SideDraft App Designed for Peer-to-Peer NFL Fantasy Betting


So you have won your NFL Fantasy League for 2 years running and are now looking for greater fields for your talent? Then you might give a new mobile app, SideDraft, a try and see how you do with the cash prizes as the goal at the end of the rainbow.

The app, slated to be released Sept. 17 by Blue Ox Entertainment, is a departure from traditional fantasy football programs in that a player’s lineup is different each week, or against each new opponent, so while your powerhouse team may not be able to dominate for a season, conversely if several of your star players turn out to be monumental busts you are not stuck with them for 16 games either.

A player funds his account and then SideDraft has a player draft each week. A player selects a payout that can range from nothing to $1,000. They then select an opponent and the two have a draft, each alternating for six selections each.

Then the real players hit the field and accumulate points for their respective teams, and obviously the one with the most points wins. The app tracks the games in real time and afterwards it’s time to brag or hang your head low, depending on the outcome. That and collect your winnings if you fell into the first category.

Depending on your confidence and budget a player is not limited to a single match each week but can offer multiple challenges and field a number of teams, using the week between games to conduct the drafts needed to fill out their fantasy rosters.

SideDraft officially launches Sept. 17 and initially will only be available on iPhones and iPads.

The area of sports and social betting is one that apps have been addressing for some time, and while it’s hard to judge it does not look as if any have really risen to the top of the pack. In part that is likely because there is such an overwhelming number of apps out there that even interested parties have a tough time sorting through the chaff to find the gems.

This is Blue Ox Entertainment’s second dip into the betting pool, with its SideBet app having been released in 2011 and then updated and enhanced last year, an app that enables individuals to bet against each other. There have been a variety of other betting apps released such as 2Bet2, GrabFan and Pickmoto.

Pro Football seems like it has the potential to be the space that breaks open this market. Its national viewership is massive. According to Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), more than 23 million Americans will play fantasy football in 2013, and NFL betting is the single largest betting segment at sportsbooks, so SideDraft has a huge potential market to draw from. It will be interesting to see if it can gain the market awareness needed to break out in this space.

SideBets Adds Facebook, Twitter Integration to Mobile Social Betting App

Screen shot of the SideBets app. Credit: SideBets

The year-old SideBets mobile sports betting app has added functionality that allows users to send messages about their successful wagers to Facebook and Twitter, according to company executives.

Announced today, the new version of SideBets also supports the creation of betting “groups” and the ability to send a single bet to a group of friends, with a “first accept” feature allowing the first respondent to accept the wager. If you’ve not used SideBets before the app has virtual “SideBet Dollars” that act as a counter for your friendly wagers. The app also supports several betting games, which users can play with friends who also have the app.

According to Jon Goldstein, one of the three founders of SideBet’s parent company, the Detroit-based Blue Ox Entertainment, the SideBets app now has 5,000 active users among the 15,000 or so who have downloaded it since its debut last September. The new features, Goldstein said, are meant to enhance the main “utility” of the app, which he sees as its own type of social network, like Twitter or Facebook.

“Real gambling is not social,” Goldstein notes, pointing out that bets with casinos or bookies aren’t friendly interactions and may not be something you want to talk about, even if you win. But betting with friends, he said, is inherently social, and could eventually become a business.

While SideBets does charge a small amount of money for virtual cash (approximately $1 for each $100 in SideBets Dollars) there is no way to cash in winnings for real money, a factor that keeps the SideBets game relatively free of legal entanglements. Like other social betting apps, such as PickMoto and GrabFan, SideBets is betting on winning users by making it easy for them to find detailed information like games, point spreads and other information, while also keeping track of all betting activity.

But the jury is still out on whether SideBets or any of the other sports betting apps out there will win a big number of users, especially with the specter of legalized mobile betting hanging somewhere in the future. Right now, Goldstein sees the mobile sports betting market as a field in true infancy, with no real successful model to follow.

“Eventually there will be a tipping point [of a successful model] but nobody really knows how to do this yet,” Goldstein said.

Pickmoto Moves NFL app to iPad, Preps for NBA Season

Pickmoto, a startup app developer seeking to firmly establish itself in the growing market for social betting has expanded its offerings by adding a version for the iPad. Currently the app runs on iPhones, with an Android version “coming soon.”

