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The DraftKings Sportsbook launched in New Jersey on August 6, 2018 after a soft launch period — the first sportsbook to go live in NJ and the first legal sportsbook online in the U.S. outside Nevada. It’s available on apps for both Android and iOS devices (Apple) and also as a Web-based platform. It’s legal and licensed, operating through its partnership with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, where it also now operates a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
After spending a lot of time using the mobile app and web platform, Sports Handle submits that the product is very solid according to our criteria explained in greater detail below. Overall, we grade the sportsbook an B+. Meaning it’s solid as-is, with room for improvements and alterations, particularly in its pricing, as explained below. You can follow them on Twitter for news and promotions at @DKSportsbook.
Bonus/welcome package for new customers
|DraftKings Sportsbook NJ Welcome Package Details|
|Bonus Code||None Needed — Click Here|
|Welcome Bonus||Free Bet Up To $500|
|Launch Date||Aug. 2018|
DraftKings Sportsbook Overview
For starters, you must be located in New Jersey to use any version of the sportsbook (pending DraftKings’ official online launches into other states, which is forthcoming). NJ requires that DraftKings Sportsbook (and others) use geo-tracking technology to make sure players are in the state.
You must also be 21 years old to use legal NJ sportsbooks.
The DraftKings Sportsbook offers a robust menu of sports betting options — for the most part, similar kinds of wagering as in other legal U.S. sports betting states and available with offshore operators, with some added creativity:
- Spread bets
- Moneyline wagers
- Totals — team, quarters, halves, etc.
- Props — for players, teams and scoring; including holiday specials such as “Which team scores the most points on Thanksgiving”
- Futures — Such as who will win the Super Bowl or NBA championship
- Live and in-game wagering — discussed below
- Bets on daily fantasy sports production — for example, Travis Kelce DFS points for NFL Week 16: over/under 14.5)
- DraftKings Pools — discussed below
Overall it’s an appealing and impressive book and by our estimation was designed to be mobile-first, with the web platform the second priority. In other words, they want people using the mobile app, which is a better user experience. More on that below.
For those who have used the DraftKings app for daily fantasy sports, the look and feel will be quite similar.
The platform is easily navigable with clear displays — white and neon green text on a black background. It’s intuitive and fast on both the app and on the web. There’s an ample but not overwhelming amount of displays and information on the screen. Upon login you’ll see promotional banners at the top of the screen and the more popular events down the screen.
What It Looks Like
Here are some screencaps from the mobile app (Android) showing the straight bets, props and futures menus, overall design, live betting screens, betting slip and parlay/teaser setup and more:
Here are screencaps from the Web-based platform
As stated above, this sportsbook was designed with mobile first, second and third in mind.
The app is fairly easy navigable with clear displays — white and neon green text on a black background. It’s intuitive and fast. There’s an ample but not overwhelming amount of displays and information on the screen.
If you’re just encountering the sportsbook and have no clue what’s happening, click “More” with the three bullets above it in the bottom right. From there you can access “My Bets” and sort between bets that are “open” (active/pending) and “settled” wagers.
From there you can also view app settings, game lines, rules, FAQs and the “quick start guide,” which is an explainer for the app and sports betting. The bottom menu remains static when visiting almost areas of the app — which is nice for ease and consistency.
Now let’s describe a few bits of functionality:
(a) As far as placing bets: When you click a potential wager (such as “KC Chiefs +3”), a couple things may happen. You may see the first screen below at left (Figure A), which prompts you to enter a wager amount, and then you advance to a menu where you place the wager. It will also give you the option to “Create Parlay or Add More Bets.” If that’s what you want to do, you’ll go back to the menu of potential bets.
The other screen that may pop up is the second one from left, which is also what you’ll see when you click “My Bets” at the bottom.
That’s your “bet slip” — basically the items you bring to the register at the grocery store. You’ve got them in the cart but haven’t committed to anything yet. Want to get rid of something? Click “X” to the left of the wager. Want to go back and look at more games or props or whatnot? Click the X in the TOP left. In the other two frames you can see what the “More” section looks like and the contents of the Quick Start Guide.
(b) Parlays: If you’re making a parlay, when you’re in the bet slip (can be accessed through “My Bets” at the bottom) you’ll notice a frame under “cash out” called “odds,” which shows the actual odds for the bet. For example, with two bets at -110, it will be +265 (2.6:1 for parlays industry standard). Add one more bet (or “leg”) and it will go to about +595 (a bit below industry standard 6:1). The point is, if you’re combining multiple bets at different prices, the “odds” will calculate there automatically for you.
(c) Teasers: Same deal regarding odds displaying/adjusting automatically. For both parlays and teasers, the “potential payout” includes your wager amount. So of you’re betting 50 to win 80, the potential payout will be $130. You’re not winning $130 — that number includes your investment. You would win $80.
(d) Locating the goods: There’s a load of alternate spreads, totals, props and more markets available for most games. But how to access them from the main screen isn’t completely obvious. So here’s a screencap below showing where to click. Actually, if you click any of the light gray area surrounding the spread/total/moneyline, it should pull up your other options, which are displayed to the right. But the area noted is one spot you can click to access the rest of the menu.
