- DFS operator PrizePicks has announce the addition of new golf markets just in time for the Masters.
- They’ve also added markets on cricket and disk golf.
- Poker Hall of Famers Phil Hellmuth and Jack McLelland are part of the investment team behind PrizePicks
When we last heard from DFS platform PrizePicks it was back in late January 2021 and they had just completed an investment round that included some big names from the world of poker, most notably Poker Hall of Famers Phil Hellmuth and Jack McLelland. They’re back now just as the Masters tournament is getting underway in Augusta, Georgia with some enhanced golf offerings and the additions of some intriguing niche sports.
The announcement of ‘new additions to the PrizePicks golf offerings’ looks to be an attempt to grab some media pub more than anything significant. Here’s how the press release announcing the new golf markets described things (emphasis added):
For PGA fans gearing up for this week’s Masters down the road in Augusta, PrizePicks is now the only DFS or betting operator to offer “longest drive” predictions in addition to other enticing golf games like predicting how many birdies a golfer will have or in which place they will finish. The move diversifies the golf options PrizePicks offers, which previously only included picking over/under on golfer strokes.
There’s only one problem with all of this–it isn’t true. It’s no secret that golf betting is exploding in popularity thanks to enhanced streaming coverage and limitless in-play options. The Wall Street Journal did an article on the golf betting boom today and talked about the ‘alternate coverage’ of the Waste Management Phoenix Open provided on NBC’s streaming network in partnership with PointsBet which covered an insane range of betting options:
In-play betting in golf was introduced in 2018 during “The Match,” the $9 million showdown between Mr. Woods and Mr. Mickelson in Las Vegas. More recently, the tour joined with NBC Sports and PointsBet to present a golf-betting simulcast of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on NBC’s Peacock Premium service. The show, aired concurrently with regular coverage of the tournament, focused on odds and presenting up to 500 betting options.
I was interviewed for a golf betting article in the San Diego Union-Tribune back in 2019–the writer of the article specifically mentioned ‘longest drive’ and ‘birdie props’ as some of the ‘almost endless’ bet types available:
Who will hit the longest drive on a particular hole? Which players in the group will make birdie? Who’ll save par from the greenside bunker?
The possibilities seem almost endless. In a normal PGA Tour event of 144 players, there are more than 30,000 shots executed over the week. That’s quite a contrast to who’s going to score the next goal in a soccer game.
My quotes address among other things the PGA’s proactive stance on golf betting and the already huge popularity of golf betting in Nevada:
“I think the PGA Tour saw the writing on the wall,” said James Murphy, a veteran oddsmaker, author and consultant . “They saw that this was going to be a reality, and they could either stick their heads in the sand and pretend it didn’t exist, or find a way to leverage it.”
As it was, with its ShotLink system that records every stroke of play, the tour was sitting on a gold mine of possible betting opportunities and historical references for handicapping.
“The potential is huge,” Murphy said. “Golf is a big thing worldwide, but it’s really grown here in North America. In the Nevada market, after football and basketball, there may be more wagering on golf than on anything else. It’s become a really big deal.”
I’m not going to pass myself off as a DFS expert but at the sportsbook the golf bet types they cite are nothing new. For example, here’s a segment of the Colorado Division of Gaming sports betting catalog covering golf–there are several different ‘longest drive’ and ‘total birdies’ bets among a gazillion other bet types:
There are several ‘number of birdies’ derivative props up on the BetMGM Colorado betting board as we speak–in the middle of the night before the second round:
Either PrizePicks a) didn’t know that they weren’t exactly re-inventing the golf betting wheel with these new markets or b) they did know and figured that they would have no problem getting the huge number of media outlets that don’t have a clue about sports betting to give them some ink. On that account, they were correct but neither is a good look for the company. While it might be tempting to hoodwink the legions of newly deputized ‘sports betting writers’ that know little to nothing about the topic to get your brand name some pub it’s not good for the industry on a macro level. If they legit thought they were ‘first to market’ with these golf props I don’t know what to say. If PrizePicks wants to send future press releases over to me I’ll be happy to check them for accuracy free of charge–just hit up the ‘Media Inquiries’ link at the top of the page.
The more interesting component of the story is the addition of cricket and disc golf to their markets. Not that cricket betting is anything new–there’s almost as many types of cricket bets on the betting board in Colorado as golf bets. For example, PointsBet Colorado has 71 different bet types available for today’s Mumbai Indians/Royal Challengers Bangalore matchup. With a number of the sportsbooks based in England or Australia that’s no surprise. The Colorado Division of Gaming sports catalog has plenty of approved bet types as well.
Apparently, the ownership of the Caribbean Premier League‘s Barbados Tridents is invested in PrizePicks:
The Tridents leadership team helped guide the club to the 2019 CPL championship Champions in its first season of ownership and hopes to build the sport’s base in the US. PrizePicks will initially offer the ultra-popular Indian Premier League (IPL) with an eye toward adding leagues in the near future.
“We are excited to bring our expertise in cricket to life with PrizePicks. With over 30 million cricket fans in the USA for the second-most watched sport internationally, it was a natural fit,” said Trident Co-Owner Arvind Gopwani. “My hope is that cricket will help further the record-breaking success PrizePicks has had over the past eight months, and we’re proud this will be the first DFS/Cricket partnership in the US.”
The Indian Premier League is a good place to start but they’ve got a long way to go if they want to get up to speed on cricket betting. The Colorado gaming regulators have 25 different cricket leagues on their approved wagers list.
At least the addition of disc golf to their markets is somewhat novel:
Many consider disc golf to be the fastest-growing sport in America since the onset of the pandemic. The sport is ideal for the PrizePicks format because it is extremely star-driven, led by top players Paul McBeth and Brodie Smith. Similar to golf, PrizePicks members can make predictions on strokes, birdies, and finishing place.
It’ll be interesting to see if disc golf attracts any betting interest. After watching table tennis become the breakout sports betting hit of the pandemic and seeing cornhole added to the betting board anything is possible.