2018 Gambling Olympics: WNBA Expertise Could Propel Levitan to DFS Victory

Jul 06, 2018 10:02 PM EDT

The Highlights

  • Daily Fantasy Sports is one of 12 events in the inaugural Gambling Olympics.
  • Each contestant will compete on DraftKings in two MLB slates and one WNBA slate.
  • Peter Jennings (+350) is the favorite, with Jonathan Bales (+375), Adam Levitan (+400) and Brandon Adams (+400) not far behind.

The 2018 Gambling Olympics is a two-day, 12-person contest taking place in Las Vegas on July 9-10. The buy-in is $2,500, and the winner gets $10,000.

Before, during and after the Gambling Olympics, we will provide extensive coverage via participant profiles, event breakdowns and live in-person analysis. Be sure to follow all the action in the Gambling Olympics section of the site.

 

Official Rules

  • The DFS challenge will consist of three slates.
  • Contestants will create DraftKings MLB lineups on Monday and Tuesday, as well as a DraftKings WNBA lineup on Tuesday.
  • The final standings are based on cumulative score from all three contests.

MLB DFS isn’t all that volatile in the long run thanks to the large sample size the sport offers. But in the short run? There’s arguably not a tougher sport to predict.

WNBA, meanwhile, is perceived to be one of the sharper sports, as only true DFS degenerates are believed to put in the time necessary to succeed.

Individual Odds

Unsurprisingly, the co-founders of FantasyLabs have opened as favorites at MyBookie:

Team Odds

Team Levitan is the only team made up of three +1000 underdogs, while Team Bales and Jennings only have two perceived scrubs.

Who Wins DFS?

Jennings is the current favorite — and why wouldn’t he be? DFS is the two-time world champion’s self-proclaimed strongest event, and he has plenty of experience dominating on the big stage. While the likes of Levitan and Koerner might have a leg up in the WNBA portion of the event, Jennings himself is a long-time fan and won’t exactly be a fish out of water.

Bales wrote the “Fantasy Sports for Smart People” book series and is widely recognized as one of the best tournament players in the industry. A contrarian at heart, Bales has also made waves in the cryptocurrency and broathalon spaces over the years. It’s tough to think of Bales as anything less than a big, hairy, American winning machine thanks to his life-long motto: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

Levitan, Adams and Koerner are the last remaining contestants with odds better than +1000. This makes sense: Levitan is a WNBA shark and DraftKings analyst, Adams is a professional poker and DFS player, and Koerner is literally known as The Oddsmaker and has been the No. 1-ranked FantasyPros NFL expert for three years running.

Where’s the Value?

A contrarian-focused strategy is the best bet for contestants to win the DFS tournament, and it may also behoove Gambling Olympics bettors to fade the chalk.

We have six contestants with at least a semblance of DFS experience:

  • Jennings +350 (Team Jennings)
  • Bales +375 (Team Bales)
  • Adams +400 (Team Jennings)
  • Levitan +400 (Team Levitan)
  • Koerner +600 (Team Bales)
  • Brown +1000 (Team Bales)

The group of underdogs isn’t completely devoid of value. Manzinelli possesses the irrational confidence and natural bravado to make some noise in such a small tournament field. Blumstein and Lo Duca didn’t become world-class athletes by not taking chances. And Brown is perhaps the most intriguing value play of the group —he’s actually held a job in the DFS industry — though he’s admittedly not thrilled with the WNBA portion of the event. He’s a true wild card.

As far as teams, Team Jennings might boast the No. 1 overall DFS player, but they’re lacking both of the WNBA sharps (Levitan, Koerner). Team Levitan doesn’t have the same star power as Team Bales, but their captain’s WNBA firepower could be the X factor — plus Blumstein’s placement on Team Bales means their ‘weakest link’ is the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event champion.

There’s value everywhere on what figures to be a highly volatile three-slate tournament, so why not take a chance on one of the players with the longest odds?

Individual Pick: Matt Brown +1000
Team Pick: Team Levitan +185

Follow Ian Hartitz on Twitter
@IHartitz

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