Betting on simulated games
When we first saw that sportsbooks were offering odds on simulated NBA and NFL games, we thought there was no way that gamblers would pony up and bet on computer generated match-ups. But after nearly two months of literally no sports to bet on, the ‘SIM’ games are part of the betting menu at top online sportsbooks, and according to reports, they have been attracting a loyal betting following.
We checked in with some sportsbooks to find out more about SIM betting.
One of the things that we wanted to know was where are these simulations being 'played'. We surprisingly found that different sportsbooks are all doing different things, that there is no one provider for these games and thus, similar games at each book may turn out differently for bettors. For example, GTBets and BetNOW use a third-party game provider, while BetOnline uses a third party that they oversee and Jazz Sports has created their own in-house product. Many of the sportsbooks use a Twitch channel for distribution.
Again, much to our surprise, was the answer to a question on how and who sets the betting lines. Again, as these SIM games all rolled out so quickly, we thought there was a general line service, similar to a Don Best, that provided the opening lines for each simulation. But instead, we found out that regardless of the origins of the games, each sportsbook sets their own lines. When asked about setting lines, GTBets told us that their, "lines team is setting the lines based on the results from the weeks prior." Jazz Sports sets the lines themselves, as after investigating and testing several games they decided to run their own league, where they "create the lines and odds ourselves."
Does anyone bet on this stuff?
We are still skeptical that any of this gets any volume of action, but across the board we were told that action does exist for this betting market. According to BetNOW, "popularity on these sims has increased rapidly and continues to do so." BetOnline added that the games are very popular with their clientele and GTBets let us know that SIMs were the most bet league after, of all things, table tennis.
When asked why this all appears to be so popular Jazz Sports summed it up best.
"We have given a clientele a new channel to bet on. It's a new option that's not only entertaining but also fills a void due to the pandemic going on right now. Obviously, this doesn’t beat the real thing, but it’s another option for our community."
As these are not ‘live’ games and are computer generated, every sportsbook that offers them does so with much lower limits than their live counterparts. Betting limits range from $250 on the lower end to a max of $500 a game.
Does anybody win?
According to every book we contacted bettors do win and lose, just like betting on the actual games being played on the field or court. According to online sportsbooks some players "gather a small fortune, while other give it back here and there." Overall, according to GTBets, "The hold % (for the sportsbook) ended up being fairly close to what normal NFL hold would be."
So, for players that want some action, PC-to-PC Sim games are legitimate games (albeit simulated) with legitimate, individual and moving betting lines available. For players who may look to try out this new form of sports betting, the advice is to take a couple days of betting/watching to figure out the flow of the action. Then, betting on the SIM games will make more sense and provide a better chance to take a shot at gathering that "small fortune".
Check back every week for The Betting Scene as we will highlight new items of interest in the world of online sports betting.