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Guide to Fantasy Sports Betting Sites 2023
If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a bit of an armchair sports manager, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of fantasy sports. Picking your own team and monitoring its progress is great fun.
And thanks to betting sites dedicated to this form of entertainment, it can also be incredibly profitable too. We’re going to show you how to get started and make the most of the best fantasy sports betting sites around.
How Fantasy sports betting works
For the newbie fantasy gambler, it can seem like a complicated affair. So many stats to work with and various elements that come together to make it all happen. But it needn’t be difficult if you follow our step-by-step guide.
In a nutshell, you need to draft in a team of your own to represent you in one of the major sports that is covered by the fantasy genre. Each of your players scores points after each game and they all add together to give you an overall team score. And if you’re playing with a little wager on the side, then the winning teams stand to earn some cash as a result.
What contests can I play?
There are plenty of different sports that are included in the fantasy realm. The most popular are NFL, MLB, English Premier League, PGA and NASCAR too. And the best fantasy sports sites will offer all if not most of the above.
It’s great fun following a new sport and turning your hand to fantasy management can be tempting. But it does take a while to get a feel for the players and teams. So in the beginning it is probably best to stick to a sport that you know and like to follow.
Is it legal to bet on Fantasy sports?
If you’re wondering is fantasy sports gambling, then the answer is yes and no. Placing a fantasy bet is legal in most cases. Although you do need to be careful depending on where you live. Some states in the USA don’t allow this form of entertainment as they class it as gambling. It isn’t illegal at a federal level but some states have created their own ruling on the subject.
Other places, including the UK, allow this activity without any problem. In the UK, online gambling is completely legal but is licensed carefully by the UKGC. Any company offering this type of betting in this jurisdiction must obtain a pool licence to trade.
Top leagues in Fantasy sports
There are loads of great leagues that lend themselves to this betting format. The majority of them are American Sports and this makes sense given that the biggest fantasy Market is in the USA. The only main contender outside the US is the English Premier League. This football league has a global following and is the most-watched league in the world.
Let's take a look at some of the main sports that you can enjoy betting on with the fantasy format.
Fantasy NFL (National Football League)
The NFL is one of the most popular sports leagues in America. It attracts an enormous following and one of the biggest dates on the calendar is the Super Bowl. The top teams from each area division fight it out to eventually be crowned the best team in the country.
The Super Bowl came about in 1966 as a one-off clash to see who was the best team between two rival leagues. At that time, the NFL and AFL were fighting to be the top league in the country. The NFL eventually saw off its competition and the AFL teams were merged into the National Football League.
Fantasy Premier League
Most fantasy football betting sites will have a great selection of action available for the beautiful game. The EPL is the most famous league in the world with an incredible following. Every year, the top 20 teams from England and Wales compete for the title of Premier League Champion.
Top players from around the globe play in this league creating a huge demand for televised games. Matches broadcast to over 100 countries with billions of viewers regularly tuning in. And fantasy Sports have been popularly associated with the game for many years. What started as some friendly rivalry amongst colleagues and friends turned into a huge national league with several spin-offs. It is possible to take part at many of the top fantasy sites available online.
Fantasy NBA (National Basketball Association)
The NBA is the world's most famous basketball league. It started in 1946 and a few years later merged with another league called the National Basketball League. Millions of fans tune in from all over the world to watch their favourite teams and players compete at the highest level.
It is also incredibly popular at most fantasy sports betting sites. Individual players having their own stats contributing to a fantasy team is perfect for those who want to get in on the action. Players can score points for loads of different actions during the game. And this just adds to the excitement.
Fantasy MLB (Major League Baseball)
The MLB is the culmination of different leagues as seems to be the fashion with American sports! They came together in the early 1900s to create by far the biggest baseball league in the world. The rivalry between the two original leagues proved once again to be the catalyst for another huge clash to prove who was the best. As a result, the world series emerged as a way to settle the score.
