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DraftKings Sportsbook Offers Brackets Contest For New Jersey And Beyond

Bart Shirley March 12, 2019
Draftkings brackets contest

Filling out a March Madness bracket has become an American tradition. Since sports betting is an American thing now, too, it’s fitting that DraftKings Sportsbook has released its Brackets product.

Brackets will allow DraftKings customers to fill out their selections directly on the sportsbook app. Players can join public or private contests to pit their prognostication skills against others.

These contests are not necessarily a quest for bragging rights either. DraftKings is hosting a free nationwide contest that will award $64,000 in cash prizes.

New Jersey residents will have an additional option on top of that. For a $20 buy-in, Garden Staters can play Brackets for a $100,000 prize pool.

“As American sports fans during March Madness, we are all playing bracket contests with our friends, family and co-workers,” said DraftKings Chief Revenue Officer Matt Kalish, in a statement.

“By launching Brackets on DraftKings Sportsbook, we are bringing the number one-way fans engage with March Madness to the biggest stage—DraftKings’ industry-leading fantasy sports and sportsbook apps.”

Players across the country can access and fill out their brackets through iOS or Android devices. Bracket access is also available at sportsbook.draftkings.com.

ALSO READ: The Five Best (Free) March Madness Bracket Contests You Can’t Miss In 2019

Partial bracket play will keep fans interested

One problem that bracket contests face is the conundrum of upsets. The NCAA Basketball Tournament has become almost synonymous with the underdog victory.

Unfortunately, these kinds of victories can and do wreak havoc upon predictions. A first-round loss from a player’s Final Four can kill their chances of any type of success.

The 2018 NCAA tournament had a perfect example of this kind of outcome. The University of Maryland – Baltimore County’s historic win as a 16-seed over the University of Virginia doomed thousands of prognostications across the country.

Many fans will simply throw up their hands when their initial predictions go down in flames. However, DraftKings has come up with a solution that will hopefully keep customers logged in.

Instead of one single tournament, DraftKings will host smaller contests after the tournament has already begun. Players will be able to fill out new brackets for both the Round of 32 and the Sweet 16.

In its press release, DraftKings also alluded that more contests for sports bettors and basketball fans are to come. So, all may not be lost if Cinderella comes knocking.

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What are the smart selections for March Madness?

Of course, the difficulty is knowing when and where an underdog will rise.

The tournament’s single-elimination format means that there are no second chances, and a flat performance from a great team can be deadly.

Nevertheless, DraftKings Sportsbook in NJ has published odds for teams it expects to go far in the tournament.

Here are some of DraftKings’ frontrunners (with odds in parenthesis) as of March 12:

To reach the Final Four

  • Duke (-200)
  • Gonzaga (-118)
  • Virginia (+100)
  • Kentucky (+200)
  • Michigan State (+200)
  • North Carolina (+200)
  • Tennessee (+200)

To win the NCAA Championship

  • Duke (+250)
  • Gonzaga (+550)
  • Virginia (+600)
  • Kentucky (+1200)
  • Michigan State (+1200)
  • North Carolina (+1200)
  • Tennessee (+1200)

However, these seven selections can only get players so far. In order to pick the winners, one must study each matchup intensely and make the smart statistical selection.

Or, one can simply choose their favorite mascot or school colors of each game. That works, too. Sometimes.

New Jersey Sports Betting: Which NJ Sportsbook App Is Best For You?

Bill Gelman February 19, 2019
NJ Sportsbook Apps

New Jersey legalized sports betting is expanding at a rapid pace. The sportsbooks available in the Garden State include seven Atlantic City casinos, two racetracks, and eight mobile online products available. And there are more to come.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the mobile apps available in New Jersey. Each of the sites have their strong points, and it really comes down to personal preference and searching for the best odds.

Here is a closer look at the eight options.

DraftKings Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Resorts Atlantic City
Available via: iOS, Android and web browser
Super Bowl Promo: Free $25 (no deposit) and bet match up to $500 (no promo code needed)

DraftKings, one of two DFS heavyweights to cross over to the sports betting world, surprised many by jumping to the front of the New Jersey mobile sports betting line on Aug. 16 — a full 16 days before MGM went live.

Deposit options are limited compared to others on this list, but PayPal was added as an important option for bettors. The $5 minimum deposit is light on the wallet, but $500 will earn you the full promo amount. Withdrawals are processed via checks and the Resorts casino cage.

Although the apps are separate, users of the DFS and sports betting sites enjoy the benefit of the sites being linked, including a shared wallet.

You can pretty much place a bet on any sport, cricket and darts included. DraftKings offers a complete menu of betting options, including in-play and cash out options.

The betting carousel is extremely user-friendly. And the geolocation technology is top-notch. If you’re not located in NJ, users will not be able to see the lobby. The app automatically logs users out after a short period of inactivity. Wagers can only be placed online as DraftKings does not have a retail operation.

For more information visit our DraftKings Sportsbook review page.

FanDuel Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Meadowlands Racetrack
Available via: iOS, Android and web browser
Super Bowl Promo: Risk-free bet up to $500 (with deposit)

FanDuel, another big-time player in the DFS world, merged with Paddy Power Betfair’s U.S. operations, resulting in the “largest online sports destination in the United States.” Name recognition is key, and so is having a strong sportsbook app.

There are several deposit and withdrawal options at FanDuel Sportsbook, making it easy to get in the action. The promo bonus is enough to attract attention, but several others are offering higher amounts.

Bettors can wager on all of the popular sports, and those not quite as popular. The full menu of betting options includes everything from moneyline to round robins, and of course the previously talked about in-play betting.

The live scoreboard feature allows users to track wagers and updated odds, with easy links to in-game bets. Sports betting rookies can take advantage of the informative FanDuel training camp.

For more information visit our FanDuel Sportsbook review page.

BetStars Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Resorts
Available via: iOS, Android; web browser in the works
Promo: New players earn up to $500 in free bets

The sports betting product is the newest under the Stars Group umbrella, joining the already established PokerStars NJ and PokerStars Casino.

The eight deposit methods ($10 minimum) include VISA, MasterCard, PayNearMe, eCheck, and casino cage, offering plenty of customer convenience. There are five withdrawal options.

