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A new player enters the daily fantasy arena -- Weather Battle

WX Battle has joined the DFS arena. WXbattle.com

We have officially entered the summer sports doldrums, and if you are a daily fantasy player this period is likely especially frustrating, maybe you are even getting the DFS shakes.  However, if you are willing to live a little bit outside of the box I may have a solution for you. Now you can play daily fantasy all summer long, and in fact all year long with a new game that never goes out of season.  How is this possible you ask? All sports have a season right? Well yes, they do, but do you know what doesn’t ever have an off season? The weather. Yes, a game called Weather Battle (also written as WX Battle) has brought weather forecasting into the daily fantasy arena.

I have been following this game’s development over the past year and earlier this month it officially launched for all to play.  Even better, is that for about the next month games will be free to play, but will still have real money payouts for winners.

So who had this brilliant idea? That would be Mike Collier - the Chief Meteorologist at the NBC affiliate TV Station in Tulsa, Okla.  Weather Battle was born out of Mike’s love of daily fantasy. Mike told me that a couple of years ago he, like many avid DFS players, was left wanting more at the conclusion of football season.  He wished for a game that could be played everyday and had no off season. It was then that weather forecasting - the thing he does every day - struck him as the solution. Weather, like sports, does not have a pre-defined outcome, nor does it ever stop, making it a perfect vessel for the daily fantasy model.  And just as with sports a player can test their skill and knowledge by attempting to pick the best possible outcome to gain the most points – the only difference being that points come in degrees or inches of rain instead of touchdowns and yards.

Even better is that you don’t have to have an in-depth knowledge, or really any knowledge at all, of meteorology to play.  Weather Battle has made it very simple for both the weather-enthused as well as the average fantasy sports player to participate.

Gameplay

First you have to go to weatherbattle.com. Once you log-in and hit the “Play Now” button you are taken to a page to select which contest you would like to participate in.  

As of now there are four types of games: a heat battle, cold battle, rain battle, and wind battle.  The names are pretty self-explanatory. In each of these “battles” you pick cities that you think will have the most of whatever condition the battle is for.  Keep in mind that you will be forecasting for the 24 hour period ending on the date given on the battle. Just like in regular daily fantasy each contest has an entry fee as well as a prize payout for winners.  However, as I mentioned earlier, for about the next month all contests will be free to enter.

I went ahead and chose the heat battle, and after doing so was lead to this screen to make my selections:

You are given a list of 40 cities, of which you can choose ten, however you must stay within the given 40,000 point budget.  Each city is assigned a point value, with the sure thing picks (ie. in heat contests traditionally hot cities like Phoenix) being the most expensive.  Scoring is done by totaling up all the high temperatures (or inches of rain, max winds in those other contests) in each of your selected cities. You have to choose your cities wisely though to get the most points possible while staying under budget.  Sure, you could pick Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell for your daily fantasy team, but you would be hard-pressed to fill out the rest of your roster. The same balancing act applies here.

Also, remember how I mentioned you don’t need to know a whole lot about meteorology to play? Well when you roll over the mouse over the city names a bubble pops up on the map to the right showing both the forecasted temperature as well as the average temperature for that day. Sure, you could consult some weather forecasts or simple weather models, however doing so is not necessary to have a good shot of winning.  Simply looking at the information Weather Battle provides you could see that on this particular day value picks can be found in cities like Portland or Cincinnati where the forecast temperature is 85 but the cost of picking those cities is relatively low. It’s like an average running back having a matchup against the leagues worst run defense. Finally, after you submit your picks you can return to the site the next day to see how you did and if you won any money. It is that easy.

Weather Battle plans to drastically expand the game over the coming months.  The plan is to add contests for forecasting severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other weather events.  They also plan to increase the prize pools to make these games even more attractive. However, even with contests presently limited to just four categories, over the past month participation has increased exponentially.  The first day it launched there were less than 10 people playing, but in less than a month hundreds are now playing with participation growing each day. My guess is that more than just those with a deep interest in weather will give this game a try. At the very least it is a change of pace during these dead summer months.  And finally, it will give those who love to claim that weather forecasts are a bunch of crap a chance to put their money where their mouth is.

If you decide to give it a try let me know, I would love to hear thoughts from other participants.   You can let me know via twitter @stephenuzick.


 

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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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