Daily Fantasy Sports Betting vs. Traditional Betting

For years, daily fantasy sports industry figures contested the idea that it was, in fact, sports betting. Some states agreed while others didn’t.

Regardless, major DFS players DraftKings and FanDuel went on to make huge names for themselves by way of advertising and throwing insane amounts of money at winners of their respective big money events.

A cool million to the winner of the NFL Milly Maker. Another $500K to the winners of the daily MLB, NBA and NHL contests. Don’t forget about the millionaires made by way of winning the PGA contests! The list went on and on.

Then, all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere, PASPA — otherwise known as The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — was repealed in May of 2018. With it, sports betting became legal; DraftKings and FanDuel immediately flipped the switch and jumped into online sports betting.

The NFL has ruled the roost at sportsbooks since inception. The same can be said about the NFL and daily fantasy sports. Though different in nature, the species of sports betting and daily fantasy sports are symbiotic on numerous levels.

They more or less go hand in hand; that’s backed by the fact that doing well betting on individual NFL games on any given Sunday correlates directly with making the money in NFL DFS tournaments.

But what are the key differences between the two genres? Let’s take a deep dive into it and figure it all out.

Which is more profitable: NFL DFS or NFL betting?

There are a couple of ways to look at this when deeming sports betting or daily fantasy sports more lucrative than the other.

While parlay bets are in the equation when wagering on sports, DFS would be the more profitable entity — provided you cash in on a grand prize pool (GPP) at least a few times per month. And not just a minimal cash that saw you triple or quadruple your stake.

These would be big money cashes that bring back thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. If not, partaking in DFS is just as big a grind as betting on sports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Either way, time and effort must go into both sports betting and DFS for any type of profit to surface. If you think you can simply just throw darts — be it picking sides and totals or assembling a DFS lineup — and be successful, you’ve got another thing coming.

What is NFL betting?

Unlike daily fantasy sports, where your roster makeup is different depending on which site you’re playing at, NFL betting is the same across the board whether it’s in a brick-and-mortar casino, an online sportsbook or at a kiosk in your favorite watering hole.

The only differences would be the amount of vigorish or juice the respective out demands. You got sides, totals and moneylines. If you really want to get into the thick of it, you’ve also got futures, first and second half lines and live betting options as well.

The side is the team you want to back on the point spread. If your team is getting five points, it needs to win outright or lose by four or fewer points to grant a ticket cash. Totals deal with the combined score of a game. If you wager over 49 for the full game, 50 points would need to be scored in order to come out a winner.

If betting a moneyline instead of the point spread, you’re wagering on which team wins the game outright regardless of margin. Maximum and minimum wager allotments will be decided by your sportsbook of choice.

What is NFL DFS?

Daily fantasy sports allow for fantasy players to get away from season-long varieties and draft a team for a single day or week. It’s perfect in this day and age of instant gratification instead of fighting it out tooth and nail over the course of a full season’s worth of games to be crowned a champion.

On top of that, big money is involved! Instead of having a draft with your league mates in the preseason, you get to draft a new team as many times as you want for the week’s upcoming games.

There are many types of contests to enter. They include tournaments, head to head, 50/50 double ups, multipliers and satellites or qualifiers. Be sure to check the rules at the site you play at since most differ.

Your roster will consist of at least one QB, RB, WR, TE and defense. Some sites still even have kickers in the mix. The main goal is for your drafted players to score the most points to get your lineup in the money. The higher you finish in the pecking order, the more of a haul you earn dependent on the type of contest entered.

There is no cap as to the type of tournament you can enter. Should you have the buy-in, you can enter the tournament. There are no limits when it comes to NFL DFS!

NFL DFS pros/cons

There really is only one main con to playing NFL DFS. If you’re a novice, you’d be best served by partaking in as many beginner-level contests as possible. Reason being, in the major DFS contests, there are sharps in every single one with multiple entries in tow — all backed by recommendations based off their power ratings and algorithms.

Beginner DFS players will go into the week looking to back a few players they have high hopes for plus whatever players were being touted by their favorite podcast. That type of contest prep could get you by in beginner leagues, but you won’t have a prayer running with the big boys!

On the other side of the ledger, the pros for playing NFL DFS include:

  • Excitement (read: heart palpitations)
  • Big money scores
  • Being a part of the game
  • Bragging rights
  • Memories both good and bad of fantastic wins and bad beats

NFL betting pros/cons

Though most of the country has yet to experience it, there’s nothing like walking into a sportsbook on a Sunday morning and looking to go to war with line-makers by putting a day’s worth of work into beating the lines for the week.