How to bet on fantasy sports
If you’re intrigued by this fantastic type of sports betting, then you’re probably wondering how do fantasy sports work, and how do you get started? Well, it’s super simple once you get the hang of it and getting up and running is a cinch. The hardest part is getting your head around all of the facts and figures. And that’s why we recommend that you go for a league that you have an interest in. At least at first, anyway.
So to give you a head start we’ve created a short, step-by-step guide.
- Decide where you would like to play. We have a whole section coming up on the different sites that offer this product
- Choose your sport. This will be down to personal choice and it’s good to stick to what you know
- Create an account. This is usually pretty simple and only requires a few details plus a payment method. After that, you’ll need to deposit some cash
- Draft your team. Each site will have rules about the number and types of players that you can select depending on their positions. You’ll pick your team based on the stats available for those players and perhaps a little intuition too
- Pay your sub for that game or league
- Confirm your selection and wait for the result! The winner gets the prize money and the runners up might share some too
Recommended Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites
Fantasy gambling is available at several different sites and each one has its own fantastic attributes. Although there aren’t tonnes of companies running this type of betting so we’d be hard pushed to give you a top 10 fantasy sports sites list.
We represent the main brands that are in the market at the moment so let’s take a look at those sites and see what they offer.
The first place where many players head for US fantasy sports is DraftKings. They’ve been going since 2011 and are based in Boston, MA. They specialise in daily fantasy contests and have a top selection of matches available for you to choose from.
They started with the help of some interest from the MLB so they have a keen focus on baseball. As with all betting on fantasy leagues in the US, you need to be careful where you are based. They are restricted to offering their products in certain states due to the gambling laws.
It’s easy to get started and create an account with them. And they also offer loads of top ways to make a deposit into your account.
Another top fantasy sports website where many choose to get their betting action is FanDuel. Millions of players have teams entered into various leagues and daily battles. And the prize money soon mounts up here. You can expect to see some large payouts in the most popular competitions.
They offer a great range of sports for you to draft a team from including football, soccer, hockey, baseball and athletics. They even have a money-back offer for your first game if you’re not completely satisfied. So what have you got to lose?
StarsDraft may not be as big as the two sites we’ve just mentioned but they still have a lot to offer. They began back in 2014 and have gone from strength to strength ever since. They have a great range of bonuses on offer for new customers as well as a top selection of sports available.
It’s so easy to get your selection drafted in and you can be competing against loads of other players in no time at all. They have a fantastic mobile site that offers you all the action while on the go. And there is also loads of helpful info on their site about the leagues and how to get involved.
Monkey Knife Fight
One of the smaller sites out there offering fantasy leagues but definitely worth a look. They only started out a few years ago back in 2018. But the company is backed by founder and CEO Bill Asher who knows a thing or two about building companies. And their user base has grown an incredible 400% each year since they began.
Where most of the fantasy companies focus on the intricate details behind each selection, Monkey Knife Fight keeps its gaze firmly on the fun aspect of the game. You can still access loads of helpful stats and info but there’s a fun edge to it that perhaps you don’t get with some other brands.
How to join a league in fantasy sports
Joining a league with online fantasy sports is easy if you follow the simple process laid out for you here. There are a few things that you need to do so that you have the best chance of having a successful introduction to the game.
Let’s take a look at the process and get your team in the mix to win some of the awesome prizes up for grabs.
Research bookmakers and find one that suits you
There are a few top fantasy sports betting sites available. Most of them are hosted in the USA but there are others in the UK as well. The main focus in the UK is on the Premier League as you might expect. We have a few for you to choose from here. All you need to do is decide which one you think is right for you. This may come down to several factors such as the range of sports or even payment options. But one thing that is usually high on the list of priorities is the type of bonus on offer for new customers.
Look for the best promotions
Online gambling brands love to offer up a ton of freebies for their new customers. And fantasy sports betting is no different. There’s a good deal of competition out there and they want to make sure that they can count on your custom. So they are happy to heavily incentivise it.
You can find some deals that offer free entry to comps etc., while others will give you some bonus cash to spend on the site. Either way, they are all worth having as they mean free games. And who doesn’t love to play for free, right?
