Sports Simulation Games: A Betting Menu Choice of Fact or Fantasy?

Simulation or just replacement stimulation? Until well-after we tap-off and kick-off, we will not really know.

Though popular, the jury is still out on Sim betting

My first obvious thought upon learning about the success of sports stimulation wagering (more popularly known as "sims") was you have got to be kidding. Are bettors so starved and depraved of sports wagering action they will dip deep into their pockets to stave off hunger for Madden NFL20 and NBA2K20? Apparently so.

Reports from the top offshore sites have yielded a pleasant surprise from customers while everyone waits with desperate anticipation for the first real kick into action, puck to drop, tip-off or pitch to be thrown. In response to their demand, many of the books including Bovada, BetOnline, Bookmaker, etc. have increased their daily output.

Checking out the daily schedule on BetOnline, they offer a consistent schedule of four NFL games, spaced out from 2PM ET to 8PM ET.  Hmmm . . . Tuesday Night Football. Does life get any better? But things are just a bit more unusual in this league. 

Sim Sports 101

Different than traditional eSports which have some human control, simulation sports are comprised only of games between a computer's AI (artificial intelligence). As an example, Bovada features MaddenNFL20 games through a streaming website Twitch. NBA2K20 basketball games are also streamed.

Madden 20 Sim bettingIt is something relatively new to the sports betting world and another happenstance due to the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Yes, it is rather strange conducting games his way but maybe a glimpse of how the sports world would play out on a virtual level. The good news (perhaps) is the traditional list of top sportsbooks offer an incentive to begin your play in this category.

Wagering-wise the betting choices are like any type of game we have begun accustomed to. Spreads, totals, and money lines are available. Also, a growing number of prop bets including which team will score first, which player will record the first TD, etc. Oh, did I forget to mention halftime lines. Who needs a breathing NFL when you have this available daily?

Getting the Sim Sports Edge

As much as I need to be handcuffed to admit it, many say there indeed is a way to potentially handicap sim sports. We are not just flipping a coin to avoid sports wagering dehydration while waiting for Commissioner Goodell's key announcement when the NFL will indeed resume.

It is understandable that trust is a major issue here since the sportsbooks are conducting the sim action. However, they are NOT in control of the stream. Like any other "real" game action, their perfect world goal would be to receive maximum even action on both sides of every contest. Again, results are determined by the mainframe computer's artificial intelligence.

"Handicapping" is a very vague and personal issue. Rosters are conducted from 2019 levels, giving players some perspective from where to begin. My HUGE cynicism aims at the many other factors involved within sports handicapping that often determine the outcome of both point spread and totals wagering. 

For example, last year's Miami Dolphins in the second week of September were absolutely not the same Miami Dolphins the third week of December. The real San Antonio Spurs coming off five straight over-the-total games might be a very enticing wager looking at betting under in their sixth straight game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. You get the picture. I would not think sports sim games provide you that type of serious handicapping perspective.

Again, the best news involves the opportunity for bonuses. While we all hang on that next date for the real games to begin (NBA July 31st prayerfully), many of top offshore sportsbooks are offering nice bonuses encouraging sports sim play. Not a bad idea to inquire and ask your own questions.

The Verdict

I am trying to remain impartial here, but it is challenging. Creating a sports wagering diet based on simulated games seems equitable to eating processed foods seven days a week. If you are a non-vegetarian, it's just gotta be healthier to eat fresh meat, poultry, seafood and salads. Occasionally a sports sim quick fix is OK but overall, not a great habit to form. 

Being fair, the jury is still out here.  The COVID-19 pandemic created many new culture forms, and within the wagering world this could become one of the more significant outcomes. Sports sim games attached to wagering are still in their infancy and likely new technology along with clever new manufacturers (EA Sports, Sigma, etc.) are taking notes with great interest. Oh, and so is the wagering world to plot your habitual action. 

The debate may be more psychological. Do we need to have a stake in every "game" we watch or play? Not to tread into Dr. Phil territory here but imagine real dollar property values and bets before that friendly Monopoly game begins. Establish odds before Saturday night Trivial Pursuit. 

The most compelling discussion following the recent Michael Jordan documentary on ESPN, The Last Dance, recalls his legendary obsession having a stake in every type of game he attempted, real or for fun. The only difference is MJ has about $2B to work with. 

In closing, I will be cynical no more and defer to one of the greatest philosophers of all-time, William Martin Joel, aka Billy Joel. The Piano Man once wisely noted in a great song, "it's just a fantasy, it's not the real thing . . . but sometimes a fantasy is all you need.

And unless this seemingly hopeless MLB strike is very soon solved, wagering on a 2019 baseball sim game will be our only reality getting to the plate this Summer. 

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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