Aaron Judge
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

New York online sports betting has exploded since first launching in early January, and as the market gears up for its first Major League Baseball season, Simplebet looks poised to be a driving force in the action by bringing its micro-betting technology to the forefront of the fan experience.

Standard pre-game markets such as point spreads, moneylines, and game totals have long been the focus of the general betting public, but with legal online sports betting broadening its reach across the United States as gaming technology evolves, in-game and micro-betting markets have exploded in popularity.

At its core, micro-betting drives fan engagement and investment on a play-to-play, or, in the case of baseball, a pitch-to-pitch basis.

Simplebet, which holds deals with industry-leading sportsbook operators such as DraftKings, has spearheaded micro-betting’s rapid growth by bringing its technology to consumers in a variety of ways.

Last summer, DraftKings successfully debuted Simplebet’s baseball micro-betting offerings in its sportsbook platform while quickly seeing massive growth in user engagement and total betting handle, according to Simplebet co-founder and CEO Chris Bevilacqua.

Bevilacqua recently told ESNY he believes micro-betting remains “in the first inning,” an appropriate characterization given news earlier this week his company has teamed up with the YES Network to provide the first-ever in-game, single-screen watch and play game.

Simplebet’s micro-betting technology comes into view

The marriage between sports broadcasts and sports betting has been one in the making since since 2018 when New Jersey became the first state to offer legal online sports wagering.

In recent months, national broadcasts have prominently featured in-game ads and commercials from legal sportsbook operators. ESPN and regional networks have each introduced betting-specific programming, while some sportsbook apps have even gained streaming rights for select games.

Simplebet and the YES Network have taken the next step in the fusion between sports broadcasts and betting by launching a single-screen prediction game through the YES App. Dubbed “Pick-N-Play Live,” the game features live prediction markets. It debuted during the Pistons-Nets March 28 matchup and will be offered via a streaming in-app feed for future Nets and Yankees games this season.


Users will be able to play the game for a chance to win prizes ranging from gift cards and merchandise to fan experience opportunities.

“Micro-market technology is reimagining the fan experience and drives longer watch times, which in turn is beneficial for operators and media partners alike,” Bevilacqua stated through a recent release announcing the partnership.

Of course, this free-to-play first run sets the stage for future integration of real-money micro-betting into sports broadcasts.

The benefit for both sides is obvious. For networks, viewership and engagement instantly strengthen. For gaming operators, the ability to offer dozens of real-time micro-betting markets should increase product loyalty. With product loyalty comes increased product usage, and, of course, increased betting handle.

For his part, Bevilacqua envisions the continuing development of streaming and gaming technologies creating further opportunities to blend micro-betting into the viewing experience as new broadcast rights deals are signed and reimagined.

“With better tech and low-latency video that gets a live event out to viewers in under a second, marrying live video with micro-markets, that’s the killer product,” he said.

The rise of micro-betting

The recent news of the partnership between Simplebet and YES Network brings a more mainstream and digestible context to the rise of micro-betting, but thousands of users who are intimately familiar with the DraftKings Sportsbook will validate its importance to the overall gaming experience.

Simplebet brought baseball its micro-betting markets during the final months of the 2021 season. Instead of simply selecting pre-game and in-game markets focused on runlines, moneylines, and runs scored, for the first time, bettors had access to an entirely different product experience.

In its opening run, the app saw significant product interaction in terms of both total users and bets per user. Markets such as pitch outcome (ball, strike, foul, in-play) and at-bat results were particularly popular.

More recently, the NCAA Tournament has highlighted the growing popularity of micro-betting markets powered by Simplebet. With brackets around the country quickly busted, legal sports betting handle has exploded, and while single-game and parlay wagers have been popular, college basketball immediate-feedback results such as “team to score next” and “next score type” have generated significant action.

As a new Major League Baseball season gets set to open, New York bettors will be able to access such markets as they follow along with both out-of-town games and in-market Yankees and Mets games.

As Bevilacqua explained, Simplebet is able to offer micro-betting outcomes at scale, virtually in real-time, through its advanced automated technology.

In terms of developing betting odds, situational, contextual, and player data spanning thousands of games played over multiple seasons are considered in determining prices. Platoon splits, player statistics, weather, ball-strike counts, playing surfaces, and park factors are just some of the data points considered.

Beneficial to the product is that it doesn’t require wire-to-wire viewing engagement to be effective. A player may check in early on or dial in during the later, more high-leverage stages of a contest.

With an average of nearly 300 pitches per game, a baseball game can has the potential to offer action with the pacing and frequency of a casino slot machine, setting up an entirely new way to follow — and bet on — the action as it unfolds.

Bob Wankel is a credentialed Phillies writer for Crossing Broad. He is also Vice President of Sports Betting Content at XL Media and co-hosts Crossed Up: A Phillies Podcast. A South Jersey resident and graduate of Monmouth University, his past work includes 12+ years in education and six seasons as a freelancer at NFL Films. On Twitter: @Bob_Wankel E-mail: bob.w@xlmedia.com