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Best Ball Contest Selection

By :: Alex Pendergrass

Welcome to the first installment of this series which is designed to help you make more informed decisions in your Best Ball contest selection. 

Below is an overview of the various Best Ball contests being offered (as of August 27, 2022):

Rake

Let’s begin by taking a look at the rake situation. The three big providers (DraftKings, Underdog, & Drafters, in terms of offering the largest top prizes) each have a flagship tournament. DraftKings has their $3.5M Milly Maker ($5 entry fee), Underdog has Best Ball Mania III ($25 entry), and Drafters has the Drafters Million Championship ($20 entry). DraftKings & Underdog utilize a playoff format structure, whereas Drafters uses cumulative scoring. 

The Drafters contest offers the lowest rake at 9.1%. That means more of the prize money is paid out to the field, which effectively means more expected value for your entry. We’ll get to the overlay outlook soon, but it’s easy to see how that makes the Drafters flagship tournament even more attractive.

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In terms of favorable rake, special notice must be given to FFPC. The scoring structure is radically different (PPR and 1.5 PPR for TEs). If your bankroll can support multiple $125 entries, at only 3.53% rake and a $200,000 top prize, you should be entering this contest.

Underdog has been releasing multiple Pomeranian contests with by far the friendliest rake. These contests are $3 entry fees, typically with a max of 15 entries, and flatter payout structures with only 10% of the prize pool to 1st (and 25% to the Top 10). Best of all, these are effectively rake-free tournaments (0.08%). As of this writing, there are no active Pomeranian tournaments and they fill within hours so plan ahead if you want to target these excellent contests. Underdog has already scheduled the Pomeranian 4 for August 29th. 

Underdog: Receive 100% first deposit match up to $100 with code OWS

Overlay

Now that we’ve covered some of the best contests to compete in from a rake perspective, let’s look at overlay. Overlay simply means that the number and dollar amount of the entries in the contest doesn’t cover the prize pool, which effectively means you’re competing against less competition to win. Overlay is a DFS or Best Ball contestant’s best friend. One thing to note is that the above table includes contests that opened back in May as well as contests just launched recently, which is why you see a few contests with 80%+ in overlay. You can expect those contests to fill or at least not come close to finishing with the current amount of overlay. But, there are contests that have been open to entries for months that still have a sizable overlay. Keep an eye on those contests. 

Most notably, the Drafters Million Championship has a 60% overlay with less than two weeks until kickoff. This contest is going to overlay massively. When combined with a sub-10% rake, you simply have to be throwing entries at this contest if you’re at all concerned about getting the best bang for your buck. 

DraftKings Outlook

The DraftKings $3.5MM contest currently shows less than a 20% overlay but with its low cost of entry on a highly popular platform, we can expect that there won’t end up being much overlay, if any, when all is said and done. We’ll see how that overlay figure looks next week, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it was 10% or lower. The same can be said for the Underdog Best Ball Mania III contest, with the caveat of 5x the cost to enter which could slow the fill rate down the stretch.

I want to briefly highlight the higher-cost entry fee tournaments on DraftKings that show strong signs of meaningful overlay. I’d argue that with high-stakes tournaments, drafters are waiting to enter in order to avoid a surprise injury or suspension during the preseason, sinking a pricey roster. That said, I think the $1M Playmaker will be one to watch as kickoff nears. I expect that contest to end with some decent overlay. I also like the $200K Double Spy to provide overlay right now. We’ll see how the numbers look next week, but with the nature of a single entry, higher dollar contest, I could see that one being overlooked.

Hopefully, you can use this article to make smart decisions about how you spend your bankroll. And make an even smarter financial decision by using one of our affiliate links when you sign up. Good luck!