The sports betting market continues to grow in the UK, as does the interest in the NFL, with bookmakers recording record figures on NFL turnover in 2013, and that number has only grown in the last 12 months.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the huge rise in interest in the NFL in a country that, as of this season, has now seen one or more games at Wembley for eight straight years, as well as increased talk of a franchise heading in London’s direction.
The increase in media coverage on the game is obvious to those that have followed it for a long time, and with that growth in popularity comes further interest from bookmakers. This season has not only seen record figures on turnover, but also a healthier competition between firms on their wide range of markets on offer.
Where sites were once dedicated to Spanish soccer games, golf, or the next Premier League matchup, Sunday evenings are now an array of NFL betting opportunities, with countless pre match and live markets giving you every chance to maximise any angle you may have.
Whilst the NFL is the first of the big Stateside sports to permeate into the British betting mentality, it is unlikely to be the last, given the massive market that exists for all four big sports in Vegas. That is certainly the big reason as to why the NFL was allowed to grow as a product initially, but now established, it cannot be the only reason bettors remain interested.
And indeed, looking at the betting opportunities in Week 15 of this season, it isn’t hard to see why that interest lingers. For a start, in the UK, the NFL is placed in a prime time to bet, starting only minutes after the final Premier League game of the day, just as bettors settle down for the evening. Whether they are looking to further their profit, or claw back some earlier losses, there are three lots of games on, allowing for singles and parlays to add to the interest of their night.
It is fast becoming a ritual for many to sit on the couch from 6pm until past midnight and catch six plus hours of coverage offered on a cable service, whilst more avid fans opt for the live streaming package offered by the league. This access, more than ever before, has more than contributed to the growth of the product in the UK, as has the simplicity of the markets.
Given that soccer and horse racing are the two primary sports to bet on the UK, it is rare you have the simple two way market, as is offered almost solely on the NFL. With soccer, there are, for the most part, three possible outcomes, whilst with horse racing, much knowledge must be garnered until you can be confident to pick a winner from a field of ten or more.
However, given the nature of the NFL, it is easy to go down a list of games and parlay six teams. Moreover, with live betting becoming the force that it is in the UK, the stop-start nature of the games make betting much simpler than soccer for instance, given that the ball may not leave the field for up to five minutes at a time.
Will Geno Smith throw a pick this quarter? Reckon Aaron Rodgers can throw for 310 yards this week? Think the Titans will earn more than 5 wins this season?
These are all yes/no answers, and are much easier to offer for bookmakers that have struggled to grow their soccer product in the past decade.
However, for some, it isn’t the simplicity that is paramount to their betting experience. Being able to choose one way or another is a given, so for those bettors, it is being secure in the knowledge that a vastly larger bet can be had.
Due to the aforementioned strength from Vegas, the NFL markets in the UK are priced tightly by bookmakers, and as such, larger stakes are more readily taken than in other major sports, such as golf or tennis. You are much more likely to have a $25,000 bet accepted on the Broncos to beat the Chargers than on Rafael Nadal to beat Roger Federer for instance.
In the UK, with online betting a way of life for many at this point, new opportunities are bound to arise, but right now, it is the NFL that is maximising that potential, and as one of the fastest growing products around, it can only get bigger and better. Whilst the sport will remain American to the core, perhaps the UK betting industry will soon have a thing or two to teach the rest of the world when it comes to gambling on the NFL.