PicksPal Could Disrupt Sports Betting Markets

Tom Jessiman, the founder of PicksPal, stumbled onto something that could change the way we predict sporting event outcomes. And it could therefore have a big impact on sports betting markets.

PicksPal is a free sports site where people “bet” on upcoming games. No money is involved. If they win, their point total goes up and they have bragging rights around the office. Since launching about a year ago over 100,000 people have joined the site, making daily picks on just about every kind of sporting event in the U.S. – boxing, NFL football, pro football, bass fishing, ultimate fighting, basketball, baseball, etc. The site makes money from advertising.

Recently, however, the PicksPal team noticed that a very small percentage of users tend to be correct in their picks significantly more often that they should be statistically. When they grouped these special users they found them to be a powerful predictive force.

Sports betting (both legal and illegal) is a massive worldwide business. Participants are always looking for an edge and are willing to pay for picks by “experts” (I know this from my extensive research watching Two for the Money).

Tom and his team figured out pretty quickly that there was a potentially massive business here. And next Tuesday they are going to start tapping into that business when they launch what they call “Genius Picks”. For $10, users can get access to the collective wisdom of the 30 best PicksPal players over the previous five weeks in a given sport, and get five predictions on upcoming games.

They’ve been running this internally for a while and the results are impressive. This last weekend, for example, they went 5-0 against the spread, picking Toledo -3 in college football, and Indianapolis – 13, Cincinnati – 10.5, Baltimore -9.5 and San Diego -11 in the NFL. Tom says not to expect Genius Picks to maintain that kind of record over the long run, but the results speak for themselves.

PicksPal will be leveraging their technology to participate in completely new markets later this year. They say a “Hollywood” version could be next, to allow people to bet on who’ll be on certain magazine covers, reality show plots, etc.

Look for mainstream media to start covering this company in the very near future.

PicksPal is based in Silicon Valley and has raised $6 million in venture capital over two rounds of financing. They are backed by Canaan Partners and Bay Partners.