If you’re an avid gambler on professional football, then you’re likely familiar with some of the higher-entry fee contests run by some Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Circa Sports Million Pro Football Contest and the Westgate Las Vegas Super Contest offer huge prizes for those contestants who can most successfully navigate picking NFL games against the spread for the entire season.
But this year, there’s a new (and, in my opinion, better) contest available for those looking for a huge payday: The DraftKings Pro Football Pick’Em National Championship.
I am participating in the DraftKings Championship this year; DraftKings, a marketing partner of FantasyPros, has covered my entry fee. I will be sharing my picks each week on the BettingPros NFL Podcast, breaking down the week’s slate and my strategy.
The word strategy is key for the DraftKings Championship, because it involves far more than simply picking a few games each week. Instead, it adds an element of game theory, while also simplifying the process for the contestants. So, if you haven’t heard of it, or if you’ve been thinking of joining the contest, here are some key details that set it apart from other NFL pick’em competitions.
What is the DraftKings Pro Football Pick’Em National Championship?
Like the Westgate and Circa Sports contests, the DraftKings Championship is a $1,500 entry fee tournament, where contestants pick five NFL games per week against the spread. Standings are determined based on the contestants’ correct number of picks throughout the season. There’s a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million with a first place prize of $1 million.
That’s it. There’s nothing fancy about the objective. Pick NFL games against the spread, do it well, win money.
That sounds an awful lot like the Las Vegas contests. All have a $1,500 entry fee. All have contestants pick five games against the spread per week.
But there are several key differences between the DraftKings Championship and the Las Vegas contests. And each of them makes the DraftKings Championship the superior forum to try to win big with your NFL betting prowess:
Open Outside of Las Vegas
To enter the Westgate or Circa Sports contests, you need to submit your entry and your weekly picks in Las Vegas. That means you need to either be a Nevada resident or select a local proxy to place your weekly selections, the latter option often bringing with it a fee.
That’s not the case in the DraftKings Championship. If your state allows you to enter the contest, you can do so and make your picks from the comfort of your home online on the DraftKings sportsbook website. No need to ever go to a casino or pay a proxy or leave your home.
14 Instead of 17 Weeks
In the Las Vegas contests, contestants pick five games against the spread every week of the NFL season. The DraftKings Championship, however, ends in Week 16. And contestants make their five picks in only 14 of those 16 weeks.
NFL players and teams get bye weeks, so DraftKings is giving contestants their own weeks off, too. The contest will count your first 70 picks, with a maximum of five per week, whenever you make them. So, if you’re feeling uncomfortable with the lines in a given week or two, you can just sit out and recharge. Also, the structure allows you to avoid the perils of Week 17, where playing time is difficult to discern and handicapping is a nightmare.
Option to Wait Until Sunday Morning
In the Las Vegas contests, you can include the Thursday night game in that week’s selections, but you’re required to submit all five of your picks before the Thursday game if you do. You don’t get the benefit of final injury reports or any other news that may come out later in the week for your remaining games. Even if you don’t choose the Thursday game, you’re required to submit all your picks by Saturday.
In the DraftKings Championship, however, not only can you include the Thursday night game without selecting the remainder of your picks at that time, but you can wait until Sunday morning at 10:00 am ET to submit your picks. And unlike the Las Vegas contests, you can submit your picks at separate times before deciding on the others.
The Perfect Week Bonus
The DraftKings Championship offers an additional bonus to its contestants. Any week that a contestant correctly picks all five games, he or she earns a free $100 bet at DraftKings Sportsbook. So, even if you get off to a slow start, there’s always a way to recoup some of your entry fee.
Everything about the DraftKings Championship makes it more engaging for the contestant. More flexibility. Additional strategy. Ease of entry. With a live leaderboard, you can track how you’re faring against the competition at any time.