Just when you thought that every betting market on the planet had already been covered, along comes Paddy Power with a new idea. Not content with ante-post betting, regular betting, and in-play betting – you can now create your own fantasy teams and win real cash.
So how does the whole set-up work? To start with, there are seven different sports that you can enter Fantasy League teams for. They are NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, CFB, PGA for golf fans and UCL for soccer fans. Now you just have to choose your preferred sport.
Each sport is made up of its own tournaments. These are high-paying contests with guaranteed prize pools. For the purposes of explaining how this works, I'm going to go through the process of the Beginner Contests.
This is essentially where players, new to Fantasy Sports at Paddy Power start out. The idea is that you have a better chance of competing against players with the same level of experience. And you are considered a beginner until you have entered at least 50 contests.
Fantasy Beginner Contests
Sticking with football, you are presented with a number of different Fantasy Sports contest options. You can go up against quite a few players – around 50 or so, or you can opt for a head-to-head contest. This is where you simply play against one other player. Depending on which you choose, the price will vary. So you can start small and play for £1 or you can go big and play for £25. The more you play for, the higher the prize money.
Once you have chosen your contest, it's time to pick your team. The options change constantly as real-time games are played so for this article I chose the Champions League games that are being played today, 22nd October. There are six games in total so all of the players from all 12 teams are in play.
Choosing Your Team
Click ‘Enter New Line-up' and you are ready to rock and roll. Every player on every team is listed based on their main position within their teams. So you must now choose four forwards or midfielders, two defenders and a goalkeeper.
The really great thing is that if you click on any individual player a little dossier comes up on each of them to give more information. Once you have an idea of who you want to pick for your fantasy team, it's time to see if you can afford them!
Each player is given a monetary value and you have a total of £100 to spend on them. You have to get all seven players for £100. To give you an example, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most expensive selection available today at £23.
Review the players in each category and click on the ones you want to add to your team. Each time you add a new player, your remaining salary reduces until you have either spent your £100 or completed your team. Happy with your team? Then click ‘enter' and that's it.
How Do You Win?
Once your team is submitted you can't make any changes. Now you must wait for the games in the contest to be played in real-time. In this case, that's the Champions League on October 22nd. Points are awarded across a number of categories. For example, a defender who keeps a clean sheet will be awarded 5 points. A forward or midfielder who scores a goal will be awarded 15 points. Even a blocked shot will get you 1.3 points. (chart below)
Once the games have ended your player's scores are tallied by Paddy Power based on their performance in their game. In the head-to-head contests, the person who's team has the highest tally wins. If that is you then the cash just goes straight back into your online account.
If you take part in one of the larger contests then prizes will be allocated to more players. The breakdown of the prize money is very clear in every contest.
And that really is all there is to it for Fantasy Sports. It's easy, cheap and fun. And it probably gives fans a bit more bang for their buck as you have a vested interest in more teams, players and games. For a lot of people, this is a better way to bet than simply to stick a few quid on the correct score or outright win markets.