Ever played frisbee before? Believe it or not, disc throwing is now more than just a competitive sport. Ultimate, as it’s known, is a worldwide phenomenon. In recent years, Ultimate betting markets have opened across a variety of big sportsbooks – but why?
With books such as DraftKings leading the way for Ultimate Frisbee betting across the US, here’s what you’ll need to know before placing any wagers of your own.
What is Ultimate?
Ultimate is the modern name for ‘Ultimate Frisbee’. It is a competitive game that has been around since the 1960s, and it is set up similarly to traditional soccer. However, there are normally more players in a game of outdoor Ultimate, with seven people on either side. For indoor games, this is often reduced to five players on either team.
Ultimate started life in the US but is now seen as a global phenomenon. With the rise of AUDL bets opening on sportsbooks, more and more fans are getting on board the non-contact sport. Traditionally, games of Ultimate take place across pitches of up to 110 yards in length.
Playing Ultimate is fairly straightforward. There’s a ‘goal’, or ‘end zone’, and teams must throw a frisbee in play between each other to eventually score. A point is scored for every successful frisbee landed in the end zone – however, there’s plenty of opportunities to intercept the other team mid-play.
The end zone makes up around 25% of the main pitch. This means players must carefully cast their discs into 20-yard spaces – which sounds easy on paper but is less so in practice.
Ultimate is strictly non-contact, meaning that possession is gained if a frisbee is caught mid-throw, or if the disc hits the ground. What’s more, players cannot run or even walk with the disc. Therefore, it is a game of high precision when in possession.
This also means that catching players will need to pivot carefully – à la basketball – so that they don’t technically ‘move’ while holding their discs.
Are there any other interesting rules?
Unlike soccer, there is no offside rule in Ultimate. This means players are free to throw and pass discs however they see fit. Defenders will need to work hard to intercept throws.
Catch failures also provide big drama in this game. These occur when players touch the disc before it hits the ground – but without catching it outright. If a player fails to catch a disc properly before it hits the ground, then play passes to the other side.
What is also interesting about Ultimate is that there are no referees! Therefore, all players are expected to follow a code of conduct and respect. This can make for some pretty dramatic moments – both from spectating and betting perspectives.
What is the AUDL?
The AUDL is the American Ultimate Disc League. It was set up in 2012 and has since engulfed 25 different franchises across the states. Ultimate Frisbee betting traditionally follows markets set up through AUDL games, which you can either watch online or via Fox Sports.
The AUDL’s aim is to make Ultimate as visible as possible in a landscape that is already awash with hundreds of different sports. In fact, the AUDL set up a long-term development plan to help deliver betting solutions online to invested spectators. This means that Ultimate betting is perhaps set to get more exciting – with more sportsbook products and data services emerging in years to come.
Why is Ultimate worth betting on?
While Ultimate sounds much like any other team sport with a pitch and a grid, watching a match in play will demonstrate the opposite. This is a game that requires speed and precision in very different ways to soccer, football, and basketball. In fact, it brings the careful, in-play mathematics of tennis and golf into a team format – making it something of a ‘supersport’.
For bettors, this makes matters more interesting. Form, of course, is just as important in Ultimate as it is in any other team sport. However, it is also one of the fastest-moving and fastest-changing sports, with only the quickest and most accurate decision-makers likely to score points. Ultimate is less about brute force, and is more about agility, poise, teamwork, and follow-through.
The lack of any kind of referee in Ultimate games also adds a new dimension to what would normally make for a standardised team operation. Players largely discuss fouls between themselves – and that, as you may imagine, can make for some memorable moments.
Ultimate markets, especially in-play, are likely to fluctuate wildly thanks to the volatility of the game’s nature. Therefore, it is unsurprising that more and more sportsbooks and their users are getting involved in the sport. It’s a high-risk, high-return choice from a sportsbook perspective, and in a sea of nearly endless soccer markets, Ultimate proves to be an attractive change of pace.
Ultimate Frisbee betting is perhaps not as ‘new’ as many believe it to be. It is, however, quickly catching on worldwide, which means it won’t be surprising to see new markets and in-play opportunities opening in the years to come.
If you are interested in giving Ultimate betting a try, it is good practice to read into the sport first and study a few videos. If you can keep pace with the players, you may just find that it is a worthwhile alternative to football and ice hockey. Ultimate also proves that sports don’t have to rely on contact to be dramatic or exciting – watch a match to see why!
With the AUDL ever-expanding Ultimate’s reach across North America and by extension the world, the next few years will prove to be highly formative for the sport, especially from a betting perspective. Could Ultimate challenge soccer in terms of excitement on the world stage?