If you like to keep up with the latest football action, you can turn that knowledge into a profit with fantasy football betting. The only problem is, often, football fans just do not know where to begin.
Keeping that in mind, here at Cometoplay crafted this guide to fantasy football and included everything you need to know to get started.
What is Fantasy Football?
Fantasy football is an online game in which you can try your skills at being a team owner. To get started, you create your own virtual fantasy team (made up of real players in the respective League). Then based on the real-life performance of those players, you score points.
For instance, if Mo Salah is on your fantasy team and scores in a real-life game, you will get points.
Biggest Fantasy Football Games
Fantasy football is so popular that multiple sites and apps provide games for a variety of tournaments, like the UEFA Champions League or the Bundesliga.
However, the two most popular games right now are the Fantasy Premier League (the official game counting 8 million players at the moment) and NFL Fantasy Football (boasting an impressive 40 million players in North America alone).
Fantasy Premier League
The rules of FPL, the most popular and biggest fantasy football game, are pretty straightforward.
After you have signed up to play, you will get a budget of £100 million to build your squad. Each team has 15 players, broken down into three forwards, five midfielders, five defenders, and two goalkeepers. You get to choose a maximum of three players from the same English Premier League club for your fantasy squad, so make sure you pick some of the best.
Once your team is created, you can either join or create a league where you can compete with other fantasy football players. You can also buy and sell players as well as get one free transfer after the first deadline of the season.
Players are awarded points whenever they score a goal. They get points for saves, clean sheets, and assists, too.
Chips can be used as well to boost the overall points of a team. During Gameweek, there are four chips you can use – wildcard, triple captain, free hit, and bench boost. Just remember that you can only use one chip in a single Gameweek.
NFL Fantasy, which is widely popular in the US, works in a similar way as the FPL. Each week you place players on various positions, depending on the league you are in. All the stats your players get during the week add up to your weekly point total, so you win if you have more points.
The teams with the most win-loss records will get to star in the fantasy playoffs, the winner of which is crowned the league champion.
Some points to remember regarding NFL fantasy rules:
- Ensure that your lineup is set at least five minutes before the start of the game, as players on your roster will be locked at that time until the end of the week.
- You can claim players that are not on a roster in your league. This is one of the most important points in terms of strategy, so make sure you manage the waiver wire effectively.
- Watch out for the team’s “bye week”, as you might have to add players to your lineup for a full starting roster.
Fantasy Sports Industry
The combo of Covid-19 lockdowns, increased use of smartphones, and the growing adoption rate of online gaming platforms have led to a rising interest in fantasy sports.
Thus the fantasy football industry is expected to go over $1 billion by 2026, with the global fantasy soccer market anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 13% from 2020 to 2026.
App-based fantasy sports are also expected to see an increase. According to the latest fantasy sports industry statistics, the market should note an absolute growth of 119% between 2020 and 2026, which is not surprising given the popularity of the Fantasy Premier League official app in the UK.
Fantasy Football and Betting
Brits love betting on football, and fantasy is no exception. So, let’s take a look at how you can turn your gaming skills into money.
How does fantasy football betting work?
Basically, there are two types of competitions you can get into. The first, known as Cash Games, refers to 50/50 and head-to-head leagues, both of which can double your stake.
The second are tournaments, i.e. the more common betting format. Here you enter a pool market, which usually has a fixed stake, and you get a share of the pot if you win. Tournaments can take place over an entire season, a week or a single day.
What kind of bets can you place on fantasy football?
The biggest difference between gambling on fantasy football betting and traditional sports betting is in the type of bets offered. Typically, fantasy betting involves a mix of pool and spread bets. That is not to say that you can’t find other types of bets in fantasy sports gambling.
In fact, one of the most common bets in fantasy is the above mentioned H2H Matchup, where money line odds are provided on each player scoring more than his opponent.
In addition to the money line, operators might also offer a Handicap bet or an Over/Under bet, creating a more exciting betting experience and increasing your chances of winning big.
Instead of just focusing on two players, sportsbooks can offer an outright bet where a group of players is listed.
There are also novelty bets where you can bet on specific situations during a game, such as the number of times a player scores or appears in the team.
Is Fantasy Football Betting Legal?
Fantasy football and gambling go well together, but is it legal?
Well, in the UK, betting on fantasy football is not against the law. However, the UKGC has issued several warnings to fantasy football organisers about advertising tournaments on social media. The Gsambling Commision has also reminded organisers that they might require a pool betting license if the league is not run privately, i.e. among friends and coworkers.
In the US fantasy football betting is legal in 43 states, excluding Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, and Hawaii. Legislation regarding sports betting in the US changes constantly, so keep an eye out for the latest developments.
Fantasy Football Betting Tips
While each fantasy football game is different, there are some universal rules to be followed when it comes to fantasy football betting and playing.
Know the rules
In order to play fantasy sports – and win – you must first know the rules of the game. This may seem like the most obvious of all Fantasy Premier League tips, but it is definitely the most important one. The good news is there are plenty of online sites, including the official websites of the FPL and NFL, that will explain all the rules in detail. They also include helpful FPL and NFL fantasy football tips, so make sure you check them out.
Although fantasy football is a dynamic game, you must keep your cool and exercise patience and caution. Just because a player let you down does not mean you have to trade him immediately. Waiting it out might be the better option.
Pick Good Players
You may be a die-hard Man United fan, but don’t pick the players out of loyalty to the club. The same goes for trading players with other clubs, especially rivals. If you want to win some money, you have to be objective and choose the best (and possibly cheapest) players around.
Picking the players who scored the most in the last season might sound like a good strategy, but do not rely on this alone. Do proper research when selecting players and look at past stats, injuries, fitness level and discipline records.
These factors are even more important when choosing a captain, so take them into consideration.
Go for variance
Make changes to your lineup. It is very easy to pick a team and stick with it, but players who take the time to rotate players tend to come out on top.
Do not spend the lion share of your budget on the biggest scorers. Manage your money and think of how it can be used to make future transfers.
To make the most of your budget, it’s a good idea to scout early. Look out for some of the younger players, as these might represent the best value for money.
Choose a good site
Always go for a reliable betting site that also offers nice bonuses. Most of the best betting sites will give you bonuses when you sign up, but they also have great promotions and rewards for loyal users, so be on the lookout for what’s on offer.
Play the game
Winning the game is just part of the fun. Make sure you also enjoy it, and that way, you will win no matter the result.
Fantasy football betting is a great way for football enthusiasts and gamblers to combine these two hobbies and earn some money in the process. That being said, a lot goes into creating your fantasy football team, which is why it is always best to get familiar with the rules and regulations of the game before you get started.