March Madness is here, which means even people who don’t follow college hoops, like at all, have filled out their brackets and are watching the scores roll in. Based on the excitement and relative ease of filling out one of these brackets, I’ve developed a whole new way to gamble on professional sports. Essentially, brackets for the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL and the field is the entire league.
I tested this out on a small scale with some friends last year, and with a little tinkering on the MLB bracket, I think I’ve found a pretty fun and unique thing here. One of the reasons that fantasy baseball and basketball aren’t as popular as football is because there are just too many games to pay attention to. With the individual sport bracket, you place your picks at the beginning of the year, and that’s it. Just like March Madness, you have a field of teams to choose from (in this case, the whole league), and you pick winners at each step of the way. Here’s a more detailed description of how baseball works:
There are 6 total rounds, with the first two rounds checkpoints in the regular season and the last four being each round of the playoffs. The first checkpoint will be May 15th (around the 1/4 season mark). The second is the All Star Break. You get 10 points per pick in the regular season rounds (1 and 2), 10 points for picking correct playoff teams and a bonus 10 points for getting seeds right (round 3). This way, if you guess a team that makes the playoffs but you don’t get the seed right, you still get awarded something. Round 4 includes the wild card game (30 points per correct WC winner) and the teams that make the LCS (40 points). I’ve scored it this way because you have a very slim chance of guessing the team that wins the actual Wild Card game, but ultimately an LCS berth is more important. Correct LCS winners get 100 points, and correct champion picks get 200 each. First tiebreaker is correct game count, second is total runs in the series clinching game.
Football works much the same way, but with no regular season checkpoints and more of an emphasis on division winners and seeding. The scoring is slightly different just because baseball playoffs aren’t as straightforward as the other leagues. Basketball and hockey start with the All-Star Break, and also assign bonus points for seeding and division winners. All brackets in any league get submitted before the season starts, again, just like with March Madness.