Wagers are accepted on all the popular sports — football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer — and less popular sports such as tennis and cycling. Besides the popular wager options, there are in-game betting and cash out options. Odds boosts are available daily.

Users of the multiple Stars Group platforms have access to a shared wallet available to use in poker/casino and sports betting apps.

The iOS PokerStars NJ app highlights popular games with betting options and other sports posted above. The downside is bets cannot currently be placed via the web browser.

For more information, visit our BetStars how-to guide.

Caesars Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Caesars Atlantic City
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Super Bowl Promo: Upt to $300 in free bets on first deposit (Use promo code BETFREE10)

One thing missing from the Caesars Atlantic City property is a retail sportsbook. But sister properties Harrah’s and the connected Bally’s do have one. The flagship property took a different route by rolling out its mobile/online product first, and it’s combined with the previously existing casino app.

Besides the eight deposit methods, the lobby features a full menu of sports wagers grouped by sport, MLB, NBA and NCAA football games take center stage, but it’s easy to filter personal preferences.

Bettors will find money lines, point spreads, parlays, futures, teasers, and props, but in-game and cash out features are not included at this time.

Total Rewards members will enjoy the added perk of earning tier credits.

SugarHouse Sportsbook and Casino

Land-based partner: Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: First deposit match up to $250 (Use promo code PLAY250)

The brick-and-mortar SugarHouse calls Philadelphia home, but the digital version is holding its own in New Jersey thanks to its strong affiliation with the Golden Nugget — the state’s Internet/mobile gaming leader. As an added bonus the sportsbook is built into the previously existing casino app (featuring more than 450 table games and slots) for an all-in-one package with a shared wallet.

Users will enjoy the 10 deposit options — four of which can be used for withdrawals. All of the popular American sports are on the board with a variety of betting options available — jackpot parlay included. Everything is easily accessible via the very busy looking lobby, which may be distracting to some as a result of the rotating promo ads and news feed.

Operator Rush Street Interactive has played up the strength of its live betting options for football games with more than 300 offers available the first week of the NFL season. Cash Out option is available, too.

For more information, visit our SugarHouse how-to guide.


Land-based partner: Caesars Atlantic City
Available via: Android and web browser (iOS coming soon)
Promo: $10 Free Bonus (no deposit needed); First deposit match up to $500

888 Holdings continues to go all in with its New Jersey mobile/online offerings as 888sport joins 888poker and 888 Casino. 888 bills its sports betting platform as “among the finest in the world.” It was the seventh sports betting platform to go live in NJ. Users have access to a shared wallet between sports betting, poker, and casino.

Customers can choose between eight deposit options along with five withdrawal methods. The welcome promo is currently among the best being offered.

There is a full menu of popular pro and international sports all types of wagers available, in-game betting included. Everything is easily accessible from the lobby that includes a running scoreboard of current games.

iOS users will need to wait a tad longer as the web browser still has the “coming soon message.”

For more information, visit our 888sport how-to guide.

William Hill

Land-based partners: Monmouth Park and Ocean Casino Resort
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: $50 cash after reaching $50 in total bets

William Hill is investing heavily in New Jersey with retail operations at Monmouth Park (where New Jersey’s first legal sports bet was accepted) and Ocean Casino Resort, with another one in the works at the Tropicana.

William Hill’s hard push in NJ comes as no surprise being that they bill themselves as “America’s sports betting leader.” Besides operating 100-plus sportsbooks in Nevada, the company rolled out the New Jersey version of its Android and web browser platforms in time for the NFL season. The iOS app was launched in late September 2018.

The deposit and withdrawal methods are a bit limited compared to some competitors, but William Hill has been doing this for a long time, so the system is working. All of the major sports are on the board with a full variety of betting options, live betting included. Everything is easily accessible from the lobby.

The welcome promo is not as attractive as others — $50 in free money compared to much larger deposit matches at 888sport, BetStars and DraftKings.

Web browser users may experience some confusion if connected to the informational williamhill.us/new-jersey website, which includes links to the Nevada version of the app. Customer service representatives are in hand to help resolve the issue. Instead of searching Google Play, Android users will have an easier time downloading the app via nj.us.williamhill.com/betting/en-us.

playMGM Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Borgata
Available via: Android devices
Promo: None at this time

The Borgata is the top-performing casino in Atlantic City and is regularly ahead of the pack with its offerings. The MGM-owned property was ready to go with its retail operation the first day sports bets were accepted in New Jersey. Some were likely surprised that the playMGM Sports Android app was not the first to launch. For now, it’s completely separate from the casino and poker apps.

While MGM has name recognition, the app seems extremely basic compared to the Las Vegas version that is designed with strong graphics. The betting options are displayed within the individual sports menus. Users will not be able to access the lobby without creating/logging into account — another difference from the Las Vegas version. No deposit is required to check out the app.

Seven available deposit options make it easy to get in the game.

The biggest remaining question is when, as in when will the app be available to iOS and web browser users? Combined with a lack of a promo offer, bettors may find others options on this list more attractive.

Super Bowl 2019 Props Extravaganza: Here’s What You Can Bet And Where To Find The Best Odds

Juan Carlos Blanco February 1, 2019
Super Bowl Props

A great deal of mainstream media coverage of betting action on the Super Bowl will focus on popular bet types such as the point spread and moneyline. However, as seasoned bettors well know, there are infinitely more wagers can be placed on The Big Game.

The most common are naturally proposition bets, commonly known as “props”. For the uninitiated, props are simply wagers that can be placed on a specific in-game occurrence that has a binary outcome. Props are typically available at sportsbooks at an individual player, team, or game level.

Prop bets give those placing them significantly more vested interest in a game as it unfolds. Unlike end-of-game wagers based on a point spread, moneyline or projected total, prop bets are settled before the final gun goes off. The higher degree of potential accelerated gratification (or disappointment) they offer and their straightforward nature make them significantly popular as “side bets.”

As with other wagers, payouts depend on the odds assigned. With some props encompassing rather improbable events or players, favorable odds that leave the sportsbook with plenty of exposure can be common.

