Times are really changing in the sports betting industry and that is on display this weekend with the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship. There is a big overlay in this tournament, as 261 entrants put up or won the $10,000 to participate with a $1 million prize on the line.
Contestants bought in for $10,000, which meant a $5,000 entry into the tournament and $5,000 in a cash bankroll with which to bet. All games in major sports betting markets from January 11 and January 12 were available, including the NFL Divisional Round matchups and a full slate of college basketball games. On January 13, only the two NFL playoff games are eligible.
Some additional rules in the small print included stipulations that a total of $1,000 in bets had to be entered by Saturday night and at least $2,000 had to be spent on the Sunday NFL action.
Not all of the players paid to get into the field, as DraftKings ran lots of qualifiers or satellites to get in. Play was limited to the state of New Jersey and cash buy-ins were only taken at the Resorts Atlantic City brick and mortar DraftKings Sportsbook in Jersey City.
The breakdown of the entry field, per DraftKings.com, was 155 direct buy-ins, 92 DFS qualifies and 12 people that gained entry via social media contests or promotions. The massive overlay forced some people to sign up very late in the process, but the prizes were too great to pass up.
The guaranteed prize pool features a $1,000,000 top prize. The runner-up will take home $350,000 for his or her efforts and third place will net a cool $250,000. Fourth place gets $175,000 and fifth place gets $100,000. The top 25 will get something for their time and efforts, with $15,000 going out as the minimum prize if there are no ties.
There are so many nuances to a tournament like this because parlays are available. Ten players went broke on the first day, so they didn’t even make it to Saturday and Sunday. Contestants were allowed only one entry per person and no rebuys.
There are a lot of interesting approaches. As mentioned, some went all-in with a favorite play on Friday and went bust. Others went for the more risky approach of gambling on some parlay tickets. Others are really picking and choosing their spots for big bets and others are playing a higher-volume style in hopes of grinding out a big enough profit to get to the top of the board.
We should continue to see more promotional things like this from companies like DraftKings and Fanduel, who notoriously paid out all Alabama futures holders (whoops!) well before the Crimson Tide made the College Football Playoff and lost to Clemson. The marketing value of things like this and the intrigue that it has gotten from major media outlets speaks to the changing dynamics in the world of legalized sports betting.
We’ll have to see how everything comes together with this tournament and you can follow the leaderboard to get updates on the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship right here.
Good luck to all contestants the rest of the weekend!