NFL Betting Off to Hot Start as States Reveal Top Markets

Estimated read time 4 min read

Building momentum

As states across the country report their monthly totals for August, the NFL betting public is enjoying its best start to a year in nearly two decades.

New York is the American sports betting leader

According to all reporting state gaming commissions, New York is the American sports betting leader with $1.12bn in total handle since the first of the year. New Jersey and Nevada are next in line at $725.8m and $431m, respectively.

Sportsbooks will be hoping that NFL bettors’ savviness runs out, or else it’ll be a long few months for them until the Super Bowl.

The results are in

New York has been the American leader in sports betting since it opened for business on January 8, 2022. It’s no surprise to see it atop the chart (or New Jersey and Nevada close behind).

Massachusetts was a surprise inclusion at seventh since it only launched retail sports betting on January 31 and online sports betting on March 10. Despite the late entries, it produced a total handle of $315m. 

Here are the ten states (and their figures) with the highest betting handles in 2023 that reported by Tuesday, Oct. 10:

  1. New York – $1.12bn
  2. New Jersey – $725.8m
  3. Nevada – $431m
  4. Pennsylvania – $393m
  5. Ohio – $379.5m
  6. Virginia – $319m
  7. Massachusetts – $315m
  8. Colorado – $306m
  9. Maryland – $263.9m
  10. Tennessee – $242m

Sportsbooks are coming off a “dead season” in which there are few major sports. That changed when the NFL kicked off in early September.  

best start for the masses through Week 5 since at least 2005

According to Bet Labs, public sides (teams that receive more than 50% of bets) are 44-27-3 against the spread (62%). That’s the best start for the masses through Week 5 since at least 2005.

The Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers have been the real moneymakers and are 4-1 ATS. The Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle Seahawks also have only one loss ATS.

On the flip side, the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants have not covered once in five games. The Giants are the only team of those three that is 0-5, while the others are 0-4-1.

NFL betting continues

The public is coming off another strong week in Week 5. According to information from DraftKings sportsbook, sides receiving at least 70% of bets went 4-1-1 ATS.

83% of bets were on the Dolphins -12.5 against the Giants, which they covered in a 15-point win. The team with the second-most wagers was the Buffalo Bills -5.5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was the Jags that emerged with a five-point win in London, England.

Niners are 5-0 straight-up and just annihilated the Dallas Cowboys

One game to monitor in Week 6 is the 49ers against the Cleveland Browns. The Niners are 5-0 straight-up and just annihilated the Dallas Cowboys in a potential NFC Championship Game preview on Sunday Night Football, 42-10. The Browns, meanwhile, are 2-2 with an excellent defense but a lowly offense.

Despite their excellence on the field (first in points allowed, second in scoring offense), the 49ers opened as just three-point favorites on most sportsbooks. That line has moved to as high as six points at BetMGM sportsbook.

There’s no sure-fire way to pinpoint how the public has fared so well to start the year. One explanation could be the expanded coverage of sports and sports betting has allowed bettors to take in more information, obtain better betting habits, and become more resourceful.

Another is the public has become sharper the longer the state markets and local sportsbooks have been open for business. Whatever the reasoning, gamblers will have the opportunity to try their hands at NFL betting again this week.


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