The NFL is key to getting bettors through door, with almost half of all bettors placing their first wagers on the league. That is just one of the key findings in a deep dive review of the recent NFL season undertaken by sports betting data supplier Kambi in which it looks at, inter alia, bettor habits and how the handle is driven.

The firm found that nine out of 10 US bettors made at least one wager on the NFL during the season. This pool of bettors, it noted, produced 98 per cent of overall handle, suggesting the league attracts both regular and casual bettors. By comparison, both the NBA and MLB have less than 50 per cent of bettors, yet produce closer to more than 80 per cent of overall handle.

Tellingly, only 18 per cent of bettors wager on all major professional US leagues, said Kambi, and produce 54 per cent handle. But one quarter of US bettors backs NFL and no other big league.

The study also examined bettor activity during half-time periods of games, yielding some interesting findings. It transpired that the NFL is the only league which sees a rise per minute handle during half-time and, said Kambi, it is a significant one. Compare that to the English Premier League which experiences a large dip at half-time before a rise again in the second half.

Summarizing the document, Kambi stated: “Football is the most popular sport in the US, and the NFL the most watched league in the country. However, until now, we’ve been unable to say with 100 per cent confidence that the NFL is also the most popular sport for fans to wager on.”

It added: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the data shows the majority of NFL bettors also wagered on other sports, and this report details where and when this money went. This varied spending highlights the importance of operators having a strong game offering across a wide variety of sports, both pre-game and in-game.

“However, with approximately 25 per cent of bettors sticking exclusively to NFL, there may well be an opportunity for marketing teams to engage this group with other sports during the long off-season.”

Kambi’s review of the NFL season can be accessed here.