Gambling on live sporting events is well-established and gaining more steam as more states legalize it. But over in Europe, bettors have also been able to wager on simulated sports for years.
What are simulated games and matches? They are virtual versions of standard sporting events (soccer, horse racing, NBA, et al.), utilizing advanced animation and shortened to 3 to 5 minutes. At the heart of the offering is using historical data to predict performances married to motion capture of individual players.
Game outcomes are determined by sophisticated random number generator algorithms, which is similar to the formula used in slot machines. The standard lines and totals bets are assigned to each game, plus prop bets can be played, such as betting that Leo Messi will score two goals (+1000 or 10:1).
While virtual games are perhaps thought of lightly by the experienced sports bettor, wagering on simulated sports can be a fun and entertaining alternative to live game betting. Also, because the games are so short, bettors can play more frequently.
In early 2020, SportRadar launched a virtual MLB betting game in the U.S. and internationally. These games can be played with MLB’s official sportsbook partners: DraftKings, FanDuel, Bet MGM and Fox Bet.
Major League Baseball has taken the concept further by offering two other types of simulated games. In 2020, through a partnership with DraftKings, MLB introduced the first of its Dream Bracket games, with each team’s roster full of all-time greats, across multiple eras. Imagine the Yankees Hall of Famers such as Ruth, Mantle, Ford and Berra going up against the Dodgers with Koufax, Robinson, Snider and Garvey. Negro League players were included too.
Earlier this year, MLB launched Dream Bracket 2, which had the top individual season winning teams competing in a seeded tournament. The final four were: 1986 N.Y. Mets, 1975 Cincinnati Reds, 2004 Boston Red Sox and 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Mets beat the Mariners in seven games to win the title.
Lastly, there is a game called QuickPicks that offers an interesting spin on simulated games. QuickPicks Virtual presents matchups of NBA and NFL superstars, determined by their historical game stats, and then playable in a head-to-head parlay variant of daily fantasy sports.
QuickPicks uses official performance data from specific seasons to calculate an athlete’s average fantasy points per game (FPPG), then evenly matched athletes are pitted against each other, for example: Steph Curry 2015-16 vs. Russell Westbrook 2016-17 or Aaron Rodgers 2020 vs. Peyton Manning 2009. The same athlete from different seasons can even be one of the matchups. Again, a random number generator algorithm is used to select the individual game stats that determine the head-to-head winner, with new matchups posted every 15 minutes.