IF you're going to try your hand at online sports betting keep some of this stuff in mind:
I'm setup through DraftKings. Pretty cool site. Lots of action. Lots of opportunity. Lots of little details you'll want to pay attention to when starting out.
The first contests (AND ONLY CONTESTS) you'll want to start out on for each sport are the "Beginner" contests. Beginner 50/50 and Beginner Double-Up Single Entry are your best odds. They're not sexy, but they're your best chances to earn money. MAKE SURE YOU GET IN ON THE BEGINNER CONTESTS FOR EACH SPORT WHILE YOU CAN! Because you only get a shot at those for your first 50 contests! After that you're in with the sharks.
Ok, I'm not gonna be another post that yet again explains all the nuances in detail, there are plenty of posts out there that do that, but I will mention some basics:
In DraftKings you MUST choose players for AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT GAMES - not just two different teams, TWO DIFFERENT GAMES, in each contest. Now you can still stack the hell out of one game or one team if you want, but you MUST chose at least one person from another game in order for your bet to be valid!!!
In DraftKings you have a $50,000 salary cap for each sport. You will NOT be able to draft every top player for your lineups. That's just how it is. The easy part after a few plays is to figure out that the highest priced players are "expected" to perform the best (that's not always the case but just keep that in mind). Paying for several high-priced players means you WILL have to add a few cheap guys to your lineup - and that's where things get wonky because those are the guys you're never sure if they'll actually do phenomenal that night or if they're even gonna see time on the field. Honestly, I'm still never sure.
Now, from what I've been reading online a lot of the pros out there actually have several lineups in play for each sport to cover possibilities. Hey, do with that what you want, just don't feed them too much of your money on a single night while chasing a few dollars. Personally I usually have at least a couple lineups in each sport.
In sports, big names are usually big names for a reason - because they're used often and usually perform. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE, but we're just starting out, and if you know nothing about sports (just like me) then if even YOU recognize a name then so far it's safe to guess that they'll at least play that night.
RED AND GREEN STUFF
Ok, so some of the players have this RED letter next to their name. What's up with that? Well, a red "Q" means it's "QUESTIONABLE" whether or not they'll play that night. "P" is "PROBABLE". "O" is "OUT"! DO NOT ADD THE "O" PEOPLE TO YOUR LINEUP!!!! Questionable seems to often at least have the guy available to play. Probable seems to be a better chance that they'll play. But really, there are even times a guy is perfectly available for play and he doesn't even get off the bench. So, we'll keep figuring that stuff out.
Points Per Game is ALL that matters in DraftKings. The more total points per game the more likely you'll do well in a contest. When you're picking somebody you'll see what their average points per game is. You can click on each player's name and go into their card and see more stats. You'd be surprised, sometimes a guy has a really low PPG, but it turns out he wasn't being used much before, or he got traded, and now he's doing well. Or maybe he got injured a few times and that has brought down his total average, but in general he does alright.
So, I've tried a few sites (through their free services) such as RotoWire, FantasyPros, FantasySP, RotoWorld, RotoGrinders, Daily Fantasy Fuel, and a few other sites. Honestly, I'm not seeing anything reliable or consistent with lineup optimizers - at least not on my level of playing. These sites certainly have a ton of information on them, but I have no idea what to do with it.
A few websites I find very useful are OddsShark, CBS Sports, Bleacher Report, Fantasy Alarm, UFC, Tapology, Sherdog.
OddsShark seems to be linked to Vegas betting and will give you an idea of the odds (clever huh).
CBS Sports features match-ups for each sport and will show you recent depth charts for each team when you click on the match, then on each team. You know how many times I've gone on there and realized one of my players shares the same position as another? That can be like paying for two players and getting one (again CAN BE).
Bleacher Report!!!! Download the freakin' app! You'll get updates and alerts to latest news on a sport, team, and player. OMG! You know how many times I've had someone in my lineup then suddenly I get an update on my Bleacher Report app alerting me that the person isn't even playing that night??? Check out the website, sign up, and download the app!!!
