What US sports do people bet on?

When I walked into SuperCuts last week, I was hardly expecting to find a gold mine of data on online sports betting in the US. But that’s exactly what I found when I picked up ESPN, The Magazine and stumbled upon an article about the subject. ESPN collected bet data from BetUs.com, 5Dimes.com, and CaribSports.com to see what US sports people bet on.

These numbers surprised me, especially since online sports betting is illegal in the US. Even with that limitation, over $55,000 is wagered on every NFL game! This gives us some insight into the potential size of an online US sports betting market if it was legalized and regulated by the US. My apologies for the poor quality pictures, but I also copied the data below.

Average bet volume per game

  • MLB: $13,000
  • NBA: $9,500
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: $6,000
  • NCAA Football: $19,500
  • NFL: $57,000
  • NHL: $4,500

This chart was very interesting to me, because it’s a proxy for the audience’s interest in each sport over time. With sports NCAA Basketball, you can see a clear crescendo and climax as the season moves into the playoffs and March Madness. After the season concludes, almost no betting occurs until the next season starts up again. From this graph, you can also see baseball’s dominance over the summer months, clearly reigning supreme as the Great American Pastime.

Using the chart above, I made some rough estimations of the bet volume of each sport on a month-by-month basis below. From this data, I was also able to determine a rough estimate of the bet volume per sport per year. MLB takes the top spot with $38.2m bets in 2011, followed by NCAA Men’s Basketball at $25.5m and the NFL at $16.6m. Check out the full stats below.

Bet volume per year

  • MLB: $38.2m
  • NBA: $10.8m
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: $25.5m
  • NCAA Football: $15.9m
  • NFL: $16.6m
  • NHL: $7.3m


Bet volume per month

  • MLB
    • January: -
    • February: $0.1m
    • March: $2.5m
    • April: $5.9m
    • May: $5.9m
    • June: $5.8m
    • July: $5.8m
    • August: $6.7m
    • September: $4.0m
    • October: $1.5m
    • November: -
    • December: -
  • NBA
    • January: $2.5m
    • February: $1.9m
    • March: $2.5m
    • April: $2.1m
    • May: $0.8m
    • June: $0.2m
    • July: -
    • August: -
    • September: -
    • October: -
    • November: -
    • December: $0.8m
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball
    • January: $5.2m
    • February: $5.7m
    • March: $6.8m
    • April: $2.1m
    • May: -
    • June: -
    • July: -
    • August: -
    • September: -
    • October: -
    • November: $2.0m
    • December: $3.7m
  • NCAA Football
    • January: $1.2m
    • February: -
    • March: -
    • April: -
    • May: -
    • June: -
    • July: -
    • August: -
    • September: $3.6m
    • October: $5.3m
    • November: $4.0m
    • December: $1.8m
  • NFL
    • January: $2.2m
    • February: $0.2m
    • March: -
    • April: -
    • May: -
    • June: -
    • July: -
    • August: $0.2m
    • September: $2.5m
    • October: $4.8m
    • November: $3.4m
    • December: $3.3m
  • NHL
    • January: $0.9m
    • February: $0.8m
    • March: $0.8m
    • April: $0.9m
    • May: $0.3m
    • June: $0.2m
    • July: -
    • August: -
    • September: -
    • October: $1.3m
    • November: $1.1m
    • December: $1.0m
You're reading What US sports do people bet on? Posted on April 12, 2012 Posted by Tyler
0 comments