For example, a wager on whether the first score of the game will be a safety, whether there will be a blocked punt by either team in the game, or whether Tom Brady will score a rushing touchdown all qualify as unlikely occurrences to a varying degree. Given their low probability, these prop bets will fetch you some very favorable odds.

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Examples of common football-based prop bets

In football, some of the more common props include:

  • What team will be the first to score
  • What the winning margin of victory for either team might be
  • What type of scoring play will lead to the game’s first points
  • What teams will be in the lead at the end of any of the first three quarters
  • What the total amount of points in the first or second half will be
  • What player will be the first to score any points in the game
  • What player will be the first to score a touchdown
  • Whether a quarterback will throw for under or over a certain amount of yards
  • Whether a running back will rush for under or over a certain amount of yards
  • Whether a receiver will accumulate over or under a certain amount of receiving yards
  • What player will be named the game’s MVP

Naturally, that list is far from comprehensive, especially when it comes to an event such as the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl props breakdown

Brett Collson, Matt Brown and Matt Perrault look at the various offerings at the sportsbooks in New Jersey and offer some of their favorite wagers ahead of Sunday’s game.

A prop smorgasbord on Super Bowl Sunday

As pointed out in the video, New Jersey sportsbooks have hundreds of Super Bowl LIII props available for bettors. The following is a look at the 10 most popular props at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday afternoon, along with some of the favorite options on FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars and BetStars.

DraftKings Sportsbook

Coin Toss Outcome

  • Heads (-103)
  • Tails (-103)

Super Bowl MVP

  • Tom Brady (+110)
  • Jared Goff (+200)
  • Todd Gurley (+1200)
  • Aaron Donald (+1400)
  • Sonty Michel (+1600)
  • C.J. Anderson (+2200)
  • Julian Edelman (+2800)
  • James White (+2800)
  • See full odds here

First TD Scored

  • Sony Michel  +600
  • Todd Gurley +700
  • Julian Edelman +750
  • Robert Woods +850
  • C.J. Anderson +900
  • Brandin Cooks +1000
  • James White +1000
  • Rob Gronkowski  +1110

Highest Scoring Half

  • 2nd Half (-120)
  • 1st Half (+100)
  • Tie (+2200)

Player To Score First TD

  • Sony Michel (+600)
  • Todd Gurley (+700)
  • Julian Edelman (+750)
  • Robert Woods (+850)
  • Brandin Cooks (+1000)
  • Rob Gronkoswki (+1000)
  • James White (+1000)
  • Rex Burkhead (+1000)
  • C.J. Anderson (+1100)

James White Receptions

  • Over 5.5 (-148)
  • Under 5.5 (+112)

James White Receiving Yards

  • Over 51.5 (-115)
  • Under 51.5 (-115)

Either Team To Score 2-Point Conversion

  • Yes (+210)
  • No (-278)

Game Goes To Overtime

  • Yes (+900)
  • No (-2000)

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FanDuel Sportsbook

Total Rushing Yards in Game

  • Over 213.5 (-115)
  • Under 213.5 (-115)

Halftime Leader/Game Winner (not incl. overtime)

  • Patriots-Patriots  (+140)
  • Patriots-Rams (+800)
  • Patriots – Tie (+2700)

Winning Margin

  • Patriots  1-6 points (+350)
  • Patriots 7-12 points (+500)
  • Patriots 13-18 points (+850)
  • Rams 1-6 points (+360)
  • Rams 7-12 points (+600)
  • Rams 13-18 points (+1000)

First Quarter Total

  • Under 27.5 (-110)
  • Over 27.5 (-110) 

Both to Score TD

  • Sony Michel + Todd Gurley (+225)
  • Todd Gurley + C.J. Anderson (+250)
  • Sony Michel + Brandin Cooks (+275)

Player Prop Parlays

  • Tom Brady to throw for 300+ yards/ Patriots to win (+225)
  • Tom Brady to complete 28 + passes/ Patriots to win (+260)
  • Tom Brady to throw 3+ touchdowns/Patriots to win (+280)
  • Jared Goff to throw for 300+ yards/ Rams to win (+330)
  • Todd Gurley to rush for 75+ yards/ Rams to win (+340)
  • C.J. Anderson to rush for 50+ yards/Rams to win (+290)

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Caesars Sportsbook

Total INTs thrown

  • Over 1.5 (+120)
  • Under 1.5 (-140)

First Team to Score

  • Rams (-105)
  • Patriots (-115)

First Turnover

  • Interception (-140)
  • Fumble (+120)

Team to Make First Field Goal

  • Patriots (-110)
  • Rams (-110)

First Scoring Play

  • Patriots Field Goal +400
  • Patriots Touchdown Pass  +250
  • Patriots Touchdown Run +500
  • Patriots Other Touchdown +2500
  • Patriots Safety +5000
  • Rams Field Goal +400
  • Rams Touchdown Pass  +300
  • Rams Touchdown Run +500
  • Rams Other Touchdown +2500
  • Rams Safety +5000

Last Scoring Play

  • Patriots Field Goal +400
  • Patriots Touchdown Pass +250
  • Patriots Touchdown Run +500
  • Patriots Other Touchdown +2500
  • Rams Field Goal +400
  • Rams Touchdown Pass +300
  • Rams Touchdown Run +500
  • Rams Other Touchdown +2500
  • Rams Safety +5000

First TD Scorer for Rams

  • Todd Gurley +300
  • CJ Anderson +350
  • Brandin Cooks +400
  • Robert Woods +500
  • Josh Reynolds +700
  • Tyler Higbee +1000
  • Gerald Everett +1200
  • Jared Goff +2500

First TD Scorer for Patriots

  • Sony Michel +300
  • Julian Edelman +400
  • Rob Gronkowski +450
  • James White +550
  • Rex Burkhead +800
  • Chris Hogan +600
  • Phillip Dorsett +1500
  • Cordarrelle Patterson +2000
  • Tom Brady +2500


Total Touchdowns

  • Over 5.5-  2/5
  • Over 6.5- 17/20
  • Over 7.5- 7/4
  • Under 5.5- 2/5
  • Under 6.5- 17/20
  • Under 7.5- 7/4