All the same items are available on the web as on the app. The bet slip will remain on the right of the page — at most times — so you can view the entire rest of the menu and navigate around while still being able to view the bet slip, which is one advantage versus the app.
We said at most times — depending on the size of the browser window you’re using, the bet slip may get shoved to near the bottom of the screen, indicated by a white bar. Click that and your slip will pull back up, or drag your browser window wide again and it will move back right. Or just click “My Bets” at the top to see it.
Assuming you’re hooked up to a working connection, the pages move quickly with only occasional, minor lagging.
Another small advantage of the web platform the ability to easily switch between the DFS portion of the site and the sportsbook. On your phone, you’ll need to have two separate apps. Only takes one click to go back-and-forth online.
Pricing and Odds
In the days and first several weeks after launch, during baseball season, DraftKings faced a lot of criticism over its pricing. The prices were high and well above industry norms. For example on baseball sides, rather than lines with 10, 15 or 20-cents total (i.e. -110 both sides), some lines were in the 30-cent range. Not all, but some.
Before we return to the high pricing, let’s review the good: The pricing on teasers and parlays is better.
DraftKings uses Kambi Sports for its pricing, trading and risk-management. (SugarHouse and 888sport also use Kambi).
DK and the other Kambi sportsbooks use what they call “Teaser+” to prices teasers (and quasi-teasers or parlays) in a different way than traditionally. Here’s how they explain it (emphasis added).
Teaser+ differs from the traditional teaser due to the fact Kambi’s in-house trading team generates a price based on each individual leg of a player’s chosen parlay. Traditionally, parlays have been allocated a predetermined price according to an operator’s static odds table. For instance, a three-team parlay gaining seven points on the spread will be allocated the same odds each time, no matter the identity of the teams involved.
In reinventing the product, Kambi’s trademark-pending Teaser+ swaps the odds table for its wide range of in-house generated alternative lines, thereby ensuring the teased parlay accurately reflects the players’ selected teams, match factors and related probabilities.
As a result of this more precise and fully automated process, Kambi’s Teaser+ not only gives players the price they would receive if they selected the teased spreads individually, but in almost every instance generates a more generous price when compared to the odds tables used by other operators and suppliers.
We tested the Teaser+ and it’s true — it almost always results in better prices on teaser bets (regardless of the number of legs) and on parlays. Here’s an example with a 6-point, three-team teaser, with each leg priced at -110.
DraftKings (at left) came up with +186, and both William Hill (middle) and FanDuel (right) at +160. Obviously you’d have to be foolish or lazy to pass up a potential extra $26 dollars on the same $100 wager.
We didn’t find the price at +186 every time in this scenario. Another time (using the same formulation — 6 points, 3 legs) it was +168. For one trial with a three-leg basketball teaser for 5 points at -110 each, we found the DK price was +220 versus +120 for FanDuel and +150 at William Hill. Bottom line: You’ll probably find betting teaser/parlay pricing at DK compared with competitors.
To our knowledge, the Teaser+ not available on games that aren’t completely priced out (with multiple alternative lines), which means may not be able use it for some (or a lot of) college basketball or college football games. Or perhaps not until closer until gametime when those do get priced out.
What’s the idea?
Well, DraftKings is not a charity. The teaser/parlay pricing is great compared to the competition, but sportsbooks across the country (and offshore) have a much higher hold percentage on them — in the 15-30 percent range, versus around 5-6 percent overall. They’re hard to hit.
So basically if DraftKings were running a carnival and teasers are the ring toss game, you’re getting a significantly larger bucket of rings to participate in what overall, for most bettors, a losing proposition. Listen, it’s fun. The ring toss is fun. Hitting a multi-leg parlay is thrilling! And if you really know what you’re doing and are disciplined, you should take advantage and come out way ahead of where you’d get with the same wagers at other sportsbooks. The purpose of this note is to explain the what we believe is the strategy behind it.
Now the “bad”:
Contrasting with the teaser/parlay pricing, the moneyline pricing and in a lot of cases the spread pricing is inferior to the competition. The football standard is 20 cents, or -110 on both sides. On DraftKings, often you’ll see something like -117 and -105, or -110 and -112. So that’s 21 or 22 cents. These small numbers add up.
For some bets, the pricing is further out of whack. Consider these prices on totals for halves for an NFL game. This should be at, again, 20 cents, but they’re between 30 and 34. You’re going to want to shop around if you see pricing like that. In fact you should always be shopping around on every wager for the best price you can find.
Now compare the moneylines with other sportsbooks (in New Jersey). This pricing is for the Thanksgiving 2018 slate of games. In some cases, depending on the side you want, you could grab a price that compares favorably to a competitor (for example the Redskins at DK vs. FD), but in every single case, the overall pricing is worse, to varying degrees:
User Experience and Betting Options
(a) Betting options
To expand on the above regarding in-play options/wagers, here are some more examples of potential wagers:
- Basketball: Will the next next field goal be? Two pointer or three pointer.
