NFL Sets New Betting Records for Week 1 of the Season

General News NFL sets new betting records in Week 1
Sep 16, 2021 12:09Tim Ronaldson

The start of the National Football League season always brings a lot of betting excitement. But this year was much different than years of the past.

Because of the expansion of legal sports betting across the United States, legal sports wagers experienced the busiest stretch of four days ever.

Week 1 of the NFL season kicked off last Thursday. In the four days between Thursday and Sunday — the busiest single day of any NFL week — there were 58.2 million online betting transactions. That’s according to GeoComply, a company that provides sportsbooks with geolocation services.

What This Really Means

As of the start of the NFL’s Week 1, there were 18 states plus the District of Columbia that not only have approved but were offering legal online sports betting wagers. Because of the increased number of places where sports wagering is offered, it’s only natural that betting interest was really high.

The 58.2 million online transactions represented an increase of 126% over the same four-day span that occurred at the start of the NFL season in 2020. That’s quite an impressive increase in just one year.

What’s really impressive is that these numbers represent only the online sportsbooks transactions. In other words, there were likely millions of more legal sports transactions made over the first week of the NFL season at land-based sportsbooks.

In total, there are 26 states plus the District of Columbia that offer legal sports wagers of some form. There are more states that are expected to start offering legal sports wagers in the coming months, as some states have already passed legislation that legalizes the practice.

Who Led the Way

There was a time when Nevada was the far-and-away leader in legal sports gambling. That, of course, was because the state was one of only four that could legally offer sports wagering — and the only one with basically unlimited options available for bettors.

That’s a lot different now, of course, with states across the country being allowed to offer legal sports wagering. It showed in the NFL’s Week 1 betting, too.

According to data from GeoComply, New Jersey actually led all states for the highest volume of transactions at sportsbooks. Following that was New Jersey’s neighbor, Pennsylvania. Rounding out the top five were Michigan, Arizona and then Illinois.

In Arizona, which just opened its legal sports betting market last Thursday — on the day of the first NFL regular season game — there were almost 271,000 new sportsbook accounts created. Those accounts completed more than 6.1 million legal transactions in just those four days.

Despite all the other states offering legal sports betting, this hasn’t hurt the handle in Nevada, surprisingly. The betting handle for the first week of the NFL season increased roughly 20% over the same period last year.

And over in college football, betting interest was up significantly in Nevada as well. All of the BetMGM sportsbooks located in Nevada experienced a 50% boost in total action on college football games for the Saturday before the Labor Day weekend.

The sportsbooks must have been happy with all this action, too, as they generally had a great first weekend. Underdogs in the NFL went 11-4 in against the spread bets, and eight of those underdogs won the game outright.

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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