DraftKings Puts March Madness Brackets In The Spotlight With Cash Contests

Written By Daniel Smyth on March 13, 2019 - Last Updated on February 11, 2021

The 2019 NCAA Tournament is on the horizon, which means it’s time for you to start taking sides.

With the NCAA’s finest all offering something different, picking the perfect bracket isn’t easy. However, if you know the stats and have a feel for which teams are going to perform well, March Madness betting can be a proverbial goldmine.

Tapping into the hype surrounding college basketball’s top tournament, DraftKings Sportsbook launched a new innovation. Dubbed DraftKings Brackets, the latest offer is your chance to fill out your brackets online and win money from your selections.

“As American sports fans during March Madness, we are all playing bracket contests with our friends, family and co-workers,” said Matt Kalish, DraftKings’ chief revenue officer and co-founder, in a press release.

“By launching Brackets on DraftKings Sportsbook, we are bringing the number one way fans engage with March Madness to the biggest stage —DraftKings’ industry-leading fantasy sports and sportsbook apps.”

That’s right, over the coming days, you can turn your love of college basketball into a legal money-making venture. It’s the first of its kind outside Nevada.

DraftKings Brackets for NJ and beyond

Of course, if you’d prefer to take things game-by-game and place some more traditional sports bets, that’s not a problem. DraftKings is the NJ sports betting king.

However, to win a share of $164,000 in cash prizes, you’ll need to decide between two different bracket contests at DraftKings.

Now, before we talk a bit more about how to take part in the contest, it’s important to note that this is a mobile-only event. Put simply, if you want to play for the cash, you need the DraftKings Sportsbook iOS or Android sportsbook app.

Once you’re ready to bet on the go, you’ll see two contests.

The first is a free-to-enter bracket with $64,000 in prize money up for grabs. This contest is great but you will find yourself facing off against basketball fans from across the US.

For a more lucrative and potentially easier payout, the $100,000 contest is reserved for New Jersey customers. So, as long as you’re capable of paying the $20 entry fee and you are within state lines, you’ll only have to prove your one of the top tipsters in the state to win some cash.

And in case you were curious, such a cash contest for March Madness brackets was only available in Nevada… until now.

Cash to win from DraftKings’ March Madness

Now, the free-to-play pool limits users to one entry per person, but the paid entry allows users to create up to 16 entries.

The nationwide free-to-play pool pays out the top 6,475 places, including the top five finishers:

  • First: $5,000
  • Second: $3,500
  • Third: $2,500
  • Fourth: $2,000
  • Fifth: $1,500

In contrast, the big NJ-based tournament with that $20 buy-in spreads winnings out among the top 1,195 places. And the top-five payouts are:

  • First: $20,000
  • Second: $10,000
  • Third: $7,000
  • Fourth: $4,000
  • Fifth: $2,000

Public or private seats are up for grabs right now

If that wasn’t enough, DraftKings Sportsbook is also giving you the chance to create your own private contests. By using the “private” tab, you can set your own bracket bonanza and restrict access to your chosen opponents.

From the press release:

“Customers can enter public or create private contests at the beginning of the tournament, as well as starting in the Round of 32 or Sweet 16 for interactive play during each round.”

What’s great about these contests is that you can start them prior to the tournament as well as during it.

So, if you find that you’re on a hot streak as the action unfolds, you can create a private event and earn a little extra from your friends during the Round of 32 or Sweet 16.

To give you the best chance of making the right picks in plenty of time, you can reserve your seat in one or more contests right now. Doing that means you’ll be in the hunt when the shots start to fly.

Of course, if you’ve never taken part in a March Madness bracket before, you’ll need to do some prep.

More about DraftKings Brackets contest

For those that don’t know, a March Madness bracket is basically a game-by-game forecasting contest. So, at the start of the tournament, you’ll have to predict the winner of all 67 games (including the First Four).

Now, in the history of March Madness, no one has selected a perfect bracket. It is virtually impossible.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be perfect to win. As long as you score more correct picks than other people in the DraftKings Brackets contest, you’ll earn points and climb the leaderboard.

Finish within the top percentile and you’ll win a share of $100,000 in NJ or $64,000 nationwide. No, we didn’t forget to add the word “bonus” to the sentence. This is a straight cash race, which means anything you win is yours to keep.

For that reason alone, this contest is worth joining.

And what if NJ teams make it to the tournament?

However, New Jersey law states that no sports bets can be placed on NJ college teams, no matter if the games are in state or out of state.

If Seton Hall or another NJ college team gets selected to the tournament, you can bet there will be no betting on them even if it’s in a bracket contest like the one DraftKings has planned.

In a statement, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement made clear that such a situation would require sportsbooks to clarify those rules to players:

“The NJ Constitution prohibits any sports wagering on New Jersey collegiate teams whatsoever. Sportsbook operators must advise customers of this prohibition when wagers are accepted on collegiate tournament events that include New Jersey teams.”

Test your March Madness skill with DraftKings Sportsbook

But, in our opinion, the real reason this one should pique your interest is that it’s a true test of skill. Yes, there is some luck involved in selecting the right results. However, the eventual winners will be those with the best knowledge of the game. By pouring over the stats, checking the form book, and having a general sense of how the tournament will play out, you stand a great shot at winning.

That’s a break from the norm. Because you don’t have to rely on a random number generator or lady luck to help you turn a profit, this contest is a chance to use your skills to pay the bills.

Again, an acute insight into college basketball won’t guarantee you win some cash. There are too many Cinderella stories from past NCAA Tournaments.

However, with the right blend of knowledge, experience, and timing, you certainly stand a good shot at making DraftKings’ March Madness Brackets contest work for you.

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Daniel Smyth

Daniel Smyth is a freelance writer with almost a decade’s worth of experience in online gambling, online poker, and the NJ online casino industry. Daniel has produced content for a variety of publications including a stint at WPT Poker Magazine.

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