Total Successful Field Goals 

  • Over 2.5- 1/3
  • Over 3.5- 19/20
  • Over 4.5- 11/5
  • Under 2.5- 21/10
  • Under 3.5- 3/4
  • Under 4.5- 4/11

Team to Make Longest Field Goal

  • Rams- 5/6
  • Patriots- 10/11

Shortest Touchdown

  • Under 1.5 yards- 7/10
  • Over 1.5 yards- 21/20

Team to Score Last

  • Patriots- 8/11
  • Rams- 1/1

Team to Score In Every Quarter

  • Rams No- 1/3
  • Rams Yes- 19/10
  • Patriots No- 11/20
  • Patriots Yes- 27/20

Two or More Touchdowns

  • Sony Michel- 12/5
  • Todd Gurley- 10/3
  • C.J. Anderson- 17/4
  • Robert Woods- 11/2
  • Julian Edelman- 6/1
  • Brandin Cooks- 6/1
  • Rob Gronkowski- 17/1
  • James White- 15/2


  • Tom Brady- Under 25.5 (17/20)
  • Tom Brady- Over 25.5 (17/20)
  • Jared Goff- Under 25.5 (17/20)
  • Jared Goff- Over 25.5 (17/20)

Receiving Yards

  • Julian Edelman- Under 87.5 yards- 3/4
  • Brandin Cooks- Under 72.5 yards- 17/20
  • Robert Woods- Over 71.5 yards- 17/20
  • Rob Gronkowski- Over 47.5 yards- 17/20

NFL Betting Season In Review: The Most-Bet Games And Teams At DraftKings Sportsbook

Grant Lucas January 29, 2019
NFL Betting 2018

Super Bowl 53 looms ahead in Atlanta with the New England Patriots taking on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Feb. 3.

If it’s not clear, though, this article is not about looking forward to the Big Game. This is about adjusting the rearview mirror and reflecting on the NFL season as a whole, during the first year of legalized sports betting outside of Nevada.

And it seems only appropriate to turn to one of the rising juggernauts in the wagering landscape, DraftKings Sportsbook, whose New Jersey online product has become the envy of competitors, particularly in the NJ sports betting industry.

Most popular games of the season (so far)

No doubt, the Super Bowl will attract the most wagers of the year, as it so often has in years past. History has a way of repeating itself, after all.

Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayUSA.com, estimated that New Jersey could accept $100 million in legal bets while the nationwide total could near $325 million.

That obviously has yet to be seen. However, to date, the top 10 most bet-on NFL games at DraftKings Sportsbook did occur during the postseason.

Jan. 13Philadelphia Eagles at New OrleansNFC Divisional Round
Jan. 20New England Patriots at Kansas City ChiefsAFC Championship
Jan. 13LA Chargers at New England PatriotsAFC Divisional Round
Jan. 12Dallas Cowboys at LA RamsNFC Divisional Round
Jan. 12Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City ChiefsAFC Divisional Round
Jan. 6Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago BearsNFC Wild Card
Jan. 20LA Rams at New Orleans SaintsNFC Championship
Jan. 6LA Chargers at Baltimore RavensAFC Wild Card
Jan. 5Seattle Seahawks at Dallas CowboysNFC Wild Card
Jan. 5Indianapolis Colts at Houston TexansAFC Wild Card

Most and least popular teams

The correlation between successful seasons and most wagered-on teams truly astounds.

Though it stands to reason: Those great squads are perceived as locks each week.

Of the 10 most bet-on teams of the NFL season at DraftKings, eight reached the playoffs. (Dry your tears, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers fans.)

On the flip side, nine of the 10 least wagered-on teams finished with sub-.500 records. (Why does everyone hate the Tennessee Titans so much?)

Anyway, to reiterate: The correlation between popularity and success is incredible… and hopefully only a coincidence. Yeah, it’s a coincidence.

RankMost PopularRecordLeast PopularRecord
1New England Patriots11-5 (9-7 ATS)San Francisco 49ers4-12 (5-11 ATS)
2Kansas City Chiefs12-4 (9-6-1 ATS)Arizona Cardinals3-13 (7-8-1 ATS)
3Los Angeles Chargers12-4 (9-7 ATS)Buffalo Bills6-10 (7-9 ATS)
4New Orleans Saints13-3 (10-6 ATS)Oakland Raiders4-12 (6-10 ATS)
5Philadelphia Eagles9-7 (7-9 ATS)Tampa Bay Buccaneers5-11 (7-7-2 ATS)
6Los Angeles Rams13-3 (7-8-1 ATS)Miami Dolphins7-9 (8-8 ATS)
7Green Bay Packers6-9-1 (6-9-1 ATS)Tennessee Titans9-7 (8-8 ATS)
8Indianapolis Colts10-6 (8-7-1 ATS)Detroit Lions6-10 (9-7 ATS)
9Chicago Bears12-4 (11-5 ATS)Washington Redskins7-9 (9-7 ATS)
10Pittsburgh Steelers9-6-1 (8-7-1 ATS)Cincinnati Bengals6-10 (9-7 ATS)

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NFL Futures? Not as popular

First and foremost: Obviously futures bets come into play, big time, with the NFL.

In the grand scheme of sports, however, the pigskin barely came up.

Three of the top five most popular futures involved predicting the World Series winner (No. 1, Yankees; No. 4, Red Sox; No. 5, Dodgers). The third-most wagered-on futures market stands as Duke to win the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. In at No. 2, though, the Rams to lift the Lombardi Trophy. (Still alive and well, to boot.)

The final five in the ranking: Alabama to win the College Football Playoff National Championship (oh, well), the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series, the Toronto Raptors to be NBA champs, Notre Dame to win the Cotton Bowl, and the Milwaukee Bucks to reign supreme in the NBA.

The baddest beats of the NFL season

Even sure-things come back to bite you in the keister. (Although, one DraftKings Sportsbook customer turned a 10-cent four-leg parlay in $363 via player props on Oct. 28. For the not-so-math-whizzes: That parlay carried 3,630-1 odds. Good on ya.)