- Basketball or Football: Race to 10 points in every quarter (which team scores 10 first).
- Hockey: Who will score the next goal — team or player.
- Baseball: What will be the result of the next at-bat for Aaron Judge: hit, walk, K, home run, etc.
(b) DraftKings Pools:
In general DraftKings is getting creative all over the place, particularly in areas that might appeal to more recreational bettors, who generally like to wager a little to win a lot (that’s actually the tagline for the pools). One such new idea on that front is “DraftKings Pools” with DFS-style entry fees of $20 or $3.
Basically it’s like a huge NFL office pool with $200K guaranteed prizes (for a recent contest). You pick the winner (straight up, not ATS) and if you get a certain number right, you’ll split the prize with however many other entrants get that number right (at least 10 correct picks or more).
(c) Odds Boosts: Like FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings regularly offers/promotes different “odds boosts” for different games/events. Typically the offers are for prop bets, such as “Saquon Barkley to score first touchdown” in a Giants game. More examples:
The King returns to The Land, so of course we have LeBron-specific odds boosts.
Score 29.5+ points & win (+115 ➡ +145)
Triple-double (+650 ➡ +780)
Make three 3-pt FGs (+115 ➡ +140)
Score first FG of game (+400 ➡ +480)
Miss 2+ FT in the 4th (+600 ➡ +720) pic.twitter.com/fRlCNWFdBR
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) November 21, 2018
We can’t definitively say if the odds in the past were what they say they were, but they appear to be in the right range. These boosts are nice, but generally the offers are on wagers that aren’t great bets for the long-term and by that, we mean bets that will sustain profitability. That said, if these are bets you might have grabbed anyways or simply want the entertainment, have at it.
(d) “Cash Out” feature:
If you check out your “open bets” within “my bets,” you may see an offer to “cash out” your ticket before the game/event/prop has been decided. We can provide one such example of an offer (made prior to the Rams’ 54-51 victory over the Chiefs) on a ticket for the Rams to win the NFC West — a wager made in August.
Why the offer? Because you’re being offered less than the implied odds of your bet winning. For example the likelihood the Rams winning the division at the time of that offer was about 98.7%, and they were offering about 82% of the potential $100 winnings. Professional bettors would never, ever take that (nor would we), but there may be instances where you may believe that circumstances have changed and you don’t love the chances of your bet hitting anymore. Perhaps you’re getting close to the implied odds and you just want the liquidity. Surely some people will take that. It’s a creative option but one you should examine carefully in each particular situation.
(e) Teasers: According to our latest testing, you can make cross-league teasers within sports (such as CFB, NFL) in some cases whereas last we checked at licensed New Jersey sportsbooks, you cannot.
(f) Correlation parlays: You can’t make “correlation” parlays or teasers. In other words, you can’t parlay or tease sides/totals in the same game. This limitation has appeared at a few other sportsbooks we’ve examined, so it’s not unique to DraftKings. That said, DraftKings posts/offer some homemade “Game Parlays,” however the prices offered are below what you would get if you parlayed the same-priced legs on different games.
(g) Wager and Transaction history: Under “My Bets” you can adjust the calendar icon to sort through wagers of a given time period. For example, only want to see September wagers? However under “Transaction History” or “Account Statement transactions,” you can’t get a profit/loss figure generated. Just a ledger of transactions. So you will have to manually calculate settled bets, which pros will do but is laborious. We hope to see DraftKings upgrade their functionality in this area.
- You won’t get logged for inactivity too quickly, which is not the case at some other sportsbooks. On the app you also have the option to create a four-digit passcode so you can quickly and easily access the book, as opposed to making a typo or fat-fingering the full password.
- Also on the app and web, the screen gives live updates with a running clock, which makes it feel, well, live and exciting. No buffering there.
- Overall it’s not cluttered and there aren’t pop-ups getting in the way, and we didn’t encounter any autoplay videos (or the worst kind — autoplay videos with sound).
- One other nice thing — you can set your account so that if a price or line changes while you have it in your bet slip, the system will ask you for approval on the adjustment. That way you aren’t surprised later and if you don’t want to make the bet anymore, you can X it out.
- Another cool user feature is the “Stats” tab. See below. You can access this for most games within the wagering menu for that game. You’ll get such information as a preview, betting trends, H2H matchup history, each team’s against-the-spread history, spread and total movement and over/under history/record. Nice to have all that accessible within the app.
Deposits and Withdrawals
The current complement of options for depositing:
- Bank Transfer (ACH)
- Play Prepaid Cards or
- Visa/Mastercard which may work for DFS but probably will get rejected for sportsbook deposits, even though it is legal.
Your options for withdrawing:
- Bank Transfer (ACH)
- Withdrawal at the casino cage — depending on your state and DraftKings’ relationship with the licensed casino. In New Jersey, you can redeem funds at the physical cage in the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.
We’ve deposited with PayPal and ACH and withdrew funds through both, which in both cases hit the accounts in under 48 hours. We’ve been using DraftKings DFS games since 2013 and have never encountered a problem making a withdrawal or deposit.