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Traditional Bets or Play Daily Fantasy Sports: Which one you should pick?

For some sports bettors, daily fantasy sports (DFS) are all there is to sports betting. Ever since the DFS came into existence in early 2000s their popularity has only soared. Traditional sports betting however have not gone any dull either.

With many jurisdictions legalizing sports betting, the daily fantasy sports betting industry has a new competition to face. If you live in a state where form of traditional betting like parlays, overs/unders and straight bets, then you might find yourself at the conundrum of choosing between the traditional bets and DFS bets.

Are you better off playing weekly/daily fantasy sports that have remained legal ever since they were incepted? Or, traditional betting will be more beneficial for you, which is legal in a handful of states?

To make your decision, you will need to know the pros and cons of both traditional sports betting and daily fantasy sports. In this post we are going to elaborate both so that you can make an informed choice.

What Is Traditional Sports Betting?

Traditional betting is the realm that involves things like over/unders, straight bets, alternate point spreads and more.

If you are an avid sports watcher, you might have observed the ticker on bottom of the screen while watching ESPN. Something like this:

Arizona Cardinals (-4.5) v. San Francisco 49ers (O/U 47.5)

These numbers are telling you which one is the favored team and by how much. Even future-based bets are allowed in traditional betting.

You might have seen something like this on Fox Sports or ESPN:

Arizona Cardinals: Odds to Win SB LVI: 25/1; Odds to Win NFC: 13/1; Odds to Win NFC West: 7/1; O/U: 9.5

These numbers represent the bets for the future. Hence, if you are rooting for Cardinals to win at 25/1 odds you will make future-based bet for them to win the Super Bowl. That’s the same for their odds to win the NFC, NFC West and for their over/under 9.5 score win. Learn more about traditional betting types.

Pros with Traditional Betting

In traditional betting if you are well informed about the NFL inside out, or at the very least know well the team you follow and their opponents, you can always make educated wagers.

Let’s understand this with an example. For weekly spreads and over/unders, if the point spread is at 7.5 and both the teams are most likely to win games within the single session, and the both teams usually average more points than their 54.5-point over/under, then there is a high probability of winning the bet.

The super popular Super Bowl bets can be won with the same approach. If you are aware of the best teams in the NFL, that teams will run away with the division and which teams will fight to win the division. If we take the 2020 season into consideration, it was obvious that the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints were the most popular teams, barring anything unforeseen. It was no surprise that they were the most popular teams for future bets. Bettors earned a profit even if these teams had lost.

Those of you who understand NFL and follow the league throughout their offseason, are going to like traditional betting, whether they bet on weekly or future-based bets.

Cons with Traditional Betting

As with any other form of sports betting, there is no guarantee with traditional betting. Anything unforeseen can happen that might sink a team, contrary to what you might have judged.

For example, the 2020 season of the San Francisco 49ers as one of the popular futures-based team was contradictory. The team won the NFC in 2019 and almost had the win in the Super Bowl when there they up to the fourth quarter. Fans were assuming the same performance from the 49ers before the injury outbreak plagued the team.

Even with traditional betting, factors like injuries, abrupt game plan changes and other variables can turn the most solid bets into nightmares. Its like if you wager on a game between the Cardinals and Rams to easily surpass their over/under, but the team rules out Jared Goff out during the game because of a broken thumb. You certainly can’t expect backup quarterback John Wolford to save you.

Thing is there is a lot that can happen outside your calculations and a wager can go south anytime.

What Are Weekly/Daily Fantasy Sports?

You see them advertised all the time on television, especially if you watch ESPN or Fox Sports. Weekly/daily fantasy sports allow you to place a wager, build a roster for the entire week, a single game, or a block of select games, and earn points through player performance.

The better your players perform, the more points and money that you earn. So, with the NFL, you can build a team for the entire week that spans from Thursday night through Monday night.

Or you can build one roster for Thursday night.

A roster for the early slate of games.

Another roster for the late slate of games

One for Sunday Night.

And one for Monday Night.

You can also play mini-seasons, weeklong seasons, tier-based games, and more. Most states had no trouble with keeping weekly/daily fantasy sports up and running, claiming there was too much skill involved for it to be considered sports betting.

So, with traditional sports betting being an illegal avenue in many states at the time, many of us turned to fantasy to keep things interesting on a Sunday—especially when our favorite team was irrelevant.

Pros With Weekly/Daily Fantasy Sports

What are the pros with daily/weekly fantasy sports? If you play fantasy football, chances are you have a nice advantage here. You know who will play, and you also have an idea of how many fantasy points a player will score.

And if you know fantasy sports well, chances are you will know how specific players play against specific teams.

For Example:

If the Browns play the Steelers, but you know the Steelers’ run defense will probably stop Pro Bowl caliber backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, you probably wouldn’t play them in a weekly/daily fantasy sports game.

But if Jeffrey Davis of the San Francisco 49ers is playing against one of the league’s worst run defenses, you know he’s cheaper, but a better overall option to play over Chubb or Hunt.

The same goes for each position. If Patrick Mahomes is playing the league’s best pass defense, he’s probably not as solid of an option as Kirk Cousins playing the league’s 16th-ranked pass defense.

Cons With Weekly/Daily Fantasy Sports

The cons with weekly/daily fantasy points is the sheer competition. You can build a winning team, but if you’re in a pool with 100,000 other participants, you might double your money. And if you just placed a $5 bet, you’ll earn $10.

Weekly/daily fantasy sports have become wildly popular over the past decade, and their popularity will continue.

So, the chances of you winning your money back are slim to none, and Slim is often about to or has already left town.

And there are always the unforeseen circumstances with weekly/daily fantasy sports. Injuries occur, or teams may game plan specifically for one of your star fantasy players and keep them from performing well during a given week.

So, if you’re playing weekly/daily fantasy sports, keep in mind that even if your team looks like a winning team, they’re hard to win.

Which Is Better?

It’s up to you, really.

The better question to ask you is this:

What are your strengths?

Are you proficient in fantasy football or are you better at predicting scores and point spreads?

If you’re good at projecting the final scores of games and by how much the favored team will win by, get off the fantasy football apps and try your hand at traditional betting.

But if you’re better at projecting statistics for individual players, weekly/daily fantasy sports, or even player prop bets are better wagers for you.

Please Note:

If you’re unsure or if you’ve bet recreationally, use the 2021 NFL Season to experiment. Play $1 games in weekly/daily fantasy sports, where you won’t fret if you don’t win your dollar back and see how well you play.

As for traditional betting, look at the point spreads and over/unders and predict the final scores. You don’t have to bet online or run off to a sportsbook. Just project and predict and see how well you do over the 17-week season.


Traditional betting is becoming more of a legal thing as the 2020s decade takes off, and weekly/daily fantasy sports has remained popular since its inception in the late-2000s and early-2010s.

With traditional betting becoming more mainstream, you may find yourself tempted to try it.

For some of us, it may be a good idea. While for others, it may be best to stick to what we know in the fantasy football realm. Each betting method has its pros and cons, as listed in the subheadings above.

And it depends on who you are as a bettor that will decide which route you travel.

Are you more of a traditional sports bettor, or do you prefer the weekly/daily fantasy games? Do you, or have you tried your hand at both? Let us know in the comments.


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