Yet those bad beats are what haunt bettors — and, as Jane Austen once said, “gives us pleasure in the remembrance of the past.”

Here are the baddest of the bad beats — and the sweet to our Caroline.

Week 3: New York Giants at Houston Texans

Houston entered this early-season matchup as a six-point favorite against the visiting G-Men. That’s not the number that comes into question, though.

The over/under at DraftKings closed at 43 points. For under bettors, that total seemed far-fetched.

Until the final eight minutes of the game, during which the two teams combined for three touchdowns, including a meaningless Houston score with ONE SECOND LEFT. Pre-touchdown score: 27-15 (total 42 points). Post-touchdown final: 27-22 (total 49 points).

Week 4: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

Oh, good. The Texans are back. Fortunately, though, they are not the villains in this tale.

The Colts, as one-point favorites, needed a touchdown pass from QB Andrew Luck with 45 seconds left to force this game into overtime. Indianapolis then opened the scoring of the extra stanza with a field goal to go up 34-31.

All Indy backers needed was a stop. Indy failed. Houston kicked a game-tying field goal.

A push seemed likely, as, with the game tied and 24 seconds away from a tie, the Colts faced fourth down on their own side of the field. Punt the ball away, a tie is a near-lock.

Instead, Indy went for it. And came up short. One play later, the Texans booted a walk-off field goal to win 37-34.

Week 6: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

The combination of the high-scoring Buccaneers and a floundering Falcons team added up to a shoo-in for a Tampa Bay upset.

If only DeSean Jackson had surer hands.

3.5-point dog, Tampa scored a TD but failed to convert the ensuing 2-point conversion to trail 31-29 with less than four minutes to go. The Falcons extended their lead with a 57-yard field goal. Yet, somehow, despite trailing by 15 points at one time, the Bucs had a shot.

As time expired, QB Jameis Winston went off on a sprint. As he was wrapped up and brought down to the turf, he lateraled. The ball rolled around on the ground. A Tampa player picked it up. Then dropped it. A teammate picked it up and saw Jackson around the 5-yard line, the end zone in sight and a sure miracle about to be completed.

Then, butterfingers.

Week 8: Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams

Ah, yes. The Gurley Game.

At DraftKings, the Rams came in as 9.5-point favorites. Woof. A late touchdown run by LA RB Todd Gurley would not have made a difference there. (Although, at other NJ sportsbooks, the Rams closed at nine. Bummer.)

The consensus among all online sports betting platforms, though, was the over/under total of 56.5 points.

With just over a minute left, Gurley had an opportunity to send over backers celebrating.

Yet the running back, with nobody in front of him, held up. He went down, inside the 5-yard line, allowing LA to run out the rest of the clock and seal a 29-27 Rams win. That score potentially pushes LA’s lead to 36-27 for a total of 63 points.

Gurley doesn’t care. (Particularly about that point spread.)

Week 12: Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

Carolina closed as 3-point favorites at home. And the Panthers had the win in the bag.

Yet their 27-20 lead late in the fourth quarter could not hold up. Even with Seattle facing a fourth down.

It was then that QB Russell Wilson connected with WR David Moore for a 35-yard touchdown that allowed the Seahawks to even the score.

Carolina had a chance, but its 52-yard field goal try sailed wide. Seattle drove right downfield, and the ageless wonder Sebastian Janikowski booted a 31-yard field goal to give the Hawks a 30-27 win and lead Carolina backers to hurling their TVs out their eighth-story windows.

Top DFS And Handicapping Minds Talk DraftKings’ Sports Betting National Championship

Juan Carlos Blanco January 11, 2019
DK Sports Betting Championship

Much like the company hosting the event, there are plenty of participants in this coming weekend’s DraftKings’ Sports Betting National Championship looking to replicate their daily fantasy sports (DFS) success in the sports betting realm.

The most prominent might well be Alex Baker, much better known in DFS circles as “Awesemo.”

Baker currently has the ranking of No. 1 DFS player in the world, by industry site RotoGrinders.

Therefore, he’s no stranger to live, high-stakes bashes, which DraftKings’ Sports Betting Championship promises to be. Last month, Baker held three seats in DraftKings’ DFS NFL Live Final.

Just a couple of months prior, he was a four-time qualifier in the site’s MLB Live Final. That was the second time he’d accomplished the feat; Baker snagged the same number of seats for the NBA season-ending extravaganza last spring as well.

Baker boasted a similarly prolific body of work in the prior two years, too.

His DFS success across multiple sports — he also currently ranks in the top five in PGA and NHL, and in the top 75 in MMA — should serve him well in an event where contestants will be free to wager on a wide variety of games until Sunday when the event draws to a close.

That same day, contest participants must plunk down at least $2,000 on markets for the Chargers versus Patriots, and Eagles versus Saints during NFL’s divisional round. None of the other sporting events unfolding that day qualify with respect to the contest’s leaderboard.

An aggressive approach will be key

Given his overall success, the fact that Baker holds a seat to the single-entry event is far from shocking. He won his way in through a $225 NFL qualifier contest this fall. If that wouldn’t have worked out, he was ready to foot the $10,000 direct buy-in to get in on the action.

In a conversation with TheLines.com, Baker elaborated on his overall outlook heading into the first-of-its-kind event.

Naturally, he wasn’t overly revealing when it comes to the more granular aspects of his planned strategy.

But, Baker did affirm his belief that anything resembling a cautious approach simply ain’t gonna cut it with regards to securing the $1 million grand prize — the amount awarded to the participant with the largest bankroll by weekend’s end.

“I think you have to take a very high-variance approach with nearly half the money going to first,” Baker said. “You also have to place as many bets as possible to increase your bankroll exponentially.”

Given that all bet types, live betting and cash-outs are considered eligible wagers as per DraftKings’ official rules, there’s no shortage of options through which to achieve that goal.

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Will DFS skills play a role?

How much can Baker’s DFS talent help in this weekend’s sports betting-focused event? In his view, there’s a certain degree of overlap; yet, there are also enough differences to make it an unchartered territory.

Granted, he’s not a sports betting novice by any stretch. Baker concedes to having “dabbled some” in sportsbooks in the past. There’s also plenty of synergy with DFS when it comes to the type of research involved before decision-making.

