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How to Bet on Simulation Sports

How to Bet on Simulation Sports
EA Sports Madden 20

With the sports world currently on hiatus, sportsbooks have turned to alternative options for action-starved bettors looking for something to gamble on. One of the newest and most popular avenues emerging in that regard is simulation sports.

What are Simulation Sports?

Unlike esports, which are controlled by humans, simulation sports are comprised solely of games between the computer’s AI (artificial intelligence). Recently, online sportsbook Bovada started featuring simulated Madden 20 games through the popular streaming website Twitch.

The shop has since begun streaming simulated basketball contests done through the video game NBA2K20, while hockey sims on EA Sports’ NHL 20 are next on the docket.

The computer vs computer matchups are new to the betting world, but they offer an interesting glimpse into how the sports world would play out if it was done on a strictly virtual level. To start off, three to five football games are happening spaced out throughout the day.

Where to Bet on Simulation Sports

The concept of putting real money on simulated video games might seem ridiculous at first, but it can be a lot of fun to watch these games play out – especially with money on the line.

Before you begin, head over to Bovada to make a deposit. There are often a variety of bonuses for first-time depositors to give you even more opportunity to get some stake in the (virtual) game.

Our Favorite Esports and Sim Sports Betting Sites

What Kind of Bets Can I Make?

With the popularity of streamed Madden 20 games taking off, betting on the video game is extraordinarily similar to real-life NFL football. The book is dealing odds on spreads, moneylines and totals for every tilt, along with offerings on which team will score first and which player will record the first touchdown.

At halftime, livefootballsims, the Twitch account responsible for the streams, pauses the game for 12 minutes to allow bettors to jump on fresh second-half lines at the sportsbook. A new spread and total is released for the final two quarters of the game, giving viewers yet another chance to put some money down.

Much like real football, bettors can do their best to guess what’s going to happen the rest of the way by watching the ebbs and flows of how the game is progressing. The first game of the April 1 slate between the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns was a great example of that.

The Browns, who entered the game as 7.5-point favorites, held a comfortable 24-10 lead at the half. But even though New York faced a 45-24 deficit with just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Jets stormed back to score two touchdowns and narrowly cover the spread in Cleveland’s 45-38 triumph.

Simply put, there is serious money to be made here. Unlike the real NFL, where oddsmakers are notoriously razor-sharp with their lines and totals, the unpredictable nature of video-game simulations makes the majority of these games a toss-up.

Are Simulation Sports Rigged?

It’s understandable to have some concerns about the validity of simulation sports given that they’re run by the sportsbooks, but bettors can put their collective minds at ease by knowing that what happens in the game is completely out of the control of the person conducting the stream.

Settings-wise, football sims are set to 15-minute quarters on All-Madden mode – the hardest mode in Madden 20. The rosters are updated to reflect what lineups looked like at the end of the 2019 NFL season; for instance, Tom Brady is still on the New England Patriots instead of his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the NBA2K20 streams, the difficulty level is set to Hall of Fame mode.

In both games, the sliders aren’t touched in order to give one side the advantage over the other. With default sliders, both squads have an equal opportunity to pull out the victory.

Can You Handicap Simulation Sports?

Unlike virtual sports, which are completely out of the hands of bettors and contain a significant level of randomness, it’s entirely possible to handicap simulation sports in a similar fashion to their real-life counterparts.

For example, the Cincinnati Bengals have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in Madden 20. If Cincinnati is going up against a ferocious defense like the Baltimore Ravens, you can expect Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to face a significant degree of pressure. Unlike other teams with weaker defenses, Baltimore’s stellar defensive front will likely garner more sacks and limit Cincy’s offensive opportunities.

Another example is a solid quarterback going up against a weak secondary. The Dallas Cowboys, led by quarterback Dak Prescott on offense, went up against the New York Giants on March 31. The Cowboys manhandled the Giants by a score of 51-10, with Prescott getting named player of the game thanks to his four passing touchdowns and 333 passing yards.

If you took note of that mismatch before the game began, you could’ve had the Cowboys at -6. That type of extremely easy cover rarely happens in the NFL, proving you can handicap simulation sports if you do your homework.