I recently began seeing ads on Facebook for a new app called Sideline Fantasy and, considering I write for a little website called FantasySites.com, I was compelled to take a closer look and see what it’s all about. So naturally, I downloaded the app, tried it out and now report back with my findings.
Sideline Fantasy Sports is a mobile-first fantasy app that blurs the line between daily fantasy sports and traditional sports betting. According to LinkedIn, Sideline was established in 2016 and is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The app went live on the Apple App Store and Google Play store in August of 2017.
How Sideline Fantasy Sports Works
Although Sideline is loosely based on daily fantasy sports, the concept draws heavily from straight up sports betting. Contests are determined not by picking individual players, but by making bets on games using a digital currency they simply call points.
You begin each contest with 1,000 points and then spend those points however you want as you place a handful of bets. The goal in each contest is to outscore your opponent by making better betting picks.
Season-long leagues can consist of many people, but within each league you compete heads-up against a single opponent each week. Each heads-up contest has you place five bets on the week’s games.
Sideline says they will customize contests for each sport, but NFL contests consist of the following five wagers:
- 2 bets against the spread
- 2 bets straight up
- 1 parlay bet
Sideline imports Vegas lines in real time, so every game comes with different odds and point spreads. This is an important point to note because it adds a layer of complexity to the strategies you’ll be employing against your opponents. Not only do you try to pick the right outcomes of individual games, but you also much decide how many points to risk and at what odds in order to maximize your winnings.
Whoever has the most points at the end of the contest wins the heads-up match and acquires leaderboard points for that league. Leagues last for an entire season, but each week you play heads-up against just one other person. As you earn points in your heads-up contests, you move up the leaderboard with the goal being to finish with the most points at the end of the season.
Here’s a video from Sideline that explains the concept in simple terms:
Is It Legal?
Sideline stays within the confines of the law by not having you bet on games directly to determine whether you win or lose. Each league is treated more like a handicapping contest in which you see who would have won more money if you were all placing bets with real money rather than the virtual points you wager on Sideline.
Furthermore, Sideline does not hold real money games. I wouldn’t be surprised if they look into that at some point in the future, but for now everything is 100% free. It’s free to download, free to sign up and free to compete.
If Sideline does move into real money contests, that will be something for the lawyers to figure out. It would definitely be dancing around the line between what’s legal and what’s not legal, but I have also seen some other fantasy products get away with things that looked dangerously close to regular sports betting without getting into any trouble.
NFL Week 1 $5,000 Giveaway
Sideline is starting NFL Week 1 with a bang by hosting a $5,000 contest completely free of charge. To participate, you’ll need to download the app and then start or join a league with at least 8 people. Then, make your NFL picks for Week 1 as normal.
If you get all five of your Week 1 picks right, you’ll be ranked against all the other people who got all five of their Week 1 points. If you accumulate the most points out of everyone who got all five picks right, you’ll win $5,000 courtesy of Sideline.
No purchase is necessary to play and the contest is open to everyone who is a US citizen and at least 18 years old at the beginning of NFL Week 1.