Much like in DFS, “everyone will be using the best estimation of what happened in the past to try and predict what will happen in the future,” said Baker.

Having built player models for DFS purposes with success for multiple years, Baker is beyond well-equipped in this regard.

However, there’s naturally a gulf between assessing potential individual production as opposed to attempting to predict a team-centered outcome. Then, figuring out whether a point spread or projected total is exploitable is an even more precise practice.

The area where DFS acumen could move the needle the most may be in individual player props. An expert statistical modeler, the caliber of Baker, could certainly leverage his or her skills in predicting individual performance to achieve substantial success with such bet types.

Regarding contest structure, Baker is very much on board with the aforementioned rule that all Sunday wagering is exclusive to NFL’s divisional playoff games.

In fact, the long-tenured DFS live final participant thinks the structure could allow the Sports Betting National Championship to trump those events in terms of last-minute fireworks.

“In DFS live finals, everyone sets their lineup before lock, and then you wait it out,” remarked Baker. “This will be a fluid situation with all the bets that can be placed as the games go on.”

Prominent handicapper offers his view

Having obtained the valued perspective of the DFS industry’s most successful pro — one that also happens to be one of the event’s participants — TheLines.com reached out to a professional handicapper for his take on the Sports Betting National Championship.

Jon Price, of Sports Information Traders, has been a prominent name in sports betting for many years. He’s hit on several six- and seven-figure wagers in multiple sports while also heading up his renowned “sports investment service.”

While the Sports Betting National Championship has been the recipient of some social media flack, Price lauds the event as a positive that sets up as a formidable test to its participants’ sports betting skills.

“Specifically, this will require more than general knowledge in handicapping, but also the DK fantasy props will provide a challenge to those contestants who don’t normally play fantasy and vice versa for those adept at individual player props,” Price said.

“Also, the idea that all sports are included will definitely create some opportunities (for) professional handicappers who have their niche sport. This is one event that truly does require thought, skill and most importantly, bankroll preparation and execution.”

Will Potential Overlay Entice Bettors To Enter DraftKings’ Sports Betting National Championship?

Juan Carlos Blanco January 8, 2019
DraftKings Sports Betting

DraftKings entered the sports betting realm back on Aug. 1 and hasn’t looked back.

The daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry leader —that early on made its intentions of exerting similar dominance in due time over the betting space — is currently operating its DraftKings Sportsbook online in New Jersey.

In early October, DraftKings announced the first-of-its-kind Sports Betting National Championship. The event unfolds this week in the Garden State over the NFL’s divisional playoff weekend.

The championship offers a $1 million grand prize, and DraftKings is guaranteeing a $2.5 million prize pool.

Significant overlay with days to go

The company has gotten plenty of well-deserved positive press for the event, which seemingly seeks to replicate some of the same electricity that DraftKings has been able to generate with its DFS live finals over the past several years.

But as much early momentum as the Sports Betting National Championship enjoyed, DraftKings’ Senior Product Manager Jon Aguiar chimed in with the following on Twitter late last week:

DraftKings updated that number to 140 entries on Monday following a busy weekend of online qualifiers during the NFL playoffs. That still leaves them well short of the total to meet the $2.5 million guarantee.

For those who are already well-versed in the DFS space, the word “overlay” is typically brings glee. To put it succinctly, overlay, depending on how large, is one heck of an odds booster for the player and a proverbial bath for the operator.

When the guaranteed contests fail to fill, the portion of the prize pool those absent entries would have subsidized then ends up on the company’s tab.

Given Aguiar’s announcement, that bath is looking more like a deluge. With a Jan. 11 kick-off date, there is still plenty of time for some of those empty seats to be filled.

The event has a $10,000 direct buy-in. Therefore, it’s not just exclusive to those that punched their tickets through qualifiers during NFL season or the first quarter-plus of the NBA campaign.

Given the well-timed announcement, it’s the last-minute sales pitch that likely will bring some high rollers to the table. After all, the edge is undeniably magnetizing for those who can afford the buy-in fee and have a degree of confidence in their sports betting acumen.

Unique format sets up an intriguing challenge

The Sports Betting National Championship sports a unique format that promises to test several important sports betting skills in its participants, including multisport knowledge, bankroll management and prudent line selection.

Some of the nuts and bolts of the event are as follows:

  • Each participant begins the contest Friday with a DraftKings-funded $5,000 bankroll.
  • Players must wager at least $1,000 on Friday and Saturday, and at least $2,000 on Sunday.
  • Wagers can be placed on any sports on Friday or Saturday. However, all wagers placed Sunday must exclusively involve the two NFL divisional playoff games unfolding that day.
  • Participants must meet the requirements 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.
  • All types of bets are in play, including straight bets, parlays and fantasy props. However, betting closes upon the kickoff of the second NFL divisional playoff game on Sunday.
  • The player with the biggest bankroll at the end of the weekend becomes the grand prize winner. Bankroll size determines subsequent qualifying spots.
  • DraftKings is guaranteeing a prize pool of $2.5 million. Each direct buy-in above 531 entries will increase the prize pool by $4,700 apiece.
  • The contest is single entry. The event will have a maximum of 1,000 entrants.
  • All players take home the 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.

TheLines will be in Jersey City providing coverage of the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship. Follow our Twitter account for updates from the event!

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2020 College Football Futures: Clemson, Alabama Early Favorites

Chops January 8, 2019
Clemson Alabama

After Clemson’s throttling of Alabama in the national championship game, the Tigers find themselves as early favorites to repeat in 2020.

Early futures at DraftKings Sportsbook have Clemson and Alabama at +200 to win the 2020 college football national championship. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Alabama at +170 and Clemson +250. At the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, Clemson is +180 and Alabama is +250.

Interestingly, before Monday’s national title game, Alabama was the listed favorite at the Westgate. However, given Clemson’s domination, the Tigers went from +350 to +180 by game’s end.

Ohio State (+700 at DraftKings, +850 at FanDuel) and Georgia (+800 at both) are next on the list of 2019-20 title contenders. Michigan and Oklahoma round out the rest of the favorites. All of the odds can be found below.