The latest move is a welcomed one because while the app works well on a smartphone, a tablet simply provides additional viewing space and so makes that app easier to view and simpler to use.

The game follows the same procedure as with a smartphone including picking winners with no spread, playing friends one on one, or random opponents. You can win trophies, climb a leaderboard and play in preseason, regular and post season as well.

The company is moving pretty fast for one that was just established earlier this year and it already has its sights set on expanding to additional sports. With hockey an obvious no-no due to the lockout it has targeted the National Basketball Association and said that it expects that it expects to have a sports betting app out for the NBA by the opening regular season tip-off.

PrePlay takes Aim at Major League Baseball with Latest App

MLB PrePlay

PrePlay, one of the early app developers in the growing predictive sports space has returned with a new program entitled MLB PrePlay that is aimed at the fans of Major League Baseball and was launched in conjunction with MLB’s digital media arm Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

The alignment with MLBAM is a coup of sorts for the developer because not only will it have the blessing of the sport but it will also be able to use logos and markings that are MLBs, but that is the smaller of the advantages.

It will also have access to the Gameday API. This is the technology that helps drive some of the most popular sporting apps on the market, MLB at Bat and Beat the Streak, both of which are MLB properties.

The app has the advantage that fans of the sport can use it as both an in-game or pre-game tool; you can use it while following a current game to make predictions about upcoming plays ranging from individual at bats to how an inning will turn out to when a pitching change will occur. It also allows for pregame and in-between innings predictions.

However if you are unable to watch the game you can use the app prior to the opening pitch as well making predictions along similar lines such as who will be the winning pitcher, how fast will the fastest pitch be and a wide range of other options.

The program is designed to enable you to compete with friends and even create competitions with them to see who can most accurately predict outcomes and allows you to chat with them during the event, or trash talk as your case may be. It can be opened to a wider audience if you feel that your skills warrant the extra competition.

MLB PrePlay also comes equipped with Facebook Login, Twitter integration, and a trophy case. The free app is currently available at Apple’s iTunes App Store and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Predictive sports apps are increasingly popular, and so the market is seeing a growing number of apps that cater to them, some broad based supporting multiple sports and some just one sport. I like the single sports approach, at least right now. I can go to an app like Bantr for soccer, Pickmoto for football or this one for baseball and talk and predict with friends. With the average iPhone user having over 100 apps, according to Apple, one more is not really going to cause confusion on the average users’ phone.

Of course at times when multiple sports seasons are all ongoing at the same time my opinion might change as I have to switch back and forth, but for most of the summer it’s just baseball for me.

Pickmoto Looking to become Sports Pick Platform of Choice-Starts with NFL


As the NFL season rapidly approaches many fans are preparing for fantasy drafts, closely scrutinizing daily camp reports and trying to discern who is actually playing well in preseason, but they are also doing these tasks for another reason and that is so that they can pick winners.

Regardless if they are betting an office pool, heading to Vegas, have a bookie, or just picking against the spread each week, fans want to show that they know their sport by picking the most winners on a weekly basis, and to meet their needs apps have started to appear.

The latest that I have seen is called Pickmoto and is designed to enable friends and others to compete on a regular basis and show who’s understanding of football, or luck, is the greatest over the course of a season.

The small three man startup, based in San Francisco is seeking to establish itself as the provider of a platform that enables fans to compete among both circles of friends and in larger groups that form around making correct sports picks.

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It is currently waiting for approval of its iPhones version of the app and then plans to branch out and develop for the Android and other platforms. Future plans also include expanding to cover additional sports.

It has a common approach found in other games as well as a few features that appear to set it apart. A player makes their selections based on who they believe will win, no points involved. It will use what the company calls crowdsourced scoring that makes the less popular picks more valuable. You can have head to head competition as well as against larger groups.

It also has a leader board, provides users with stats, has chat and notification features and provides trophies. It has a Facebook hookup but the game was built from the ground up to be used on a mobile device.

The company has been waiting almost two weeks for approval from Apple and expects to receive it prior to the start of the season. I will be interested to try it out and see what it can do compared to rivals. Other platforms seek to bring fans together to chat such as Bantr in soccer and PlayUp and Fancru as a more broad based platform. They are all different but have the sports scores and ability, in some cases, to provide contests that pit fans against each other in selecting winners.