Over the course of four years and more than 200 episodes, Gamble On has established itself as the leading gaming industry podcast, delivering news and analysis as well as interviews with the most influential names in gambling every week.
Episode 203, posted Aug. 4, 2022, features an interview with Nick Rudman, the communications director for Underdog Fantasy, which, in its third season hosting best ball tournaments, has seen enough growth to go from a $1 million prize pool in Best Ball Mania I to $3.5 million the following year and $10 million this year.
“Yes, these games are for money,” Rudman said. “But I really think the money is just a tool to bring out the emotions that make fantasy football so great. It is that ‘I called it,’ it’s that pride, it’s that ego, it’s being right.”
Listen to “203: Massachusetts sports betting passes, Mega Millions winner, Underdog Fantasy with Nick Rudman” on Spreaker.
Rudman’s money quotes
Although best ball certainly attracts its fair share of serious players who have gravitated toward Underdog to keep their fantasy minds focused in the offseason, above all, “the game is for the casual user,” Rudman believes. “The game is absolutely perfect for people that either don’t have the time or have aged out of the very hardcore nature of some fantasy football league. And what it really allows is, what we think the best part of the fantasy football season is, is the draft. And it lets you do it a thousand times, because you don’t have to manage it.”
“It’s better for casual users because they don’t have to do anything. … Best Ball, I think, will be enormous. We’re just not there yet.”
– @TheNickRudman on this week’s featured “Gamble On” video clip. @EricRaskin @BergenBrennan @UnderdogFantasy pic.twitter.com/iBsXTGHWbn
— US Bets (@US_Bets) August 5, 2022
Rudman on Underdog’s approach to finding an audience in its inaugural year, 2020, ahead of the pandemic-impacted season: “We spent no marketing dollars; we had no sign-up offer; there’s no, ‘Sign up now, get a free thousand dollars,’ like you see on a lot of ads. There’s nothing except for a huge gap in the market to offer this game that people love.”
Rudman on how Best Ball Mania III is shaping up: “Right now we are not on pace to fill, but August is insane and you have to sort of rely on this parabolic growth at the end of August that’s very hard to project. So, we very well may fill.”
Rudman on Underdog’s plans to move into the sportsbook space: “Underdog will offer licensed betting games. I don’t want to use the word ‘sportsbook,’ because we try to do everything different. Even just different for the sake of being different. … I do not think our emphasis will be on something as simple as Patriots -7 or a total of 58 points scored in Falcons-Chiefs. It’ll be a little more creative than that.”
Podcast hosts Eric Raskin and John Brennan analyzed Monday morning’s major news that Massachusetts is about to join the regulated sports betting party — albeit with the all-too-frequently proposed provision to ban betting on in-state college teams. “Obviously,” Brennan noted, “there are plenty of major gamblers in the Boston area who will just continue to ply their trade with the illegal, offshore sportsbooks. So that’s pretty short-sighted.” Brennan set a line of Nov. 1 for when wagering will launch in the Bay State, and Raskin took the (slight) over, indicating that he thinks in between the Patriots’ Nov. 13 bye week and Nov. 20 home game against the Jets is the most likely launch spot.
The Mega Millions jackpot swelled to nearly $1.34 billion and was hit last week by a single lucky winner. Neither Raskin nor Brennan have much interest in buying lottery tickets, but Raskin does get the mentality behind dreaming the (almost) impossible dream: “I do the same thing every week of football season in DFS. I look at the top prize of the $3 buy-in DraftKings tournament and I think that one of my seven lineups is going to be the one that wins $100,000, even though, clearly, it never will be. The difference, of course, is that there’s some fun and some challenge in trying with DFS, in strategizing and building your lineups. I don’t see any fun or challenge in buying lottery tickets. But to each their own, I suppose.”
Major League Baseball’s trade deadline arrived on Tuesday, and a few teams’ futures odds moved significantly. Brennan was particularly perplexed by the Yankees brass’s decision to make a couple of minor moves: “That team had everything going for it. It wasn’t broke. I don’t know if they fixed anything.”
Closing thoughts: Brennan wrapped up the podcast by declaring himself to be in the “not amused” camp regarding a heckler at the divisive LIV golf tour’s event in New Jersey last week.