There isn’t a sober rush like it! With sports betting becoming legalized with more regularity, a whole new crop of NFL bettors is about to experience the thrill described above.

If you’re betting live, just be sure you know the rotation numbers and have a clue about what you’re doing. There’s nothing ticket writers hate more than customers who have no clue what they’re doing; act like you’ve been there!

If you’re betting online, though, this isn’t an issue. No rotation numbers are required.

The cons of sports betting are simple. Remember, every dollar placed is considered a gamble. You can lose money. Scratch that. You will lose money.

The art of being a successful bettor has everything to do with excellent bankroll management and knowing when to unload on a vulnerability in the market. Become a pro in both areas and never chase.

Should I do both NFL DFS and bet on NFL games?

Sports betting and daily fantasy sports go hand-in-hand with one another regardless of sport or contest. Extrapolated information and news uncovered are all taken advantage of to do one thing; win bets.

Say for example you’re looking to lay the points with the Las Vegas Raiders due to their opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, being unable to stop the run to save their life. Jon Gruden just so happens to have a guy named Josh Jacobs in his backfield. Las Vegas has been installed as a 7-point favorite with the game total lined at 46.

The fact that Las Vegas is such a lofty favorite paired with its enormous advantage on the ground would immediately have DFS players looking to roster Jacobs. The likelihood of him seeing the lion’s share of carries, paired with likely extra work in the second half as the Raiders look to salt the game away, is a clear advantage.

So if you favor Vegas minus the points and believe it has a shot to cover the touchdown spread because of its rushing prowess, it would only make perfect sense to roster Jacobs or any other Raiders running back in DFS (dependent upon contest type).

It doesn’t make much sense to dabble in one and not the other should you have the time.

NFL prop betting vs. DFS

Regardless of whether you’re a novice or professional sports bettor, there’s a high probability you’ve come across NFL prop betting in some way, shape or form.

Take for instance Super Bowl LIV. You might’ve thrown some beer money down on which player scored the first touchdown or how many passing yards Patrick Mahomes threw for. Those types of bets are called prop bets.

In this new day and age for sports betting and DFS, some fantasy sites have shifted their model to allow for betting on individual player props over full lineups. If all picks are nailed, you win. It’s that simple.

No swimming with sharks. A Ph.D. in stats and algorithms is unnecessary. One really cool factor about the DFS player prop style of play is the ability to group a bunch of players together to potentially win a wager. That can’t be done in NFL prop betting, with wagers prohibited from being parlayed with one another.

NFL DFS & betting freebies

Most online sportsbooks make a percentage of your deposit available for free rolls. Those dollars can be used to win bets. Once utilized, the initial investment is never returned to the bankroll. It was a free roll and once used it’s gone.

Daily fantasy sites offer up free tickets to contests on sign-up, but they also offer up their own form of free roll with a guaranteed prize going out to those who finish in the money. It’s tough to say whether free rolls at sites like DraftKings or FanDuel are truly beneficial.

While they allow for you to learn the ins and outs of the game, the opposition faced isn’t what will be opposed when the games are played for real money. While nobody in their right mind would turn away free money, especially when it’s won, don’t think that type of success will carry over with real dollars on the line.

On top of that, most free rolls are open to everyone, so you’d be competing with a ton of contestants for very little money. Use the freebies to hone your skills if nothing else.

DraftKings or FanDuel: Which is better?

With FanDuel recently adding a flex position to its NFL DFS lineups for 2020, the two heavyweight DFS sites now offer up the exact same makeup. However, FanDuel works with a $60K salary while DraftKings checks in at $50K.

Much of that has to do with the fact that FanDuel is a bit more expensive to roster players right out of the chute, while it takes DK a bit of time to adjust. Take for example Christian McCaffrey from last season. FanDuel had his salary well over $10K weeks into the season while it took DraftKings until Week 8 to push his salary past the $10K barrier.

DK also tends to have higher scores due to its full point awarded per reception compared to the .5 points FanDuel offers up. While the latter has the much cooler name, DK has simply been the cream of the crop since it burst onto the scene back in 2012 and hasn’t done much to tarnish its image since.

You can’t go wrong with either site as both are top notch, but if forced to pick one and one only, I’m rolling with DraftKings.