app, DraftKings is hosting a free $1 million Team Pick’em contest for the first week of regular season NFL games. Instead of picking players, as you’d traditionally do at DraftKings, you’re picking teams to win their respective matchup. Back to basics.
Pick more than half of the games correctly and you’ll win at least a little cash prize, splitting the $1 million pool with the rest of those participating.
The slate for this contest includes the 15 games on Sunday and Monday. The Thursday night game on Sept. 6 between Philadelphia and Atlanta won’t count. Each game picked correctly will award 100 points.
Week 1 Prizes
- 1,500 points (15 winners) — Split $300,000
- 1,400 points — Split $200,000
- 1,300 points — Split $150,000
- 1,100-1,200 points — Split $200,000
- 800-1,000 points — Split $150,000
In the event that nobody picks 15 winners, or even 14 winners, the top tier(s) of the prize pool will be redistributed over the next tiers. Here’s how it is explained by DraftKings:
For example, if no Entrants select fourteen (14) games correctly in Week 1 (Prize Tier 4 with prizing of $200,000), that Tier 4’s prizing shall be redistributed evenly over Tiers 1, 2 and 3, so that those Tier’s prizing would become $216,666.66, $266,666.66, and $216,666.66 respectively. Tier 5’s prizing would remain at $300,000.00. If multiple prize tiers are not reached, they shall be similarly adjusted and redistributed over the lower tiers.
So no matter how it plays out, $1 million will be going into the hands of customers in Week 1.
Pick’em for the whole season
There’s a season-long aspect to this, too. Basically, this is nothing like the DraftKings we know.
The Team Pick’em challenge will span across the entire NFL regular season, with a new contest and prizes every week, and additional prizes will be awarded to the players who score the most total points through the end of the season on Dec. 30. Weekly Bonus Points will also be given to players for completing tasks during any given Challenge Week. More details on that will come later.
- 1st: $10,000
- 2nd: $5,000
- 3rd: $2,500
- 4th: $2,000
- 5th: $1,500
- 6th: $1,250
- 7th: $1,000
- 8th-9th: $750
- 10th-14th: $500
- 15th-24th: $400
- 25th-39th: $300
- 40th-59th: $250
- 60th-89th: $200
- 90th-134th: $150
- 135th-194th: $125
- 195th-274th: $100
- 275th-294th: $75
- 395th-544th: $60
- 545th-744th: $40
- 745th-994th: $20
For the full terms and conditions, visit DraftKings.
If you don’t already have a DraftKings account, sign up using the links below and find the Pick’Em promo on the Promotions page to make your picks. Plus, new players will receive $20 free when making their first deposit.
What didn’t happen in the world of sports betting this week? Mississippi sports betting is now live. DraftKings Sportsbook launched in New Jersey, along with two Caesars sportsbooks at properties in Atlantic City. And that’s not even the half of it.
Matt Brown, Brett Collson and Eric Ramsey cover those stories and they other huge items that broke during the week. Plus, Smarkets CEO Jason Trost joins the show to discuss all of the movement in the U.S. and his plans to compete with the big players like MGM, DraftKings and FanDuel.
On Episode 14 of TheLines Podcast, Matt Brown, Brett Collson and Eric Ramsey tackle this topic and the rest of the big news stories in sports betting from the past week. Plus, a discussion about the increasing rake at DraftKings and the need for more transparency from the big fantasy sports operators.
- 1:58 — Will Mississippi heave sports betting by the start of football season?
- 5:33 — A gambling story involving Derek Jeter and pennies
- 8:32 — Former MLB slugger Ryan Howard invests in sports betting
- 11:10 — A report about Brent Musburger that turned out to be a lie
- 13:16 — Even during the dead of summer, strong handle numbers from the Meadowlands
- 14:47 — More from the Meadowlands — non-story or another betting controversy?
- 24:49 — Why mobile betting solves many issues
- 26:24 — Numbers (and some chest beating) from the World Series of Poker
- 37:08 — DraftKings drops a huge Week 1 contest, but bumps up the rake. Again.
- 44:20 — Penn National gearing up for sports betting in Mississippi, West Virginia
The FanDuel Sportsbook is now live in New Jersey, but the opening drew a lot more negative attention than we could have imagined. What was the intent of the high vig on Day 1? Matt Brown, Brett Collson and Eric Ramsey break down this topic and the other big news items from the past week in sports betting.
Plus, a wrap of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas where Justin Bonomo won the Big One for One Drop for $10 million. Is he having the greatest year in the history of poker?
- 1:59 — World Cup recap and 2022 odds
- 6:08 — DraftKings enters New York sports betting
- 9:07 — FanDuel online sportsbook to open by football season?