Fantasy Alarm. I actually kinda forgot about this website. I get alerts from them through Twitter. I gotta check this site out more again because there is a TON of info here and I'm probably really stupid for not checking it out more.
UFC has a ton of info about previous and upcoming fights.
Tapology is a community-based site where people can weigh in on who they think will win, how, and by how much. Honestly, I've been tracking the predictions on my own contests and I'm finding the results are about 50/50. But still, awesome website with a ton of info!
Sherdog. Honestly, I forgot about this website (I haven't really concentrated too much on MMA), but from the looks of it it looks like there is a ton of info here as well.
YOUR INCREDIBLE LINEUP
So, you need "X" amount of points if you're gonna hope to do well in [CONTEST TYPE]. I think after a bit this gets all out of whack. More and more pros are turning toward 50/50 and Double-Up contests for stability and steady income. Smart for them, sucks for us. Tournaments seem to be high risk and huge chance. And then you gotta factor in someone like Anthony Davis messing up his shoulder at the beginning of a game then being out for the rest of the night - bye-bye $10,600 you could have split between other people.
It's a game and there is always somebody better or luckier than you. Don't ever risk more than you care to lose. No, really, that awesome lineup can crap out at any moment. DON'T EVER RISK MORE THAN YOU CARE TO LOSE!! ...ESPECIALLY on just ONE lineup.
Honestly, I don't really care what team is awesome, what team sucks, or what somebody's average is. What matters in online sports contests is PPG for each person that night. Sometimes the big names have a crap night, sometimes a reserve steps in and punches up huge numbers. It all depends on that contest that night.
YOU CAN MAKE MONEY
Yeah, these online sports betting sites, such as DraftKings, CAN make you money - IF your lineup does better than most of the other lineups. For a while I was waking up to an extra $60.00 - $100.00 in my account from contests the night before. Lately I have yet to rake in $5.00. But if you're good, you can win, and win big. If you're lucky, you can win sometimes, and win big sometimes. After your Beginner Contests run out, I'm thinking it's best to stick mostly to the free contests, and maybe a few quarter contests here and there, until you can consistently rack up huge numbers. I mean, like in the Beginner NBA Contests you wanna try for at least 260 points in 50/50 and Double-Up contests to try to get your money back. So far since being kicked out of the Beginner Contests, 260 points hasn't gotten me a thing. Once you're out of the pool and in the ocean you wanna be pretty consistent on 280 to 320 points per lineup for the NBA. It's all there, you just gotta know who to choose or be really freakin' lucky.
Now, another way to make some money is by taking advantage of DraftKings' referral program! On DraftKings, each player has a referral link. That referral link makes you money! You'll notice I've scattered mine throughout this post, hoping somebody clicks it and signs up through my link. The link can be found by clicking the drop menu under your name at the top right of the screen. Click "Refer-A-Friend" and the site will take you to your referral link and let you know what rewards are available at that moment. Right now the current rate is 20% of the referred person's contest entry fees. NICE! And there's currently a limited time offer where we both get a free ticket into the NFL Millionaire Maker Contest ($20 VALUE!) (EXPIRES 1:00PM ET 12/6/2015).
While you really want to play conservatively while you're learning the ins and outs of online sports betting, YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT COUNT! Most times there's an offer to double your very first deposit on DraftKings. Now, they're not gonna just give you all that extra money at once, you earn it by playing contests - each contest earns you Frequent Player Points, and each time you earn another 100 Frequent Player Points they deposit another bonus dollar from your first deposit into your account. It really takes time to earn this bonus money, and there IS a time limit on the offer! I'm guessing from all my activity that a lot of people spend more than they earn back from that bonus, and I'm almost certain that a lot of people never cash in on the full amount before it expires, but if you see yourself playing a lot anyway you really might as well get in on that Bonus Deposit Offer. After all, money is money.