There is such a thing as a reward without risk. Have you visited the pools section of the DraftKings Sportsbook app? This is where New Jersey online sports bettors will find several intriguing options in the midst of NFL Week 1.

 In fact, it’s raining “free” with a group of attractive contests that will be fun to play, pay little and cost nothing.

So where can users find them?

Click on the “pools” tab and a list of free-to-play and contests with varying entry fees will appear. The money figure is denoted in green on the far left side of the promotion name and runs largely, although not entirely, in descending order.

The largest free contest is the $30,000 DraftKings survivor pool, which is free to enter. Top prize is $1,000.  As of Friday morning, there were more than 200,000 entries. 

Call it the main attraction on the DraftKings Sportsbook free-to-play board. (NJ bettors willing to take on the risk can still enter the $1M Pro Football Millionaire Survivor contest with a $333 entry fee.)

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How to enter and play DraftKings survivor pool

The season-long NFL survivor contest involves thought, strategy, and a far-reaching vision.

And the rules are pretty simple.

For NFL Week 1, participants must select one team to win their game. The full list of games will appear when users click on the contest link. If the selected team wins, the entry stays alive for another week. 

The key is the squad can only be selected once for the entire 18-week season. 

The payout is $1,000 for first place, which will be split among all entries that make it through 18 weeks. Here is the rest of the prize breakdown:

  • $500 for second place 
  • $200 for third place
  • $100 for fourth through eighth places
  • $50 for finishing ninth through 14th in the standings

Additional prizes range from $25 down to $1.

Thursday and Monday night games are eligible.

The deadline is important, as failing to make an entry will eliminate a player from the contest.

The same concept applies to the survivor contest with the entry fee. However, the $1M prize is the only one on the line.  Talk about drama.

Either way, a nice element of this competition is the ability to alter one’s pick any time before that team starts its game. This could matter if news of a big injury gets out, for example. But making late changes must also be measured by the number of teams one has left in the field.

Keep picking, week by week. Many players took the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.  And did their hearts ever pound (especially gamblers who entered the higher-paying survivor pools with considerable entry fees).

Any contestants who selected the defending Super Bowl champions for Week 1 no longer have the option of selecting Tampa Bay. 

Those who went with Dallas have been eliminated.

The game also showed that there’s no sure thing in the NFL. The defending Super Bowl champs, at home as a nine-point betting favorite across most NJ online sportsbooks, needed a last-second field goal to escape. 

Talk about the true meaning of surviving.

A Tampa Bay loss would have cut numerous survivor pools in the industry in half.

Analyzing DraftKings survivor pool strategy

This football  survivor pool involves thought, strategy, and a far-reaching vision

It’s fun to enter these contests with no risk because they become difficult over the course of an 18-week season. The pickings become slim during midseason when the bye weeks intensify and a player may have perhaps a dozen games to choose from.

And many of the teams available will have been used.

Strategies vary in this contest.

Picking the largest betting favorites each week is likely to keep a player in contention for a while. But eventually, a couple of teams with losing records will need to come up big for the contestant.

Many contestants like to put some freebies in their pockets in September and think about when to make their stand on a risky game. Some gamblers think several weeks ahead.

Some New Jersey-based Eagles fans shared a pre-legalization era story about betting in a season-long survivor pool in Nevada, where it was legal, in 2010.

They took the early-season gimmes, endured their big risks in the middle of the season, and indeed sweated out some one-point wins. With two weeks left, they were perfectly stacked. 

They had the Eagles against the Minnesota Vikings at home the next-to-last week of the season and the Atlanta Falcons at home in the last week.

The Eagles were 10-4. The Vikings were 5-9. Home free right?

 Nope.

That was the famed snow cancellation for the Eagles.  They played the Vikings on a Tuesday and lost, as a seven-point favorite. In the following week, Atlanta rolled to a triumph.

It shows that even when gamblers make all the right moves, this is a complex contest.

Playing a no-cost survivor pool is an excellent way to develop the skills that may come into play for more expensive ones.

More DraftKings Sportsbook free-to-play pools

Talking bigger picture, DraftKings Sportsbook is not holding back with its free-to-play NFL contests this season. There were six free pools and counting at 2 a.m. Friday morning and others may come. 

So why not play them all?

Plus the other options do not require picking the correct team on a weekly basis.

A Free $5K Monday Night Football prop pool was also up late Thursday night.

And then came the newcomers early Friday morning, like a safety blitz.

 Right after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ pulsating 31-29 triumph over the Dallas Cowboys to open NFL Week 1, DraftKings unleashed a freebie-fest.

The menu includes:

  • $10K  power picks pool (top prize $500) Pick the winner of every NFL game against the spread.
  • $5K NFL Week 1 pool against the spread (top prize $100)
  • $4K pro football pick ’em (top prize $100)
  • $4K  pro football prediction week (top prize $100)

The football prediction contest takes random questions regarding several NFL games that bettors must answer.

Eagles fans will like one of the questions regarding combined passing and rushing yardage between Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins and the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts.

Another question ties into whether Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars or Mac Jones of the New England Patriots will have more Week 1 passing yards. 

The Monday night poll follows the same format. In both cases, prizes are awarded based on the number of correct answers.

AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.