2021 DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship

Written By Dave Bontempo on October 27, 2021

The NBA, NFL and NCAA football go one step further than merely returning with a flourish. These sports form the wagering playing field for the multi-state DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship Nov. 5-7.

This gambling equivalent of an all-star weekend features a $10,000 entry fee, $1 million top prize and an overall prize pool of at least $2 million.

It unfolds at the Envue Hotel in Weehawken, N.J. and has soared from its 2019 inception to include gamblers from 10 other legal sports betting states, who can play remotely.

Three days. A wagering smorgasbord. Let ‘er rip.

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Sports Betting National Championship Locations

The contest launched two years ago in New Jersey and was limited to Garden State gamblers. COVID-19 implications postponed the event last year and the 2021 return unfolds across the nationwide DraftKings betting landscape.

Late last week, approval from several jurisdictions hiked the field all the way to 11 states, according to Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DK.

Besides New Jersey, the field is open to bettors in:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Those that want to enter must e-mail [email protected] in order to participate.

“We’re ecstatic,” Avello told TheLines after the additional states were approved. “We now have a true national contest, which was our intention when we began it. Fortunately, the states gave us approval with a little time to promote it. For a gambler, what could be nicer than this, to not only win a lot of money but to be known as the best handicapper with the best strategy in a national contest?”

There are two major forms of participation. One is live in New Jersey. The hotel will have a designated room that will have the look and feel of a live sportsbook. The second is by betting within one of the approved states via a portal set up within the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Prize Pool

First Place – $1 million
Second place – $250,000
Third place – $125,000
Fourth place – $100,000
Fifth place – $75,000
Sixth place – $60,000
Seventh place – $50,000
Eighth place – $40,000
Ninth place – $30,000
10th place – $25,000
11th plaace – $24,000
12th place – $23,000
13th place – $22,000
14th place – $21,000
15th place – $20,000
16th place – $19,000
17th place – $18,000
18th place – $17,000
19th place – $16,000
20th place – $15,000
21-25th place – $10,000

Sports Betting National Championship Rules

Each contestant will be provided a designated tournament account.

Each contestant’s $10,000 entry fee places $4,500 into the prize pool and $5,000 into a gambling bankroll. Players with the highest bankrolls at the end of the tournament will share the leaderboard prizes. All players take home their final bankroll.

There is no in-game wagering. But just about anything else goes: teases, props, parlays, alternate lines, a slam on a chalk or a multi-team Hail Mary.

Participants at the venue will enjoy a sportsbook feel. But there are no tellers. All wagering must be placed on one’s device.

Participants from 2019 will notice a couple differences this year. Hockey was eliminated. Going forward, however, Avello anticipates that many individual sports may have their own version of a contest like this.

Contestants can place wagers between 6 p.m. on Friday, November 5 until 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 7. Wagers can cover the latest action for Nov. 7.

The final NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams begins at 8:20 pm ET.  The last NBA tip-off is between the Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets at 9 p.m. ET, but bets must be made several hours beforehand, by 1 p.m. In 2019, wagers could be placed right up until the final game.

With a larger field conducted across numerous states, however, Avello said this year’s deadline enables bets to be processed efficiently. Wagering up to the final second in a multi-state event, for instance, could cause problems regarding whether bets were made in time. Imagine a software glitch affecting some states and not others, for example, on bets made seconds before the final event began.

Sports Betting National Championship Strategy

Avello, who will journey from Las Vegas to New Jersey to help run the contest, wants to see how gamblers approach this tournament.

“The strategies will be interesting to watch,” Avello said. “It’s going to be whatever way you need to get there to beat the field. There are so many different ways the players can go. Do you try to build you bankroll and then take maybe 40, 50 or 60 grand and unload it all on one game?”

“You have to bet what you know. There are not that many events. Are you strong in all of three sports or do you have to go more heavily on one of them? How much do you have to cross over?”

Avello noticed an interesting move tied to players monitoring the leaderboard two years ago. It was the gambling equivalent of trying to work clock.

“After the first night of competition a couple of years ago, a couple people had 20 grand,” Avello said. “They were waiting to see who would catch them at that level or would they be able to stay on top. They were hanging around, hoping they had done enough and all of a sudden multiple people passed them and they had to get back in the game.”

With the new wagering deadline, gamblers again won’t be able to sit on the lead. They may have to press the action until the end.

“We are going to learn a lot about this wagering format from this tournament,” Avello added. “It will be interesting to see how players approach it. If you are in the lead, you can’t wait up until the final minute. You have to make your bets. If you are way behind, maybe you try a same-game parlay, try to connect a six or seven teamer with a $500 bet. There will be all types of strategies.”

The winner also qualifies for the tournament of champions, to be announced later for 2022. That event will assemble winners in the DFS, Sportsbook and Casino realms to compete for a $1 million top prize.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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