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Even as they still continue to haggle legislators around the country about integrity fees, make no mistake–the NBA has been the most progressive of the major sports leagues in terms of embracing sports betting.
Their partnership with MGM Resorts is the latest evidence of such. It’s that very agreement that’s already bearing fruit in the form of a free-to-play, prop-based contest ahead of the start of the 2018-19 regular season.
No risk, potential five-figure reward
The NBA Pick ‘Em: Team Win Totals contest features a $1 million grand prize. It also offers thousands of dollars in other prizes in the form of NBA.com $100 electronic gift codes. The contest is open to anyone 18 years of age or older that’s a legal resident in any of the 50 states.
To get “in the money” in NBA Pick ‘Em, the following criteria must be met:
- A contestant must correctly determine whether the win totals of at least 25 teams will be either under or over their listed projected win total on NBA.com.
- A contestant that correctly determines whether the win totals of all 30 teams will be either under or over the listed projected win total on NBA.com will be eligible to win the $1 million grand prize if they meet all other criteria.
The contest is open to up to 250,000 entrants. Picks may be made or modified until 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 16, the opening night of the regular season.
NBA planting the sports betting seed in the casual fan?
The NBA Pick ‘Em contest is tellingly based on one of the more popular futures-based props–projected team win totals. It isn’t surprising the league opted for this format in an attempt to offer a sports betting-centered promotion with mainstream appeal.
A season-win-total prop is easy for even a complete betting novice to understand. The premise is an enticing one for the general NBA fan. To begin with, it doesn’t require any investment. And, it offers a potentially huge return.
It’s also based on the one thing most sports fans–regardless of their interest in wagering–feel pretty confident in. Namely, their knowledge of the teams and the landscape of the league in general as a new season dawns.
You don’t have to be familiar with point spreads or money lines to have a strong opinion on a team’s outlook for the coming season. By tapping into the average NBA fan’s interest and anticipation following a very eventful offseason, the league is soft-selling a form of sports betting while promoting its core product.
Laying the groundwork
A much more expansive sports betting landscape is on the horizon over the next few years. The NBA is proactively laying the groundwork to be an integral part of it in numerous ways.
Pushing for integrity fees and forging casino partnerships are certainly some of the methods they’re deploying. However, contests like these are also an effective way to further correlate the brand with sports betting–an activity already primed to have a very positive effect on their bottom line.