Why Are US Sports Bettors More Data-Centric?

data being scrutinised on a table by several peopleIn a recent study, it was revealed that US sports bettors thrive off the back of data produced from sports events and as a result, spend a significant amount of time doing research before placing a bet, following the recent passing of legislation in a number of states.

Dan Pozner of Spotlight Sports Group’s VP of Content shed some light on this recently, saying:

“As legal sports betting continues to expand here, a profile is emerging of highly engaged fans with an appetite for information, analysis and insights to inform their picks.

“Based on the results of this first Pickswise.com Survey, three-quarters say they spend at least an hour each week on research before placing bets. We believe that as the legal betting market continues to grow, so too will the market for quality content that helps bettors, especially new ones, navigate their way through it smartly.”

There are perhaps a number of reasons for this, however, one of the biggest ones may be because, US sports, compared to others, produce reams of statistics. This is driven due to there being, for most such as American football, it is typically more tactical and there are more breaks in play, in addition to having a coach for every position.

Most US residents have had a long wait in order to be able to place a sports bet. Indeed, online sports betting only became legal in New Jersey in 2018 and this is the biggest market in the country currently.

However, others are predicted to catch it up; Michigan only legalised online gambling in January and already they are surpassing revenue records on a monthly basis – a vast amount of this is from sports betting.

Could This Be Just A Phase?

time clock warningFor nearly two decades, US sports fans have had to make do with fantasy sports as a way of making their viewing experience more interesting and, as a result, they have been aided in their decision-making process, courtesy of thousands of stats, detailing every single player, regardless of which sport.

Then came daily fantasy sports betting, whereby participants could win money from their picks, which meant that stats analysis became even more obsessive for those taking part – a lot of it mainly driven by the idea of proving that they are the most knowledgeable among their peers.

Because of these factors, they could well be a major contributing factor as to why stats analysis is a significant part of a US bettor’s thought process, before placing bets. In addition, some could well be placing multiple bets, which means that they do more analysis than they typically might have done for fantasy sports.

Statistical analysis and research appear to be ingrained into the US betting philosophy, with many bettors wanting to make sure that they are right; some need to be right about their predictions in order to feel justified in parting with their stake. As a result, this requires a substantial amount of time poring over data and this is freely available at a number of different websites.

In the UK, while people do some research before placing a bet, it is often just a brief skim at past results or the current form of some certain players instead of going into the detail that bettors in the US appear to do. It could also be argued that there isn’t the kind of data available for a sport such as football, compared to American football, which could be another reason why there is so much intrigue in the US around betting research. The likelihood is that the research side in US sports betting may well continue in this market due to the fact that this is already a habit that could be hard to shake.

Betting Partnerships With Sports Franchises

draftkingsOne trend that we have seen increase considerably over the last year is betting companies link up with sports franchises across the US in an attempt to increase awareness and this could well be driven by the betting behaviour in the country.

The likes of DraftKings and FanDuel, who ironically, started as fantasy sports betting companies have multiple partnerships with sports franchises, while they have since diversified into actual sportsbooks.

In a way it is an attempt to sway supporters of particular franchises into making the betting company that sponsors a franchise, becoming their sportsbook of choice. As such, a lot of these will also have partnerships with media organisations that publishes content which is stats driven in order to aid betting decisions as well.

What Do The Numbers Say?

Frequent BettorsResearchersViewersChallenge Orientated
70% bet weekly97% interested in analysis73% stream/watch games they have bet on71% motivated by winning money
61% bet three times/week75% spend 1 hour/week researching50% more likely to watch further sports news61% prefer the thrill
74% have multiple sportsbook accounts81% research before betting55% are more interested in fantasy sports51% enjoy the challenge of picking winners
31% look for the best oddsOver 50% trust their own research over tips from friends

The research from the study makes for interesting reading, with a number of variables investigated, such as most popular sports to bet on and various demographics. As a result, this can be split into four different categories, which are outlined in the table below.

While the above figures are from a concentrated sample of sports bettors who were surveyed, they do provide quite a lot of clues as to how much US sports bettors are driven by data and doing research before placing bets.

Andrew Schwartz, who is a director at Beacon Research shed further light on this:

“Legalised betting is offering fans new opportunities to engage with the sports they enjoy, both before and after kickoff.

“Eight-in-ten spend time researching most of their bets, three-quarters are more likely to watch games they’ve bet on, and half place live bets. As with the fantasy sports boom, we’re seeing the emergence of a more participatory way for fans to consume live sports.”

Could States Be A Factor?

us map states and flag illustrationIt could be argued that bettors in some states are more research-focused than others, especially those where online sports betting has been legal the longest, such as New Jersey and even Pennsylvania.

What is interesting is that New York has recently passed legislation for mobile sports betting – set to launch just in time for the Superbowl in February. This could provide fascinating data over the coming months for a number of reasons.

The biggest one is that; arguably the most lucrative sector of the market; Wall Street professionals, who gamble for a living (financial traders etc) may spend even more time doing research on sports stats, though conversely, they may also not have the time and simply enjoy the thrill of staking significant amounts on certain sporting outcomes.

While certain Wall Street occupations are heavily research-driven, especially financial analysts; this could overlap into sports betting and these people may well apply this. Some may even develop their own algorithms, based on the available stats to work out the likeliest outcomes.

What Does This Mean For Sportsbooks?

do your homework researchFor a start, the above data indicates that there is obviously a significant demand for sports betting in the US and that this could well continue; whether it will be less research heavy could depend on how successful these customers are.

We have seen in the UK that, historically, sportsbooks perform either very well or very poorly for big events such as the Cheltenham Festival and this could be where we see a difference in the US, for example; the Kentucky Derby or the Superbowl; the latter being a huge draw for sports bettors.

Because of this, sportsbooks can anticipate either doing very well or badly – especially when considering that, at the minute, US sports bettors appear to do their homework before making a wager.

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