Notre Dame, which made this year’s playoffs but was embarrassed in the semifinals by Clemson, starts at +3300.

The odds somewhat line up with ESPN’s take on a way-too-early top 25.

Given their recent recruiting classes, Clemson QB  Trevor Lawrence ascension to likely Heisman favorite, and weak overall division, Clemson seem well-positioned to at least make another CFB playoff. And don’t kid yourself that last night’s national championship game is the end of Alabama’s dynasty. While the SEC will be stronger overall next year, Bama is still the team to beat.

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College Football Futures Odds 2019-20

(Odds updated 1/17/19)

Ohio State+1400+700+1200
Notre Dame+5000+3300+2500
Mississippi State+10000+5000+5000
Miami (FL)+5000+15000+8000
Texas A&M+16000+5000+8000
Virginia Tech+16000+12500+10000
Penn State+5000+4000+10000
Florida State+8000+10000+10000
Iowa State+16000+15000+20000
Oklahoma State+10000+8000+20000
Michigan State+6500+5000+20000
Washington State+12000+8000+20000
Arizona State+23000+25000+30000
South Carolina+16000+15000+30000
West Virginia+5000+10000+30000
Texas Tech+25000+15000+30000
Central Florida+25000+5000+50000
Fresno State+23000+50000+50000
Boise State+25000+15000+50000
Utah State+25000+10000+50000
Kansas State+25000+50000+50000
North Carolina State+16000+8000+50000
Boston College+23000+15000+50000
Georgia Tech+23000+15000+100000
Ole Miss+25000+15000+100000
Wake Forest+25000+15000+200000
North Carolina+25000+15000+200000
San Diego State+25000+50000+500000
Oregon State+25000+100000+1000000

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DraftKings Sportsbook Boosts First Bet Match To $500

Bart Shirley December 31, 2018
DK Sportsbook

Placing your first bet on any online sportsbook can be intimidating. Thankfully, DraftKings Sportsbook is making sure that new players in New Jersey can ease into sports betting with a free wager to get started.

DraftKings Sportsbook is now offering to match all first bets onsite up to $500. This deal, which is more than double its previous amount of $200, will give players more freedom and flexibility to see how things work.

How the $500 First Bet Match works

This promotion is open to newly-registered DraftKings accounts (here’s a how-to guide to get started). Simply make a first wager and see what happens.

Whether that first bet wins or loses, a Free Bet for the same amount will soon appear in the player’s account. In effect, DraftKings is doubling the bet amount for the first go-round.

There are a couple of caveats, however:

  • The first is the timing of the bet — a player must place his or her wager within 30 days of registration in order for the bet to be eligible.
  • The other issue is that the Free Bet is not a negotiable instrument. Bettors cannot simply exchange the Free Bet for cash – the new money must be put back in play. However, players will keep any winnings from the Free Bet.

This promotion is active right now, but won’t last forever. Players need to be sure to make their first bet by Jan. 21, 2019.

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What new players to DraftKings Sportsbook will find

DraftKings Sportsbook was the first online sportsbook to debut in NJ and it has maintained its dominance through innovative and intuitive design and operation. New players will likely be surprised at how easy it all is.

The first thing that greets players to the mobile site is the betting carousel. This design feature places bet suggestions on a wheel that mobile users can then rotate to see more options.

These suggestions are not just stock opportunities, however. Each player’s betting carousel is customized according to the player’s preferences and betting history.

The result is that no two players will experience the same DraftKings. Instead, each will find prompts for wagers they would be most likely to make, anyway.

DraftKings Sportsbook also offers incredible flexibility with its variety of wagers. Almost every type of bet and betting limit is available for players to craft their betting patterns. There are even betting limits that are less than a dollar.

Players also have options to guard against last-minute defeats or parlay legs that seem unreliable in hindsight. The DraftKings live ticket system allows bettors to cash out their tickets at almost any point during the game(s).

The bottom line is that DraftKings leading the field in New Jersey for a reason. With the site doubling players’ first bets up to $500, there’s no reason not to try out the sportsbook this month.

DraftKings Blazing New Trails With Sports Betting National Championship

Juan Carlos Blanco December 31, 2018
DK Championship

DraftKings got to the top of the DFS mountain by taking some chances and thinking outside the box.

One of the methods by which the industry leader gained notoriety was through its live final events. There have even been full-fledged documentaries memorializing the experience. And while DK wasn’t the first to host one, they arguably have gotten to the point where they pull it off better than anyone else.

The company took a similarly aggressive/innovative approach when entering the sports betting space. Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Founder Matt Kalish made no bones about the company’s goal to become the “best total value operator in sportsbook” as DK officially kicked off its sports betting product in early August.

Bringing a little DFS flavor to the sports betting space

The subsequent months have arguably been an unqualified success by and large for DraftKings Sportsbook, even as it’s still only available in New Jersey. Now, using a little bit of that same ingenuity that they’ve often applied on the DFS front, the company has found a way to hold a first-of-its-kind live final for sports betting that incorporates players from jurisdictions where the activity isn’t yet available.

“At DraftKings, the natural state of things is to look at everything as an opportunity for creativity and disruption,” said Kalish. “We looked at the sportsbook space and saw very little in the way of events. With our history running the biggest and best fantasy events every year, it seemed natural to find a way to bring that kind of experience to the sportsbook space.”

The first annual DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship unfolds in – where else – Jersey City, New Jersey on the weekend of January 11-13. Qualifiers are currently running in the company’s DFS lobby. However, there’s also the option of a direct $10,000 buy-in.

Some of the other logistics of the event include:

  • Each participant begins with a DK-funded $5,000 bankroll.
  • Players must wager at least $1,000 on Friday and Saturday, and at least $2K on Sunday.
  • Wagers can be placed on any sport Friday or Saturday. However, all wagers placed Sunday must exclusively involve the two NFL divisional playoff games unfolding that day.
  • 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.
  • All types of bets are in play, including “straight bets, parlays, fantasy props and more” as per Kalish. However, betting closes upon the kickoff of the second NFL divisional playoff game on Sunday.
  • The player with the biggest bankroll at the end of the weekend is crowned the grand prize winner. Subsequent qualifying spots are also 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.
  • Contest is single entry. The event will have a maximum of 1,000 entrants.
  • 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.

