Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

By Dan Kilbridge | | 3 mins

Record Number Of Americans Expected To Bet On NFL This Season

Record Number Of Americans Expected To Bet On NFL This Season
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When it comes to NFL betting, the 2021 season will be one for the record books. That’s according to a study from the American Gaming Association that projects 45.2 million Americans will place at least one bet on NFL games in the coming months.

That means the AGA is projecting a 36% increase in the number of Americans betting on NFL games compared to the 2020 season.

It also represents just how far the industry has come since the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and give individual states the power to regulate legal sports betting.

“Sports betting is more popular than ever among Americans, and the enthusiasm of bettors for the upcoming NFL season highlights the remarkable growth of the industry over the past three years,” American Gaming Association President Bill Miller said.

“Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111 million American adults will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.”

Online Betting Growing In Popularity

Those projections include 21.7 million American adults who plan on betting casually with friends and 19.5 million expected to place a bet online through betting apps and betting sites either legally or illegally, a 73-percent increase from last season.

The AGA projects 10.5 million Americans will physically place a bet at a retail sportsbook or casino, while 6.7 million will bet with a bookie – a 13% increase from 2020.


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The numbers show an increase in NFL betting interest across the board in various formats – an estimated 14.6 million will join a paid fantasy football league, survivor pool or picks contest, which is up 58% from 2020.

It’s no surprise the biggest increases are all forms of legal betting, as opposed to much smaller hikes in betting with illegal bookies. More than 30 states have already legalized sports gambling in some form, and the past year and a half has seen successful mobile rollouts in markets like Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and Illinois.

Arizona sports betting is set to go live on Sept. 9, while South Dakota and Washington are also expected to go live for the start of the 2021 NFL season, providing accessibility and driving more interest in the process. Sports betting in Canada is live in the province of Ontario, too.

Excitement Building For NFL Kickoff

The AGA reports 25% of Americans are more excited about the upcoming NFL season than they have been in previous years. Interest is particularly strong in the Northeast, which shows a 21% increase from last year.

As for the actual bets? The study gauged betting interest in NFL futures odds for Super Bowl betting, with the Chiefs checking in at No. 1 as the most popular pick at 15%. Bettors are also high on the Buccaneers (11%) and Cowboys (7%) ahead of what’s expected to be the most heavily-bet NFL season in history.


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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.