March Madness seems to get better every year, and the 2022 version has not disappointed. Some favorites have dominated, while others have been dumped out much sooner than expected. Every tournament needs a Cinderella, and Saint Peter’s is one of the most heartwarming underdogs in recent memory. This tournament has shown that anything can happen, and US bettors have had a great time trying to predict these games and sometimes making great profits.
NFL Regular Season Extended by Extra Week
For the first time in 43 years the NFL will be expanding their schedule. A week ago, the NFL and the player’s union came to an agreement, and announced that they would be extending the length of the schedule from 16 games to 17 games (18 weeks total).
Essentially, the additional game will feature teams from opposing conferences that finished in the same place within their division the previous season. With the season set to kick off on September 12, 2021 and the last games to be played on January 9, 2022 (which would normally be the 1st week of playoff games).
This means that the Super Bowl will be pushed back a week to February 13, 2022.
To make up for the bye week, the NFL has also reduced the preseason from 4 games to 3 games. While all of these changes naturally seem to induce headaches for organizers, it cause for celebration among football fans and sports betting punters. Let’s break it down and look at how the schedule change will impact sportsbooks, and online sports betting.
The first way this change has dramatically changed how bets will be made is because of how little money the NFL preseason generates. While NFL preseason games garner more interest (and money) than other leagues, it’s still nothing in comparison to the money flowing in from the regular season (20-30x more money wagered).
So, the idea that the NFL is not only removing a preseason game, but adding in MORE regular season games, means that there will be more bets to place, and more money to bet on.
Within the industry, it is well documented that the NFL rakes in around $350 million per week strictly from legal gambling markets in the U.S., with the industry win rate sitting at 7% ($24.5 million per week). That’s a whole lot of mula!
Also bear in mind that all of this money was generated from straight betting, moneyline, or against-the-spread wagers, but does not include parlays. Besides, last season only 13 NFL teams were located in states where sports betting is legal. As many U.S. states are now in the process of legalizing gambling, sports betting and online sports books, this trend is expected to go upwards and we will see these numbers rise even more, which means even more money for sportsbooks, bettors, the league and of course tax revenues for the states.
Some teams will certainly benefit more than others from this change in schedule, here are a few NFL franchises that can probably use it most:
- The Buffalo Bills finished 1st in the AFC EAST, and will go up against the 1st place team in the NFC EAST, the Washington Football Team.
- Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals finished last in the AFC NORTH, and will go up against the 4th placed team in the NFC WEST, The San Francisco 49ers.
- While both the Bills, and Washington finished last season at the top of their division, Washington had a shockingly good year and is still without a starting QB, while the Bills have once again improved, and look to take home another division title.
- But the rebuilding Bengals are forced to battle it out with a 49ers team that likely would’ve made playoffs if they were in a less competitive division.
It’s also worth noting that all the AFC teams will have home field advantage. So, indeed not all draws are created equal, but from a punter’s perspective, it creates more avenues to make a profit (which in turn helps the NFL profit). In fact, the added game is nothing but financially beneficial for all parties: players, teams, fans, sportsbooks and of course the community.
Though it also means more work is involved, specifically for the players and teams, Vegas has already spoken out and stated how the added game is likely to generate more than $50 million in wagers! A figure that is sure to increase as more and more states begin to open their (sports) books.
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