PFL, DraftKings Get On The Mat Together Ahead Of 2021 Regular Season In Atlantic City

PFL MMA betting and DraftKings Sportsbook go together like jujitsu and wrestling. The latter brings a powerful brand sponsorship while the former offers an intriguing new category of prop bets based on analytics and biometrics.

Just ahead of the 2021 Professional Fighters League 2021 regular season in Atlantic City, the two parties made their deal public. New Jersey bettors can familiarize themselves with the league’s roster this upcoming weekend.

DraftKings and PFL MMA betting

On Tuesday, the PFL announced it has designated DraftKings as its official daily fantasy and sportsbook partner. Markets for the first event of the season, set for this Saturday, April 23, are live now.

In exchange for its sponsorship money, DraftKings gets more than that title. The venue for the bouts, which is Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City for the entire 2021 regular season, will be adorned in DraftKings signage. DraftKings will get mentions during the fight broadcasts, which will be available on several different platforms throughout the six events.

This Saturday’s action starts at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN+ then continues on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. The card features 10 fights, highlighted by Clay Collard vs. Anthony Pettis. Pettis is a -590 favorite on the moneyline as of Tuesday morning.

NJ bettors also have the option of wagering on whether or not the fight will go the distance.  Yes is +130, No is -177.

In addition to the betting markets where permissible, DraftKings plans to offer PFL pools. During the PFL’s 2019 season, activity in those games garnered over 30,000 submissions nationwide.

However, it’s the potential ramifications for the future that the PFL presents that might be of greatest intrigue to bettors. Regulators in NJ might need some convincing in order for it to reach its potential, though.

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Prop bets based on analytics, biometrics

PFL’s fights are unique in the MMA universe because the broadcasts share a wealth of information about fights in progress. The league’s proprietary SmartCage technology shares data like fighter location and the speed of fighters’ kicks and punches.

There is also biometric data in the mix as well. So far, that’s consisted of fighters’ estimated caloric burn and heart rate.

According to the press release, “this data will eventually allow for innovative and distinctive prop bets.” For that to happen in NJ, though, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement would have to be on board.

Currently, prop wagers based on analytics and athlete biometrics like this are not permissible. In order for that to change, regulators will likely need to be convinced that the data is free from manipulation and reliable.

If successful, the PFL could be instrumental in opening up such markets in NJ. For the time being, there is still plenty of action on these fights for DraftKings customers in NJ.

AP Photo/Gregory Payan

About the Author

Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.