- 10:45 — Meadowlands/FanDuel sports opening was a disaster … or was it?
- 14:30 — DraftKings teases online sportsbook product
- 16:22 — Interesting comments from MLB commissioner about sports betting
- 26:33 — Bryce Harper and the Home Run Derby betting drama
- 30:14 — World Series of Poker wrap
- 37:52 — Just how impressive is Justin Bonomo’s 2018 run? DEBATE
FanDuel is set to launch its sports betting product on July 14 at The Meadowlands race track in NJ. Soon we’ll be seeing FanDuel sportsbooks popping up all over the country. What a difference a few years makes.
In Episode 12 of TheLines Podcast, Matt Brown, Dustin Gouker and Eric Ramsey break down what to expect from the DFS giant in the new space, along with all of the biggest news in the sports betting industry from the past week.
- 1:43 — STATE WATCH: The latest in Colorado and Iowa sports betting
- 2:40 — Another tennis match-fixing scandal? How the leagues and sportsbooks react
- 8:14 — New Jersey sports betting revenue numbers: good, bad, or too soon to tell?
- 14:15 — And how’s Delaware doing?
- 15:30 — FanDuel Sportsbook becoming a reality, launching in New Jersey this week
- 20:42 — What the hell is the new Carolina Panthers owner talking about?
- 24:34 — Madness at the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas
- 30:00 — Thoughts on Phil Hellmuth
- 35:15 — Tiger vs. Lefty for $10 milly
Sportsbooks in New Jersey and Delaware have been accepting legal bets for weeks. But the wait is on for online operators in the Garden State to flip the switch and open up even more possibilities for bettors.
In Episode 11 of TheLines Podcast, Matt Brown, Dustin Gouker and Eric Ramsey update the latest happenings on that front, including a possible delay for new operators like DraftKings and FanDuel in NJ. Plus, the crew discusses a controversy in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and the potential need for ‘integrity fees’ in future eating events.
- 1:18 — Nevada and Delaware sports betting numbers
- 3:56 — World Series of Poker setting records
- 6:39 — Daily fantasy tennis debuts at DraftKings
- 8:40 — Scandal at the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest
- 11:12 — FanDuel founders won’t get paid for sale to Paddy Power Betfair
- 15:19 — Eric’s report from New Jersey
- 18:29 — What to expect with online sports betting, starting in NJ
- 22:20 — A delay for online platform providers?
- 23:50 — LeBron James shakes up NBA futures market … sort of
- 28:30 — Why the WSOP Main Event continues to grow
Things we learned in sports betting this week: Gov. Phil Murphy is not a sharp bettor, DraftKings is still really good at PR, and New York sports betting still has a fighting chance in 2018.
Matt Brown, Dustin Gouker and Brett Collson break down these topics and more in Episode 10 of TheLines Podcast. Plus, how many hot dogs could you eat in 10 minutes? And would you bet on it?
- 1:24 — Plan B for New York sports betting
- 3:30 — Pennsylvania slowly making progress
- 6:02 — A DFS court case in Indiana heats up
- 8:00 — Quick! Check your FanDuel account
- 9:13 — Gov. Murphy lost the first legal bet in NJ
- 13:50 — Oceans Resort sportsbook opens, featuring Mark Wahlberg
- 16:05 — More developments in New Jersey
- 19:15 — Hot dog betting at DraftKings?
- 23:35 — STATE WATCH: Connecticut, Kentucky, Illinois
- 24:57 — DFS handle/revenue numbers and what to expect going forward
- 31:32 — World Series of Poker chatter
But New York and Pennsylvania? Not … so much.
In Episode 9 of TheLines Podcast, Matt Brown, Dustin Gouker and Brett Collson cover the latest news on the industry front. Plus, Dustin rants about the Pittsburgh Pirates wanting a sports betting ‘royalty’ fee to cover stadium costs.
- 2:41 — Congress sports betting hearing is PPD
- 3:50 — Phil Mickelson’s penalty at the U.S. Open
- 8:13 — Poker! Online bracelet events at the World Series of Poker thriving
- 12:40 — William Hill partners with pro soccer team in the U.S.
- 14:12 — Rhode Island greenlights sports betting in 2018
- 16: 29 — How many states will have legal sports betting before 2020?
- 17:45 — West Virginia and Mississippi won’t be left behind
- 25:48 — And then … there’s New York
- 31:50 — … And Pennsylvania
- 36:51 — DraftKings making sports betting moves
- 46:10 — FanDuel > DraftKings?
- 48:27 — Dustin gets angry about a baseball franchise