Open your player account
When you have decided which of the fantasy sports websites you would like to join, it’s time to get your new account open. And this is usually super easy. In general, you only need to enter a few basic details to get your account up and running. This will include your name, phone number and possibly your address too. You will probably need to enter an email address as the site will need to confirm your account activation.
When you have your new account up and running, then the brand will release any of the promotional cash that they promised you. There shouldn't be any more to it than that, but always check the details on the website just to make sure.
Select a sport that you know well
It always pays to select a sport that you are interested in if you are going to be playing at fantasy sports betting sites. It is a difficult task to understand all of the statistics and figures that go along with this type of entertainment. So knowing a little bit about the game and some of the players and teams is essential. Furthermore, it also adds an extra layer of excitement because you have a vested interest in that league as well.
Select a contest
Ok, so now you have your new account set up and you have decided which sport you want to bet on. Now it's time to decide what kind of contest you are going for. You can choose from daily battles between other players. Or you can go for the season-long leagues that can be more in-depth as they require swapping out players from time to time. The bigger prize money can be found in the longer leagues as it takes a lot more staying power to get through to the end and prevail as the victor.
Time to draft your team
The truly exciting part about all of this is drafting your team. You get to look through all of the available players in that league and decide which of them you want to represent your team. Depending on the sport you are going for, there are a number of statistics available to you. You want to choose a well-balanced team that is going to provide you with plenty of points week after week. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the news as you never know when certain players may be injured or not available for selection.
You're all set!
And that's it! Your team is ready, you've paid your subs and now all you need to do is enjoy the game. If you are playing in a season league, for example, then you will need to make changes during the season as some players will come and go with injury and various other problems. You need to make sure that you know the rules for substitutions and transferring players as this is an integral part of becoming a successful player in this game.
Fantasy sports betting bonus offers
There are many different bonus offers available when signing up for a new site. By getting your hands on one of these fantastic deals you can effectively get free fantasy sports. Some offers require the player to part with a little cash. But others can appear for doing little more than creating a new account.
Below, we are going to take a look at three of the main bonus offers available. You can decide which type works best for you and your cash. And then you can head off and collect your bonus offer and get playing straight away.
Bonus with no deposit required
A bonus that does not require any deposit to be made is always top of the list for most players. It's fantastic to get your hands on something for nothing and this scenario is no different. Many sites will offer you a free bet so that you can try everything out and see what you think of it. By completing the registration form you can get your hands on this awesome freebie and you might even win some cash in the process. This type of offer will usually be fairly small. And there will always be some requirements attached to the deal. It's always best to check out the terms and conditions before you accept any welcome offer.
Deposit match bonus
If you are looking for a much larger bonus when joining one of the fantasy sports websites, then you might want to consider a deposit match. By offering up a little of your own money the fantasy brand may be prepared to reward you more heavily. Anything that you add to your account, they will match. And this can sometimes be hundreds of pounds. There will likely be a limit to the amount that the site will match. But this will be made clear in the terms and conditions. Always read these carefully to see if there are any limits on the winnings and if you have to wager those winnings afterwards.
Bonus for referring a friend
If you are into fantasy type gambling then the chances are you will have a friend who is as well. By speaking to your friends and seeing if anyone is interested in creating their own account, it is sometimes possible to land yourself an extra bonus. Friend referral bonuses can add up to some decent sums of cash at the right site. Plus you will have a friend playing at the same place and you can challenge each other and hopefully win some cash at the same time.
To get your hands on any of the offers mentioned above you only need to check out our site listings. We have details for some of the best fantasy brands on the internet. You can see what they have available at the moment and take your pick. Usually, any of the above bonuses can be obtained pretty quickly. So you never know, you might be up and running and playing for free very soon.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
You will find two different types of fantasy betting available at the majority of daily fantasy sports sites. The one which is a much newer addition to this type of betting is the daily fantasy games. These are one-off battles that are contested between two players. You will each choose a team for one of the fixtures available on that day. It depends on what sports are in action at the time. But you will usually have a great selection of games to choose from.
