DraftKings Launches Season-Long NFL Pick’em Contest With $1M Top Prize

Posted on July 21, 2020

This is how a gambler becomes a millionaire.

The DraftKings Pro Football Pick’em National Championship is here and includes $1 million guaranteed to the winner.

The payout will be well-deserved, coming against a field of talented bettors, over the course of a season. The entry fee is $1,500.

Here are some details for the contest, which has been approved in New Jersey. But heads up: This NFL pick’em contest may grow into other states, too.

How does the DraftKings Pro Football Pick’em contest work?

Each week of the 2020 NFL season, from Week 1 to Week 16, users will make five picks against the spread. That’s a total of 70 picks during the season. Users will need to make picks for 14 of the 16 weeks in total, with two weeks of the user’s choice that can be skipped.

DraftKings Pick’em contestants will be ranked based on their correct pick percentage. And all picks will lock at 10 a.m. EST each Sunday morning.

Here’s another little tidbit: There is a $100 bonus every week a bettor goes 5-for-5.

Of course, the season becomes official after 12 weeks. If the NFL season is canceled after 12 weeks, some bettors will have used their skipped weeks and will have fewer picks posted. That’s why the winning percentage determines the ranking.

If the NFL cancels its season before the 12th week, DraftKings will refund the $1,500 entry fee.

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How to enter the Pro Football Pick’em National Championship

To enter, visit DraftKings Sportsbook, click or tap on the “Pools” tab, and follow the instructions. Use this link to create an account at DraftKings, and if you’re a new player, you’ll get up to $1,025 free. Contestants must be at least 21 years old, and you get three contest entries max.

The guaranteed top prize is $1 million. But don’t fret if you can’t hit that lead spot. There are a total of 50 prizes available.

Here’s how the cash prizes breakdown:

RankCash prize% of total prize money
First$1 million50%
Second$250,00012.5%
Third$125,0006.25%
Fourth$100,0005%
Fifth$75,0003.75%
Sixth$60,0003%
Seventh$50,0002.5%
Eighth$40,0002%
Ninth$30,0001.5%
10th$20,0001%
11th-15th$15,0000.75%
16th-20th$10,0000.5%
21st-25th$7,5000.375%
26th-35th$5,0000.25%
36th-50th$2,5000.125%

Key considerations for the NFL Pick’em contest

The NFL odds and spreads will usually be out early in the week. The first will be available on Sept. 8.

Contestants get two gimmes via the right to skip two weeks. If a bettor looks at the schedule and decides it’s too difficult, that’s a good time to employ the betting equivalent of a bye week.

Used wisely, the skipped weeks are as much a part of the strategy as selecting winners.

This will be considerably helpful during midseason. There are certain weeks when the NFL has 12 or 13 games. That reduces the pool of attractive games. Save a gimme, maybe both, for this period.

Quite significantly, Week 17 is not part of the contest.

NFL teams that have clinched playoff positions often rest their regulars in what amounts to an exhibition game. Week 17 has always been a handicapping nightmare both for spread pickers and fantasy-football owners. It won’t be for this contest.

Be careful not to cut the selection process too close. Balance the need for late injury information with the necessity to avoid the shutout.

Strategies for the DraftKings Pick’em

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, offers a couple of pointers. First, find the games with the best values and do some pre-season homework.

“Look at the entire NFL schedule before the season starts and find the weeks that adhere to your strengths,” he said. “That can be conferences, teams, or individual matchups.”

He also advises bettors to study injuries throughout the week as they play a critical role in the lines and the games.

This online contest has brick-and-mortar roots. It is similar to the long-running Las Vegas Hilton model, which carried the same rules and buy-ins as this one.

The contest not only generated substantial entries but carried a promotional component. Players would enter the property to see their names on the leaderboard throughout the week, and then gamble.

Now called the Westgate Super Contest, it generated more than 3,000 entries last year.

Competitions like this are about more than money, though. Bragging rights are a close second. This is how a gambler wins a Super Bowl.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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