NFL analytic app for fans, IronRank, comes to Android


There has been a huge upsurge in using advanced statistical analysis in all aspects of pro sports, with baseball leading the way, but football is rapidly catching up. IronRank has developed an app that allows fans to take advantage of the current generation of analysis.

The company has developed a method of ranking players and teams based on the standard Elo rating system and then takes the numbers it gets from the analysis and assign them to each team, which in turn is used to predict the score.

The program does an analysis on the entire team but also does separate ones for both the offense and the defenses of each team as well evaluating how teams do in the red zone, passing yards, touchdowns and other related categories. For a full look at how it does its analysis look here.

If the Elo system sounds familiar that might be because it has been used for evaluating tennis players as well as chess matches and has been found to be very accurate. IronRank said that the program so far has been successful picking winners 65% of the time and as the season progresses and more statistical information become available it increases its accuracy.

The program provides predictions on each game and ranks teams based on their division as well as their offensive and defensive capabilities. It features all of the stats that a fan could wish for and also provides past game results and provides a solid overview of a team’s performance as the season progresses.

The company now has an app available for Android devices and is working on one for iPhones. It also has a web site that has been up and running for some time. You can also follow the site at Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

There has been plenty of sports betting apps that have been released over the past few years, and few have had much staying power. However what appears to be different here is that the program uses a widely recognized, and successful system and simply applied it to the NFL. It will be interesting to see how IronRank does over the next season or two.

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.

2Bet2 Focuses on Social Betting on Games


Socialized betting is undergoing an interesting change, migrating from the office water cooler, if one actually exists, and onto social media sites such as Facebook and Google +, and one of the recent entrants into that field is 2Bet2, bringing out its Facebook offering around the start of the year.

It has many of the features that are currently coming on line in rival sports apps using odds to set the line on bets and winners can get awards that allow them to advance and open up new opportunities. You can bet against friend or the house and do so on events that are played around the globe.

There is real time game and odds updates and along with seeing how your bets are doing you have a chat ability that permits congratulating, taunting, or anything in between, among players. All major sports are covered including both NFL and NCAA Football, both NBA and NCAA basketball, Hockey, Baseball, 25 different European Football leagues, Rugby Union/League, Cricket, Tennis and Golf.

2Bet2 has plenty of competition in the social betting world both with mobile app developers moving over onto social media and developers focusing initially on social media as the platform of choice. Players such as SideBet have added social media access.

There is a growing list of competitors in this space I believe that fantasy sports sites will also look towards online gambling if and when it gets the ok. Look at players including Rotowire, Grabfan, Pickmoto to name just a few. Even casinos are getting into the mix.

It seems that there is a good deal of hope in app developers that sometime in the future there will be an easing of on-line betting rules in the US that will allow the gambling of real money. Early players in this space will be well positioned to take advantage of any such change.

It would be important to be established because if and when it is legalized the moneyed Las Vegas casinos and other entities are likely to quickly enter a market that is estimated at multiple billions of dollars.

While an industry group, the American Gaming Association has said that it seems unlikely that there will be any changes to online gambling this year, although there has been a bill put before congress by members of both parties. According to American Gaming, online gambling is legal in 85 countries and an estimated $35 billion is gambled each year.

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.

MLB Sets One-Day ‘Beat the Streak’ Contest With $5.6 Million Prize

Fantasy baseball game alert — Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media department is staging a one-day contest on Friday, Sept. 28, with a potential $5.6 million prize for the person who can correctly pick 57 major league baseball players who will get a hit in a game on Friday. If you go 57-for-57, MLBAM will award you $5.6 million. Sign up here.

Why is this contest being staged? Mainly because nobody has been able to win the big “Beat the Streak” prize in the contest’s 12 years of existence. As the MLBAM said in a press release:

We tried to give millions of dollars away. We have really tried. Again. However, it is with a sense of anguish that today we announce for the 12th consecutive season no fan will achieve fantasy baseball immortality by surpassing the legendary consecutive games hitting streak record of 56 and claiming a $5.6 million grand prize in the process. Maybe it is harder than originally envisioned when we debuted Beat The Streak in 2001 with a $10,000 grand prize.

Zynga makes a bet with RocketPlay’s virtual Sports Casino


Once the darling of the online set with its Farmville and other mobile and online applications, Zynga has hit hard times of late as its stock has dropped 72 % since its IPO in December and recently its executives have been fleeing the building, with seven gone since August.

The company is the largest maker of games for Facebook, and it is known for programs such as Mafia Wars, CastleVille, CityVille, Words with Friends and of course FarmVille is now looking to partnerships to help bolster its brand and hopefully bring in additional customers and revenue.

The latest move is to promote developer RocketPlay and its Sports Casino and will be bringing the app to Facebook and This is the first time that Zynga has promoted a third party app, in the past all of the content in is lineup has been homegrown. It will be interesting to see if in the future Zynga takes on a much larger role as a publisher, and if that will cause complications due to conflicts of interest.

Sports Casino imitates real life in many ways; you check the odds and place bets, and then root for the results that will bring you in the cash. It is not just a sports book but also will have video poker, slots and blackjack and other casino games. You can even enjoy a nice cocktail while doing so. The difference is that you do so by simply logging into Facebook while sitting at home, and of course no real money changes hands.

Out just a week it already has 10,000 followers, which is a nice start but far from the heady numbers that some of the more established games have such as Words with Friends that has 13 million players, but it is still new.

One feature that it has that I greatly dislike is that it may post on my behalf mentioning achievements high scores etc… Thanks but that is not really something I want, and that feature has prevented me from using other apps that do this. However others seem quite happy in broadcasting to the world their ups and downs playing online games.

The game will initially only present odds for NCAA football, the NFL, MLB and a variety of soccer matches but expects to expand to cover a number of additional sports including the NBA and NCAA basketball and others.

Zynga already has a virtual gambling game, Zynga Poker, which was its first game. However Business Insider has suggested that the reason for the partnership is that RocketPlay’s platform could be the basis for a real-money gambling at some point in the future. RocketPlay’s management team has experience in that area.