It can be extremely exciting playing this way. Getting the results at the end of the game and calculating the winner is much faster. And you can achieve some fantastic prizes on the daily specials. Furthermore, you will often have a choice of wager amounts as well. If you are not in the market for risking lots of cash, then this is a great option. However, if you are only playing for a small amount on each game, then you can only win a small amount as well.
Pros of DFS
- Faster turnaround
- Chance to draft lots of teams
- Instant prizes
- Less hassle than a league
- Play every day
- Various bet sizes available
Cons of DFS
- Less tinkering with your team
- Salary capped team choice
- Less money up for grabs
Season Fantasy Sports
The original and in some people’s opinion, the best type of fantasy action is the season-long variety. Fantasy sports websites began offering this action at the very start and so it has the biggest following. Many people love to follow their favourite teams from the beginning to the end of the season. So it makes sense that they keep a keen eye on proceedings.
There is also a lot more cash up for grabs with this form of fantasy league betting. Many players are involved and so the pot builds quickly. The larger sites are able to guarantee a certain amount of winnings for each league. And this can run into millions of dollars sometimes. And even if you only come second or third, there is still a chance of walking off with some of the winnings.
You can make your team selection at the start of the league and work with it all the way. You need to draft players in and out as the season progresses. And this makes the action even more intense. It’s a great way to enjoy months of sporting action with the added benefit of potentially winning some cash at the end of it. And let’s not forget the bragging rights! Having the staying power to fend off the competition over several months is quite an accomplishment.
Pros of Season Fantasy Sports
- Bigger teams to draft
- Higher winning potential
- Team changes possible
- Gives a vested interest in the sport throughout the year
- Many leagues to choose from
Cons of Season Fantasy Sports
- More stats to think about
- Takes longer to win anything
We hope that you now know everything you need to get started with the most popular fantasy sports. At first glance, it can all seem a little tricky but it doesn’t take long to figure out. If there’s anything that you are still unsure of, then check out the frequently asked questions below.
What's the most popular fantasy sport?
Daily fantasy football sites are some of the most popular around. And this is especially true in the UK. The love of the beautiful game makes it a perfect choice for most people to get involved with. Having a keen interest in the sport is always a good idea. And the Brits definitely love following the English football leagues. In the states, NFL and MLB are probably the two most popular types of fantasy entertainment.
Is fantasy sports betting legal?
Fantasy sports gambling is perfectly legal in many places. However, it does depend on the jurisdiction you live in. In the USA, some states expressly forbid this type of action as they class it as gambling. And gambling is not allowed in all states. You will need to check before you play as the landscape changes regularly. Many more areas are starting to allow online gambling. So it may not be long before the whole country allows it. In the UK there are no legal issues.
How do I draft the best DFS team?
This is where knowing your stuff gives you a real advantage. We always advise that you create fantasy teams for sports that you enjoy and like to follow. Having an already keen interest in the sport is essential as the majority of other players will also have plenty of knowledge. Knowing how to read the stats is also extremely important as these will tell you who are the best players to put in your team. It may not always be the most obvious players that generate the best scores. Fantasy type gambling it's a statistical process at fantasy sport sites and you need to study the numbers.
Is fantasy sports betting addictive?
Fantasy sports websites do their best to stop players from getting involved if they think there may be an issue. But it can be hard to spot if someone is enjoying the action a little too much. This is why it is important for you to set your own limits and treat it as a form of entertainment rather than a way to earn a living. Play in moderation and enjoy yourself!
Do I pay taxes on my winnings?
Paying taxes on winnings from fantasy sports betting sites is dependent on where you live. In the UK, for example, any winnings that arise from gambling activity are tax-free for the players. This is part of the reason why so many favour playing on these shores. In the USA, players need to declare any winnings over $600. The site is legally bound to inform the IRS so there is no getting away from it.
Is fantasy sports betting popular in the US?
Fantasy sports websites are incredibly popular state-side. With heavy restrictions on online betting in many states, fantasy wagers are often a great alternative. Many states don’t view the activity as gambling but rather a game of skill. This means that a large part of the US population can enjoy this form of entertainment. And they regularly do! There are loads of top sports leagues in America and each one has a huge army of fans.