Ensuring a level playing field

The Sports Betting National Championship will naturally have quite a few firsts associated with it. One of those is an educational component not found in DK’s live DFS events.

Despite their many similarities, sports betting – and how it’s laid out in the DK Sportsbook app — is in a completely different stage of familiarity as compared to the company’s DFS product for most that will attend the event, considering:

  • Legal single-game sports betting outside of Nevada is still in its nascent stages.
  • Many qualifiers for the proceedings will be migrating over from the DFS space. While conventional wisdom would dictate most have placed a sports bet before, there will inevitably be at least a handful that are considerably inexperienced.
  • The DK Sportsbook app is only fully operational for New Jersey residents at present. It offers a wealth of potential wagering options – including a suite of in-play bets – that even some experienced players may not have extensive experience with. At minimum, many participants will be navigating the platform for the first time upon their arrival at the event.

Accordingly, the company is trying to ensure that no one is at a disadvantage from a knowledge perspective.

“In addition to the abundance of educational features already included in our easy-to-use app that help better acquaint customers with our product, we’ll be providing additional learning materials to all competitors,” remarked Kalish. “We will also have a fully staffed onsite area at the event for customers with any questions or issues that happen to arise.”

“Method to the madness” in contest rules, structure

As Kalish further explains, there’s sound reasoning behind each of the contest’s rules, even when it’s not evident on the surface. For example, the requirement that all final day bets must be exclusively on football stems from the NFL undoubtedly serving as the U.S. market’s most frequently and lucratively bet sport.

The fact that the NBA and NHL – the other two major sports in action at that point of the year – purposely keep their Sunday slates modest while pro football’s in season also played a role.

And as far as the wagering cut-off time on the contest’s final day? There’s a strategic element at play there as well.

“Closing betting at the kickoff of the last game will allow players and spectators alike to watch the last few hours of action with a clear picture of who could potentially walk away the champion,” Kalish said. “We want the final experience to easily display the necessary turn of events required to crown a winner, adding even more anticipation with each in-game moment.”

From the company perspective, that certainly makes sense. DK is naturally hoping this initial version of the Sports Betting National Championship once again positions it as a trailblazer in a new industry, with all the positives that could bring.

The company’s prior experience facilitating live, high-stakes sports-based gaming events was critical. Devising a final-day contest structure that engenders the type of electricity that’s made DK’s DFS live finals an industry standard was high on the priority list, according to Kalish. Especially for an event that DK certainly has a highly bullish long-term view on.

“Based on our experience with our DFS live finals, which we’ve been hosting since 2014, we think this will lead to a much more focused and exciting conclusion to the event.”

Lead image courtesy of DraftKings

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In-Play Betting, Live Cash Outs Give DraftKings Sportsbook An Interactive Advantage In U.S.

Juan Carlos Blanco December 30, 2018
DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings clawed its way to the top of the multimillion-dollar daily fantasy sports industry by maximizing the most visceral appeal of its product — the chance to win large sums of money in a single day. That potentially making any sporting event, regardless of its participants, one of keen interest.

That seductive quality has enticed plenty of sports fans — approximately 10 million of them according to co-founder Matt Kalish — to at least give DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports (DFS) offerings a try at one point or another.

The company kickstarted a new era when DraftKings Sportsbook officially went live Aug. 6. Being the new kid on the block brings plenty of challenges; managing to capture the same level of engagement with the sports betting customer as they do with those on the DFS side is one of the bigger ones.

Spicing up conventional sports betting

Traditional sports betting can be a notably more “static” product than DFS on the surface. Many traditional wagers hinge on end-of-game outcomes. And many bettors may only have action on a handful of contests on, say, a typical NFL Sunday. Conversely, the DFS player could potentially have a stake to some degree in every game being played if they’ve created enough lineups.

Not averse to thinking outside the box, DraftKings Sportsbook has multiple features that allow bettors to have many skins in the game during the game. These are in addition to the conventional array of tried-and-true sports betting options, including:

However, they’ve also literally made every “event within the event” potentially mean something by making all of them wagerable.

Every point in tennis. Every play in a football game. Shoot, every pitch in a baseball game. They all have odds assigned within DraftKings Sportsbook, allowing you to plunk some money down on, say, whether Tom Brady’s next pass successfully finds its target or falls incomplete.

For example, DraftKings Sportsbook offered in-play golf bets on every hole for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy during the PGA Championship. Bettors could watch live action of those featured players on the PGA Championship app and bet on every shot on the DraftKings Sportsbook app, with the odds changing on the fly.

Having that kind of in-play action certainly helps glue a fair share of eyeballs to a game, not to mention the DraftKings Sportsbook app. And while, admittedly, DK is far from the only operator offering in-game betting (it’s already big in Europe), there’s another innovative feature they can actually claim all their own for the moment — a revolutionary “live ticket” system.

Think sports betting meets day trading, in the purest sense. Except, in this case, you won’t hear a chaotic cacophony of “buy!” and “sell!” — the action all takes place over a matter of seconds within the serenity of a bettor’s smartphone or mobile device.

Simply put, any open bet on DraftKings Sportsbook — even those that fully hinge on end results — can be assigned a value based on what’s happening as the contest unfolds.

In DraftKings Sportsbook, you can monitor that potential value of your wager — which fluctuates as lines adjust for in-game events — and jump off at any point in time you feel is particularly advantageous. A click on the Cash Out button that appears on every open betting ticket is all it takes.

The live ticketing system even applies if you have suddenly second thoughts about taking a stake in multiple games. In other words, you can jump off a parlay just as easily as you can a single-game ticket.

DraftKings Sportsbook becomes the first to offer the live ticket system in the United States, and it’s a feature that could certainly help it carve out a niche in what is already a crowded online sports betting market in New Jersey. The fact that bettors can take advantage of the price they locked in when they opened their betting ticket — particularly when there’s a drastic change in circumstances, such as injury to a key player — is likely to appeal to a sizable segment of the customer base.

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